Are German Cars Reliable? The Myth of “German Engineering”

Are German Cars Reliable? The Myth of “German Engineering”

There are a lot of car stereotypes out there, like that Toyota builds dull appliances. While true on many fronts, the Japanese automaker does also make exciting sporty cars like the Scion FR-S, and Lexus LFA, both praised for their exhilarating rides, edgy styling and pulse-raising performance. But there’s another stereotype that needs to be dealt with.

Likely you’ve heard the phrase “German engineering” more than a few times in your life and there’s a popular misconception that it equals good reliability. German cars are well engineered, sometimes to be amazing performance machines and sometimes to be incredibly high-tech (and often both) but, Porsche aside, German cars don’t have the best track record for reliability.


Part of the reason for the misconception about German engineering is that German automakers did, at one time, earn it. When Consumer Reports started its Long-Term Reliability Tests and Initial Quality Index tests way back in 1972, German brands like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz came out on top. The initial quality of even the lowly VW Beetle topped many domestic vehicles from Ford, Jeep, Pontiac and Mercury.

For a while afterwards, Mercedes and VW managed to stay near the top in reliability rankings. But their Japanese rivals weren’t sitting idly-by. In the 1980s and 90s the most reliable models ended up coming from Honda, Toyota, Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.

“Back then, the cars like the Beetle were pretty simple. But then came stronger competition, the Japanese [automakers], especially Toyota and Honda got their problems per 100, down to a science,” Said Gabriel Shenhar, an automotive engineer at Consumer Reports.


In the late ‘90s Mercedes had released the dismally unreliable M-Class SUV (left) and the brand’s initial quality scores have plummeted since. Other German brands had similar experiences. Even though they stayed at the forefront of new technology and engineering practices, their new gizmos were prone to failing.

“They’re quick to adapt new technologies but rely on suppliers that supply these technologies and in a lot of cases what we see is problems with the electrical systems, the entertainment systems and other interface,” said Schenhar

According to Consumer Reports, Mercedes boosted its reliability a bit in 2011, but is still inconsistent. The same can be said for Mercedes’ German competitors, Audi and BMW. In Consumer Reports last five annual reports, the last time these German brands have been above average in reliability was back in 2007. Since then, they’ve all slumped below the average in the industry.

Consumer Reports’ Long-Term Reliability test documents a car’s reliability over the course of three years, while the Initial Quality Index is based on consumer feedback from the first few months of a new cars ownership.

Consumer Reports also has a report card that ranks automakers based on their average car score, reliability score and the percentage of recommended vehicles. The average score for these carmaker report cards over the past five years (when they started the report cards) of the German brands doesn’t crack 68/100, below the industry average and the competition from the top Japanese automakers.

These results are reflected in numbers released by J.D. Power & Associates as well. In the both of the latest J.D. Power Surveys, the German brands can’t match up to their luxury peers. In the most recent vehicle dependability survey, Mercedes-Benz only gets a four out of five, which is “Better than most” rating, while Audi and BMW get 3/5 or “About Average.” Volkswagen falls below average with 2/5, what J.D. Power describes as “The Rest.” Porsche is also ranked “Better than most” in J.D. Power’s dependability survey, which give Mercedes-Benz some nice company. It’s important to note that only one car maker had a score of 5/5, and that’s Lexus.

Nothing changes in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality rankings. Mercedes and Porsche have 4/5 ratings, BMW and Audi get just 3/5 and VW only achieves 2/5. Lexus tops that ranking as well with a 5/5.

The J.D. Power ratings are based on consumer surveys. Initial Quality is measured after 90 days of a new car’s purchase. Vehicle Dependability Ratings are surveys based on the past 12 months of original owners of three-year old cars.


Some of the reasons why German cars struggle in J.D. Power’s rankings in the past are entirely trivial and are not related to actual vehicle quality at all says Karl Brauer from Total Car Score.

“German cars didn’t offer cup holders for years, and while this isn’t a mechanical failure it was often noted as a dissatisfaction point for buyers on J.D. Power and Consumer Reports surveys, and this drove down their scores” said Brauer. “Most German cars (even Porsches) now have cup-holders because the manufacturers realized they were suffering in terms of owner satisfaction scores by not having them,” he added. The same thing could be said about some of the complicated technologies and infotainment systems like BMW’s first generation iDrive system (pictured right).


Along with these more trivial complaints and technology issues, Shenhar of Consumer Reports tells us that German automakers, by their own admission, sometimes come up short because of their singular focus on performance. When and if they cut costs, the likely areas that will get cheaper quality parts will be with some of the stuff the customer might not notice.

“They are susceptible to cost-cutting and anywhere they can, in the hopes that the customer won’t know, they use suppliers that will deliver and sometimes won’t,” says Shenhar.

While the phrase “German Engineering” has become synonymous with reliability, Shenhar suggests it should more accurately be a reference to performance. And in regards to performance, there’s little doubt they have some high standards. In fact, looking away from initial quality and reliability, German vehicles rank quite well.


In J.D. Power’s Automotive Performance, Execution & Layout (APEAL) study, which looks at how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations, Porsche comes out on top, as the only automaker to get 5/5. Audi, BMW Mercedes and VW all achieve a 4/5 in this survey as well, showing that these cars are no slouch when it comes to performance and execution.

With its new 3-series, BMW has set the bar even higher for sport sedans, and the new Porsche 911 has again solidified the automakers place in automotive history for making the best sports car in the business. It’s no surprise then that both cars were in the running as finalists for the 2012 World Car of the Year Award.

Neither won, however, but that accolade did still go to a German car: the VW up! In fact, it’s VW’s fourth win in the past five years. Winners are selected based on overall merit, value, safety, environmental responsibility, emotional appeal, and significance.

It’s clear then that there are plenty of reasons to buy a car from automakers like BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen, but if reliability is your top concern, don’t be fooled by the myth of “German engineering”.

See page two for features on vehicle reliability:

  • daves

     I couldn’t agree more.

  • It was ture before, but now  a car without electrical and electronics is an antique car. For example, engine/spark plug firing is electronically monitored and controlled mainly by onboard computer, so are  braking system, emmision control, transmission,…etc.  The article is somewhat a joke.

  • daves

    electric electronic devices. that’s where japanese have surpassed germans since 80s. and that’s why german cars are actually less reliable.

  • YellowRS

    The article starts by poorly refuting its own “myth” regarding Toyotas as appliances then provides a partial and illogical linkage between reliabilty and engineering. Toyota itself has admitted that it has not focused on the enthusiast part of the market, clearly evidenced by its CEO’s recent acknowledgments saying the firm needed to build more fun cars. And while reliability is certainly part of the overall engineering equation, so are a number of other factors. For example, if you value safety, accident avoidance, performance, and moving the technological bar forwards, German manufacturers clearly have the edge — building a few Godzillas notwithstanding. If you value a lower level of those attributes but value reliability above all, it’s your dollar, buy Japanese. Bottom line, I’ve had and enjoyed my share of RX-7’s and Supras over the years, but they’re atypical of Japanese cars, and frankly when I could afford German, I’ve never looked back.

  • Thanks for correcting my word. I should use “electric”. 

    Now German auto makers are developing EV and Hybrid , and also Volvo’s reliability ranking has been outperforming BMW and MB for years too. Therefore, there is no excuse at all for German cars.

  • Lakeduffy

    It is an unfortunate fact: German cars are not as reliable as they should be especially given the cost . In my immediate entourage (family and friends) this is what I have encountered: MB ML 2007 driven by an elderly gentleman with only 41k miles blew a transmission. VW Passat CC 2009 nothing but electronic problems from the start.. a real lemon. 2009 BMW 528 6 sp manual: blown transmision.
    Of course this is a small sample but it does not encourage me to consider a German car even if I like many of them.  I would buy an X3 diesel tomorrow if it were available. ( I test drove a 2011 X3 35i but when flooring it while coasting at 40mph, the turbo lag was so pronounced that I was really turned off).  I would consider the new 2013 GLK  Bluetec diesel but I really cannot warm up to those fat chrome lips in the front and the dull rear end that looks like an older Subaru Forester.
    In my opinion many of the German cars have poor designs (not to say ugly).
    The MB ML looks like an old Explorer, the MB B-200 is ugly, many of the BMWs of the past four years are frumpy looking. It is a different story for the VW-Audi-Porsche group. The design of most of their cars is well ahead of everyone except (ironically) Kia whose chief designer is from Audi. 
    I love the Touareg TDI for its style and efficient diesel engine, too bad it is sooo heavy (almost 5000lbs). It is comfortable but its weight dampens its potentially sporty drive and affects the braking distance. So I am patiently waiting for a diesel powered small SUV and so far the Germans are the only ones to offer some choices. Kudos to them for that aspect!

  • The Initial Quality Index is based on consumer feedback from the first few months of a new cars.

  • nleksan

    I don’t give a flying hoot… I have 4 BMW’s (2006 Alpine White M3 that is modified, a heavily-modified 2000 Topaz Blue 328Ci, a lightly modified 2001 325i, and a 1998.5 740i Sport), all are manual transmission cars except the 740, and all have Sport/Premium/Cold-Weather/Premium-Sound packages. 
    I have spent less on maintenance for all four of these cars than anyone will believe (and I am a nut when it comes to preventative maintenance; I have never had anything break, I replace it before it can; and I ALWAYS go with very high-end aftermarket parts).  I do have well over a hundred grand into modifications (twin-screw supercharged with fully built motor – 328Ci ; track-focused suspension/weight-loss/brakes – M3), but many of the parts replaced those that would have to be replaced anyway, except instead of spending for example $1200 for factory shocks/springs, I spent $2100 for TC Kline D/A Coil-Overs with Reinforced Ball-Joint Rear Mounts, full PowerFlex bushings, Vorschlag Camber Plates, and more… all of which have either a 10yr or lifetime warranty.

    Just gotta be smart.  If you are IN ANY WAY worried about the cost of maintaining a German Car (BMW’s, especially… Mercedes=yuk), you can’t afford it.  I am so sick of seeing 18 year old kids driving cars that they cannot afford, much less afford to maintain, and eventually selling them for a high price because they think “I spent $18k on this 5yr old Bimmer, only put 30k miles on it in 2 years, so I should get $17k for it”… But, in that 30k miles, it’s only had 1 oil change, and nothing more.  The car is trashed, the kid is a dumb****, and a beautiful car is neglected.

    – Factor in all of the costs, everything, and see if you can afford it; THEN ADD $4000/year to that number and if you can’t afford it, DON’T F**KING BUY IT!!! IT”S THAT SIMPLE!

  • T. Roll

     It’s just unfortunate that you do also have to pay so much to maintain them. Obviously that’s not an issue for you.

  • marc

    Models sold in the US are not German made.

    Use German cars in my country are imported both from the US and Germany. Clearly, the German made models look slightly better and are much more reliable.

  • Top Chef

    Your mom’s ass is reliable.

  • Gigi

    LOL 100k and well over…LOL..  Performance and looks? yes…reliability…one of the worst.  Japanese are more bland looking but quality is much better….  you pick

  • Rowen

    The idiot who wrote this article has no clue about cars. The only thing he got right was that the Japanese make reliable cars. The only other companies on the planet that rival Japanese Engineering is German Engineering. Both countries have the highest schooling standards and it gets ridiculous when you go to University in those countries. Not to mension taking engineering. Half the surveys he looked at rates quality based on cup holders, car radio loudness and seat reclining features. A cars true score on quality can performance comes from testing on the Nurburgring and the Autobarn. Don’t be fooled, nobody engineers, builds, manufactures and tests a car like the Germans and Japanese! Thats a fact proven throughout history.

  • Rucrazy

    JD Powers is an idiot…

  • Guest

    I get it now, thanks for clarifying that when you buy a $$$$ car you have to pay $$$$$$$ to keep it going. You just busted the myth of reliability. All one has to do is keep replacing the parts before they break and enjoy excellent reliability.

  • Guest

    Please note the above post is sarcasm.

  • Bullsht

    I myself am a 17 year old, soon going to get his own*hand me down car*, and I can tell you right now, I was doing the work since a kid on my families car, and my bro wants me to help him alot… but yeah I see what you mean, there are alot of idiots that don’t know, butI just want you to know not all of us are…

  • Tchirnin

    Ja Wohl !!!!!

  • Tchirnin

      In Germany the cars are made by many  eastern and southern Europeans and Turks . How does that get you?

  • Tchirnin

    The Touareg is overweight like the German people themselves.

  • Nym85

    Debating ..reliability of a honda accord  (which u cant beat ) or get a VW jetta  which bodystyle i like alot more but have heard alot more negative reliability ratings for the vw. I guess you can compare it to the decent /average looking girl whos more secure as oppose to the gorgeous girl whos wild and who ur not sure u can trust..

  • Sameoldsameold

     Your argument is counter-intuitive. German cars cost a heck of a lot more so theoretically they should be using premium parts that don’t break. This is an old canard that’s often used by German car nuts to rationalize the ridiculous expense and lack of consistent reliability in German brands (Porsche excepted of course).

    Anybody that spends tens of thousands on aftermarket modifications on their car is hardly the everyday consumer so your points are pretty much moot here.

  • Jita

    BMW, Merc, Audi, VW etc make nice cars that are overpriced and less reliable.  But they have an image that many will pay for.  Personally I do as Nleksan suggested and choose not to F**KING BUY IT (German car that is).  

  • Vinay J

    What did you pick? I’m curious..similar situation

  • Metalmonster Rm


  • Had a few German cars in my life and worked on loads for other people. Modern German cars (especially BMW, which are the worst for quality in my opinion) generally are quite poor for long term reliability, and in alot of cases terrible in the short term, flaky electrics, dodgy trim (brittle plastics, writing that wears off buttons, window motors packing in or regulators dropping to pieces etc), cheaper components used in gearboxes for instance make them fragile and susceptable to failing under any kind of abuse.  Normally, German car nuts defend these shortcomings by blaming the owners for either not maintaining their vehicles correctly, or by implying that they are somehow abusing their cars when something goes wrong. 

    Overall, stick with either US Domestic products, or go Asian, and avoid anything made in Europe…

  • Jonathan Ng

    US Domestic products ? You gotta be kidding me ? Go Asian true . But if you plan to go German only buy Volkswagen (for its value for money ) and certain Mercedes models 

  • Sophie

    Why did you say mercedes (yuk),mercedes are equal or better then bmw´s…
    Fucking Douche.

