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Old 14th August 2013, 22:33   #361
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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Surely a forum as big and popular as this deserves a little more than people's opinions in these sort of topics alone?
Yes, it does, hence my question define "best" and how would you measure it? I don't think it's an academic question at all. Because I would think it could lead to an interesting discussion for instance what are the criteria for best, what is the measure of success etc. I don't know for sure, but I would think it could be hugely interesting and entertaining.

So far we know your opinion and I offered mine; I think "best" is in the eye of the beholder so to speak. Depends on what you find relevant. I just don't think there is an absolute "best". If there is, we should be able to define the measurable criteria.

I like reading the various car surveys. This one for instance:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/ne...-model-results

You could debate the outcome, the measurement, how the survey was conducted, how the respondent got chosen, but if anything it's a huge pile of data/facts.

And usually it doesn't correlate really well with my own thoughts/experience at all. My beloved Ford Fiesta comes in at 73, whilst the (my opinion) ultra boring Volvo 60 comes in at number 8. Oh, and the Skoda Superb is number one!

This surveys goes somewhat beyond our original quest for the 'best' car manufacturer. But read the intro:

QUOTE:
The survey of 16,000 car owners in the UK covers 116 models that are between a year and three years old. Only models with more than 4000 sales and 50 clean surveys are eligible for inclusion. In total, respondents had clocked up more than 340 million miles in their cars.

Owners rank their vehicles on 66 criteria, which are grouped to deliver an overall score. Points are accumulated to provide scores for good reliability, performance, service and running costs, which are then expressed as a percentage score.
UNQUOTE

So I do think it is pretty thorough and representative survey and you could argue that it represents the overall "best" within the various limitations of the survey.

Compared to my own experience/opinion is the outcome of this survey good or bad? Neither, it just illustrates my point that "best" is not an absolute, but is highly personal.

So, if anything I'm trying to drive the discussion.

Jeroen
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Old 14th August 2013, 23:29   #362
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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Indeed, everything is our own personal opinion on here.
....
In my opnion.
In my opinion, we are making significant progress.
Till our next group therapy session.

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Sutripta
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Old 15th August 2013, 00:49   #363
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
In my opinion, we are making significant progress.
Till our next group therapy session.

Regards
Sutripta
That cannot be the case, surely?

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Yes, it does, hence my question define "best" and how would you measure it? I don't think it's an academic question at all. Because I would think it could lead to an interesting discussion for instance what are the criteria for best, what is the measure of success etc. I don't know for sure, but I would think it could be hugely interesting and entertaining.

So far we know your opinion and I offered mine; I think "best" is in the eye of the beholder so to speak. Depends on what you find relevant. I just don't think there is an absolute "best". If there is, we should be able to define the measurable criteria.

I like reading the various car surveys. This one for instance:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/ne...-model-results

You could debate the outcome, the measurement, how the survey was conducted, how the respondent got chosen, but if anything it's a huge pile of data/facts.

And usually it doesn't correlate really well with my own thoughts/experience at all. My beloved Ford Fiesta comes in at 73, whilst the (my opinion) ultra boring Volvo 60 comes in at number 8. Oh, and the Skoda Superb is number one!

This surveys goes somewhat beyond our original quest for the 'best' car manufacturer. But read the intro:

QUOTE:
The survey of 16,000 car owners in the UK covers 116 models that are between a year and three years old. Only models with more than 4000 sales and 50 clean surveys are eligible for inclusion. In total, respondents had clocked up more than 340 million miles in their cars.

Owners rank their vehicles on 66 criteria, which are grouped to deliver an overall score. Points are accumulated to provide scores for good reliability, performance, service and running costs, which are then expressed as a percentage score.
UNQUOTE

So I do think it is pretty thorough and representative survey and you could argue that it represents the overall "best" within the various limitations of the survey.

Compared to my own experience/opinion is the outcome of this survey good or bad? Neither, it just illustrates my point that "best" is not an absolute, but is highly personal.

So, if anything I'm trying to drive the discussion.

Jeroen
Fair point - what makes a car 'best' in my opinion? Mmm, let me think a little...

Well, asking me to define this with respect to motor cars is quite possibly impossible, in that it would require multiple explanations of what I appreciate in so many different individual aspects of a car, then multiple explanations of combinations of qualities and so on ad infinitum/nauseam!

It's not as if most of my posts are a couple of lines long, is it?! From my engine thread you will have gathered I feel an engine is the heart of a car. And that good suspension is a must. Tyres which are fashionably wide, low profile and massive diameter aren't appreciated given my local roads. Same with anti-roll bars. You know all this from my posts on here, of course. My Mercedes is, along with a diesel Golf - soon to be diesel Octavia - the 'boring' car which suits my everyday needs best. They're simple, tough and easy to maintain and repair. Since longer journeys nowadays are by motorway, German suspension doesn't matter too much. (The Mercedes has a CitroŽn sphere setup at the back, which helps the ride and handling.)

