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Old 4th March 2008, 00:31   #16
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It boils down to many factors - practicality, driveability, steering and handling, engine tech etc etc. I have driven many American cars - from low end (Dodge Neon- new), to high end (Buick Le Sabre, Chevy Impala) and everything in between including a Chevy Blazer SUV.
And its not just German cars but Jap ones as well.

Some Examples:
Engine :
American -->
* 2001 Chevy Blazer : 4.3L v6 making a piddly 190hp. Speedo maxed out @ 100mph, but no way you could go over 90mph (unless you are on steep down incline)...
* 2005 Le Sabre - 3.8LV6 making 205bhp. wow. Driving upto ~100mph, didn't give a very poised feel esp with slight turns and all
* 2007 Impala - 3.5LV6 making 211bhp - no great shakes in acceleration. Though 100mph is quite fine. Has high wind noise @ 50mph and above - on 2 different cars, I had checked the window power buttons 2-3 times to convince myself the window was not slightly wound down
* 2007 GrandPrix - 3.8LV6 making 200bhp. This really had some fast acceleration, probably lighter than the Impala or Le Sabre. Had a nice engine sound when accelerating fast. 100-110mph seemed fine...
Others (Euro/Jap)-->
* Compare a Merc or BMW or Audi 2.4/3L engine. Will leave the US car in the dust. For more humble cars
* Mazda 3 hatch 2005 (1.6L engine-105ps) - felt more peppy than most American cars I drove. Drove at 180+kmph on A-bahn for an avg speed of 150kmph over 35 minutes. Felt more confident than almost any American car from Chevy Cobalt/Cavalier to Impala, I had driven till then.
* Volkswagen Passat 2005 1.6FSI (115ps) - reach 200kmph though somewhat laboured. Upto 170-180kmph, easy drive. Completely assured feel.

Handling:
-
American cars very poor handlers. Small turns of the highways cause you to take the foot off. Only feel very solid and composed in arrow straight lines. Wet weather may also provide a unsettled feel at speeds of 80mph and above. Steering feedback is not good. Pontiac GrandPrix positioned like a sporty sedan, but doing 40mph on a exit loop to/from the highway caused me to brake to slower speeds several times (even Impala was much better). Does not inspire confidence.

Practicality - Internal space, boot space etc:
- American cars score very poorly on practicality (leaving aside the SUVs).
* Less and esp shallow boot space for the class - Le Sabre is best example. Impala, Grand Prix not much better. Accord/Camry has much more boot space not to talk of Merc E class!
* Poor rear seating space (legroom/headroom). Eg. GrandPrix is worse than Corolla for rear passengers. My colleagues preferred a ride in the Corolla back than in the Grand Prix (sloping roof, tapered rear windows make it claustrophobic I guess). Impala is also shocking. Keeping the front seat pushed back fully does not allow my carry-in strolley bag to fit in the rear between the seats ! And space upfront in that mode is hardly much more than a Corolla!

Longevity
Jap cars are the most reliable and long lasting. Check out used car market in US if there is a doubt. Merc, BMW and Audi also highly regarded. Engines are supposed to last 150k-200k miles before any need to overhaul (if not more).

Finally, used to see the following sticker on a yellow Ford Mustang convertible in the parking lot
"Cubic inches do matter"
It seems they forgot the part that engine tech and efficiency do too :-)

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Old 4th March 2008, 01:47   #17
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Originally Posted by DieselFan View Post
German cars epitomize quality and reliability (Which is now-a-days a big question mark. seeing lot of German manufactured cars having quality issues). American cars are made for average American citizens (Read Dummies) and is a convenience car with not much focus on quality or reliability of the car.

I would say people now-a-days prefer Japanese Luxury cars over German or American. IMO Lexus or Accura is more sought after than German/American cars.
This is a good post. While European cars have done well with their marketing, the cars reliability/cost of ownership is very poor. Lexus and Acura are the leaders for people who do not feel the need to show others they drive a MB/BMW/Audi etc.. American cars just plain old suck, nothing more to say about it.

