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Old 26th June 2013, 13:17   #346
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

Similar to Bharat Acharya, a friend also had a similar experience with his new 5 series. Suspension, remote locking, entire engine and transmission replacement. I think an entire batch of 5 series is affected. All done under warranty of course and loaner BMW given, but the hassles... With engine change, new engine number also has to be given to RTO.

But the thing is, when I asked him would he buy BMW again he said Yes! As otherwise he was quite happy with the car.
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Old 26th June 2013, 22:19   #347
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

BHPians,

Now please help me on this...Why is that despite the Germans being at the pinnacle of engineering get their cars failed so often, esp when compared to their Japanese counterparts?

I would like to know that what are the main reasons for failure of the German cars and why are they actually considered so notorious? Also, I have heard that they start acting too much esp. in the rains. Is it true?

Please, enlighten me on this trivia!

Regards,
Saket

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Old 30th June 2013, 05:20   #348
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The Germans have been on a roll for nearly 30 years in Europe, are cash rich and are fastidious motor engineers, if not the best. VW was forced to eventually pay damages for stealing the design of the Beetle from Czechoslovakia, having put off doing this since 1937 when Hitler 'sorted' it. Their suspension has been designed in the country where it hasn't really been needed since the autobahns arrived in the 1930s, engines are tuned for high revs so are traditionally gutless (not so the VW TDi) on twisting roads and corners are rarely encountered other than at autobahn entries and exits. I exaggerate slightly on this last point. But they managed to sell cars with lethal handling for many, many years. No French, Italian or British manufacturer could have got away with that.

In war-toen France, CitroŽn Traction Avants carrying Resistance forces easily outpaced supposedly massively-fast Mercedes full of Nazis. (The Nazis soon stole CitroŽns with which to at least keep up with the Resistance). No matter how much I adore my W124 Mercedes estates (with rear springing licenced from CitroŽn) their suspension, although extremely well-designed, doesn't hold a candle to my CitroŽn peasant's car, designed in the 1940s. They neither grip as well nor handle anything other than good roads with anything like the ability of the (admittedly piece of genius) French machine.

The famous motoring journalist LJKSetright compared CitroŽn's legendary DS (a largish, family-sized car) with Mercedes-Benz's finest efforts at a racing car thus: "France.. had created a car, a production car meant for the ordinary man in the street, sublimely endowed with such complexities of execution and refinement of conception as made the bristling technology of the racing Mercedes-Benz appear merely the laborious handicraft of gifted mechanics."

There is a myth amongst non-automotive types that the Germans are the finest car-makers in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth, although they usually bolt them together better than most. But they should, since their prices are always higher. Traditionally, the Czechs and the French were the best at designing cars, with the British and Italians trailing not far behind. (As usual, it was restrictive British red-tape and silly rules which limited the natural rapid growth of motor-car technology with a man required to walk in front of any motor vehicle at a speed no more than 5mph (!) carrying a red flag.) Like the Italians, the British have designed and made some of the most desirable motor cars the world has ever seen. As well as some of the most awful, if you ignore the USA.

Back to the contemporary German car - cost-accountants have become even more fastidious than the engineers over the last four or five years and a German car is no longer what it once was. No problem, just buy a twelve year old one - it'll be better than a newer one if it is has been well-maintained. If you are sufficiently needy to require a new, posh car then buy a Jaguar. They are superb, and if you ignore the awful Ford-based ones, always were.

My 90s W124 MBs and Audi A6 C4 are far superior to anything made today. They are so much simpler and designed without any cynicism, designed when the Germans still believed they had foreign competition. In general and as a rule of thumb up until the 90s, cars suffered from corrrosion and inconsistent assembly. After the 90s, they suffer from massive over-complexity and electronic mayhem - it is the new way of getting customers to carry on buying new cars, as rust used to be. Somewhere in the middle, there are very good cars to be had, both galvanised and lacking in Chinese whispers (I've just realised this phrase has acquired a new subtle meaning now that most electronics are made in China!) between the many black boxes, doing very well without bonnet-closure sensors (which cut the engine out if they malfunction) and other daft ideas.

Of course people will always buy new cars, if they feel rich enough and keen enough to impress neighbours and friends. But buying a new German car, isn't the route to a straightforwards life anymore. But then again, Korean and Japanese cars just don't hack it, do they? So it has to be British. After all, the tiny fragment of our motor industry which remains is owned by Indians.

