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German Cars Unreliable?

DW-WORLD readers comment on a recent drop in reliability ratings for German cars.

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Champions no more?

We purchased a VW Beetle when it first came out in 1998. In the six weeks we owned it we could only drive it for three weeks. It was in the repair shop for the rest of the time. We sold it in frustration. We seriously considered a Mercedes E-class but several of our friends have had bad experiences and we decided to purchase a Lexus instead. We love the handling and fit and finish of a German built car but the poor reliability will keep us from ever purchasing one unless the cars become more reliable. -- Jack Strong

German automobile manufacturers might do well to emulate their Japanese competitors, who for many years now have engaged in a relentless pursuit of reliability, without neglecting innovation. Only if they adopt reliability as their primary goal will German manufacturers be able to maintain and possible increase their market share. -- Jack Bremer

German cars drop in reliability ratings? Please tell me that this article was planted by the Bush neo-conservatives. I emigrated as a 6-year-old child from Nagold (in southwestern Germany) in 1953. My earliest recollection was our neighbor's Mercedes. It was up on blocks at the time because of gas shortages but still a symbol of proud ownership. Now as I approach retirement in Canada, I can finally afford my dream car: a Mercedes with diesel. I was prepared to pay more for the nostalgia and the reputation. How can it be that Germans prefer Japanese cars? You have shaken my confidence in the Vaterland. -- Dieter Birk, Toronto, Canada

Yeah, unfortunately I would have to agree that German cars have slipped in quality. For people who watch the US auto industry this trend had been noticeable for sometime and I was wondering whether or not there was the same perception in Europe. Thanks for the good reporting by bringing this to light. -- Brad Hurst

I believe that over the years, German cars have fallen in quality. I think the last quality car manufactured by Mercedes is the Mercedes 230-flat boot. Since this car, every other car they make seems to have problems. I think they should improve their quality if they want to stay on top in the business. -- Josky Muambo, Nigeria


I recently purchased a Holden Astra (Opel) in Australia and had to take it back to the dealer three times in four weeks. It had both engine and electronic problems. -- Kristina Harazim

I have been driving for almost 40 years and for the past 15 to 20 years the Japanese have been building better cars, and for less money than German cars, or any other manufacturer. I whole heartily agree with the article. This applies to Toyota Lexus and Honda Acura primarily. Don Kerr, Canada

I would like to point out that although J.D. Power and Associates ranks VW car reliability as poor, the VW Passat, one of only three models sold in North America which is made in Germany, is ranked, "top in its class." Likewise, the drop in ranking of Mercedes-Benz is largely due to the M-class, which is made in the US and is a very popular model, thus skewing the overall rating due to the larger numbers sold. Your article should have pointed out these facts. German car manufacturers who are trying to cut costs by outsourcing are really shooting themselves in the foot. It appears that the models made in the North and South America are giving German car companies bad reputations. -- Miles Ertman, Canada

After more than 20 years of ownership of two Mercedes-Benz cars I sold off both and would not purchase a new one due primarily to quality/reliability/dealer service. -- M. Findling





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