  • Arrcanamundi

    I have had a Mercedes and a BMW, both nothing special. 1976 Mercedes 300 D and 1988 535i. I love those cars for the way they feel on the road and affect ones mentality of driving. Both were reliable cars, with high miles and the parts I had to replace during the years of the ownership were high quality that after replacement never broke again and there weren’t many of them to replace. The door on a Mercedes closes like a vault even after 200K on the car, like the door on a brand new Honda never will. Reliability of the car shows not only in drive-train but also in handling and safety in any of the road conditions and sudden situations that may arise where all too many parts of the engineering come in place to avoid or deter the accident. Brakes, suspension, car weight and dispersion of the weight in driving and braking, cornering ability, rigidity of the car, all is calculated as it has been for decades on makes such as Mercedes and BMW to the utmost attention to the detail. Anyone knows in the industry that the crash tests that these automakers do are unparalleled. Let’s not forget about the long drives and the comfort that molded therapeutic seats of BMW and Mercedes will support your butt and spine in the way that cheaper models can’t. There is a reason why one pays less.  A lot of it comes down to personal preference. It doesnt cost that much more to operate the solid Mercedes or BMW than a lightweight Honda or Toyota. If you are a car enthusiast and enjoys a quality drive, a romance with the car and the road and oneself for that matter owning a car like that isn’t just about a commute but being part of something that is art in a way, like drinking or eating a better wine or a meal that costs more, but it also proves to deliver more satisfaction and smiles.. 

  • Chris

    I love my TDI Sportwagen but cannot afford to buy another.  $900 worth of door switches (2, and the car will not lock without them), a $500 exhaust system part and now, drum roll please, a second $500 radio antenna.  This car is built like a tank.  The stupid little stuff is not designed to be inexpensively replaced and so the car becomes very expensive.  Seriously, $1,000 worth of RADIO ANTENNAS???

  • IRW

    German cars are the best! Nothing compares to reliability/ dependability, design, technology, looks, functionality, and overall  quality. They are, by far, the most regal on the road!!! 

  • kirala

    What’s tested in Autobahn and Nurburgring are not what’s interesting to most car buyers. For a vast majority of car buyers, day-to-day reliability and low maintenance costs are more important than whether a particular car can lap the Nurburgring in under 10 minutes or not.

  • Crazymuso

    I own a x5 and a cl600 v12. These cars are extremely unreliable concidering what you pay for them. Lexus is a much better brand than the 2 of them put together.
    Mercedes is the worst poor build quality and parts are so expensive its a joke. Merc is very arrogent as well its time they saw their backsides

  • Joey99999

    X5 is built in america 

  • Joey99999

    Modern US domestic cars are a joke to engineering. Most German cars are driven like dogs. Asian cars are dull. Best value for money go Asian. Best driving experience go German. If you don’t give a shit go American. What people do not pay attention to is what country their care is built in. Cars exported from German and Japan are reliable as a diamond.

  • Anon

    There’s no place for nationalism here. The last time I checked, Japan, South Korea, and all of Europe were capitalist democracies. Our last conflicts with them ended at least a decade ago and I’d like to think that we can move forward as a common economic bloc.

    As much as I’d like to see GM and Ford (and even Chrysler) succeed, I’m not willing to let their supporters guilt or, worse, intimidate me into buying their products. That’s racketeering, plain and simple. Companies that fail in the marketplace should be allowed to die, in a sort of controlled burning, to free up resources for future entrepreneurs. If GM had been allowed to go bankrupt, companies such as Tesla would have had access to a larger resource pool.

  • Baz

    I had a 2001 G Class it drove like a tank and never broke down mauntenace was very simple and not costly compared to other top end SUVs.

  • This article was supposed to be about reliability. Now what has the lack of cup holders to do with that? If you want a cup holder, get an American car. If German engineering is just a myth, how come they make the fastest car in the world, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport?

  • mbowner

    For years “German Engineering” has ridden on the coat tails of the real quality behind their reputation, the skill, training, and work ethic of the German factory worker. We see this now as they have been outsourcing manufacturing and assembly of their vehicles and components. My ’98 s420 was assembled in Stuttgart by the German metal workers union, IG Metall, and it’s build quality and attention to detail are simply amazing, If you compare customer satisfaction ratings on models made exclusively in Germany, you will find the ratings much higher than models made at other global plants, not to mention problems caused by outsourced parts, no matter who installs them!   

  • Erin Hunt

    …Bugatti is French

  • Bossdrarn

    German cars may not be reliable but it will smoke these jap cars on the streets

  • Alex

    Sebastian,as you can make difference between cup holder and reliability,can you please light me up where s the connection with the reliability and that German engineering(performance)??!!  I believe the autor here put it down to you soo clearly,so you retards can understand:))

  • alex

    One more retard who never had his own car…looking at the magazines with numbers,pics and gadgets and ejaculating on his mother picture.. Wake up boy,time to go to school!!

  • ALEX

    And something else..,which shows that you have no fuckn idea whatsoever about cars,,Königsegg and Saleen s7 are the fastest in the world..,highest top speed and hp per kg..,go eat french cheese and continue reading reliability reports:)) Do you know what is TUV or ADAC??!! German institutions for car servicing in which reliability rankings their own,german production starts from number…10..,and the top 5 belongs to Japan,next is Korea and then are the german cars starting with Porsche:) I m working as a master mechanic at BOSCH and i m really,realy sick of all those “proffesors” like you who read few magazines with numbers and 0-100 top speed statistics and the latest high techs taking over the driver and they think they know everything!!! Read man,dont eat spaghetti,READ!!

  • Mike 789

    As a mechanic, German cars are great for my business and best money makers.  Most of them are pieces of junk by the time they hit 100k miles while I have seen Lexus and Acura vehicles with 300k miles and still without any significant problems or costly repairs.  

  • NeverRideSlowly

    It’s true that Bugatti once was French, but since 1998 it’s German (owned by Volkswagen).

  • NeverRideSlowly

    I’m not quite sure where you’ve got your information about the Saleen from, it’s actually far from being the fastest car. Currently the Koenigsegg Agera R ranks first in terms of top speed (442 km/h) and the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport 431 km/h. In terms of acceleration, you’ll have a hard time finding another car going faster 0-100 than the Bugatti (i.e. 2.5 sec).
    However, I wanted to suggest before you’re picking on other’s inferiority in car knowledge, maybe you should work on your grammar and spelling a bit.

  • ALEX

    I m sure if you had made some effort to”google” the fastest cars in the world,we wont make that dialog,but there you go:)) Yes,the Agera holds the record,but im not sure how far your memory goes,but before the Super Sport it was just Veyron.. Therefore he was competing with SSC Aero..,Saleen and Königsegg..,In that time Bugatti state that their car is the world fastest,and few months later Saleen blows that they have the fastest car in the world with top speed of 400+ km..,It really doesnt make difference for me..i dont like american cars,they are ancient,cheap made and going safe only in a straight line..,but thats another story:))..,what i mean is that Saleen was not that far from world fastest,but anyway:)) About my grammar,english is not my mother tongue,and as far as you understand me,you should be thankfull:))

  • Mahbuba Shahrin

    Master Mechanic at BOSCH, why do you need to Google?

    Fastest Cars:
    1.  Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
    2. Hennessey Venom GT & Koenigsegg Agera R

    Source: Guinness World Records

  • bearsnotbombs

    there’s no need to be discriminatory (“so you retards can understand”), and your ego is not needed or wanted here. I’m sure there are better sides of you, perhaps show those off instead? <– lesson for life.

  • JasonB

    I fully agree with this article considering that my personal experience with German Car manufacturers has proven to be a big disapointment. I own an A5 today and it may have been the worst choice that I ever made, when taking into account quality and product reliability in relation to the price that I had to pay for the car. I have had far too many problems and it never seems to stop. Cost for repair is huge.
    I owned three MB’s in the past, aprt from the 190E, it also turned to be a very expensive experience and I got so tired to visit the garage for costly repairs.  
    My partner owned a DS3, she drove 4000 miles without having a single problem, full satisfaction all the way. We have now replaced it with a DS4 and we simply love this car as well.

  • alex

    Chakri Pakri..who cares:))

  • Drummondbong

    biased!, consumer reports? really?

  • Ghch

    sorry but what year did you get that reference from…cause according to 2013 guinness world records…its the other way around

  • Johnshujon

    I think u r a crazy feminist base ball player.Meah…..German car Good..meah….

  • Pacificsandsinc

    i saw a Audi getting a new belt i thought it was being dissembled completely  what were they thinking when they designed these cars but het i guess those leds every car has now are still cool   the thing i hate most about German cars they change very little from model year to the next always the same never any dramatic styling changes inside or out and i always have to look at the model tag to see how much the driver was ripped off cause 3 5s look so alike  same with c’s and e’s i say by german if you want people to think you have money by lexus if you have money and want a nice car aside from the rx all lexus cars are made in japan which is how it should can c class from mexico justify its price tag?

  • Fenky

    SAFETY? Considering how poor German cars do on the new small overlap test, that’s another myth that needs to be debunked. They aren’t Hondas/Acuras/Volvos.

  • Fenky

    NIssan GT-R begs to differ.

  • Guest

    Rowen is an idiot lol. Oh yes, I take my bmw to the autoban to test its reliability. That’s one day. Rowen please dont procreate. I hope you die.

  • Guest

    JD power isnt just one person lol. You are the idiot. omg the internet is full of dumbasses

  • Guest

    BMW and Mercedes owners love it up the butt. How I know you may ask? They love getting repair bills stuff up their butts and they keep going back for more.

  • RF

    Had French shit named Renault…It had like 150,000 km and I had to repair it every week. Now I have the old Opel Corsa(2003) from my father. I took it when it had around 80,000km and now it has over 230,000 km and not a single problem. I only change filters, oil and other important and less important liquids….and not mention that if you drive it below 140 km/h it consumes <5.0 Liters

  • Berg

    SLS AMG awaits 😉

  • Sam

    Well that escalated quickly…

  • Jack

    You missed the whole point of the article. It says “German Engineering” offers very high performance and generally has all the cool gadgets in the car. Speed is not the issue. The problems people have with the cars is the issue. Reliability

  • Mike

    Well it seems that also Japanese cars are going the same route as the Germans more like a myth that Japanese cars are reliable and it seems that their rankings are going down hill to the top 20 and the new leaders of the pack will be Hyundai and Kia from Korea to be like the LG and Samsung of the auto industry and by a year or 2 the Hyundai Aquas and the new luxury notch Kia will have the 5/5 rankings and Lexus will be 4/5 because they are laying back and it seems that Koreans will top the Japanese as their flawless product plus the recalls of Toyotas and minor flaws in other Japanese brands and also a good point GM from their Korean arm has also surpass the Japanese in initial quality like the Aveo and the Spark also the Buicl LaCrosse is loaded and also a great performer, but is sold as a Chevrolet in South Korea.

    GM and Korean brands topping the Japanese with reverse of German engineering as a case of making it better Japan has done to both American and European in the ’80s and now the Koreans are using the reverse engineering of German technology and that’s why Hyundai and Kia are surpassing the Japanese brands because of appearing small on their vehicles that also to include cars developed by GM’s Korean division.

    By the time this change Hyundai becomes the world’s number 2 automaker and GM is back to number 1 because of the big props of thanks to the Korean division of GM of R&D they help put GM to number 1 again so look at the Corvette they look so alike like a Ferrari and that’s why Koreans are going to ahead start to out leap the Japanese as they are power hungry to surpass the Japanese and they are doing it.

  • Geo

    My first car was a 69 Beetle… later had a 76 Limited Edition Scirocco, now own a 90 G60 Corrado and a recent model A3 TDi. The Beetle ran on 3 cylinders 4 yrs into ownership, the Scirocco was soft metal… twisted easily, got rid of it within two years, The G60 needs constant attention. Too early for a verdict on the A3.

    Reliability…. well the cars I’ve owned were engineering to provide me with challenges for my hobby, tinkering with mechanical things.

  • jizast

    Could you post a link to your source of information, till then I will consider you a liar. TUV reported for 2013 something different of what you claim. Although Toyota and Mazda occupy 6 places of the first 10 the rest are for German cars with VW Polo and Audi Q5 on 1st and 3rd positions respectively (age of cars 2-3 years). Korean cars are in the middle or on the bottom of the list. French, Italian, American cars stuck on the bottom of the chart.

    Search in Google “Report 2013 reliability rating TÜV age 2-3”

  • jizast

    Search in Google “Report 2013 reliability rating TÜV”

    TUV reported for 2013 something different from what most of you claim. Although Toyota and Mazda occupy 5-6 places of the first 10 most reliable cars the rest are for German cars with VW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes positioning among the top 10. Korean cars are in the middle or on the bottom of the list. French, Italian, American cars stuck on the bottom of the chart.

  • SLS AMG?

    SLS AMG lost. You need Ferrari, lamborghini, or others from this class to smoke GT-R. And GT-R is made for cornering.

  • JJ

    How often a car is “in the shop” is only one, and perhaps not the most important, indicator of long-term reliability. I care more about whether the car remains solid over time, and if I am not mistaken, this is where the German cars (particularly Mercedes) have their reliability reputation.

    The claim is Japanese cars are reliable. I own a 97 Civic with 130k miles that indeed drives very much like it did when it was new. My mom has a slightly newer vintage Nissan Altima that never has to get repaired, but it has clearly degraded. Engine is louder, acceleration seems worse, some funny creaks and groans here and there. Both cars, are “J.D. Powers” reliable. But in my experience, many Japanese cars end up looking more like my mom’s than mine.

    Now I admit that I am new to German cars, having recently just bought one, but the reliability I really care more about is whether it holds up over time, even if some time at the repair shop is needed. A good example is my friend’s BMW 7 series that I rode in about 12 years ago. It drove majestically: smooth, powerful, solid. And it was cosmetically in excellent shape, with the leather still looking fairly new. So I asked him how he was able to afford such an amazing car since he was fresh out of school. It turns out it was a 1984 model handed down from his dad, with over 200k miles (i.e., about 16 years old at the time)! I didn’t realize this simply because I had little clue on those cars and their styling at that time. Sure, it had its fair share of annoying, expensive fixes, but the point is that it stayed a solid car. And I suspect no amount of money could have made my mom’s car remain solid, even though by conventional “reliability” measures it was great.

    Think of it this way: after 15 years, my mom’s car was the no-maintenance donkey ready to be put out to pasture. My friend’s BMW was a higher maintenance thoroughbred still in its prime. So I would not be so quick to make a blanket dismissal of German cars based on some silly JD Powers stats.

  • Shady997

    I’ve owned numerous European cars (both as company cars and privately) and would certainly agree that BMW quality has suffered, my previous e39 530d had electrical /mechanical issues, and my last 535d had electrical gremlins (too many control units monitoring other control units). I currently have a Ford Mondeo 2.0 diesel which was cheap to buy used , maintain and has been reliable as a daily driver. My other car is a 997 turbo which has done 140k miles no problem and is my 4th 911 turbo. Certainly I like the feel of the materials on the BMW/Merc & Audi’s except they have too many problems and dealers know all too well of the shortfalls in reliability.

  • lukin

    Wow, that’s all nice and stuff about your 1976 MB and 1988 BMW, but geez man, those cars are fricken old, like 25+ years old, so who cares. I’m not going to look for a 25 year old used car. Lot has changed since then. What’s been going on in the last 5 to 10 years? That’s what matters now. Enjoy your old cars.

