Last post on Nov 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
#1040 of 10348 Re: pasgener. markcincinnati [kyfdx]
Mar 08, 2005 (8:01 am)
Yep I saw it, guilty as charged. Hopefully I have not ticked off Audi -- but, I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
The new Automobile magazine has a wake up article about German quality and reliability. Mostly the article is a big indictment against Mercedes and VW, but my interpretation of the article is that, other than Porsche and possibly BMW, the Japanese cars -- in GERMANY -- are the ones that the natives vote as the highest quality and most reliable.
The Emperor Has No Clothes, indeed.
Now, however -- I must add, I have had some problems with my Audis since 1977 -- but I would NOT conclude that they are anywhere near as bad as the article in Automobile might lead one to believe.
My current Audi, and my wife's (both 2003 models) have been fundamentally trouble free. The battery in my wife's key fob keeps dying and I had some On*star problems the very first 11 days of ownership. Other than that, routine. I even have the original brakes on my allroad. The previous two A6's 4.2's went through a combined total of 9 sets of rotors and pads in a combined milage of under 60,000 miles.
My only recurring problem is the tire pressure monitor seems to only work above 45 degrees -- and this has been since day one. I guess it could be the batteries in the sending units, but I picked up my allroad in October 2002 and the TP monitors worked until it got cold here in Cincinnati, then started working again in Spring. It has been not a big enough of a deal to bother with. I would hardly condemn the brand as low quality and unreliable based on our experiences.
Those of you who saw the March 14th BW article may think I am or have become anti-Audi. Quite the contrary -- but I do have my concerns but they are overwhelmingly a concern that Audi has lost its marketing edge. I include in that broad brush concern, the lack of a stimulative leasing program and the failure of the marketing types to prevail when the new A6 3.2 came out "less quick" than the outgoing A6 S-Line.
If someone would have asked me, I would have said to lower the final drive ratio by a few percent, which would have probably decreased the gas milage by about 1 MPG but would have improved the 0-60 time by an all important tenth of a second or two.
Indeed, the final drive ratio could have been lowered and the gearing for 5th and 6th gear overdriven just a hair and the highway milage would probably have remained intact, while simultaneously making the car quicker between 0 and 65mph, which, as we all know is "the number" here in the US.
Here's another relatively simple "touch" too -- rear seat video seems to be offered or coming soon all across the board, from US and Japanese manufacturers alike -- even the new Audi Q7 (and I think allroad) were shown with rear seat video.
Two things leap to mind: profit center and giving the customer what they want. It seems odd to me to read in the BW article that the Germans have had so many problems with electronics -- since they inevitably bring electronic options and features to market several years after their competition from the US and Japan.
Anyway, my loyalty to the goodness of the products and to that special feel you get behind the wheel of a German car remains largely intact. What has been eroded, however, is my belief that Audi (to name one) actually has "listened" to the [US] market. The BW article did offer up some encouragement -- but it still seems Audi has a couple of years of catch up to play. The thing is, they have -- apparently for no good (or perceivable) reason -- not capitalized upon their inherent differentiation. Now is the time to strike -- but apparently giving the marketing machine a tune-up isn't going to happen soon enough.
The good news is: the products themselves. The bad news is: (that old saw) "perception is reality." You cannot simply price your cars "higher" as if that will make them actually worth more in the consumer's mind. You have to demonstrate that they are different, better and then they will be worth more. If BMW would raise their prices (for leasing, to make the point) to Audi's level -- the Audi would be a much higher value proposition. Unfortunately the market perception ranks BMW higher than Audi and a more expensive BMW can be leased for a significantly lower price than a less expensive Audi.
Unfortunately, Audi has not yet earned that ranking on this side of the Atlantic (perhaps it has elsewhere).
It pains me.