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Old 31st July 2013, 18:24   #349
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

A Maser for a change!
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Cheers!
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Old 14th August 2013, 13:47   #350
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Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Vogue on a transport truck. Wonder how they managed to (1) secure them to the floor and (2) get it offloaded.

Pic courtesy : IronH4WK
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...ml#post3208178 (Team-BHP Stickers are here! Post sightings & pics of them on your car)

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Old 14th August 2013, 18:25   #351
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Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Vogue on a transport truck. Wonder how they managed to (1) secure them to the floor and (2) get it offloaded.
It's a Range Rover, it can climb anywhere
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Old 14th August 2013, 18:51   #352
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There is a myth amongst non-automotive types that the Germans are the finest car-makers in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth, although they usually bolt them together better than most. But they should, since their prices are always higher. Traditionally, the Czechs and the French were the best at designing cars, with the British and Italians trailing not far behind. (As usual, it was restrictive British red-tape and silly rules which limited the natural rapid growth of motor-car technology with a man required to walk in front of any motor vehicle at a speed no more than 5mph (!) carrying a red flag.) Like the Italians, the British have designed and made some of the most desirable motor cars the world has ever seen. As well as some of the most awful, if you ignore the USA.
.
. Best is a relative term and depends very much on one's own perspective. If I want to impress my neighbors the best car is likely to be very different then if I want to get the most fuel efficient car, or the fastest car. Whose the best manufacture? The one that sells the most, or the one that makes the most profit, or the one that produces the most environmental friendly cars? Its just to down to personal preference. I just love all the modern electronic stuff and believe it has vastly improved driving experience.

The fact that something needs different skills to fix and or maintain doesn't make it worse (or better for that matter) again, only an opinion (mine).

I also believe that lots of automotive types believe Germans are the finest car makers. i certainly wouldn't call it a myth, because again its personal prference, perception, facts, whatever. And a lot of it has very little to do with actual technical and or engineering details, but more on brand awareness and perception which is more the Comm/PR domain than the techies domain.

Jeroen
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Old 14th August 2013, 19:08   #353
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Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
There is a myth amongst non-automotive types that the Germans are the finest car-makers in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth, although they usually bolt them together better than most. But they should, since their prices are always higher. Traditionally, the Czechs and the French were the best at designing cars, with the British and Italians trailing not far behind. (As usual, it was restrictive British red-tape and silly rules which limited the natural rapid growth of motor-car technology with a man required to walk in front of any motor vehicle at a speed no more than 5mph (!) carrying a red flag.) Like the Italians, the British have designed and made some of the most desirable motor cars the world has ever seen. As well as some of the most awful, if you ignore the USA.
I sort of both agree and disagree with you.

I agree that the Germans are definitely not the best at designing cars, nowhere near it at all. Pesonally, the best car designing nations has to be a tie between Britain and Italy. The French are pretty good too, but they dont seem as passionate about it.

But I will still say that the Germans are the best "car-makers" in the world. Though their designs may not be the best, but they put them together better than any one else. This is something only the Japanese have come close to matching.
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Old 14th August 2013, 19:28   #354
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I sort of both agree and disagree with you.

I agree that the Germans are definitely not the best at designing cars, nowhere near it at all. Pesonally, the best car designing nations has to be a tie between Britain and Italy. The French are pretty good too, but they dont seem as passionate about it.

But I will still say that the Germans are the best "car-makers" in the world. Though their designs may not be the best, but they put them together better than any one else. This is something only the Japanese have come close to matching.
The term 'car-maker' usually applies to the whole business - for example VW. It isn't simply referring to the production lines where quality is made, or not made. Quality of build is a very subjective topic indeed. A car which has doors which close with a reassuring 'thunk' is perceived as being a quality product, even if the maker has deliberately engineered in this feature to impress in the showroom. Such a clever technique would suggest they are on the ball, though. There is less and less honesty in motor cars. My W124 Mercedes have much more profound qualities than a large Audi, but Mercedes stopped advancing and rested on their laurels, where Audi (VW) has never stopped pushing the boundaries. Their attention to detail is excellent.

Traditionally, the better French cars have been tough, comfortable, practical, economical and very logical. And they usually grip through corners like no other. It would not be difficult to make a case where German cars are inferior in every way from a design and engineering perspective.

Having had to constantly improve the Beetle from its original fault-riddled form taught VW a good lesson - always listen to what the customer wants and thinks, always look to improve and build to as high a standard as possible. The art of making money is more difficult. VW is now one of the world's most successful motor corporations and for good reason. Their products are finely tailored to the consumer's desires and needs.

