Thursday, September 5, 2019

German cars are shit

German cars are shit. Apart from the old Beetles and Combi vans, Volkswagens are shit. VW/Audi/Porsche engaged in shady business practices by making software that retuned their diesel engines whenever it detected that emissions testing equipment was hooked up to their vehicles. Even the highest end Audis had this software. Some of these cars put out 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides. Meanwhile, American and Japanese cars meet these emissions standards.

JD Power Long Term Dependability Studies, which regularly rank American and Japanese cars as the most dependable, put German cars into entirely different categories, such as "Broke Down on the Way to Test Facility". In fact it was only in the last few years that German cars reached the same level of dependability as American and Japanese cars. For the previous 30 years before that they fell below the dependability of other brands.

The VW Jetta is consistently rated as a 1.5 star vehicle in consumer reports. The BMW X5 2011-2014 models were lemons. The first generation BMW X3s were lemons. The VW Tiguan is a lemon and the 2018 model was recalled for safety issues. The Mercedes GLC 2016-2017 models were designed such that even the simplest problems required hoisting the engine out, multiplying the cost of repairs enormously. All the repairs on German luxury cars are extremely expensive, but the parts are not made from better materials, so they don't last any longer and need to be replaced regularly, and at great expense. Why the extra cost for materials that are not higher quality? Well known German auto maker BMW bought the well known British miniature car maker, Mini, and since then the Mini Cooper S has become notorious for overheating and numerous other quirks. The Mini Cooper Countryman's transmission often fails after only 60K miles, and it has serious safety issues. The BMW 3-series 2008-2011 models have such bad cooling issues that it's recommended to replace the water pump and thermostat every 30,000 miles. The Audi A4 is the biggest heap of shit of all, known for misfiring due to failed spark plugs and coils, eating oil, and early failure of transmissions.

Just as an inside to German engineering in general, I'd just like to mentioned that I've worked for various technology companies over the years, and I currently work for a German technology company, and it's clear to me that their software development process is complete and utter shit, and I'm not even a software professional, I'm a hardware guy! Their IT department is shit too. And if you've ever had to rack equipment into German-built Euro-style electronics mounting racks, the ones with the round holes, you know that you want to personally strangle the inventor of these racks with your bare hands when you're finished working on them. So not only are German cars shit, but German engineering in general is shit.

The Germans are essentially resting on the laurels they gained as great engineers during the middle of the 20th century. That's why you still see VW Beetles, VW vans, and old Mercedes still on the road. However those days appear to be gone. The people who tell you a German car will last a million miles are the same ones that buy a new S class every three years.

So... clearly the people who are buying German cars are doing so because they don't do their research and know nothing about cars. But we kind of already knew that :-)

UPDATE July 2023:  I was recently looking for a budget sports car. At first I'd wanted a 2023 Nissan Z but the dealer said they have supply chain issue and they were hard to get.  So I looked around.  Then suddenly I stumbled across a 2013 BMW M6 at Carmax, twin turbocharged, 560 horsepower. This was a $110,000 car when it came out ten years ago.  So I bought it, knowing that I don't trust German cars, but that I'd have 30 days or 1500 miles to return it to Carmax for a full refund, plus a 90 day 4000 mile warranty, plus I paid for an exgtended warranty of 5 years or 75,000 odometer miles. I talked to various BMW mecahnics about it. I was told that this car has lots of plastic parts around the engine and of course an engine of that power gets super hot. So those plastic parts would deform and degrade in the heat. I was also told the car has a very complex cooling system and that I'd have continuous cooling system problems. I even talked to someone who owned a BMW repair business for decades, and he said he would never buy another BMW, that they're overengineered, overpriced, and that it's hard to tell people that their "dream car" BMW is a piece of shit.  Anyway, 8 days after buying this ridiculous car, I was on my fourth drive of the vehicle, and at exactly 200 miles I went to floor it and it threw a "Drivetrain malfunction" and went into "limp mode" where the full power of the vehicle is not available but you can still limp around at low speed.  So I limped back to Carmax and dropped the car there on a Sunday, hoping to hear some good news when they opened again on Monday. Well I talked to Carmax's service department and they said they were slammed and couldn't look at my car for at least a week, and then it would probably have to be sent to BMW and they might take 3 weeks to look at it.  I knew in that case my 30 days money back guarantee would be over by then, and since the car was obviously going to be a problem child, I returned the car and got a full refund.  Bee Em Trouble-you.  No thanks. In fact, looking at a great many European cars it became claer that it's not just German cars that are crap, but most European cars are crap. No more Euro crap for me.  Maybe I'll look around for that 2023 Nissan Z again, or maybe I'll just let me mid0life crissi sports car dream fade away and I'll find something better to do with that money.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more! It's not just Mercedes that need their engines hoist out for simple repairs either. My dad's Passat B6 is designed to completely defeat the use of any tool you put near it. You simply don't have the room or angle to do basic repairs. Today I wrestled on a new lower arm/wishbone on the front suspension and that was painful enough. I quit for the day and mentally prepared to do the other side. Well as it turns out VW decided to mount the transmission directly infront of one of the bolts, requiring removal of the front subframe! For one bolt!!? You got to be kidding me. My 35 year old Nissan is superior to this "German Engineering" in every conceivable way.It never consumed a drop of oil, it performs better and it's actually designed to come apart. It took 32 years for the wishbone to require replacement, unlike this POS, as a quick check revealed they had been replaced about 5 years ago! Don't buy these garbage vehicles, their primary purpose is to relieve customers of their money, getting you from A to B is a much lower priority!