  • Jes

    BMW’s are made to be reliable for the first owner / leasee and to a lesser degree the CPO crowd. After that they turn to shit and BMW could care less. I mean why can the asian brands build cars that are for the most part trouble free up to and past 100K and yet german engineering cannot make reliable fuel pumps, water pumps, radiators, thermostats and all of the other plastic parts that fail in the 5 year / 60k mile point. It’s because it is not their priority. See opening statement. And yes I was an owner of a 2006 325i….many issues and problems.

  • Flyby

    well crap and sit in it! I just bought a new 2013 VW Golf R (US version), and let me tell you this is not an inexpensive hatchback. Lots of high-tech stuff (to go wrong) in this car. I went from a relatively reliable Subaru WRX (12 years) to this little AWD sport-hatch. It’s nicely powered by a famously engineered Audi engine, and it handles really well while maintaining decent rid equality. The interior is above it’s class competition by a large degree. I was very impressed by the car and consider it a drivers’ car. I’m such a driver, so it was perfect for me…until I cam across this article. So, now the night-sweats begin as I await the first failure. Did I make a (costly) error in judgement? I’ll just keep enjoying the car until it blows up.
    Flyby out

  • dexxter

    I think the controversy regarding VW products continues because while they – like most other automakers – make lots of good cars, they also – unlike most others – make lots of bad ones. And owners’ bad feelings are compounded by the widespread reputation of VW of America and its dealers to not right-those-wrongs.
    You pay your money and you take your chance.

  • hailexiao

    It’s certainly possible that EDM German cars are more reliable than their USDM counterparts. Maybe American suppliers are worse at making European parts?

  • hailexiao

    That’s reflective of BMW manufacturing standards circa 1984, not right now.

  • hailexiao

    Short: Performance + Cost + Reliability = Constant; US market conditions force costs down.

    Long: The answer isn’t that complicated. Ask Europeans whether German cars are reliable relative to others on the market, and they will say yes. Then again, take a look at the prices of the same cars in Europe and in the US. Notice a difference? The US version is always cheaper, often much cheaper. The problem then is that both EDM and USDM versions have to be built from the same design despite the latter being much cheaper. Therefore to maintain profit margins the latter have to be built at a much lower cost, and thus quality, particularly long-term reliability suffers.

  • jizast

    I can see the point in your arguments. From my observations I made similar conclusion. Obviously ADAC and TUV report excellent reliability for many German models (as well as some Japanese cars) whereas american “Consumer Reports” magazine from April 2013 ranks the brands as follow:
    1. Lexus – 79 overall score
    2 Subaru – 76
    3. Mazda – 76
    4. Toyota – 74
    5. Acura – 74
    6. Honda – 72
    7. Scion – 72
    8. AUDI – 70

    26. Dodge – 46

    From place #9 on follow other Japanese and German cars. The magazine states: “Reliability helped AUDI distinguish itself from other European brands”

  • jizast

    I can see the point in your arguments. From my observations I made similar conclusion. Obviously ADAC and TUV report excellent reliability for many German models (as well as some Japanese cars) whereas the american “Consumer Reports” magazine from April 2013 ranks only AUDI from the German cars among the first eight most reliable brands. Then from place #9 on are the other Japanese and German cars. The magazine states: “Reliability helped AUDI distinguish itself from other European brands”

  • CarGuru

    RXs are also built in Ontario, Canada.

  • wow

    SLS AMG awaits at the shop…….HAHA….waiting for a service advisor and mechanic to check to see what is wrong with this and that…….:(

  • serge

    I have been driving 7 series for about 8 years now and I have a 2001 740il at the moment
    this car has been the most reliable car I ever drove or owned by the way I’m a mechanic and car dealer so a lot of experience in that area, first of all most of the parts in German cars

    when they break down and I get to change them I noticed that the original is not made in Germany but rather made in Turkey Mexico and the list goes on but the shocking part is that the aftermarket good ones are made in Germany and they never break down also I noticed some parts are plastic original ones and not German made the aftermarket GERMAN IS metal, and I also lived in Europe the cars there are made with different quality so withstand 250 plus K/hr , the so called Japanese good quality cars will not be able to stand the pressure of Autobahns for more than a few months if somebody drives say from Holland to Germany everyday at more than 250 K/hr so north American market is quiet different most of the parts are made here or Mexico which can not be good.

    also The parts in Japanese cars some of them cost triple than the German ones for example a mass air flow for Nissan Altima is $850 and the BMW or Merecedes is About $350 and the list goes on in Canadian market

    I hope I was helpful to clarify the Myth

  • Joe

    This is a great opinion piece. Anyone who thinks Toyota makes the F-RS should stick to other subjects. The F-RS is a rebadged Subaru. Toyota simply contributed the fuel injection system. Write about food or something as you clearly are out of your element.

  • Tobias C

    Even American cars will run trouble free up to 100k. From there things will go downhill though….

  • Tobias C

    So Hyundai is going to reverse engineer an unreliable German product to make more reliable cars?

  • Tobias C

    The Japanese and Koreans are racketeering. Their countries don’t export (maybe a few hundred) American cars at all. But we import hundreds and thousands of their cars?

  • Tobias C

    Why not? Lots of people enjoy classic cars. I love how 70s,60s,50s American cars look. And they will turn more heads than the ubiquitous Mercedes or BMW. And some of them are worth more money than those.

  • Omegus

    Because tariffs and taxes make importing an American car extremely expensive. Also, American cars are shit compared to Japanese/Korean cars, and on top of that, are simply impractical over there. There is simply no market for giant SUVs and pick-up trucks. Despite allegedly having the world’s tiniest penises, they don’t feel the need to overcompensate for it like the rednecks do here in the States.

  • Tobias C

    Then we should raise our tariffs and taxes to match theirs and make importing a Japanese car very expensive. If Japan wants to block out competition we should do the same and see how their sales suffer.

    Compared to Korean cars? Are you kidding? NOW they are good (still wouldn’t trust them for another 10 years) but 10-20 years ago Hyundai/Kia were known as crap disposable cars.

    Japanese- Ford is right there with them in terms of reliability if you look at reliability ratings. Europeans, predictably at the bottom. And we don’t just have giant SUV’s and pick-ups. People are ditching them for smaller cars. Ford’s 1.0l engine has won numerous awards for being the best engine. Also the Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best selling car because it is practical there as it would be in Japan. The Brits don’t like japanese because their interior is shit.

  • guest

    My dad had the original VW beetle of the 60s and 70s, fun and reliable cars, at least I don’t remember any problems because I was only a kid at the time, and it was a blast learning to drive them zooming around in that rather loud air cooled engine with skinny tires.

    I’m sure this is how VW wants our memories to be.

    My fond memories quickly turned sour with the 2011 GTI, with multiple water pump failures. I bought it new from the dealer, no modifications, and took care of it. I recently dumped the GTI and went for the Japanese competition. You can bet I will never buy a German car again. I was informed by my lawyer BMW, Mercedes, VW and Audi have such poor quality, they will settle knowing full well they don’t have a chance of winning in the civil court system. Good thing for lemon laws, it the only thing that saves the consumer from the German car manufacturers.

    The fact the Japanese were able to dominate the car market with good reliable cars says volumes about the motives of the German car companies, its not in their interest to build a reliable car, instead convincing their customers they are driving hot stuff and making sure they pay high premiums for repair as a result of “a bonding” with their cars. The German can companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • LuvVW

    Volkswagen makes the Veyron, subsidized by out of warranty repairs on the mass produced VW.

  • guest

    This is a great post, German cars are really designed for people with deep pockets.

    The problem is when the average person buys a baseline VW at 25K, and it kills them financially to keep it running. That person should be buying a Honda or Toyota, and the only way to keep them out is the make the car unattainable from the get go; that car should be priced at 75K, not 25K as rich people won’t complain about maintenance. The elevated cost could be used to help subsidize current owners who are suffering, allowing them to dump their cars at a good price, then and at some point, the average person will be factored out of a game they should not be playing.

  • Dave

    Your comment has no bearing on the article. Nowhere did it mention anything about the FR-S or subaru for that matter. Maybe you would find posting on a subaru fanboy page more rewarding.

  • Garais877

    stop lie Lexus and Acura even cant stay in one piece for 250k because they will start rust long before that….

  • Garais877

    at least german supercars do not need change gearbox oil every 2000k miles

  • Garais877

    Veyron engine has been designed by Audi engineers…

  • Garais877

    yee only Q5 has nearly double the milage then all other cars in top10

  • jizast

    yea, that’s a good point…

  • Chris

    FRS has a Toyota transmission, it’s likely more of a 50-50 effort, than 0-100.

  • Darren Whufc Kenny

    VW,Audi,Skoda are all part of the same VAG group and own an Audi 2007/8 a4 avant 2.0tdi and it has had several faults and is currently in the garage with a manufacturers design fault that they still deny.
    Chain driven oil pump failure luckily ii stoped if i had driven any further could have blown my turbo and engine as it fails without any warning and stops supplying oil around the engine.
    And for this design fault of theirs they want me to pay £3500! lowest ive seen if just couple of parts go due to this fault is £1500 ,if it takes your turbo and engine then £6-£10000
    So i am not happy with German engineering at present,owned this car 2 years and so far has cost me £6-£7000 in repairs most design flaws! and only cost £14000!

  • Darren Whufc Kenny

    VW,Audi,Skoda are all part of the same VAG group .
    I own an Audi 2007/8 a4 avant 2.0tdi and it has had several faults and is currently in the garage with a manufacturers design fault that they still deny.
    Chain driven oil pump failure ( has a plastic tensioner that breaks and a hex bar thats too small that wears quickly and rounds off the teeth and then stops supplying the oil to the engine with no warning) luckily i stopped if i had driven any further could have blown my turbo and engine as it fails without any warning and stops supplying oil around the engine.
    And for this design fault of theirs they want me to pay £3500! lowest ive seen if just couple of parts go due to this fault is £1500 ,if it takes your turbo and engine then £6-£10000
    So i am not happy with German engineering at present,owned this car 2 years and so far has cost me £6-£7000 in repairs most design flaws! and only cost £14000!

    Forums are full of German car faults and also other manufacturers it seem s all are guilty of not supplying us the consumer with reliable well built products all striive to cut costs to earn more profit with us being the ones who get ripped off again!

  • northernirishman

    I’ve been in the motor trade for over ten years and it is absolutely true that German car reliability is a myth. Whilst German marques generally lead the way in innovation and perceived quality the reliability kings are Japanese or more recently Korean. Strangely this is reflected in customer care as well.
    It always baffled me when I was selling VW and Audi as new and used vehicles that the cars are beautifully laid out ergonomically and the aesthetic beauty of an Audi interior is truly something to behold. However, the backroom stuff such as electronics and engines, gearboxes etc were definitely built to a budget.
    Faults that you would rarely get with Japanese cars were a regular occurrence in German cars. Even more annoying was that when a fault recurred such as failing diesel pumps on Passat models in cold weather the manufacturer took an eternity to amend the part to fix the problem. I remember lines of Passats lined up at my dealership awating pumps and having to strip new cars in the compound for pumps as the manufacturer couldn’t supply replacements fast enough. Whilst Audi were slightly better (don’t know why as it’s the same stuff underneath) they were still fairly woeful as well. Strangely, after a stint with Ford they actually proved to be better built. They still had their issues but nowhere near as unreliable as the German stuff. What do I drive now? A 13yr old Corolla. Whilst I’m in the trade I have my pick of pretty much anything but I’ve never been a car snob. Money buys you brands and badges. Pretty much the same with clothes or handbags.

  • northernirishman

    You answered your question. In 1984 German stuff was good. From the late eighties they lost it. Cost cutting being the problem along with the cars themselves becoming increasingly complicated.

  • jizast

    This is just a special case. I know similar cases with Toyota, Honda, BMW and so on. The statistic is different story…

  • jizast

    This is just a special case. I know similar cases with Toyota, Honda, BMW and so on. The statistic is different story… Let’s not mention the British auto industry – total fails

  • livi

    I grew up with German cars in Europe and for me did not exist other even close brand even close to it.
    Eventually, I saved for and bought a C280 with all the accessories. Expensive.
    Probably, because I had to order the car, the vehicle at the factory was considered already “sold” and the final inspection was simply sloppy, to say the least.
    Even the initial, visualized defects were ridiculous : the dashboard was asymmetrically installed, the interior trimming did not fit, the rear door could not be closed…
    But this was only the beginning and obvious.
    The never ending chain of problems before and mainly after warranty made me angry as I felt betrayed and taken for my money.
    The AC repair, then second soon AC repair , 3 or four oil leaks in the engine, then another in the differential, replace the radiator, pumps, never ending idiot light – check the engine- , due to engine malfunctions with oil leaks and expensive emission control system. And the problems, now of course after many years, still go on and on.
    Investing so much money in repairs from the start, I thought it should be the end of the problems so I kept the monster. Then, of course, came the rightful punishment from my wife, who drives Honda as well as my daughter, both excellent.
    Insult to injury was the the dealership wants to look good and fix “everything”. They, I believe, were blunting my efforts to obtain a new vehicle, which I believe I may have succeeded. The supervise mechanic agreed that the car is a lemon.
    Adding to this is my time. I was working up to twelve hours a day and my wasted time would com to thousands of dollars.
    My friends, who own Mercedeses, were almost all unhappy, including one which I visited in Japan.
    What a shame.
    Never a Mercedes. It is like a beautiful boat, which , however, doesn’t stay afloat.
    They have destroyed my Mercedes dream, a dream from my childhood.
    Hey, where is the government in this?

  • livi

    a friend of mine, a Korean tells me, that the kia cars are designed by Europeans, so possibly the technology, too. I think the execution on the assembly line is the issue. german cars are all made by the immigrants – no offence.

  • billj

    I had an 2000 audi a4 Quattro with the turbo 1.8 for close to 13 years and 100k miles (just traded it in.) Over the years it needed over 12k in repairs, most of which was paid by extended warranty companies. The fit and finish of the car was superb and it handled great. The main issues are with the quality of the parts used. Gaskets, seals, sensors, drive boots, and controllers all start to go after 5 years. The entire throttle body and intake system went out at 8 years. Looking at the most recent reviews, nothing has changed. Audi cars tend to be very reliable for the warranty period (coincidence?) This is repeatedly shown in consumer reports. The first 4 or 5 years are good, then the reliability takes a massive fall. All cars have issues, but for the long term, Japanese reliability is hard to beat. Korean cars have come a long way, but I am not sure if they are at the level of Honda/Toyota/Nissan/Mazda/Subaru just yet.
    My experience is that German cars should be leased, never purchased. My new car is an Acura TL awd (amazing car for the price, could look better though.) We’ll see how it goes.

  • Runner1000Night .

    Actually it’s happened to me too.

  • HHJ

    Nope. Consumer Reports and JP powers – 6/10 out of the LEAST reliable cars on the road this year are American. Only reliable American cars? That would be the Japanese cars that are built in America.

    I love German cars. They’re beautiful and fun to drive. You just have to deal with all the issues if you want the beauty and fun.. like a dating a model.

