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View Poll Results: What is Build Quality to you?
Supreme Reliability 301 70.66%
The "Thud" 125 29.34%
Voters: 426. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 26th November 2008, 12:21   #46
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Interesting viewpoints. I respect the fact that 3/4 of this community (poll results so far) views reliability as the primary indicator of build quality, rather than the "thud" factor.

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Thud is something very subjective
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Originally Posted by shyamhegde View Post
Is the 'Thud' you all are talking is the way the door sounds when closed?
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Originally Posted by androdev View Post
thud is over simplifying build quality.
LOL guys! I was only using "thud" as a loose term for build quality. But you get the gist; I was talking about that feeling of solidness that one normally associates with Euro cars.

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What can't manufacturers build cards that are reliable as well as built-well? I'm sure it is physically possible.
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Originally Posted by sridhar24 View Post
Now a days the jap cars are also have good build quality though not as good as the germans.
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Originally Posted by Vishesh View Post
A combination of both 'thud' and 'clinical long term reliability' appeals to me as the perfect definition of build quality.
I would say that Toyota, Honda & Nissan (to an extent) are getting closest to accomplishing this dream combination. The new Accord, Civic & City feel better than their predecessors. Ditto for the Camry. Lexus is one of the few cars that gives you the "thud" with supreme reliability.

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for me build quality is a static aspect of mechanical precision with which parts have been finished and put together. reliability is a dynamic aspect of how well the mechanisms (electronic & mechanical) work together to deliver the goods consistently.
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Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
What do you do with a "thud" without reliability? You can only bang your head against the door () when your car breaks down
Good one.

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Some people here think "thud" as safety which is not the fact. The outer sheet metal can never determine the crash safety of a car.
True. There are some "lighter" feeling cars that perform better in safety tests than cars with more thud (Crumple zones etc. etc. ).

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Originally Posted by gemithomas View Post
Just because a honda city does not visit the service centre and the Merc does does not mean that the Merc does not have build quality as the Honda.
Well, the Merc is definitely not put together as well or has the same quality of part as the Honda. An Accord requires engine mount changes well after 1.0 lakh kms. Why does a Merc require the same @ 40K? And why has my Merc required 4 major repairs (including the air-con, suspension & electronics) in 50K kms, while my friends Camrys have gone twice the distance without a single fault? Mind you, my statement is not directed toward Mercedes only. Several Skoda Lauras, VWs, BMWs, Jaguars etc. are part of the same failure club. It is easy to give a thicker gauge metal & high quality leather when you are charging a bomb. The failure of Mercedes is in this : even after charging a bomb, they aren't able to get the precise quality that cars costing 1/5th as much go. This is simply inexcusable. And let me also remind you that Mercedes did a fine job of combining the "thud" with supreme reliability at a time. Case in point? The W124. Very solid & outstanding reliability. Scooby & others actually complain that nothing goes wrong with their E250Ds. This, after 11 years of ownership and well over a lakh kms of running on Indian roads!!

To me, build quality is using parts of the highest quality, the precision with these parts are put together, and the ability for them to work in harmony over a long long duration.

Last edited by GTO : 26th November 2008 at 12:24.
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Old 26th November 2008, 12:58   #47
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I agree with GTO. On technical terms the quality is defined on many factors but from customers point of view, it is the MEAN TIME BETWEEN FAILURES and MEAN TIME BETWEEN MAINTENANCE on a comaparitive scale and given life span. The cost of failures and maintenance can be added to it to further evaluate the build quality.

On the other hand, sometimes the money spent on manufactering expensive car is used for adding other components such as ABS, Traction control, air bags, etc and gives the feeling that being expensive the car may be of higher quality, but nothing is done to improve on the reliability factors.

And regarding your visit to service centre may be isolated case. But if number of such cases is quite high, then definitely there is something wrong with quality.

Also comes the finish. I am seen cars of same make and model having different fits and finish in different countries which can affect the customer mindset.

Adding thicker sheet metal may add to wt and feel, but may not be better as compared to crumple zone and hence may not improve safety, which again will be considered as a quality factor. And if gets corroded faster than the thinner one, then again quality suffers.
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Old 26th November 2008, 13:42   #48
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If European means build quality and Japanese means realibility, then I guess Indian / Korean / American mean the best of both .
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Old 26th November 2008, 14:06   #49
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Hi GTO

Simply and mechanically put, rate of deterioration of tolerances (increase/decrease in terms of)/time (days/months/years).

Be it the engineered thud or the rate of wear of the fasteners holding the trim in place.