Japanese cars are built to higher standards than German ones, in my opinion. But this doesn't mean they're better built. I think the Kia C'eed which is made in Europe is a very good car indeed. The Koreans are out to beat the Japanese at their own game, and appear to be succeeding. They have done this with consumer electronics also.

I don't think the British were ever very good at mass-production, we lacked the organisation of the Germans. Besides, our worker/management relations were strained until the Japanese took over and machine tools worn out through lack of investment. But we are brilliant at innovation. Much as the Americans like to think they have invented everything on the planet, our little island has far more than its fair share of invention.

I think the French are the most un-sung nation regarding engineering technology - when they are at their best they are on another planet. Trouble is, they know that and become arrogant and lazy until they are stung into another bit of brilliance!

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
. Best is a relative term and depends very much on one's own perspective. If I want to impress my neighbors the best car is likely to be very different then if I want to get the most fuel efficient car, or the fastest car. Whose the best manufacture? The one that sells the most, or the one that makes the most profit, or the one that produces the most environmental friendly cars? Its just to down to personal preference. I just love all the modern electronic stuff and believe it has vastly improved driving experience.

The fact that something needs different skills to fix and or maintain doesn't make it worse (or better for that matter) again, only an opinion (mine).

I also believe that lots of automotive types believe Germans are the finest car makers. i certainly wouldn't call it a myth, because again its personal prference, perception, facts, whatever. And a lot of it has very little to do with actual technical and or engineering details, but more on brand awareness and perception which is more the Comm/PR domain than the techies domain.

Jeroen
Indeed, everything is our own personal opinion on here. But we try and see patterns in order to make some sense of the market. Of course, we all have different eyes and see the world differently.

While I agree with your idea that a car's perception amongst the masses is largely down to PR, true motoring enthusiasts look a little deeper and feel more subtleties to a machine when at the wheel - in my opinion. But then we could start debating what a 'true' enthusiast is. Has he to have an innate working knowledge of a motor car, has he to have driven a large variety of cars from every decade? Has he read almost every motoring publication ever printed?

And so go round and round in ever decreasing circles! To have a discussion it is necessary to observe patterns and make links, describing what you see as the broader picture. Otherwise we end up in the middle of a post-grad thesis! In my opnion.

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Old 14th August 2013, 19:29   #355
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Can you define what you mean by "best" and how it gets measured?
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Old 14th August 2013, 19:46   #356
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Can you define what you mean by "best" and how it gets measured?
An individual's perception based on his learning and experience. Then it is up to whoever listens to what that individual says and judge him/her on their knowledge and understanding.

Here's a link for you, Jeroen: http://able2know.org/topic/181975-1h...topic/181975-1

"Every language started primordially (the language equivalent of the' big bang') with a sound (the first word), then different sounds stood for the 'parts of speech' that would come to describe that first word. Along with other symbols, signs and gestures, they all became interdependent but at the start was the first word just a meaningless sound?

If so...

If that word was meaningless in its primordial isolation, then is it the same for all words even now, when they are isolated from the signs, symbols, words and gestures that describe them?

Do words (these smallest packets of meaning) only exist because of their 'interdependence' upon one another and not at all when they are independent and isolated from the other words etc. that describe them?

What does this say (if correct) about the concepts that rely on these words if each word in isolation is meaningless?


Can concepts ever deliver anything more than conventional truth
?

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Old 14th August 2013, 19:52   #357
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The term 'car-maker' usually applies to the whole business - for example VW. It isn't simply referring to the production lines where quality is made, or not made.
Completely agree with you. But as you understood, I used the term "car maker" just in term of how well the cars were made in the factory rather than designed.

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Trouble is, they know that and become arrogant and lazy until they are stung into another bit of brilliance!
That is exactly why I put the French below the British and the Italians.

Overall, the way I came to the conclusion of the best car designing nation is simply to think of a list of great cars that I could remember. The British and Italians are far more prolific on that list than the French.
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Old 14th August 2013, 20:30   #358
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Completely agree with you. But as you understood, I used the term "car maker" just in term of how well the cars were made in the factory rather than designed.



That is exactly why I put the French below the British and the Italians.