  • Tobias C

    Only Dodge/Chrysler is unreliable. Look at JD power 2013 or any year, 3 year dependability study. BMW, AUDI, and VW are consistently, often far below, Ford and Chevy and their brands. This year Buick and Lincoln were even rated being above Honda.

  • Rivers

    …It mentions the FR-S in the first paragraph in bold font under the factory picture.

  • el_papa

    I’ve just had an Audi A8 TDI sport quattro engine fail with only 110k on the clock. Wish Id checked on the NET before buying it. So Ive just leased a new Merc – it will be their problem if it fails, and bought a Volvo. Needless to say Audi are off my Christmas list.

  • SloppyMagic

    I’m on my third Kia in 12 years. i usually put about 70-80k miles on them before I trade for a new.

    I’ve had a 2003 Rio, a 2009 Rondo and just took delivery of a 2014 Rondo. While it is early days for the new car, the two previous kias demonstrated excellent reliability during my ownership, the 2009 Rondo being essentially a zero defect Vehicle for the 132,000 km I drove it.

    from what i read here, that is far better than these “German engineered” cars

  • guest

    recent gti’s have been equiped with water pumps with plastic impellers which are being replaced under warranty. the benefit of a plastic impellar the water pump will leak, but will not have a catastrophic failure; its a feature, not a defect. just get an aftermarket pump if you want to avoid this problem.

  • Colin

    It is mostly due to tariff and taxation. Europeans pay tons of taxes and the value added tax, sales tax, luxury tax, etc are all in the price of the car. The cars imported from Europe should be similar in quality and profit margins for the manufacturer are about the same, there could be some gains or losses with currency exchange. German cars made in North America could be a different story because of the supplier source, skilled labor force, etc. But the cars imported from Europe are the same as the ones being sold in Europe.

  • tom gordon

    90’s e36 BMWs used the same plastic impellers with disastrous results, usually after the warratny expired.

  • tom gordon

    Anyone in the car repair business will tell you that BMW used to build reliable 200k mile plus cars until about 1989. They changed their philosophy with new models introduced since then to build a car to last through the lease period/warranty.

  • frank

    i have 2006 ml benz an 2004 nissan maxima benz is never in the shop the maxima total repair 9400 yes nissan is junk

  • Jesus

    Based on your grammar, I doubt you can afford neither.

  • Jesus

    Japanese or Korean for reliability.

  • Dapopofuzz

    This is very diffrent way of thinking about German engineering.

  • Theiceman


  • Tony

    I have owned a MB, BMW, Audi and a VW. I was not happy with any of these vehicles. I will admit the MB had the lowest number of issues. When I lived in Germany I owned a Honda Accord which was a nice car to drive on the Autobahns. Never had an issue outside of normal maintenance schedules. The Germans have some funny names for their vehicle and most thought the BMW was the worst and then VW. Most of my German friends said that if you are going to own a German car that the only choice was a MB. They would say if you own a German car you will be on a first name basis with your service manager.

  • David Jervis

    Toasters are reliable

  • David Jervis

    First of all if you’re talking about buying a car that’s 0-3 years old all German car warranties are good for 4 years or 80,000kms bumper to bumper, BMW offers free regular scheduled maintenance, and Audi offers the same thing for $750 called Audicare. If you’re talking about Used Cars then I don’t mind the potential extra cost of maintenance, the potential higher repair bills,and potential less reliabilitiy that may come with some German cars, the reason being is because Japanese cars simply don’t look anywhere near as good, the quality of materials are much lower, and most do not drive even CLOSE to the way most german cars do. So it depends if you’re looking for a cheap method of transportation or driving pleasure and the enjoyment that comes with a great automobile

  • ME

    Perhaps Acura because I saw those things rust pretty badly but never a Lexus. hell i even see 16 year old Toyota’s with no rust and running like a charm. Working in a auto shop I have already seen a couple toyota sienna’s with 400k+ on the meter! they run forever.

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    If japan offers lower quality vehicles why do they last so much longer with out any issues? Why do people compare a4’s to a g37x??? The a4 is a 200ish hp fwd car that only puts power to the rear wheels after the tires spin. Why does subaru’s awd have lsds and audi uses open diffs untill u get to the s4??? Even with the nicer torsen awd sysem audi offers in more expensive models dosent compare to the less expensive subaru system. Why does a 03 a4 sell for 4000 and 03 wrx same milage 7500(a4 cost more new)??????? Why would anyone buy an r8 when a gtr crushes it at everything and will start everyday, not to mention 74000 cheaper and why would any one lease an a4 for 3g down 379 a month and 10,000 miles a year???? Call me poor but id rather own a brand new impreza for that price and get 300000 miles. No leather but heated seats will do just fine and the oil filter on top of the motor and a hole cut into splash guards for oil plug is a huge plus for me. Have fun changing the oil in that audi, may as well take it to dealership its prob about to break anyway. Spec for spec dollar for dollar audi dosent add up, neither do bmw or mercedes. Sorry, but do your research. The germans laugh at us brand whore americans every time they unload a shipment of $50,000+ turds. Japcrap4life!!!!!!

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    So after 15 years a 20g altima had no issues…… Sounds like you got your moneys worth. Do you really think sinking all that money into an 84 benz was a good Idea? He prob spent enough money to buy a brand new honda, toyota and subaru to keep that thing going. That benz looked nice cause it lived in a garage and was prob waxed and leather treated every weekend, not the case with your moms altima I bet. I’m also willing to bet your friends dad felt he had to keep that thing going becuase of how much he spent when it was new. Im not to sure of the specs of that particular benz and dont care to check but i bet your 120flywheel hp sohc civic would give it a run for its money with a16.7 second 1/4….. lol…

  • Lol’d

    Soooo, decrease the cost and yay you got increased perf and/or reliability 😀 More like perf + rel – cost = constant 😀

  • JN

    A German car gets you there first (performance) but you limp home afterwards (Limp Home or Safe Mode).

  • jizast

    I definitely feel the difference when I drive Audi and Japanese cars (Honda, Toyota). The overall comfort, performance and road behavior of Audi is superb. Don’t compare R8 and GTR, that’s silly.

  • Mark Farmer

    I bought a 1995 Toyota, and it is still running and is in mint condition. 3 cars in 12 years? my gosh.

  • SloppyMagic

    well its actually two cars in 12 years, I only just got the 2014. And they were both in excellent condition when i traded them.

    Sorry, but i don’t think Toyota/Honda have anything to speak of on Kias. i’ve owned both and, while I would consider them very reliable, they were no more reliable than the kias. And when it comes to content for the buck, Kia slays them both easily.

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    Lol, Dont compare r8 to gtr??? Why? motor trend, motor week and top gear do. I will say german cars feel “sturdy” with the extra weight they carry. I have driven an mb sl500(non amg) mb e450, vw jetta 1.8t audi a41.8t bmw 525i and a few more. 117g for that sl500 and I am less than impressed ive been in faster hondas worth 6grand. (modded of course). Stock for stock hp vs price def dont see the value. To each their own but I think you have been tricked by badges and what your bar friends say. As far as the rip off that is the audi a4 it understeers more than my hondas did in the snow. An 18g impreza with its n/a 150hp and 5spd trans is far better than the audi a4 and much more predictable in snow, plus it has a functional hand brake to play in the snow. Granted the audi I had used the weak haldex system and was an automatic (most german car owners are lazy and drive autos) and I have yet to try the torsen system which I know is way better but I know it won’t come close to the subaru awd system and balance. Yes subaru and mitsu dropped out of rally but whens the last time you’ve seen an audi. You cant remember because audi left performance behind to apeal to lazy drivers audi’s entry is now skoda. I am willing to bet none of you snob nose audi owners would be caught dead in a skoda even though its a superior performer. I am driver oriented and fun factor and reliabilty play a big part for me when picking a car. German cars don’t handle the abuse with out a decent amount of money dropped in them. My first car was a 88crx hf and I changed the non synthetic oil every 10-13000 miles (not proud of that) and got 210,000 miles out of it b4 a suburban crushed it. The reliabilty of german cars is not there. Anyone who spends over 30g for a 200hp 4cyl needs to get their head checked even if it has 4 rings on the grill and non heated leather seats lol people…….

  • jizast

    So, what you’re telling me, is that I should trust your experience more than mine? That’s stupid.

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    I will trust top gear motor trend and motor week over anything you ever have to say since you cant even drive a manul and have never turned off traction controll in your life. I think you may be down with the syndrome. Also having pro driving experience and training gives me an edge over anything you have to say. Enjoy you open diffs in your understeering automatic audi although I bet you’ve never pushed it except fot that one time on a straight shot on the on ramp. Do your research lol. America is helpless….. Keep riding your brakes america!!!!!!

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    My last comment got flagged or something and did not post, not sure why. The short version is google carthrottle awd test

  • jizast

    Yea, another British hater. Where is you car industry genius. Germans sell millions of cars and I understand your jealousy….

  • UrDownWithDaSyndrome .

    I have no Idea what your talking about. I live in america and our car industry is a joke but im not incharge of it and I’m not here promoting american cars. A few are ok if you got big money but they last about as long as your german turds and are way cheaper to fix….. British hater?? I told you to google carthrottle awd test so you can see the mechanical diffrences between awd systems showing you how far ahead japan is over german cars awd systems, hp per liter, reliability, resale value and all around bang for your dollar. All the germans every did was cause ww2 and they failed. You obviously know nothing about cars and I’m sorry you got tricked into a 40,000 jetta with an audi badge, betterluck next time. I’m done trying to help you understand. However if I ever come across anyone looking for do it yourself tips on how to gauge out their own @ssH*ole or bybass their gag reflex I’ll send em your way.

  • ferrous-core

    Well I think your last comment illustrates how much your opinion should be respected….What did the Germans give us….the automobile for one…lol….I have owned 22 cars in my short life….Toyota,Honda,Nissan,Ford,Chevy,Jeep,BMWs,VWs,Lotus,Triumph,Original mini…..Driven many more….Reliability based owners satifaction is very subjective but Consumer Reports and JD Powers use these. I have fiends who have poured 10s of thousands of dollars into four/five year old, low milage,babied Toyotas and Hondas and swear they are the most reliable cars on the face of the earth. They are happy as pigs in…mud. Friends with German cars…they tend to be my picky friends… In reality my Lotus is probably my most reliable car…. but routine maintenance includes anually, taking all the swittches apart , cleaning them and puting them back anually…its in the

  • jizast

    So, thank you for the advice. I read what carthrottle suggest for AWD car: “For areas with truly horrendous weather, I’d go for a Torsen Audi, any Subaru, or an xDrive BMW – in theory, they’ll give you the biggest advantage traction-wise.”
    As I said, no Honda or Toyota but Audi, BMW and only Subaru from Japanese cars.

  • Brad

    My mum owns a red 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser. She is the only owner since new. It’s only needed the usual stuff, oil changes and filters, break pads, wheel bearings, tires, and some derusting of the body… 3.5L Diesel keeps on going and isn’t smokey unless you do a cold start in winter without using the glow plugs first 🙂
    That is Japanese reliability!

  • disqus_Jsy2ihEqC9

    I’ve been driving since ’86. I started with VW Rabbits and had 4 VWs after that. Each one was more unreliable than the previous one. The pinnacle of unreliability was my ’95 VW Passat VR6. It could not go one month without being in the shop. I sold it with less than 40K miles on it.
    I then switched to Mercedes with a ’96 C220. Great car. Bought it used (4 years) and drove it another 9 years. My moms friend still has it and is pushing 250K miles. After this I bought a used C320 Wagon which fell to pieces after a 100K miles; ps pump, water pump, shocks, struts, catalytic converters, MAF, crank position sensors, fuel pump, fuel level sending units, etc. My current vehicle is a 2008 ML 320 CDI. The truck has less than 50K miles and I’ve spent $4K on out of warranty repairs replacing oil seals, tail light seals that leaked and fried my lift gate motor (motor is $1200), etc. and I’ve been fighting with MB for 7 months to fix the rust issues.
    At one point, we had 9 MBs in our family. We are down to 6 and dumping. They are great driving and looking cars, but they no longer last longer than any other car for 1/2 the money. The days of an MB being just broken in at 100K miles is a distant memory.
    I bought a 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 for the price of a 4 year old E350 with 60-70K miles. I could not be happier. It drives great and the build quality good. The Koreans are catching up. After driving MBs for 13 years, there’s not much that’s missing on the Genesis that I miss driving. There was a day and night difference between driving an MB or BMW compared to a Japanese or Korean car 10 years ago. Not any more.
    “German engineering means overly complex systems that are prone to breaking when using cheaper parts.” That by itself is not deal breaker if you look after your customer. They are too arrogant to do that, which is why I switched.

  • mark williams

    I know a top mechanic who has had his own shop since 1980. I saw an add for a MB once looked really nice but he told me to stay away from used MB. Sometimes you luck out and get a reliable one but more often than not you’ll be getting major headaches. Their performance is legendary but their reliability less so

  • SL55AMG

    German cars seem to use a lot of plastic and poor quality rubber in the engine bay. I had a BMW 540i which was reliable till around 50k, then one by one things started to disintegrate.

    Plastic parts that failed shouldn’t even be plastic to begin with: plastic coolant expansion tank bursted. Plastic edge of radiator bursted. Plastic pulley in power window lifter shattered. Engine timing chain guide shattered.

    Then there are the rubber parts becoming hard and brittle causing: valve cover gasket leak, valley pan gasket leak, PCV valve failure due to torn rubber membrane, power steering hose leak, heater core hose leak, vacuum leak due to crack in air intake boot, transmission rear main seal leak.

    Sold the 540i at 90k miles.

  • JM

    But a wiper for an s class cost $80, Honda $10.

  • Rapid Roy, the stock car boy..

    My 1999 Audi A4 was OK, but not as reliable as my other two Hondas. The Audi came with plastic lower suspension arms that I initially had to pay to replace at about 70,000 miles which really disapointed me. Audi later came out with a recall, and I had kept all my reciepts and was reimbersed the $800.00 it had cost the dealer to fix the problem.

  • mark williams

    So true the Germans build beautiful cars with great handling and performance but what good are all those traits when half of the time they’re in the shop? I think they are way over engineered. Sensors to monitor sensors to name a few

  • John Vitkovsky

    I am driving a 1999 E39 BMW 540i for about 10 years. This is a superbly built vehicle (they were made 1997-2003), lots of V8 power and economical. In 240,000Kms, I have replaced water pump, Crankcase ventilation valve and fuel pump, DIY. Total cost about $700. Very happy with the quality and would buy another one tomorrow.

  • Danny Eiserloh

    Germans are smarter for using cheap plastic parts on the engine bay. I own the famous Audi TT Mk1. And yes, it’s a money pit. I replace a sensor or engine part every month –most recently the alternator and now the fuel level sender is acting up.

    The TT is famous not mainly for its looks but for a couple of class-action lawsuits. Germans get away with making lemons, because they’re Germans. And German luxury basically mean to turn a blind eye and ready your wallet because it’s “luxury.”