#1041 of 10348 Re: Luxury Performance Sedans [hpowders]
Mar 08, 2005 (8:15 am)
I haven't had a single software issue with mine. In fact, my only complaint about iDrive is that I find the processor to be kind of slow. Yes, I do take it to the car wash. I honestly don't have time to wash it myself everytime I want it clean (nor the inclination in the winter especially). I well aware of the reasons not to take it to a car wash, but at the end of the day it really is just a car. I love cars as much as anyone else, but I do feel that we (myself included) can get a little ridiculous about babying them. Hey, at least it's a good car wash!
I wanted to talk about the Japanese vs. German luxury car issue for a second. One thing that I think is important to realize here is that there are many people that don't really cross the line between the two. Myself as an example, I honestly don't even consider Acura, Lexus or Infiniti when I'm looking to buy a new car because frankly I just don't like Japanese cars. I respect them in many ways, but they just aren't my thing (and I have driven many of them). I think I repesent a lot of BMW owners in that sense. I'll look at MB or Audi, but I have no interest in their Japanese counterparts. It's not about snobbery, and I think that Japanese cars are better in many respects. It's just that I happen to like how German cars feel to drive and I just feel comfortable in them. I'm sure it's the same for many Japanese car owners. There's nothing wrong with this; it's just really personal preference. Hell, it's probably not even really based on as many tangible things as we seem to think. Many of the differences in handling dynamics are so close that we really probably can't feel them. We think we can, but I think it's largely based on our perceptions more so than reality. For example, if a car is .01 seconds faster 0-60 does that really feel much different? No. Bottom line is, I like BMW's because they suit me in more ways than other cars. I'm sure the same is true for anyone that tends to choose one car brand over another consistently.
#1042 of 10348 Re: Luxury Performance Sedans [rich545]
Mar 08, 2005 (9:09 am)
Thanks for the comprehensive answer. The 545 is next on my test drive list.
#1043 of 10348 markcincinnati
Mar 08, 2005 (9:30 am)
When's the last time you bought a TV built in Germany? Japan rules the world in electronics, and that translates to their cars as well. LG and Samsung are hot on the heels of Sony, Matsushita, and Hitachi, and that seems to be translating to Korean cars as well. Its certainly shocking to see Hyundai with Honda and Subaru as its peers in PP 100 vehicles.
#1044 of 10348 Re: markcincinnati [lexusguy]
Mar 08, 2005 (9:33 am)
The Koreans are catching up with golfers, too. Many fine Korean girls on the LPGA tour.
#1045 of 10348 Re: Luxury Performance Sedans [tiag_m5]
Mar 08, 2005 (10:06 am)
>>My dealer service experience has been light years better and actually caused me to switch from BMW to Acura alone.
>>Wow, downgrading from BMW to Acura because of dealership experience sounds pretty lame. Who cares about how friendly car dealers are? If you're willing to switch brands simply because the Acura sales staff sucks up and makes you feel warm and fuzzy you must not be much of a car person.
Where in jmatthe's post did he refer to sales staff?? Most likely he was referring to the arrogance of the BMW service staff, which is anything but a lame reason. I have three friends who won't even consider BMWs because of their past experiences with BMW service staffs. In the DC area, most of them act like they're doing you a favor by talking to you. They also act like any problem you're having with their wonderful car is your imagination until proven otherwise.
Mar 08, 2005 (10:08 am)
The German dealer superiority complex is what caused me to jump ship for my '96 LS400, and I havent looked back since.
#1047 of 10348 Re: pasgener. markcincinnati [markcincinnati]
Mar 08, 2005 (10:11 am)
"Those of you who saw the March 14th BW article may think I am or have become anti-Audi."
"BW"... are you referring to Business Week magazine? I'd like to read the article.
#1048 of 10348 Re: pasgener. markcincinnati [jjacura]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Mar 08, 2005 (10:12 am)
Yes, he is.. check it out.. He is quoted..
#1049 of 10348 Re: pasgener. markcincinnati [kyfdx]
Mar 08, 2005 (10:17 am)