More interesting cars for me, which I would consider 'best', would be along the lines of pre-80s Saabs, CitroŽns designed from the 30s to the early 70s and various post-war Alfas. I'll go no further for brevity's sake - there are plenty more cars I really appreciate. I enjoy what I consider pure, honest engineering which is simple and works well. What do I mean by well? Smooth, free-revving engine, suspension which can cope with a wide variety of conditions without disturbing the car's stability, accurate steering which doesn't require constant correction, good cornering with plenty of grip available. Linear handling characteristics are important - so that as you load the suspension and car's structure up towards its limits, it doesn't start to alter its characteristics. The more expensively engineered a car is, in my experience, the more linear are its characteristics. A cheaply engineered car may surprise you with handling and other behaviour which suddenly changes with no warning, the harder you go. (I hear you saying 'Porsche', Jeroen!).

Beyond dynamic abilities and a reasonably interesting engine, character begins to play a part. This is where explanations of 'best' completely disintegrate, since there is no apparent logic. Cars used to all come out of factories a little differently - the same car down the same lines - with tiny differences in engine sweetness, suspension geometries and so on. From year to year different quality materials may have been used to make them. And so on. So after twenty or thirty years, a car which I become captivated by is one with a character which has developed according to its use, original traits, sympathy and care. First I appreciate it, then I may love it. Rebuilt cars which are resprayed and mucked about with I try and avoid - unless done superbly. Originality matters if we're considering character. So often things are put back not quite right, both trim-wise and mechanically when a car is stripped and put back together again.

Years ago I bought a scruffy, well-worn CitroŽn ID20, 1967 vintage. It leaked through the roof until I sealed it and the sills were badly welded, so it was effectively a parts bin in the waiting. The paint was beautifully oxidised, faded and dusty - pale blue - and being the basic version the indicator lamps in the front wings were utterly basic pieces of plastic. Yet there was a beauty to this car, a beauty which allowed the technical masterpiece of the car to be even more apparent. It was not down at heel, or structurally weak - just scruffy. Its running gear was sweet as sweet could be, it would easily hold 100 if you were in a dash and speed humps and other road obstacles were swallowed as if they didn't exist. Journey times were faster than in almost any other car I had at the time, without even trying. The interior was in tatters, but the car oozed character. It could have been rescued from a scrapyard, even.

It had the air of a sleazy French nightclub. Even a Moroccan one. It shouted that I cared more for design, fine engineering and how a car goes than what others think of my machine! It was just so beautifully louche, able to be driven fast yet without attracting attention - and would always start instantly. If someone asked me for my 'best' car yet owned, this would be in the list. Pics from the mid 90s are heavens knows where, best I can find which comes anywhere near is the one below. Imagine dusty, pale blue paint and huge hairy cream seat covers, yellow headlamp bulbs and so on.
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Old 21st August 2013, 13:56   #364
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

Toyota Q finally gives up.
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Old 21st August 2013, 21:52   #365
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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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)

This is a late reply, and as well, but why is that bhpian SX4 on the wrong side of the road?
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Old 21st August 2013, 22:58   #366
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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This is a late reply, and as well, but why is that bhpian SX4 on the wrong side of the road?
It isn't. The trucks are in the service road. And this is a 6-lane road. SX4 is in the left-most lane, and @IronH4WK's Getz is in the middle lane.

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Old 22nd August 2013, 16:41   #367
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

I'm not sure if someone has already posted a link to this article on this 25 page thread, but the author has an interesting take on why German cars are so unreliable despite being so expensive:

The head of Mercedes Benz recently apologised for the poor quality of some recent cars. Why then, have so many people been conned into thinking that by buying a German car they are getting something better?

http://www.dogandlemon.com/articles/german-cars

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Old 22nd August 2013, 19:43   #368
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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I'm not sure if someone has already posted a link to this article on this 25 page thread, but the author has an interesting take on why German cars are so unreliable despite being so expensive:

The head of Mercedes Benz recently apologised for the poor quality of some recent cars. Why then, have so many people been conned into thinking that by buying a German car they are getting something better?

http://www.dogandlemon.com/articles/german-cars

With what I see in India, the German cars are bought with the same spirit our nobility kept elephants. If you can afford the upkeep a German car, then you are a man of high net worth. The day the German cars become as reliable as the Japanese ones, will be the day the rich will find another brand which requires high upkeep, and the poor will inherit the Germans. We have to show that we can afford an elephant.
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Old 22nd August 2013, 22:20   #369
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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Originally Posted by RSR View Post
I'm not sure if someone has already posted a link to this article on this 25 page thread, but the author has an interesting take on why German cars are so unreliable despite being so expensive:

The head of Mercedes Benz recently apologised for the poor quality of some recent cars. Why then, have so many people been conned into thinking that by buying a German car they are getting something better?

http://www.dogandlemon.com/articles/german-cars
Thanks for the link; it's very evident that the author has no clue as to what's he on about. There is absolutely no evidence that modern cars, which are more complex than older cars, are less reliable. In fact, all the evidence that is available points to the exact opposite. Modern cars, even though they are far more complex are more reliable then older models. When they do go wrong they might be more complex to fix, but even that is in the eye of the beholder.

Maintenance intervals have been gradually increasing as well. Everybody lives in a rosy dream when it comes to the "old cars" and has forgotten all the daily problems you had with them. On top of that, a lot of these "die hard old school old cars are better" fanatics are simply completely and utterly lost with the most miniscule of electrical or electronic mishap.

If a carburated engine so much as a coughs, they'll be poking screwdrivers in the engine bay like anything. But if a modern car shows a cautionary warning light, they call it unreliable. The problem is they could not tell a USB port from their a""e. On a modern car you need different skill sets and different tools. Leave the screwdriver and break out the laptop with a diagnostic program on it.

Its' called progress. And by and large, it gets us better more reliable cars. And yes, there are exceptions where manufacturers get it wrong big time. Twenty years ago there were no recalls, because ...... the're were no recalls. It just did not exist. To get some impression of reliabillity you need to look at the statistics of large fleet owners, such as car lease companies. These guys operate in a very competitive market with very slim margins, so they know exactly what the reliabillity, maintenance of each and every model is. (And it gets reflected in the lease price, no doubt). Those companies will tell you that if they compare their data over a longer period, cars have become more reliable and are needing less maintenance. And when they do have an accident or break down they are more difficult and more costly to fix than before.

Those of you who have read some of my other posts, will know I really enjoy classic and old cars. I have and still do own several. But not because they are more reliable. Which they're simply not.

Remember Henry Ford legendary quote: If I'd ask people what they wanted, they would have told me "faster horses".

Jeroen
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Old 22nd August 2013, 22:25   #370
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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With what I see in India, the German cars are bought with the same spirit our nobility kept elephants. If you can afford the upkeep a German car, then you are a man of high net worth. The day the German cars become as reliable as the Japanese ones, will be the day the rich will find another brand which requires high upkeep, and the poor will inherit the Germans. We have to show that we can afford an elephant.
That's a good comparison! The high net worth individuals may view expensive German cars as elephants, but the ordinary man/woman views them as the proverbial white elephants. He/she would surely prefer a horse or a mule or even an ox or a donkey as these animals can do punishing work, don't require expensive care/maintenance and don't ever give up (at least until they become very old or seriously ill) and they certainly don't cost as much as an elephant to buy.

The problem is that this image also rubs off on those German cars that are meant to be used as horses/mules/oxen/donkeys, such as Volkswagen and Škoda (and earlier Opel too). Though these may be cheaper to maintain than the expensive German ones, they are still viewed as not being worth the trouble. After sales horror stories and frequent failures requiring expensive parts only reinforces this image.

A poll/survey asking car owners how many of them have access to only one German car would be very telling. I don't mean "own" only one German car, but rather "have access to" only one with no fall back option at all - that is, they and their families would be completely stranded if their only German car were to throw a tantrum. Those who have access to more than one car (even if the second one is another German) should be strictly excluded from the poll. I think such car owners would make up a very small minority in India.

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Thanks for the link; it's very evident that the author has no clue as to what's he on about. There is absolutely no evidence that modern cars, which are more complex than older cars, are less reliable.

Those of you who have read some of my other posts, will know I really enjoy classic and old cars. I have and still do own several. But not because they are more reliable. Which they're simply not.

Remember Henry Ford legendary quote: If I'd ask people what they wanted, they would have told me "faster horses".

Jeroen
I would agree with you that modern cars are more reliable than old ones. To be frank, the majority in India did not have access to real good old cars as those in other parts of the world did. We only had some highly unreliable Ambassadors, Padminis and some other such crappy license raj era relics. So one has to take this into account. I cannot speak about the good old cars as I've had absolutely no experience with them. So I do agree that modern cars are much more reliable than the old ones, from my limited experience.

But the author is comparing modern German cars with their modern Japanese counterparts. What he says is that modern German cars are so ridiculously complex that it makes them unreliable and expensive to own. I don't think he means modern cars with more complexity are unreliable compared to old cars which are less complex.