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Originally Posted by mamba24 View Post
If you are searching for speed an american car can flat out race a german one.

Aero Ultimate is now the fastest car in the world. German Cars are more durable and flexible. Maintainance maybe expensive but they are worth the joy they bring.

I own a 3 series myself and i cant think of a better car to have at this point.

Speed on a straight road = American
Precision Engineering = German

lol
Not true, that was the stigma left over from the 60's and 70's when American cars had huge V8's for absolutely no reason. Nowadays, most cars are pretty fast(relatively), and no one country or segment is faster then the other.

As far as precision engineering, that was also a stigma that is not so true anymore. What is true is, they try to reinvent the wheel, and in doing so, they screw up and the new parts fail(which costs the owner lots of $ to fix).

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhilb2008 View Post
This has more or less been taken care of. Mercedes' quality has improived by leaps and bounds in the past couple of years.

they turned over a new leaf with the new S-Class and the new C Class.
Absolutely FALSE! In fact, they have sunk to the worst in their history. According to reliability data, this last year, MB is the worst production car company sold in America. This is data from Consumer Reports who is the leader in consumer product information.

To answer to OP's question. It's a matter of marketing, and what feel and look the individual buyer likes. But mostly, it's the marketing and the draw for people to show status and prestige. It is not based off quality, if it was, they would all be driving Lexus/Toyota or Acura/Honda(Subaru is right there with quality as well).

European cars generally are stiffer and have a more precise feel, American cars generally are very soft and a more supple ride, while Japanese cars have tried to master a bit of both worlds in different models.
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Old 4th March 2008, 02:32   #18
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Originally Posted by gigatech2006 View Post
I cannot stop laughing after reading your post man. Go try a German car and then an American, you will marvel at the level of engineering in German cars. If you still think that American cars are better than the German ones, something is wrong somewhere, not with the cars though Have you ever come across a famous news article 'Fords chasing Porsches for a Living'? Who said the Germans are good at marketing?? they are the worst and the Americans are the best!!! Americans can sell a worthless product through their excellent marketing strategy whereas the Germans do that purely based on the quality of their products.

Have fun and get the facts straight!

giga
well i have sat AND driven more american cars then u might have seen in india
and by american i mean AMERICAN not the korean junk we get in india
ive not had the pleasure of driving a german yet
if u havent sat in a old 80 caprice or a lovely buick then u havent sat in an american forget knowing what it feels to drive
ive never mentioned that americans were better than the germans
but asked why is it that people say germans are better
get my question straight first

what makes their quality great how does a s class merc be more comfortable than a crown vic ( i guess u wouldnt know what that is)
what excatly is prescision engineering here!!!!! how does it differ from the americans i still feel americans have good products even though their heydays are over
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Old 4th March 2008, 03:05   #19
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let's leave it to the buyers. those who buy these cars i am sure do test drives, comparisons and look at statistical data. We also do the same here at TBHP.

I don't have, but I am sure somebody here can get reliability data for each of the maker and the model. It's also about the attitude towards change and appreciating customer's needs.

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Originally Posted by gt_mustang View Post
what excatly is prescision engineering here!!!!! how does it differ from the americans i still feel americans have good products even though their heydays are over
Good for you. But do you need to convince others about it?

sitting in a 1980 caprice or a crown victoria can be a great experience. but so is travelling in sleeper buses between nagpur and jabalpur, actually that's more relaxing. We need to look at a lot of other factors when we go buy a new car, don't we?
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Old 4th March 2008, 04:02   #20
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Would like to add my 2 rupees in the issue.

I am somehow a german fan. Yes, i do love american cars as well like the mustang, the dodge charger and the likes (American Muscle) but then again, its only for those powerful engines that im smitten by. In India we have to do with piddly engines. Though they are apt given the conditions of our roads and also i do agree that now the engines are somewhat improving like in the Verna. Love the engine. But back to my point that in India, we see a freaking 1.1 engine hauling around the weight of a palio.