Overall, the way I came to the conclusion of the best car designing nation is simply to think of a list of great cars that I could remember. The British and Italians are far more prolific on that list than the French.
The upmarket French industry was killed by the French system - they wanted manufacturers to make cars for the man in the street, not have a situation as in England where the best cars were only affordable by the financially wealthy and the ordinary cheap cars often left a lot to be desired. The Morris Minor, although a superb design, was meant to have a flat four engine and front wheel drive. Instead it received a pre-war cheap-to-make lump under the bonnet and rear wheel drive. What they saved on the engine they spent on the propshaft and seperate rear diff. The average man wouldn't appreciate the difference between a good engine and low centre of gravity and an ok, traditional one, according to the company boss.

The Traction Avant from CitroŽn had the design brief, "a Bugatti for the people".

I can think of a lot of great cars - not just great in my opinion but recognised as so by the cognoscenti - which are French, but haven't done any adding up. Perhaps French cars have had more influence than Italian ones - by 1934 they had a monocoque design, front drive, hydraulically braked, superb-handling car. At the time most other cars looked like teetering sheds, by comparison. The finest mass-produced French cars (for most cognoscenti) were heavily influenced by an Italian, which to me lends them an edge and more brio over a 304 or 404, for example.

One of the best-selling classic Alfa-Romeos was engineered by an Austrian who worked heavily on the Kdf-Wagen which became known as the Beetle after the war, when the British put Wolfsburg back in production. Our own Mini and many other BMC successes were designed by Alec Issigonis, a Greek. He was even related to a current BMW director, Bernd Pichetsrieder. Concorde, the supersonic aeroplane, was a collaboration between the French and the British. When different nationalities come together, it seems they can produce great things.

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Old 14th August 2013, 20:37   #359
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An individual's perception based on his learning and experience. Then it is up to whoever listens to what that individual says and judge him/her on their knowledge and understanding.

As I suspected, no measurable facts, purely based on one's own preference, experience, pre-conceptions, preference etc. etc. One usually calls this an "opinion".

And in my opinion there is nothing wrong with stating one's opinion. In fact, pardon the pun, I'm all for stating opinions. Facts tend to get very boring very quickly.

I have probably (co) owned more than 100 different cars during the last 35 years. I've worked on most of them and some others myself, I have several engineering degrees, but statistically speaking all of my experience is completely irrelevant for several reasons:

The sample of 100 cars out of 35 years of million cars is simply to small. I can't say what the most reliable car is. Other then in that group of 100. You simply can't extrapolate this sort of experience to a larger group. My personal experience is that the newer the car, the less likely you are to have issues. Even if it's packed to the gills with electronics and other gadgetry. Again, I can not extrapolate that to all new cars. (Although I believe it to be true based on some data I've seen, but that's different altogether)

Next to that, I have my own preferences and ways of looking at design and or engineering solutions. As I stated earlier, I really like electronics. I know more about engines/transmissions than say suspension. So therefor my experience and judgement is likely to be influenced by that.

As Clint says:



So I'm all for stating opinions based on your own experience, qualifications, training, whatever. But we need to recognize it for what it's really worth.

Still, in the case of what is the "best" I think you need to ask first and foremost what is relevant to you? It is not a question of right or wrong, its a question of relevance.

I have yet to meet two engineers who can agree on the "best" even with a heap of facts and data in front of them. And that's a fact on a personal level and I'm part of huge very technical organization, so it's beginning to have some overall statistical relevance (my opinion).

Jeroen

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Old 14th August 2013, 21:04   #360
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I understand exactly what you are getting at, Jeroen. So shall we simply answer questions on how best to bleed brakes, clean paint and diagnose electronic failures? Sorry, there's that best word again!

Surely a forum as big and popular as this deserves a little more than people's opinions in these sort of topics alone? How do you manage to read any history books without writing to the author on how he is not constantly pointing out it is purely his perspective, his opinion etc?

Were I to start creating links to papers disseminating every point I make, there would be few posts. This is meant to be a motoring forum, not an academic hot-house. Isn't opinion-forming one big difference between a human and a robot? I have opinions on what makes a great car and a great drive, as I'm sure you do too. Of course they're personal, but I'm not about to start interrogating you if I don't agree with your opinion. Shouldn't opinion lead to good and wide-ranging debate, rather than mere semantics. I think that internet forums can be confusing as to whether they are informed chat and banter, or meant to be like scientific papers. As they are a relatively new medium and there is such a huge variety, I tend to feel they/we are still finding our feet as to just how they are best used.

One extreme is pure, inane chat and opinion with no reasoning and little thought, the other is something akin to a university research paper. I don't think people want either, since both extremes can make for poor reading. In my opinion.

I'm still not sure if you still believe the innate balance of a boxer engine, as in a Porsche, is my opinion or engineering fact.

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