    Their cars are the trojan horses to millions of bank accounts world wide. You keep going back to the dealer long after it’s paid off. $$$ And that’s why German’s are smart. These cars made them rich. Germany is so rich that they can support the failed economies of their fellow EU states. SO when you buy a German car, you’re helping feed the people of the failed socialist states of Spain, Portugal, Italy, ang Greece.

  • LMPr1

    I have yet to see an SLS spontaneously combust.
    The GT-R, whilst a good car, isn’t by any means reliable, remember the transmission issues?

  • Luke Stratton

    That’s not even a first generation iDrive in the picture…

  • Vlad B

    It’s a lifestyle to buy things that are unreliable?
    I understand if it’s a Porsche or Bentley, but lexus is same thing as mercedes luxury boat. Even now the new gs 350 or ISF is up there in fun factor with BMW, While retaining better resale and giving you less headaches.

    BMW and Mercedes suppose to be reliable and a solid car, not a snub factor. Or feeding people around the world.

    I guess if you have money to burn its a choice, but for most it’s a researched decision.

  • mera naam

    I have owned a few German cars in the last ten years. My experiences are not any far off from others. My first BMW had one more year of warranty left and man am I thankful it did. From brake caliper going bad to all sorts of other electronics started to just go with no notice.

    I bought my other two Germans – Audi S4 right after warranty ended. Previous owners gave me a book heavy enough to be held by two hands which listed all of their receipts from dealerships (under warranty), with all the work performed. Thinking that I may be lucky and maintenance is already taken care of, I bought them. Boy was I a fool.

    First off, there is a reason why German cars lose so much value over the years. Go look at original cost and then the cost after three or so years. A $150k Mercedes can lose up to $100k in value over four years. There is a reason why forums are filled with questions/diy/tech pages for these cars.

    My dad’s van – Honda Odyssey (not as much fun I agree), has only had window motor switch go bad – $65. While the Audi RS4 has horrible Carbon cleaning that needs to be done every 2,000 miles. Google it. Newer BMW mini coopers are the same and so are the 3 series. Are you kidding me? Dealers charge anywhere from $600 – $1200 depending on the car.

    While the German cars are a lot of fun to drive, they are not Porsche, Lamborghinis or R8 or GTR or ZR1 or Ferrari for that matter. If I have to go on a trip, you better be sure that it will give you so much getting there that you are bound to “limp back home”.

    On one hand Audi advertised that their B6 Audi S4 has chain timing to reduce maintenance costs. Well, what good does that do when chain tensioner can break and require a $1,000 kit to rebuild + labor. Google it.

    It seems that a shop around the corner will fix anything that comes up in a van or camry or maxima or accord, but if something happens to the German, then you either have to find a dealer or that German car specific shop – easier to find in larger States than in smaller ones.

    If I had spent the amount of money I did on my cars, on my house, I would be living in an all electronically controlled back yard with a fountain and heated driveway. Yes, I am done with Germans. I know they look awesome and feel awesome, but not worth it. If you can afford it, go for it I guess.

    Google “carbon cleaning audi”, “plastic thermostat audi”, “plastic valve cover crack bmw”, “chain tensioner audi s4”, “bmw E46 M3 subframe crack”, “mini cooper carbon cleaning”, “smg transmission failure bmw”, “bmw reverse transmission failure”

  • After 25 years of owning Infiniti’s, I just leased a VW Tiguan. I was tired of settling on performance in favor of reliability, but the thing that finally convinced me to take the risk on the Tiguan is the fact that Consumer Reports recommended it this year. While its predicted reliability is just “average”, this rating needs to be taken in context. A rating of “Average” means it has been compared to all the other cars being tested, not that it has met some kind of independent standard of what “Average” should be. Given that all cars have been steadily improving in reliability in recent decades (and are continuing to do so even now) what is considered “average” today is really pretty darned good in the scheme of things. This is not the 1990s anymore when the big Japanese automakers were a lot more reliable than their competition. The gap between “average” and “above average” has shrunk to almost infinitesmal proportions in some cases. The ratings will not reflect that fact, though. So that’s why Consumer Reports recommends the Tiguan despite its “average” predicted reliability. Because they know that today’s “average” is probably more like yesterday’s “above average”.

  • Tom Williams

    German cars carry many parts made all over the world. Japanese cars carry parts that are from Japan for the most part. They just can’t compete for reliability.

  • ActualHumanbeing

    I have a VW Golf Mk4, and it’s got over 204,000km on the clock. – the engine still pulls like a train, and keeps endlessly going on and on, the dashboard still looks like the day it came out of the factory back in 2001.

    The only things I had to do were related to it’s 13 year life-span so far, i.e. servicing, timing belts, etc..

    Not a single speck of rust to be seen, and the gearbox is solid.

    Before it, I had a Toyota Vitz Automatic (Japanese Market Yaris), and the CVT Gearbox was about to blow it’s self up at 34,000km, and started to corrode around the chassis, Parts cost the bloody earth, and they were cheaply made. And most were made in China.

    I wouldn’t judge too quickly on used German cars, most are driven by racer boys that drive them into the ground.

    I’m talking from a European Market Perspective, and I cannot judge what the American experience is like.

  • chris

    Don’t knock Subaru!!! there damn good cars!!!

  • rob stephens

    Hyundai? Korean cars…beating the Japanese? bwhahahaa!

  • aamaster

    Going by Japanese manufacturers alone, I would put Infiniti/Nissan towards the bottom of the group in terms of reliability. I think what was giving Japanese manufacturers their reputation was mainly the reliability of Honda and Toyota’s vehicles. I think, loosely, that the second tier would be Subaru, Mazda and third tier would be Mitsubishi and Nissan.

  • Lukss Piscitelli

    “quality of materials are much lower” YEAH that is why fail LESS in reliability. More quality = more failure. LOL

  • MadMerchant

    Great Article, Thanks this is just what I was looking for!

  • Steve McGill

    German products, I find are rather poor, I have yet to find any single German product that has excelled and the majority have been plain bad. From Bosch gardening equipment that lasted only weeks before falling to pieces to Sennheiser Headphones that failed after less than 3 months (several pairs), Continental tyres that crack and wear out LONG before they are supposed to, German made Michellin ones that do the same, BMWs that are tired, worn out bangers in less than 70k miles with sagging seats, sloppy, worn out looking trim etc Constant and unforgivable electrical problems, VWs, Mercs and Audis are all the same, OVER RATED JUNK! My Alfa Romeo is ten years old, has 160k miles on the clock and still drives great, EVERYTHING still works, leather is all fine and it has never broken down… pity the same can’t be said of my last car, an E38 with only 88k miles…

  • Joseph

    I had a Mercedes Benz E350 Sedan and the engine almost blew itself up at one point. My Mercedes Benz E350 Sedan had so many maintenance problems, such as requiring wheel alignments every 3 months. Eventually, my Mercedes Benz died after only 30,000 miles.

    On the other hand, my Lexus IS 250 C F Sport is very reliable. My Honda Accord is very reliable as well.

  • Mike

    Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura are more comfortable and deliver better performance than Audi. They are more reliable as well. The difference in comfort between Acura/Honda and Audi isn’t even that noticeable. In addition, Audi usually costs $45,000 or more, so Audi better sell comfortable cars. Otherwise, what justifies their ridiculous prices?

  • Mike

    I meant “the difference in comfort between Toyota/Honda and Audi isn’t even that noticeable”.

  • Shawn

    Even Honda, Nissan, and Toyota have engines with higher quality than Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Audi.

    Now, if we compare these German brands to the luxury versions of these Japanese car manufacturers, the Germans definitely lose. Going by specs and reviews, Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura are superior to Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Audi.

    In my book, the cars with the lowest quality are the ones that are the least reliable, which are, of course, the German ones.

  • -hh

    The article is flawed from its initial premise, because it _assumes_ that “engineering” can only mean reliability. It tries to recover from this logical fallacy by tap-dancing back on performance, but in failing to first define and interpret, it remains an irrevocably flawed premise.

  • Andrew Gordon

    seriously thank you I was looking at a sl65 amg after reading your post I know that I don’t want to be the proud owner of a $230,000 piece of junk

  • drew

    Porsche and Lamborghini are Volkswagen group cars you fool .. The fact that your dad drives a honda odyssey van explains it all, stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to drive German cars, 105k on my 2006 gti and not a single problem, because I can drive, get maintenance on time, and don’t beat things to shit like the rest of this forsaken country

  • Drew

    Just glad that all of these people have problems with their German cars , my whole family drives German with minimal issues if ever. Stick to your “reliable” cars , if you can’t handle treating something correctly, don’t own it, drive a Honda. Usually they say it’s the driver not the car, delicate performance focused cars aren’t meant to be driven by idiots.

  • Frank DeSalvo

    I have friends that swear by and treat their German cars like the sensitive little Frauleinen that they are. Regardless of treatment, I see electrical gremlins abound and other issues that are wholly avoidable, but not-so-much due to poor material choices (see plastic cooling fans for example).

  • Pgr

    There is a major difference in driving a BMW, Mercedes or Lexus, sorry but Lexus does not compare for drivability. Second Toyota and Lexus both lost the largest law suit for cars driving off on their own that they denied. Not sure how that makes the most reliable car. Sounds like an 80’s Audi. I have a Honda pilot as a beach mobile, BMW X1 and mercedes e250 4matic diesel. So far the e250 diesel has been the most reliable by far. The pilot has has many issues from a trunk latch not sealing to a leaky sun roof to rear passenger door handle stopped functioning to my rear back up camera not functioning every time Sirius radio decides to upload channels, still not fixed waiting 2 years for an update to seat belt recall to a coil recall and the car is a 2012. By far out of the 3 the one in the shop the most, people also say maitainence on German cars is much more but on my e250 I spend about $350 a year for its service, free on the X1 for 4 years and the pilot has had 2 oil changes a year at 55 each and a awd flued change service at $500 so $610 this year and it’s only at 37,000 miles. So not sure whose coming up with these reliability reports but the e250 has never seen the shop for anything but it’s annual service and the bmw had one recall and it’s service while the Honda has seen the shop about 7 times this year. I had a Audi q7 before and I’d say that was the least reliable of the grouping, constant electrical issues. I think I never had all my lights working on the car at once after the first year. I think each car by each manufacture should probably be judge on its own merit, German built German cars usually are good from my experiences while Mexican or us built German cars like the ml series or the x series or q series are similar in reliability to American cars where they are built just like American built Japanese cars like the pilot. While Japanese built Lexus in Japan and mercedes German built e 250 are built at a higher standard. Sad for the US that our standards are not equal to many other countries, look Chrysler and ford are always at the bottom, with some gm products close by. Also remember that the price difference from a benz cla to a Toyota camary is about the same, low 30’s and the benz has awd and many more safety features so not sure how they can produce a cheap car like that with so many features without cutting some corners. So you get what you pay for at times, don’t think that a cheap entry benz will be as reliable as a German built $60,000 plus one.

  • PJ Bear

    The lawsuits you mentioned against Lexus don’t even compare to all the lawsuits and lemon law court actions taken against Mercedes Benz over the years. Year after year Consumer Reports states Lexus is the best luxury brand in the world..yet you ignore that..just like you ignore the countless google search results showing all the electrical and other problems MB has had over the years..just because Lexus had a couple of lawsuits..which don’t compare to the hundreds MB has had..or all the recalls MB has had. Go ahead and ignore everything this article stated..and keep loving your troubled MB brand. But for the rest of us who have owned a MB and are sick and tired of all the problems with it..we say “enough is enough” and will never purchase another one again.

  • Pt patriot

    those gizmos made in china

    what else is new?

  • T-Zman66

    First off, I think everyone should own own a German performance car, once. I did, thinking that I got a hell of a deal with an 2003 a6 2.7T with 50K for $12K. I loved driving my car and the performance was second to none. With that said, there is a responsibility to owning one of these cars and that comes at a price, a huge price. Maintenance. They are not cheap to own and yeah, the Germans automakers need to address this before I decide to give them another shot at my hard earned money. I am hoping that I see improvements in RELIABILITY and maintenance cost. After dropping $900 a month to keep the warning lights off every month for 12 months, I had enough. Traded it in for a car for my wife. She wanted a MB E-350 awd. We settled for a Lexus GS350 AWD. Not a totally inspiring drive, but it works for her. I took back the 2002 Ford Explorer with 130K miles and drove it for a year before buying my 2007 Infiniti G35X with 50K miles on it. The Explorer reset my expectations that it was nice to get into a car and just drive it without that sick feeling you get when a warning light comes on. The G35x has had no problems, just regular affordable maintenance. Am I advocating everyone buying an Infiniti? No, as mentioned earlier, I am hopeful that someday I can own another German car. I miss driving my Audi, but not enough to take on cost to own one. It’s why I read the article and suspect that everyone on this trail has as well. We all deep down know that to own these cars are an expensive initial investment, but do they have to continue to be? I would love to hear back from people who can tell me what German cars are worth taking a chance on that don’t have a history of reliability issues. I just don’t think they are being made yet.

  • Xterra

    The fact that you have to call people idiots to make your point shows insecurity. Some of us have graduated past the high school playground and argue based on points. If I have to buy a car and treat it like a prissy little toy I will pass.

  • John

    I was fooled by German reliability myth and bought a very expensive 10 year old A170 CDI for a whopping 9000 €uros (only 65000 km on speedometre), in Portugal. Soon after the automatic gearbox started “F” failing. Before this one I always had Japanese cars, maximum parts made in Japan, that is. After this one, if I survive it, there will be NO german cars for me, no korean, no french or italian junk, but only Made in Japan and onçly known brands such as Honda or Nissan. I also do not trust Toyota for certain reasons where their agarge in USA tried to kill me by letting me drive with a car without liquids, no oil, no water in the engine at all and the engine was only attached with one screw. No joke! And Mazda has a bad record of failing gear boxes, a LOT and very thin exterior and interior, like paper! So… Honda or Nissan for me. Maybe also Skoda, they say, good cars? That’s it!

  • guest

    I am driving a 1998 Nissan March K10 that I bought for 1500 euro. It is a superbly built vehicle as it has 260,000 KMs and I just changing oil every 5000 KMs.

  • jim Stewart

    I have a 2003 Toy 4Runner V8 gas, 187,000 miles without a single problem, bought it new. Routine maintenance is it. Paint looks good except on the plastic fender flairs. The engine, seems as strong as it did at 35K. I’d like to get a new car but the frugal side of me says why. Never owned a German. was thinking about a BMW, but after reading these post, the 4Runner may be my only car for some time to come. I would never have traded it in regardless.

  • ShadesofBlue

    tell that to my buddies well maintained 2010 STI with a blown motor at 45,000 miles it could use some love.