So when we hear the roar and specs of these american cars, i get absolutely smitten.
Even though i know that American muscle cars very dangerous handlers, so poor that they cannot be pushed to the limit without crashing, still i love these cars for Raw Appeal & power.

Now i would get back to your question and say that your answer is in all the previous posts. To sum it up, german cars are engineered very well, have rock solid stability, fantastic handling, even have fantastic ergonomics (the small things, details). And are pretty dam fast too. They are very driver centric and built to last.

To conclude, i would like to say that i would salivate at the thought of owning a Dodge Charger or a Viper but even then it would be used on occasions, i would rather use a Porshe everyday and revel in the pleasures of engineering and driving.

P.S. - I would like to mention here that i have never driven an American car but from the likes of it, all the knowledge i have gained and see all around me, i am making the above statements. The only indigenous german cars i have driven are a Skoda (it changed the way Indians percieve cars) and an Astra. If you would call Opel completely German
But would like to add that i absolutely love driving it and just love the confidence and handling i get around corners. Even when abused with speedbreakers or high speed cornering, it takes it well within stride and that too its almost ten years old on INDIAN ROADS!!!
Another point being that she has all the features and even MORE than the current cars we buy today like for example auto up and down on all four power windows and electronic side rear view mirrors. So can see the sort of technology and engineering that goes into german cars.

Last edited by Xehaust : 4th March 2008 at 04:11.
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Old 4th March 2008, 04:04   #21
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Have driven quite a few american cars thanks to car rentals. All I can say is that with the exception of a 2007 Chrysler Sebring which is based upon a Mitsubishi Chassis, all other cars are crappy handlers. (Chevy Impala, Pontiac Grand Prix, Cadillac CTS, Mercury Mariner/Milan, Buick Lucerne, Ford Mustang). They are slow, heavy, lumbering beasts suffering from lack of acceleration in general. Plastic quality is really poor and interiors feel horribly built with tons of rattles. If I had to spend my own money, I'd never ever touch one.
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Old 4th March 2008, 04:15   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gt_mustang View Post
if u havent sat in a old 80 caprice or a lovely buick then u havent sat in an american forget knowing what it feels to drive
If you haven't sat in an Indian Railways train, you don't know true comfort. Does that mean we should all rent out 2nd AC coaches? This is Team BHP, not Team Backseat. We like cars that drive, not back seat sofas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt_mustang
more comfortable than a crown vic ( i guess u wouldnt know what that is)
Oh gee whiz, Yankee Doodle, how's us poor Injuns s'posed to know what a Crown Vic (notice the capital alphabets) is?

The Crown Victoria is probably most famous as a police car, which means the comfortable back seat you talk of is used to transport handcuffed criminals. And don't even get me started on the car, Ford has had to pay millions of dollars and settle class-action lawsuits because of how crappy it is.

Which brings us back to the point -- American cars are pretty horrible. When a defender of theirs has to try and win an argument, the best he can do is find an ageing working-class icon of sorts, that has bled millions from its parent company. A telling statement, if there ever was one.

I'd still buy a Viper, though.
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Old 4th March 2008, 04:52   #23
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Are you kidding? I mean if one country has more twisty roads then their cars handle better? I think you were trying to say something else.
I don't think he is kidding. German cars are designed for their main market, which is Europe - a land of small roads and twisties. That is why their cars are small and handle well around corners. Indian cars are designed for small and bumpy roads. So our cars are small and shocks designed to handle abuse. Similarly American cars are designed for long stretches of straight highways where you rarely see a corner. So you have big boats with Hemi engines and quarter mile drag races.