The issue he is pointing out is the unnecessary over complexity that German manufacturers have developed a taste for. It's like stretching one's hand over one's head to touch the nose This is proving to be their undoing.

I don't agree with all the author says, or rather, I don't agree with the way he presents some of his ideas. However, I agree completely with him on the philosophy that the best way to do a thing is to do it as simple as it can possibly get. The idea of KISS - keep it simple, stupid!

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Old 23rd August 2013, 06:44   #371
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

A lot of so-called problems due to complexity on modern European cars are caused by EU emission legislation. For example, backing your car out of a garage, switching it off then returning to it a few minutes later may mean it will not start.

Cars continue to improve overall, but certain models and types can seem to go backwards if there was a superb design which was replaced with something less durable but which has lower emissions.

It is widely recognised that diesel engine emissions are struggling/going to struggle to keep up with legislative demands. The last few years has seen European diesel cars become ever more complex and while complexity can make for longer-lasting, more reliable cars, many would agree that a typical good modern diesel is more likely to cause problems than a similar one from the late 1990s. The introduction of DPFs and increasingly complex EGRs are two of the main problem areas for many people. Variable-vane turbos and dual-mass flywheels are often expensive replacements which never used to exist - both these components may be more vulnerable to UK driving conditions which are generally slower and more stop-start than most other Western European countries.

For example, a direct injection VW diesel (electronically-controlled) in the mid-1990s had a simple, low-pressure, rotary-pump injection system, a solid flywheel and fixed-vane turbocharger. One with similar performance and economy made a decade later had separate pump injectors (Pumpe Duse), a secondary in-tank fuel pump, variable-vane turbocharger and dual mass flywheel. And possibly a DPF and more complex EGR. All, except for the flywheel, for emissions reasons.

There would be few VW specialists in the UK who would suggest that the later cars don't wear their camshafts more due to them running the unit injector pumps, suffer from less reliable turbos, less reliable injectors (£600 ish a set) and have flywheels which are very expensive and require replacing when a clutch is changed, which never used to be the case. The in-tank electric pumps can fail but the cars can run at reduced power without them, to get to a garage. Apparently.

A VW from the old indirect-injection days would be even less likely to fail, with its good design and fewer components. But the rest of the car today would be so old it could be a liability, reliability-wise.


http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/po...ex.htm?t=62641

http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/diesel-particulate-filters

http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/t...liablity&mid=0

Last edited by FlatOut : 23rd August 2013 at 06:47.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 08:11   #372
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

Maintenance intervals have been gradually increasing as well. Everybody lives in a rosy dream when it comes to the "old cars" and has forgotten all the daily problems you had with them. On top of that, a lot of these "die hard old school old cars are better" fanatics are simply completely and utterly lost with the most miniscule of electrical or electronic mishap.....

Those of you who have read some of my other posts, will know I really enjoy classic and old cars. I have and still do own several. But not because they are more reliable. Which they're simply not.

Remember Henry Ford legendary quote: If I'd ask people what they wanted, they would have told me "faster horses".

Jeroen

The other problem with long maintenance intervals are that oil changes are longer which is not always a good thing despite advances in technology

As for the least reliable cars, they tend to be the most loved - Alfa Romeo's are a key example!


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For example, a direct injection VW diesel (electronically-controlled) in the mid-1990s had a simple, low-pressure, rotary-pump injection system, a solid flywheel and fixed-vane turbocharger. One with similar performance and economy made a decade later had separate pump injectors (Pumpe Duse), a secondary in-tank fuel pump, variable-vane turbocharger and dual mass flywheel. And possibly a DPF and more complex EGR. All, except for the flywheel, for emissions reasons.
.

A VW from the old indirect-injection days would be even less likely to fail, with its good design and fewer components. But the rest of the car today would be so old it could be a liability, reliability-wise.


[/url]
That's why I would recommend a second hand german petrol import over the diesels in the coming years!
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Old 27th August 2013, 22:37   #373
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

BMW and a Harley Davidson
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Old 1st September 2013, 22:09   #374
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Arrow Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

This Tavera taxi spotted on the NH4 near Satara.

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Old 3rd September 2013, 12:01   #375
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Default Re: PICS : How flatbed tow trucks would run out of business without German cars!

Last week I came across a flat-bed carrying a VW Passat Comfortline (Could tell by the rims). Didn't seem to have any damage on it. Wasn't the most reassuring sight, especially since I was driving behind it in my Passat. Couldn't click a picture since I was driving.

On another note, I didn't know Toyota had flat-beds available in Calcutta. I was forced to get my Corolla towed by one of those Bolero-tow vans when it's brakes failed. Ended up paying for repainting the front bumper in addition to the brake repairs thanks to the metal tow-bar scratching up the front chin.
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