  • Nick

    Once upon a time (50s, 60s) German lenses for cameras were highly regarded, Carl Zeiss and Leitz for example. Today they are priced way above their Japanese counterparts, but qualitywise the best professional lenses from Canon and Nikon are at least as good, and sometimes better. Optics aside, German camera and lens companies are still stuck in manual focus cameras and lenses of the 70s and 80s. If ‘Made in Germany’ is important to you for satisfaction of ownership, go ahead and pay the thousands for 20 year old technology.

  • Nick

    I believe a lot of this has to do with Germany’s march toward socialism and the welfare state in recent decades. Their labor is heavily unionized and labor cost artificially inflated. Their is nothing special about German labor compared to, say Japanese labor. So guess where companies cut costs to accommodate labor.

  • John Stephenson

    probably beats the hell out of it lol

  • John Stephenson

    I know that from what I have read. German cars are well put together, and they have good ideas in many departments in other categories besides reliability. Up until about 2000, all of the German cars were somewhat easy to work on. I helped my dad change the serpentine belt on a 2001 VW Passat, and holy shit!! In 5 hours, we finally had the whole front end of the car apart, just for a timing belt! Now, my dad used to have a 1982 VW Rabit Diesel that was red and had some custom diffusers on, etc. Kinda a neat car. He changed the 4 speed manual to a 5 speed. And square headlights and grille to the German circle ones. This was back then, today. Automakers do this on purpose so you HAVE to take your vehicle in. Just to get it worked on. I am currently an owner of a 1998 Toyota T100 (pickup truck 3.4 V6) and it is my daily driver. I picked it up about 4 mos ago with 220,000 miles! Owner said it ran perfectly, only need a timing belt and oil changes. That’s it! Its a bread and butter car, with optional power windows. But people can customize their ride based on their taste. If i was rich, I would buy a German car, or a new one anyway. However, if i bought a German car right now. It would be a VW MK3 (Golf or Jetta) or older, because those you can actually work on. Like I said, mid 90s and older you can work on by yourself.

  • JDP-Jim

    I agree whole heartedly. Right now I would love to get an 2005 E46 but after owning hondas and currently a DD camry maintenance has only been changing oil, brakes and tires. Seriously these cars have been bullet-proof. Test drivng an A6 and a bmw 330i zhp couple weeks back still on fence but changes when see an article like this. I think everyone should at least test drive a german engineered car but they got to do something about the reliability!

  • Karl Pilkington

    Miracles DO happen!

  • Karl Pilkington

    He’s just angry and bitter because his car keeps breaking down.

  • Karl Pilkington

    “First off, I think everyone should own own a German performance car, once”

    Why? So I can experience the nightmare of horrible reliability? no thanks.

  • Karl Pilkington

    Congratulations, you got the 1 out of 27 that’st not a lemon!

  • Karl Pilkington


  • Karl Pilkington

    You traded a Subaru for a VW? Total fail.

  • mark williams

    Delicate performance ? Really? That sounds like an oxymoron to me . Performance means you got to drive it hard to get the performance out of it and if I pay way more for a car just because of the badge it better damn well don’t give me issues and headaches

  • mark williams

    True I saw a BMW 7 series that looked showroom new smoking like a chimney from it’s tailpipes. I mean how embarrassing was that

  • mark williams

    Everyone who has some bad experience with a German made vehicle doesn’t know how to drive or are stupid in your opinion. Maybe you are the stupid one or do you have stake in German automobile companies?

  • mark williams

    That is my point. Why do these cars cost so much if the Germans are using cheap components to make them?

  • mark williams

    Amen . Fun factor and driveability are important but I’ll take reliability any day over those two plus how much fun can a car be if every month it’s in the shop?

  • Constantin

    Not in discussion, but I have an Peugeot 407 2.0 hdi with 270000 kms, replaced one injector, one coil spring ay suspension and one flap at AC. By me Peugeot it is reliable. In my country we trust on german cars but if I compare I can say that Peugeot it is more reliable than VW – not talking about performance, where Peugeot is behind, but close to VW, which in fact is more expansive.

  • ROKS

    We are the owners of a 2006 BMW X3 with currently 135,000 miles on the odometer and a 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante LS with 207,000 miles on the odometer. Both of these cars have been well maintained and cared for over their life. However, the reliability performance of these two vehicles is drastically different to my sheer disappointment. Having been a lifelong BMW fan, we purchased the X3 and have loved the way it handles and drives overall. The vehicle has a very solid feel and is put together well. It is a much different ride from the Mitsu Diamante. With that being said, the Diamante has cost very little to maintain over the years. It actually has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. The BMW has incurred thousands in routine maintenance costs which have been unexpected and costly. It seems every replacement item is extremely costly from the set of Bilstein struts that needed to replaced last year to the transmission differential box six months ago to the tune of $3,000 and now we are looking at a maintenance bill of $5,000 for routine maintenance for things such as replacement of the oil stand gasket and oil filter housing, replacement of both motor mounts and transmission mounts, replacement of front lower control arms, replacement of the transfer case actuator, replacement of the purge solenoid and evaporative canister, replacement of valve cover gasket, etc.. Our friend who had an S-Class MB had similar maintenance costs as the car aged. I think the Japanese and perhaps the American car manufacturers are building a longer lasting more reliable product than the Germans although the Germans drive better and are put together better. I hate to admit my disappointment in the brand I have loved for so long.

  • -hh

    Ultimately, everything is a trade-off. For example, if you want “bulletproof” reliability, you have to give up something, typically in performance … and also vice versa.

    When we look at racing competitions, we see cars that require even more maintenance than our daily drivers … heck, just watch a NASCAR race and count how many tires they go through, or how many drop out due to a ‘blown engine’ … and then remember that this is only a 500 mile race – – a distance that many of us drive every week.
    Now this is an extreme example, but the other diretion also occurs: you want a ‘no maintenance’ ride to 150K miles? There’s a Honda/Toyota which caters to that customer demographic. But if you don’t like how they perform in the “enthusiast” metric, you’re going to have to make a decision for what to give up – – we all want to have our cake and eat it too, but Porsche 911’s no longer sell brand new for a mere $12,000

  • Guest

    Well…. I have owned all types of cars and let’s just keep it real. Japanese cars withstand the test of time and are pretty much bullet proof and can handle abuse. Nobody is factoring that in here. Abuse. Most people in the us of a not mechanically inclined abuse cars. I used to. American cars made pre 2006 are not reliable at all just easy to repair and you can find someone to do work cheap, parts cheap etc. Same for Japanese cars that usually only have one issue per model. IE my old 1996 pathfinder was my most reliable car I ever owned but rust got to it before I could kill it. The water pump went up 3 times… $300 fix. Nothing else ever went wrong but a few emissions parts. Did it run like new.. No. But I went through hard 20 inch snow winters drove everywhere I wanted with no real worries. Most Honda, Toyota, Nissan etc drivers fit that bill. Your car will always run but….. Besides a Lexus and maybe an Infiniti your car is no where near the fun to drive car as a bmw, Mercedes or Audi. Honda V6? Maxima? G37? The supposed super performer. It is apples and oranges. They are better than a lot of German cars on paper or spec stats. 0-60 lmao. But if get in a simple entry level german car after driving the reliable yet cheap feeling and dull Acura tl, G37 and tell me the cars are in the same class you are a joke. They cannot blend sporty performance and luxury. Lexus es300 is a soft luxurious boat ride. Dull. G37 is a unrefined mover that has decent driving feel but again cheap as all hell feel from outside looking in and inside looking around. The earky jerky Honda v6 is fwd and their owners..lmao. Anyway, drive a bmw 328, merc c300 or 250 then drive a 525 or 335/ E class (any) the only cars that actually outperform the German entry level are the next step up. End of story. Reliability? The reason these cars have issues sometimes is because of the owner/ driver. You can’t beat these cars up and expect affordable repairs. They have to be maintenanced. (which can be just as affordable). Something goes wrong with EVERY car near 100k and if you done your part it won’t be the major repairs. If you want luxury and low maintenance Lexus is the only option. But the IS 350 is not on par with the Germans and the es300 is boat ride on land.

  • Joe S

    Your “German” car is in all likelihood made by Turks, Pakistanis and other Muslim migrants or are at least involved somewhere in the parts chain.

  • Luis

    It doesn’t mean anything. Those “muslims” can have really good workers too. Remember that “Those muslims” started modern medicine and invented the Algebra.

  • maclag

    That may very much be the point:
    When you drive a car that can deliver the performance, you have a tendency to push it. When you drive a car that does not deliver, you just go from A to B.
    Ever seen a Prius driver abusing his car? Nope.
    Would you believe someone would go easy on a M3? Then why buy it to start with??

  • maclag

    These days, I think all car makers are exposed to electrical gremlins issues. The more you put in, the larger chance one of them fails (Thank me, cap’tain obvious…)

  • Wes Lee K

    My 2012 M-B c300 4-matic, which I purchased new in December 2011, has 54k miles on it. It is running and looking great! I always keep up with the maintenance; I purchase the maintenence packages upfront and have been able to get discounted pricing.

  • Wes Lee K

    I have owned a brand new Infiniti G35x and a Mercedes-Benz C300 4-matic. The Mercedes has been the better of the two.

  • Phils

    Wouldn’t talk too much about how bad the Merc M series are …… the main problem is that they are made in the US …..

  • Phils

    the Brits invented more than anyone on earth …… so what !!

  • Phils

    I guess you are in the US, where your ‘German’ cars are made …… shame. In the UK our German cars are made in Germany, and they are brilliant !! Yes I agree that the Japanese model of making reliable, boring cars with lots of plastic, cup holders and places for women to put they lipstick … sells a lot of cars ……. but what awful sole destroying cars they are !!!!

  • Phils

    Don’t be too hard on the Germans, they did start the US space industry, still many Germans working in it today ……. quality isn’t a US thing !!!

  • -hh

    The 1971 Subaru (FF-1G) that I learned to drive a stick on … had plastic fins on its radiator’s cooling fan, so your objection is neither anything unique to country of origin, nor a recent change.

    FYI, that Subaru also made a very poor choice of UV protectors & plasticisers in its vinyl seat: it probably was the 2nd or 3rd winter after Dad had bought the car, as we don’t normally get temperatures which drop below 0F, but on this cold morning it did. One of us got in & sat down in the back seat, and because the vinyl had gone brittle, the entire top cracked wide open. In the spring, we patched it with some duct tape. Fortunately, plastics technology has gotten better and these sorts of things don’t happen as much anymore.

  • dvdlgh

    “delicate performance focused cars” Now THAT is funny!

  • dvdlgh

    More of it has to do with the German culture. I spent much of my early years growing up in it. They believe they only engineer the best and when it fails the owner/operator has to be the cause. Most of the German car mechanics I’ve met are arrogant jerks. All this has soured me from owning another German car. I’ve owned five and my last was in1997.

  • Stephen

    What year are they? the G35 hasn’t been made in 7 or 8 years I think its last year was 2007. If the Mercedes is not also 7-8 yrs old, not an even comparison.

  • Daan

    They sure did invent chauvinsm 😉

  • DRJJ

    German engineering is sub par-see reliability and resale, no brainer. Neat cars when they run however.

  • Jay

    Porsche as reliable?? Auto guide should get their facts straight and not present misinformation!!

    Do a Google search on Porsche and engine failures. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

  • The Time Traveler

    A good factory warranty is necessary for all cars now-a-days. Lease the car and have the warranty for the lease duration. No worries, no problems, no money flow. The cars, all of them, are full of electronics and plastic so problems will be encountered sooner than later no matter how you drive. German, or any other made you stand to spend money galore during their tenure with you.

  • Mihai

    Try a Revox, Studer reel to reel and see what German engineering can do. Reliability and performance could be achieved by Germans as well.

  • Mihai

    I own a 2004 Altima since December 2003. It has over 180000 miles (288000Km) and still runs as good as new. I only replaced few parts: alternator (not with genuine Nissan), spark plugs and while in warranty an emission component (sensor).
    This car was extremely reliable and now my daughter drives it.

    I drive a MB SLK350 – fantastic car. I hope it will be reliable as well.

  • Mihai

    Don’t take it this way, you may regret.
    I own a SLK350 – SL65 AMG would be much better – and I can say that every time I drive this car I am just…. happy. The way this car drives is just amazing and SL65 would be even more.

    I hope my SLK350 will be a reliable one, it has 55000miles and runs perfectly. Maybe the German cars (SL and SLK are made in Germany 100%) are not as bad as many here think.

  • Andrew Hernandez

    What I wonder when people comments like this is how exactly do you think everyone else is driving? I see two main groups of dbag drivers on the road, Prius drivers and BMW drivers weaving in and out of traffic. Should we all be doing that as well? Would that lengthen the lifespan of our german cars? clearly you dont drive like an idiot. So you clearly drive on different freeways with no pot holes or speed bumps, freshly paved every day. If only I had the VIP pass you have! Youre a tool. Everyone drives the same roads in much the same way. If German cars or any other cars are consistently breaking down with regular use, its the car thats problematic, genius.

    1996 Jetta I4, amazingly fun car to drive, barely made it to 100k before the tranny crapped out.
    2004 Ford Focus hatch stick, VERY fun, great mpg. Only non-scheduled maintenance ever in 140k was a $200 ignition switch. Great mog too. God I miss this car.
    2011 Nissan xterra rwd. 60k miles and counting, this is a beast. This thing will go to hell and back, and then do it again. not a single maintenance issue so far. I hope they never change the xterra.

    My moms husband on the other hand has had 2x audis (a4 and a6), 2x BMWs some sporty 2010 3 series something, all new and leased with full maintenance pqckages, plus a pos 95 328 Since ive known him the past 10 years. All crapped out on him and or experienced massive maintenance issues. He had a g37 which was legit though.

  • Alehs

    Jewish scientists have won about 20% of all Nobel awards. None of others nations did it.

  • Edster

    That’s a sham in itself.

  • Powerlurker

    My mom’s German car was made in Germany and needed to have most of the steering system replaced under warranty (a $5000 repair if you had to pay out of pocket).

  • Powerlurker

    Mitsubishi is at least fourth tier. There’s a reason that the Chrysler of Japan hooked up with the Chrysler of America when all the Japanese companies were doing their joint ventures back in the day.

  • Powerlurker

    Because Europeans are comparing German cars to French, Italian, and British ones. Americans are comparing them to Japanese and Korean ones.

  • Chris

    Nissan ? Yet nothing French ? You clearly know very little. Renault saved Nissan from bankruptcy and have a controlling share. Engines and components are shared throughout Renault and Nissan cars. Skoda is German owned as well.

  • Strummieify .

    All the money you’re wasting can go to a different car. You can get a decent car for $5,000 here in CA. Also, I hear you on the BMW issues. My husband got a Z4 maybe 3 months ago and his car is in the shop again with a “Service Engine Soon” light on. We had the Jag paid off and he went and got a stupid 2 seater Z4 with a light that won’t turn off. This new fix will cost him around $1,100 and it’s not a guarantee that it’ll fix the problem. I drive a new Mini Cooper S and I love it. No problems thus far. I went from American made only to now German made. I’ll admit that I think German is better than American. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Japanese car.