Americans like Nascar, which is like going very fast on a Freeway, and Europeans like F1.
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Old 4th March 2008, 04:57   #24
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Originally Posted by gt_mustang View Post
if u havent sat in a old 80 caprice or a lovely buick then u havent sat in an american forget knowing what it feels to drive
ummm... aren't we in the year 2008? Why are you talking about 30 year old cars when comparing American cars to German cars. Americans lost the plot in the 80's, and lost consumer trust in the 90's. There is a reason why Camry's and Accords sell more than Malibu and Taurus, same reason why BMW and Benz sell more than Lincoln and Cadillac.
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Old 4th March 2008, 05:21   #25
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Originally Posted by Mayavi View Post
I don't think he is kidding. German cars are designed for their main market, which is Europe - a land of small roads and twisties. That is why their cars are small and handle well around corners. Indian cars are designed for small and bumpy roads. So our cars are small and shocks designed to handle abuse. Similarly American cars are designed for long stretches of straight highways where you rarely see a corner. So you have big boats with Hemi engines and quarter mile drag races.

Americans like Nascar, which is like going very fast on a Freeway, and Europeans like F1.
That isn't exactly true. I do think that he wasn't kidding but the main market for Germany isn't Europe. Like pretty much most manufacturers out there today, USA/NA is THE biggest market in the world. I don't remember the statistics but NA or USA sell more MB/BMW than the same brands in the whole of Europe. Yes it is catching up but it still has a long way to go. Audi and VW have a problem due to their late entry and lower expected brand value in the US which was sort of why Audi created the R8.

I think its more to do with the fact that the engineers themselves are more akin to drive in European roads for German cars so they can feel what is a good handling car. While an engineer in the US has more experience in driving on straight lines and extra wide highways.

More on topic though, US cars are absolute crap compared to most German/European cars. People have already mentioned most of the reasons but here they are condensed:
1) Handling - no argument there. Even with a ton of weight and luxuries the Germans have the Americans beat (with a limited number of exceptions - C6)
2) Quality - I'm sorry but there is just no comparison in this segment. Yes the cars are cheaper but you really get what you pay for. Plush Nappa leather vs. "leather".
3) Fit & Finish - Again, how could you even compare. Most of the US cars have their trim lose or showing or wide body gaps. The Germans were flailing a few years back but are back with a bang and a vengeance. The only competitors right now are themselves and the Japanese.
4) Design - I'm surprised no ones touched on this subject yet! A very important aspect of the car itself in which Europeans just exceed themselves. The US designs are uninspiring to say the least. Though this is subjective.

Lastly and more importantly though, its the little things that matter. In the case of the Germans, every single bit is tested. Every button is tested for ergonomics. Every thing is tested endlessly whether it pushes correctly or meshes properly. It isn't just a matter of doing for the sake of it. Whereas for the Americans its just the opposite approach. Germac's really aim for perfection which really shows. Sit in an Audi and you will come to know what interior perfection is.

The thing about the Crown Vic and the S is hilarious though. Just because they've put a futon as the backseat doesn't mean its the best in the world. Sit in an S class and you will know what a seat should be. Firm but with enough give to support your body. It doesn't pain in the least and with the countless adjustments, the seat adjusts perfectly to your requirements and not the other way round. The Crown Vic just keeps giving in until finally you reach the spring and BAM there's the body pain after a long journey.
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Old 4th March 2008, 05:40   #26
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Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Are you kidding? I mean if one country has more twisty roads then their cars handle better? I think you were trying to say something else.
I mean if one country has more twisty roads then their cars handle better?
I never generalized that statement.

The Europeans have evolved over the years of car manufacturing to improve their cars handling much better than American (again this doesn't hold true in this era since all manufacturers test their cars on "the ring")

To understand the road conditions difference between Europe and America (USA to be specific) we have to go back in history a bit.