Cheers
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Old 26th November 2008, 14:13   #50
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Isn't the definition of build quality a function of time? Even the lower end cars of today are more reliable and robust than most of the top end cars of 30 years ago.
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Old 26th November 2008, 14:47   #51
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Build Quality = knowing nothing is gonna go wrong with your car till 100,000 Kms, a minor issues may be there but till the point the car performs as expected on engine/trnasmission/braking/electricals/safety systems consistently and reliably.
A thud is of no use unless these parameters are met. What would you call a more quality product - A swift (which is proven to perform consistently for 70-80K kms) or a Skoda Fabia (which has issues with fuel pumps, inconsistent mileage etc) even though fabia has a better THUMP or THUD.
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Old 26th November 2008, 18:02   #52
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I would define build quality as a car with rigid structure that guarantees reliability and durability till the long.
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Old 27th November 2008, 16:54   #53
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To me build quality is "the thud" and not reliability. Infact, it's more than the thud. It's about the quality of materials used in the car, the way things are put together, certain details (ex. the quality and no. of coats of paint)
For instance, Toyotas, in general, are very reliable that doesn't mean they are well built. Whereas, Fiats are well built but, certainly not the most reliable.
Build quality imply the quality and gauge of material such as sheet metal, plastics, carbon fibres, paints, engine alloys amongst others are used. On the other hand reliability is something that cant be measured by any of the above parameters. It's the assurance that the vehicle won't fail to start for the next trip or won't break down come what may. There are other things in a car other than the ones listed above that are the reason for reliability. Eg. Electronics (what does BQ have to do with electronics). Reliability has only to some extent a releation to BQ. Largely they are 2 differnet things.
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:21   #54
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this reminds me of the saying ".....and never the twain shall meet"
There are reliability fans, who want their car to run without trouble and breakdowns.Because they think that's what cars are meant for primarily- transport( I'm one of these)

Then there are "build quality fans" who want the car to feel "solid"
and "well put together"

In an ideal world- all cars would be built well and run reliably. That has not happened yet(we're getting there), till then, I'll chose reliability.

I'll try and survive the dangerous and severe rattling, that plagues my cars while they run endlessly without breaking down. Please pray for me
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:29   #55
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@ ripper, will do , and do remember to stop by, when you see the rest of us stranded on deserted highways
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Old 29th November 2008, 22:22   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 316kmph View Post
Eg. Electronics (what does BQ have to do with electronics). Reliability has only to some extent a releation to BQ. Largely they are 2 differnet things.
You don't build the electronics very well, they will fail on you. Therefore, build quality does mean something to electronics as well. I mean, you do build them - as in solder stuff on - they don't get put together by themselves...
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Old 29th November 2008, 23:06   #57
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Build quality for me is VW and its reliability.

My other cars at home might lose it out or may not last as much as my 41 yr old VW Bug.

I park this car for a month or so, if my other cars give trouble, i start using the Bug, it serves me perfectly over the complete week, even if it rains or shines.

Any time this German Gem is reliable. Look at the ML 500 from Merc and the VW Toureg or maybe the Tiguan.

The VW scores lots of notches above the Merc in Build quality.
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Old 30th November 2008, 06:18   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
Build quality for me is VW and its reliability.

My other cars at home might lose it out or may not last as much as my 41 yr old VW Bug.

I park this car for a month or so, if my other cars give trouble, i start using the Bug, it serves me perfectly over the complete week, even if it rains or shines.

Any time this German Gem is reliable. Look at the ML 500 from Merc and the VW Toureg or maybe the Tiguan.

The VW scores lots of notches above the Merc in Build quality.
I was only 2 or 3 when I used to travel in the VW beetle. My uncle owned one , it was very reliable, but I remember it rattling and it felt noisy and unrefined compared to the Puegeot 504 that my dad was driving at that time(which was also very reliable)
Please note - I was car mad even at that age, but this is going back 26-27 years, so my expert opinion about these two cars might be somewhat inaccurate
Both these cars ran on the highways of lawless Nigeria almost 3 decades ago- where a breakdown usually meant being robbed/injured/killed. This is also a place where the nearest english medium school was 200 kms away, and the only available ISD phone was in the District headquarters.
Cars need to be reliable.

Last edited by rippergeo : 30th November 2008 at 06:19.
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Old 30th November 2008, 06:59   #59
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Build quality for me is that solid feel both when inside the car while driving and the exterior finishing. ofcourse, Build quality /reliability of the engine is also important, I feel 'most engines'(not all) are reliable these days in all cars (manufacturers don't take the risk of putting unreliable engines I guess, especially in indian market), and hence less importance to reliability. For our roads, the thud should be minimum to be able to enjoy the reliability of the engine..
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Old 30th November 2008, 07:48   #60
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Fundamental question – What is the difference between “Build quality” and just “quality”? Reading thru the thread looks like for some it remains the same whereas for others not so.

To me the thud has nothing to do with quality, it is just solidness. Supreme reliability on the other hand is just one aspect of quality. Consistency is another important aspect. Improper finish is poor quality. Usability is another. And all of this needs to be benchmarked against what each is meant for. I mean theoretically an Alto could be as reliable or more than a merc or Lexus. I may refer to build quality as on how long lasting the quality attributes are.
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