  • Jonathan

    Listen you! Lexus is an overpriced Toyota! A subsidiary brand of Toyota, nothing more!. Lexus with Toyota engines, parts etc a dressed up Toyota no thank you.Whereas, with Mercedes or BMW they are “Full Breed Brands” Both Independent companies, everything used on a Mercedes is purely Mercedes everything used on a BMW is purely BMW. Lexus = wasted money why buy a Lexus when you can buy the Toyota same product. I drive a Mercedes W212 E500 2010 since new, never any problems, extremely reliable! Stunning build quality. Vault like drive so typical of a Mercedes. Mercedes are leaders in safety Lexus is not Mercedes built the safest cars in the world Lexus doesn’t. So good luck with the “Asian Lexus/Toyota” In a massive accident.

  • Jonathan

    What about the overpriced junk “Lexus!?” Mercedes are not junk neither are BMW Mercedes are world leaders in automotive.

  • jonathan

    I doubt you ever had a Mercedes just another Lexus fan. Absolutely absurd!

  • Jonathan

    I wouldn’t be caught dead in an Asian thing myself!.

  • Jonathan

    I beg to differ! I drive a 2010 W212 E500 Mercedes since new, I have never had any problems with this stunning vehicle the Benz has been extremely reliable, has never let me down!. It has stunning build quality, reliability and most of all, that typical Mercedes safety, design and superior structure. The doors are heavy and solid they shut with that typical “Solid Thunk” So accustomed, to a Mercedes-Benz which means “Quality!”. I have always had Mercedes vehicles and I have never had any problems with them. I’m from Australia, most of the Mercedes vehicles we receive are built at the Mercedes plant in Sindelfingen and Bremen Germany. German built is bullet proof personal experience. Mercedes-Benz are world leaders in automotive, a company with a storied history unlike any other. I drive Mercedes for the reliability and most of all, their renowned safety standards You can’t always believe everything you read or hear not everything is true. Cheers, Jonathan. Ps as I always say, if you look after your vehicle it will look after you.

  • Pero

    Revox is Swiss, moron.

  • Jon

    I buy Japanese and German cars for a living. I’m not surprised with this article. Buying and servicing both I see a wide spectrum of these cars. I can tell you the Germans have lost their way with building a car that will run over 100K with out major repairs around 2004-06. The brand names are established so these cars are sold based on looks, tech, performance just like this article says. These cars are now what I call 100K throw away cars. They do not have to build them as well to compete, well for now. I have an Audi and BMW specialist tech who do work for me. The BMW tech now drives a new Honda and is completely disgusted with change in 20404 in the 5 series and 2006 3 series. The Audi tech brags that he is doing so well because Audi builds such junk now.
    While the Japanese built some land mine cars IE 01& up Civic head gasket and transmission failures, Subaru and their head gasket failures. I do see plenty of 200K mileage, newer model Japanese trade-ins that run great so they still ahead in build quality in my book. Also if you think Japanese luxury cars were boring years ago I would tend to agree. Now I believe this has changed in the last 1-3 years. A lot of the luxury Japanese cars built now really do have a German-esk tight feel, drive an brand new Accord Sport pkg car and you will be surprised. If you have to buy German make sure you buy an extended warranty.

  • CastleStoney

    Says the ignorant euro car salesman…

  • CastleStoney

    No problem, millions of highly reliable Asian cars will pass you buy while your USA/Euro built pos sits on the side of the road…More money than sense..

  • CastleStoney

    Your bitch’n about a car that still ran without any liquids and only needed one screw to hold engine in? Thats every mans dream car.
    Who wants to buy all those fluids when they’re not needed? Toyota here I come.
    If my 91 Toyota pickup with 437k miles ever dies I’ll be buyin another one bet on it.,
    Google clyde glides to a million …..Im not half way yet.

  • CastleStoney

    Subaru is built in Indiana too btw…

  • Casey Nordberg

    I have 1967 VW beetle. Funny when the German shops quote me $450 to take the engine out with 4 bolts a throttle cable and and 1 wire. Hmmmm German Cars today are UN fixable but the shop rip you off in the process too. WIn Win. For the price of a Porsche 911 oil changed i can swap in rebuilt Beetle Transmission, clutch and axel bearings and seals for the same price.

  • HungWeiLo

    A car’s most basic premise is to transport its driver and his passengers and belongings from Point A to Point B.

    If it cannot do that without breaking down, then by definition the car’s engineering is not good.

    All the talk about European cars having low-end torque or cornering well or just plain having “that special feeling” is nice and all, but is not the purpose of a car – it’s icing on a cake. Many people love Apple for their aesthetics and ease of use – but few would say that their products are “well-engineered” if it blue-screened seven times a day.

  • HungWeiLo

    With all the luxury cars having moved to alphanumeric model names (German, Japanese, American), why not just hang a LCD display with the amount of dollars paid for the car? That’s basically what it is, now that it no longer refers to engine displacement.

    BMW 35000
    Audi 45000

  • -hh

    While what you say is true, the problem with it is that when we look at all of the cars on the roads which exceed the minimum objective requirements to satisfy “basic transportation” capability, the only conclusion that we can reasonably come to is that the vast majority of consumers don’t care about _only_ affording themselves with the utter minimum that they require.

    From an Engineering perspective, we know that system complexity and parts counts have a relationship with reliability – – and what that means is that every consumer who chose to have an air conditioner, electric seat, etc .. has made a decision (conscious or not) to trade-off some of their system reliability potential for some other personal priority / desire.

    The good news is that automotive technology today is better than it was 30 years ago for certain metrics of reliability (primarily in reductions in required maintenance) and the market is broad enough with its product offerings such that a consumer who merely wants nothing more than a “basic transportation” appliance can do so, just as how another consumer can make a (hopefully informed) trade-off and have a vehicle with other amenities – philosophically, it doesn’t matter if we’re talking comfort or speed…although pragmatically, a lot of the modern reliability problems stem from how the industry has persistently held onto its 12VDC electrical system in an age of electronics. FWIW, there was some talk around a decade ago to change over to a 48V system, but quite obviously…


  • -hh

    True, Porsche really messed up with their IMS failures … but on the flip side, my 1985 air-cooled beast is still on its ORIGINAL muffler system. Yes, a 30 year old muffler.

  • Harry_Wild

    Having do repair on several German luxury car models of varies manufacturers; they are crazy what you have to go through to make the repair! Kind of think of the worse place to install a thermostat and then do it! Doing a tune up take a good 2-4 hours time and on a Japanese model it takes 10 minutes and the parts for the German models cost around 5X more too!

  • dvdlgh

    German cars do perform very well. It’s the poor reliability and the cost of repairs that make owning an Audi, MB or BMW a pita. Equally maintained I’ll take a 5+ year old Camry or Accord over a comparable German car anytime. I say that from personal experience. “Never buy a German car without a warranty” is not a joke.

  • dvdlgh

    How about a Ford made in Mexico?

  • dvdlgh

    After losing the two biggest wars in history I would say intelligence isn’t a German thing. Arrogance is more of a German thing.

  • kyle

    No they did not.

  • kyle

    Yall voted for nafta

  • kyle

    my 2002 jetta had interior plastic that melted if you left the car out in the sun, and it had fabric stuck on the ceiling with water soluble adhesive.

  • kyle

    electrical germlins, because the wire insulation they use is made of biodegradable soy based plastic. These cars aren’t made to last more than 100,000 miles.

  • kyle

    Material in Japanese cars is less expensive, but still very durable. Buy what you want, but the economics of jap cars adds up.

  • kyle

    Toyota must have made the transmission and powertrain, maybe the chasis, Subaru only makes awd.

  • -hh

    Pretty much all of the manufacturers are using this stuff, so it isn’t something to blame just one OEM.

  • -hh

    Mistakes happen to all of the OEMs…and some persist for years: just take a look today at all of the car where the plastic over their headlights is no longer clear, but is hazy/opaque and yellow/white.
    I’ve not heard of VAG having any “melted interior” problems in the early ’00’s, nor experienced any in our 2000. Doesn’t mean that it couldn’t or never happened – – just merely one personal anecdote offsetting another.

    For falling headliners, there was a problem with VAG with clogged sunroof drains, and water is always a bad thing. Blame the leak for waterlogging the headliner to come unglued, not that the adhesive eventually failed after however many weeks/months of abuse.

    BTW, also do be aware that latex products do undergo a chemical change when they cure and are generally water resistant afterwords: that’s why the latex pain on the walls of your house doesn’t come off when you put a sweaty hand on it. But by the same token, there really are very few adhesives which _don’t_ succumb to prolonged exposures to solvents such as water. The point here is that a sunroof can have a slight water leak for years which can go unnoticed. The root cause of the problem is still the water leak.

  • Hossam ElSharkawy

    the German cars lossing theire reliability, as I own VW tiguan and the motor was brook down before reaching 100,000km and the swaped it in waranty however the car stoper at service center for 2 months and payed me service fees and extra spars with about 2600$ and after nearly one year with 30,000km the new motor had been brooken down again since 3 months and not changed till now and car still at service center since 30 Jun!!!! with no support from local agent, mother company in Germany and even the German empassy!!! I’m really sorry for that level of german industry reached to!!!!!

  • Craig

    The M-Class Mercedes was NOT ‘dismally unreliable’. It had some problems. [It was a new class of vehicle for MB] It pisses me off when writers mess with the truth. It makes me question everything you’re stating as ‘fact’.

  • mera naam

    Consider following for a moment. Many people, including moa are a huge fan of Porsche 911. I mean, what is not to love. Some or many of us have seen videos of what they can do and how much of an upgrade they are from what we may daily drive.

    But, when we come to look at the details about a Porsche twin turbo monstrosity, a darker truth comes to life than no one on the forum discusses because they are worried it will lose it’s value.

    Take 996 C4 for example. They have a constant issue where engines will blow up and the only explanation any tech or forum member has, is, “it wasn’t driven hard enough”. Do a search on IMS and it will reveal an ugly truth where engine than requires a $20k rebuild. If that’s not it, then cylinder wall scoring.

    It’s almost like I want to get one, but I end up with an old rule of, a model looks good from far away, but you don’t come home to your parents with one.

    Instead of bickering back and forth about this, I feel that competition is the key to success – for us consumers. None of us have the time to lose with car being in the shop or jackstands in the garage for nonsense items one after another. Volvo recently bought the tuner company who tunes their cars. Lexus has ISf and Nissan has their own crop of great cars and a legacy and so do many others. Competition has helped tremendously, but we are not there yet.

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Good article. Thank you.

  • Okay

    Lamborghini is Italian. Yes, VW bought it in ’98, but its cars are still engineered and designed by Italians. At one point, it was owned by Chrysler too, before it was sold to a Malaysian investment firm and eventually to VW.

  • Okay

    Brand image + labor cost.

  • Steve McGill

    It’s not just the new, “high tech” additions failing on German cars that make them crap, window motors fail, design of the mechanisms are poor for example. Door card falling off because of poor quality plastics and inadequate amount/positioning of fixings is another… German stuff never was particularly good in my opinion, just hugely expensive, heavy and over rated!

  • Steve McGill

    The Germans have been making crap since the early 90s, it’s just that no body noticed…

  • Steve McGill

    I worked for VW in the early 90s and they were badly engineering, ugly and very troublesome even back then! I regularly saw early mk3 Golfs returning for warranty work 10 and 15 times, all with quality faults and breakdowns. One colleague had a 96 year Golf TDI that not only rotted on the doors but broke down 4 times in one month with separate issues, I left and went to work for Ford in the UK afterwards and did not see anywhere near the amount of problems with their cars, that’s the honest truth!

  • Joe Kaminski

    Agreed 100%. Japanese cars are great for the typical American driver that barely knows where to put the gas. They’re cheap to buy, cheap to fix, and basically indestructible. The German cars are definitely much more maintenance intensive and I always tell people that are thinking of buying a used German car to find an independent specialist to maintain it for them. Dealerships charge a boatload of money for pretty much everything, but an independent will do the same repairs and maintenance, using the same factory parts, for a fraction of the cost. Or, even better…they should buy a repair manual and learn how to fix stuff.

  • Joe Kaminski

    The carbon build up issue is not specific to German cars. It is specific to direct injection engines with a PCV system. Since the fuel isn’t being sprayed over the intake valves, the valves aren’t getting cleaned. So when your oil mist from your PCV system reaches them, it clings and burns on and doesn’t let go. To prevent this the vast majority of people will install an oil catch can in the PCV system to remove as much oil vapor from the lines as possible. You can also run water/methanol injection in conjunction with a catch can and you will have minimal carbon buildup. Or you can run a seafoam treatment every 5k when you do your oil and probably have to worry about manual carbon removal every 100k or so. PCV systems have been notorious for clogging intake manifolds for quite a long time now, so it isn’t anything new that they are a problem. What is new is that now your valves are getting caked up beyond recognition because the government’s asinine CAFE ratings and emissions regulations have forced automakers to institute engine technology that is more efficient, yet inherently less reliable,

  • ahnenerbe

    lol article is so dumb that it has to be writtenby some jap….omg
    off u go with your honda or whatever u r driveing and eave the rest of the worls to enjoy in best cars in the universe..

  • Okay

    Sami Haj-Assaad, the writer, doesn’t sound very Japanese. You, on the other hand, sound dumb, since the author backed his review with statistics. Even if you do not agree with the sources of the statistic, they still carry more reputation than your opinion, which is nothing but name calling. Go back to being a fan boy, and leave the informative opinion to more knowledgeable people.

  • Muzzy A

    you’ve never driven one. sorry poor guy!

  • Jan

    I have a 2002 GTI 1.8T, garage kept, stock. it is awesome.

  • Jan

    “German engineering” is what the article states. That is designed. Japanese and American (USA) cars are not necessarily made in their company home countries either.

  • dvdlgh

    I blame it on Americans asinine need for more horsepower.

  • dvdlgh

    Not the German ones!

  • Anon

    Really? Learn to Roman.