European culture was evolved, where as America was settled by British people.
So they already knew what they needed to do to avoid facing problems they were facing in Europe
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Old 4th March 2008, 07:09   #27
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This whole "developed on the Nurburgring" is a little over-rated. Most of the development still happens locally, and its only for a small portion of the tuning that they go there. Mpower will be able to tell us more about that.
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Old 4th March 2008, 07:30   #28
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I think in the present world of high end practicality the obvious choice would be definitely a german car.

From an enthusiasts point of view i seriously think german cars are like german people - monotonous, nothing exciting about them, very boring to drive, have tonnes of electronic wizardry to take care of your worst nightmare.

I say if you do not want to enjoy your drive ( be it 5 miles or 500 ) then there are plenty of AIRBUS' and their plastic faced air hostesses waiting for you.

The reason there will be only one Corvette Sting Ray, Bel Air or Charges RT is that they are legendary cars and try as one might you cannot replicate a legend. Even the new Chrysler 300 C has a huge fan following.
But i suppose we have a new S Class or A8 every 3-4 years making the earlier version "An Old Car".

For those who said american cars do not handle well and they have have a lot of mechanical problems, let me just remind you that our own Enfield Bullet has been a mechanical nightmare for first time users and neither does it handle like a Pulsar or any other present day bikes. BUT people love it.

For a daily commute to office, definitely a german car ( i do not want to be late trying to fix my radiator fan belt on the way ).

For a weekend blast to enjoy every bit of time i enjoy on earth, i want to be thrashing the back roads and listening to the exhaust rumble of an American beast.
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Old 4th March 2008, 10:37   #29
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We are having examples of both american german and jap cars in india.A question asked back.Would you prefer ford ikon,corsa or lancer.The immediate answer would be lancer due to the reliablity resale etc.The american giants mentioned earlier are not bothered or have not felt that india is a good and emerging market and so they dont have a sales outlet in india wheras the german giants have some in india.There shouldnt be better reason why we run after the german marques.
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Old 4th March 2008, 11:03   #30
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Originally Posted by NOS Power View Post
From an enthusiasts point of view i seriously think german cars are like german people - monotonous, nothing exciting about them, very boring to drive, have tonnes of electronic wizardry to take care of your worst nightmare.

I say if you do not want to enjoy your drive ( be it 5 miles or 500 ) then there are plenty of AIRBUS' and their plastic faced air hostesses waiting for you.

The reason there will be only one Corvette Sting Ray, Bel Air or Charges RT is that they are legendary cars and try as one might you cannot replicate a legend. Even the new Chrysler 300 C has a huge fan following.
But i suppose we have a new S Class or A8 every 3-4 years making the earlier version "An Old Car".

For those who said american cars do not handle well and they have have a lot of mechanical problems, let me just remind you that our own Enfield Bullet has been a mechanical nightmare for first time users and neither does it handle like a Pulsar or any other present day bikes. BUT people love it.

For a daily commute to office, definitely a german car ( i do not want to be late trying to fix my radiator fan belt on the way ).

For a weekend blast to enjoy every bit of time i enjoy on earth, i want to be thrashing the back roads and listening to the exhaust rumble of an American beast.

Oh boy. Another american car nut. I was an American car nut too, until I drove one.

Fact of the matter is, there is nothing American out there on the road that will be ever as polished as an Audi RS4 or a BMW M3. Visceral, yes. Polished? Naah. Boring to drive? Definitely. If you think a German car is boring, my reply to you would be: you havent driven one yet.

And I'm guessing you havent driven an American car either. The fast ones, like the Mustang GT, are downright scary to drive fast. They may look good for a day or two, then the cut price version comes out and suddenly everyone else on the block has the same car.


To your statement that there is only one Stingray, one Belair, one Charger R/T, my answer is: there will be only one BMW 2002 Turbo, only one BMW E30 M3, only one Audi RS4, only one Audi R8, only one VW Mk 1 Golf, and only one (literally) Mercedes C111.

And back roads and American beast don't go together. You will have a very, very hard time keeping the said beast on the road and not in the bushes.
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