  • Steve McGill

    Until it starts falling to pieces and breaking down, which will happen soon…

  • Steve McGill

    All German manufacturers use poor quality plastics which seem fine until the car hits 10 years old or so then it becomes brittle and chalky. I have seem headlamps actually falling out of 10 and 11 year old 5 series because of the clips that hold them in have snapped and crumbled with age. VWs that develop rattles and trim falls off because the clips have snapped off of their own accord! Don’t even think about trying to take a dashboard apart on an older VW either, most fixings won’t like it and will destroy themselves upon removal! German cars are great for looking good, showing off to friends etc, but not good long-term buys…

  • Josh

    d+Chavela Martinez Hi there, it should be noted that They have still
    been, I don”t give a damn about german contemporary phoney luxury piece
    of shit Mercedeses, for all I care, whether it’s crammed with variety
    kinds or types of boundless electronics and rain-windshield-wiper
    sensors and parking assistance and ASR and so forth, for dumbasses which
    can’t driving it’s appropriate, just in comparison with today’s german
    vehicles it’s altogether comprehensively incomparable difference, these
    then classic american stately flleets can rightly telling themselves to
    us, we are really stately and high-minded fleets.
    For one thing those American fleets have still miles more been spacious
    as in the length as in the breadth than overwhelming majority of today’s
    ones. As far as the overall power of then engines is concerned their
    had a far more greater torque moment with the huge volume clearance 425
    and 500 cui, they were utterly literally tanks of roads
    Regardless of the overall lifespan of those engines that were able to
    make calmly something about 625 000 of miles which neither of those
    European vehicles is eligible to compare to these daddy-o’s.That a-no
    I”ve still been keeping admiring all of them as long as until I have
    breathed my last.
    What a pity that still more and more present vehicles are gradually
    getting started to bear resemblance to matchbox cars.Hi a nice day
    Ultimately I’d like to emphasize that American Vehicles and Rolls Royce since 1940 – 1980 were the best vehicles together as far as the the overall comfortableness is concerned.
    Today’s cars are only the so called “matchbox-piece of shits” crammed with faulty electronics.I
    f you open you eyes peope you’ll find it out single-handedly.

  • James

    I own a 2003 mercedes c240 used. It runs great, I bought it at the mileage of 119000. All i do with my carriot is ride it to places are need to go not drive it like crazy. That will saved you on meantance. But u got to drive your carriot like a king. not as don’t care. Mercedes owner’s rocks.

  • Sheldon Cooper

    The Germans make cars for people who love to drive, the Japanese make cars for boring people who don’t care about cars. Any car will last you a long time if you take care of it.

  • YZF

    Lexus RC F boring ? I hate driving car with dirty fingernails.

  • Benson Stein

    Germans make cars for people without a life, and can sit around a repair shop all day. They are junk. If you cannot produce a reliable vehicle that is built to last, all bets are off. I don’t care if it does 0-60 in four seconds and handles like a Formula 1 car. They are junk. After 4-5 years, throw them in the junk heap, they are disposable garbage.

  • Benson Stein

    100% correct. German cars are disposable garbage. They break down repeatedly.

  • Benson Stein

    Exactly, these cars are engineered to fail. That is why you can pay $90,000 for a Benz and cannot sell it for even $10,000 after 5-6 years. It belongs in the junkyard.

  • Benson Stein

    Yes, but they are not “boring!” Glad you had some “excitement” with yours.

  • Benson Stein

    Exactly- Great cars when they actually run and do not pass the 100,000 mileage barrier, where they become junkyard fodder.

  • Benson Stein

    Thanks for the heads up mate, I will check it for bombs…

  • Benson Stein

    Then buy an Austin Healey you wanker!

  • Benson Stein

    Exactly. And the resale values on these german cars reflects that perfectly. A new $90,000 Benz won’t sell for $10,000 after six years.. Once they are out of warranty, they are junk yard material. Yet, Japanese cars hold very high resale values and often get 200,000 – 300,000 miles with very little drama, repairs, or maintenance.

  • Benson Stein

    Yes, German cars have great engineering but break down all the time. If drivers are cool with that, then that is ok. I consider reliability to be tantamount. I don’t care how great the performance specs are, and if I get multiple orgasms when driving it. If it is not reliable, it is junk IMO.

  • Benson Stein

    “Overpriced junk” that runs for 200K -300K miles with virtually no repairs or drama. The resale prices reflect this. After 100,000 miles, tow your German car to the junkyard. It is worthless.

  • -hh

    Unfortunately, the “breaks down all the time” mantra is all too frequently misattributed, with the hardware taking the blame for a lack of maintenance & care by its owner.

    Americans in particular have a mindset that tools don’t need to be taken care of: they can be neglected for years and then if anything bad ever happens, simply blame the tool rather than the owner who neglected it.

    “After 4-5 years, throw them in the junk heap, they are disposable garbage.”

    –> Spoken like someone who doesn’t maintain his tools. We’ve become a disposable society.

  • Steve McGill

    I agree! BMWs for example feel so worn , so sloppy after 60-70k miles that they are borderline junkyard jobs… VAG products are riddled with flaws, design issues, low quality materials and shonky dynamics…

  • Benson Stein

    Exactly. I love the German cars, but I work in IT and just don’t have the time for drama, going up to the dealership for warranty work, etc. Plus, my worst nightmare is breaking down in some bad neighborhood at night. I have no spare time whatsoever for such dramas. I suppose if I were really rich and did not work, plenty of spare time, it would not be so much of an issue.

  • johnadams123

    People who care about cars buy cars that last. Not cars that only look good. Either way, if you take care of a BMW and a Toyota the Toyota will last longer.

  • Mike

    Hopefully you have as much luck as James

  • Mike

    lol come on man it’s an STI. We all know your buddy abused the hell out of it

  • Mike

    What are everyones thoughts on Consumer Reports ranking Audi #1?

  • Charbel Sakr

    It’s a fact,man i own a 91 honda never had problems,it runs like a beast,reliability stills awesome, and i only change oil every 5000 kms.If I want to buy a newer car, I only choose honda(specially,I’m intrested in the type r new version)

  • Charbel Sakr

    It’s a fact,man i own a 91 honda still working like new,runs like a beast,in complete reliability,never had problems,i only change motor oil every 5000 k haha
    If i wanted a newer car, i’ll think for a newer honda(maybe the new type r^_^)

  • Charbel Sakr

    Run a bmw and a honda without oil, and let us see, which car breaks down first … common i mean deal with it, even those bigger bmw’s engines only can reach 6500rpm, and honda’s 9k rpm motor lasts longer

  • Charbel Sakr

    In conclusion,for confort,reliability,power,lasting longer just go for a JDM VEHICLE.

  • Sheldon Cooper

    This article is BS, I work in the medical field and there is a reason most of the equipment is German (Dräger, Siemens, Leica, Zeiss, ect) because it’s well engineered and precise. German cars will last a long time if you take them to the shop for regular maintenance, many Americans will run their cars with the maintenance light on for weeks or months before going into the shop, when ze maintenance light comes on in a German car you must go to ze shop NOW! That’s because they are built with tighter tolerances, higher precision equals higher maintenance. Japanese cars are built with loose tolerances, built like tin cans that can be abused more. German cars have that satisfying *thunk* when the door is closed, the driving feel of a German car is special. I had a 2007 Jetta that had no major issues, the ac compressor went out in all the years I owned it, I now drive a 2015 Jetta.

  • Sheldon Cooper

    Yeah, he sounds like a butt-hurt Syrian refugee.

  • bgf

    You are beyond an idiot and will go broke with all my medical marijuana

  • Name

    I owned a Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV in 1972. When it worked it was totally fun to drive. The only problem being it rarely worked and broke down without warning frequently. It gave me much grief, high expenses mixed with some fun moments. Finally got rid of it after two years ,because I couldn’t take the unreliability of it.

  • Name

    My friend used to operate a motorcycle repair and restoration shop as a part time hobby dealing with all makes. The ones he couldn’t stand to fix were the BMW bikes. It was next to impossible to get parts from BMW and the bikes were notoriously over engineered. BMW would always create a apart of the mechanism with 25 parts when 3 were needed. This was a major problem with BMW and it got so bad that the legitimate BMW dealers would refuse to service some of their own machines. because they were almost impossible to work on.. I imagine their cars have similar issues.

  • Name

    Yes Asian cars tend to be dull with Toyota/Lexus being the wors( I’ve owned both)t, but I put many K on my cars and reliability is a must.


    All of the best medical technology comes from the US. It’s not even close. The optical imaging companies you cited are all comparatively low tech.

  • 8nas6

    LOL Dream on!

  • David fowlet

    I worked in the auto industry for many manufactures. If you take care of them most will last in excess of 100k miles, Hondas are just a junky as fords so don’t get butt hurt, Mercedes are expensive and safe and will for the most part get you where your going. I would trade a broken window switch for a bad transmission (1998-2002 Honda Accord) anyday

  • Murgatroyd

    German cars are all about carefully cultivated image backed up by little substance. I have owned two VWs from new and they are the only cars I have ever had quality and reliability issues with. The neighbours with expensive cars from MB, BMW and Audi also have problems on a regular basis. If you want to look cool and be out of pocket go ahead and buy one, if you want quality and value for money look elsewhere.

  • Murgatroyd

    With an MB the best two days will be the day you buy it and the day you get rid of it.

  • Murgatroyd

    We are discussing cars, not medical equipment. The two are not comparable. In common with other German cars VW quality and reliability is average at best whereas Japanese is consistently above average.

  • Voice Boxer

    My 2010 Jetta has had no major issues, it’s very reliable. I just take it in for regular maintenance.

  • Richard Castles

    I have a vw touareg v8 that has 180k miles. No issues. Not even a rattle. Best car i have ever owned!

  • Jasper Alexander Vegt

    Ever heard of Philips?

  • aldo

    i have a s320 1995 mercedes benz best car i ever had fewer breaking down i only changed a battery on the car try to do that with a cadillac or a lincoln

  • Justin Richards

    1st, Honda was often picking up the tab on those transmission replacements and every manufacturer has had a f’ up here and there. Honda’s strong point has never been the transmissions but when it comes down to it. I’m no Honda nughugger but they have put out some of the best cars out there and many can go a long time even when not properly maintained. Having to put transmissions in poorly maintained honda is going to be cheaper in the long run anyways and generally the accord transmission would last with proper maintenance. Now the Odyssey and Acura TL/CL’s from that time period maybe not so much but either way if you dont take care of it chances are you will get 200K still as long as you change the oil every 7000-10,000 miles.
    MB on the other had, while yes they have made some really really good cars they are more common to brake down, many times over something silly but expensive. In America the main problem is they are all thought of as luxury cars while in other markets many of them are just regular cars that might not be great but are cheaper then Toyota

  • Justin Richards

    These articles based on BS wrote by people that have never even been within 100FT of reality to see what the fuck is really going on and they us statistics based on unreliable info and kickbacks.
    You go out and see what the fuck is really happening and you see the same thing over and over. Biggest shit cars on the market–
    1. VW and friends (Audi, etc). People parking there TDI’s while waiting on settlements because they can’t keep them out of the shop is a perfect example of the over quality.
    2. Dodge/Jeep and friends. Fiat and VW both needed there help to be able to make a car shitty enough and when dodge can’t make something shitty enough they enlist the help of MB as in the case of the Sprinter Van

  • nickrin

    The delta margin in reliability is so close, that any car manufactured after 2000, if properly maintained, will last as much as any other car. The difference with German cars is their ride quality, driving characteristics and esthetic. Every other car seems to drive like a station wagon compared to anything German. You couldn’t pay me to drive any NA trash, not because of reliability, but because they drive like appliances. Japanese cars used to be much more reliable than they are now. And the interiors? Good Lord, plastic everywhere.


    German CARS ARE SCHEISSE and in translation is SHIT

  • Tom

    Mercedes and automatic transmission, or even ALL brands (except Honda and maybe Toyota) and automatic transmission DO NOT MIX! Mercedes has NO idea and no desire to repair automatic transmission HHHHHORROR!

  • Tom


  • Daisey

    Your use of crude words are in poor taste and definately unnecessary. Keep such language to use with your mates. They cause offensive to others who are able to use universally-accepted language and/or expressions to communicate thier points of view.

  • Justin Richards

    Yeah you’re right. The language was in poor judgment. The content of that article used up all to tolerable bad judgment I could endure but now that you point it out I went back and edited it.

  • +1

  • General Zod

    German cars are garbage. I see snooty comments from butthurt krautmobile owners claiming these magnificent, tight “tolerances” yet no evidence is given.

  • Guy

    AS someone that worked in the mechanical field for a while i can tell you you are wrong. You make alot of money of off BMW, VW and mercedes cars. You want a reliable car, go honda or Toyota. Ive worked on Toyota camrys with 600k!!!. Ive barely seen a Merc with 200k. The w180 is a possibility. I would cross the sahara on a toyota hilux anyday. I also crave elite sports cars, but my everyday car is a honda civic. NOTHING has failed on it. shes now passing 260k and doesnt use a drop of oil.

  • Guy

    You must be lucky. From overheating wiring, failing heater radiators that leak and burn the client, vapour locks on the jetta 3s etc, i like em too, but they are nowhere near the Japanese cars

  • Guy

    I cant beleive it. but maybe Audi turned a new leaf. If anything ive seen more failures on Audi than their VW stablemate

  • Guy

    LOL, yes the honda i drove back when i fixed merc, BMW’s and Vws is still going strong. I have something in common with your friend 🙂

  • Guy

    LOL, this made me laugh

  • Sumer54

    Your experience appears to be unique enough to attract attention, from you. If this was a routine occurrence, there would be no need to justify it. Maybe you missed the BMW exec on a CNBC special a few years who admitted, without hesitation, that the cost of ownership and reliability of their products are still lagging their Asian counterparts. Why would he ever publicly admit such a thing if it wasn’t true? Stop with the denial and the solitary experiences, and join in the full chorus of those who realize the sacrifices that are required for these expensive, emotional experiences.

  • Sumer54

    There’s one thing I’ve noticed since I was a kid; the number of M-B’s for sale compared to their general population on the road. From the time of my childhood, ‘For Sale’ ads in the local newspaper had me wondering. I grew up in a relatively small southern city, where there should not have been columns of Benzes for sale, ALL THE TIME!!! This is still the case. I just did a local web search. Why are there 2,100 matches in a zip code near me for used M-B’s for sale, yet only 3,200 matches for Toyotas, and 2,800 matches for Nissan?? Unreal!

  • Part of the reason for the misconception about German engineering is that German automakers did, at one time, earn it. When Consumer Reports started its Long-Term Reliability Tests and Initial Quality Index tests way back in 1972, German brands like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz came out on top. The initial quality of even the lowly VW Beetle topped many domestic vehicles from Ford, Jeep, Pontiac and Mercury.

  • Stanley Williams

    A shock! I love the Toureg but I know a couple owners that have had ECM replacement, rear drive shaft coupling, engine head gasket resealed on the V-6. It still is a great CUV that can run all day at 120 mph, and fell good doing it. You never want to do that in a reliable RX-350. I currently drive a reliable, nice Genesis 5.0 litre sedan. I miss my E-39 BMW like she was a supermodel who left me at the height of her career. She was expensive to maintain and with 2 kids college bound….!

  • Stanley Williams

    But the BMW feels so much better while you have it. I have owned BMW, MB, Audi and VW’s. Also Honda, Lexus and Infiniti and Nissan. Other than the Lexus which had a well crafted interior and was wonderfully quiet and it was very reliable. I take care of my cars but fun to drive is way more important than reliability. I WILL NOT DRIVE AN APPLIANCE! I must have GRACE, SPACE and PACE!

  • Mike

    Agreed. I’m not completely sold on the idea that Audi being reliable.

  • Geralt of Rivia

    I was watching the first season of The Grand Tour, Jeremy Clarkson stated that the Germans build the best cars in the world, every one else agreed. Enough said.