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Old 10-06-2000, 06:06 PM   #1
kevinsUBARU
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Talking Why are German cars better than American cars? Im writing a essay for English 101

Hey, sorry its not subie related but a lot of people have cars other than subies also. So the topic explains it all...Why are German cars better than American cars? The prof wanted it to be German (nothing else) so I have to work with that. Thanks!

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Old 10-06-2000, 06:26 PM   #2
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Damn, working, don't have enough time to answer this one well. If I finish early I'll throw in two cents later. With the responses from everyone, your paper could be done....by us...by sunday
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Old 10-06-2000, 06:35 PM   #3
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Enthusiast: Rear wheel drive, baby!
Romantic: Ohh - ze leather!
Racer: Built for the autobahn!
Engineer: Nobody is more efficient than a German technician!
Artist: Ever see the exhaust header on an '88 M5?
Communist: Hey, Germans make the People's Car!
Capitalist: Hey, Germans make Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Audi!
Facist: Uh - skip this one.
SubeDriver: Bah!
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Old 10-06-2000, 06:40 PM   #4
kevinsUBARU
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Wink

I already know that when I go to the bone yard to sit and shift the gears in old subies (yeah, I have a disease which is only cured briefly by going to junk yards, sitting in old subies, closing my eyes, and letting the 85hp engine rip up to red line before I dump the clutch...the other thing I think about is driving a Brat in 4Low through some mud to make the big lifted guys jealous ) So anyhow, as I was saying..I always see at least 6-7 times as many american as foreign in general, sitting in the yard.
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Old 10-06-2000, 07:35 PM   #5
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I blame Germany's awsome educational system for their great cars. If you are a machinist or and assembler in Germany you have to go through school and on the job training before you can call yourself a machinist or assembler. All their techs have an assiciates or bachelors. And any engineer has a bachelors in engineering. If you have a job title in Germany you had to earn it. Plus after a hard day of work they know how to have a good time.
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Old 10-06-2000, 09:27 PM   #6
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Germany doesn't have it all great. My cousin and her husband are visiting from Germany and we were taling about cars the other day. He said that the M5 and M3 which are up around 350, 400hp here I believe are tuned down to about 250hp in Germany. I couldn't believe it. The home of BMW, and they don't even get a full spec M series car. USA finally not getting shafted on cars.
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Old 10-06-2000, 10:06 PM   #7
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Sleeper...

Duuuuude.. What sort of pills are you taking.. ?

Coz Mate I'd love some..

The Euro specs Bimmers have always produced WAAAY more hp than their American cousins.. Well until the latest version of the M5 and the upcoming M3 when America will at last be equal to the rest of the world..

Richard
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Old 10-06-2000, 10:14 PM   #8
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man you're very very wrong on that one! richard is right! ....Germany is built the first time right, but alot of up front $$$ ...amercian find the car first cheap then over time service and repair $$$$ ...when do you want to pay? once or for the rest of your life?

Facist: VW ..Hitler's gift to the world

[This message has been edited by Faraz (edited October 06, 2000).]
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Old 10-06-2000, 10:19 PM   #9
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Back to the real topic..

German culture has an attention to detail that just does not exist in America..

To see one's former German grandfather-in-law lining up the jars of herbs and spices in the pantry...

Well what can you say really. Other than they were VERY neat and in Alphabetic order

Richard
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Old 10-07-2000, 04:55 AM   #10
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I think the german companies put a lot more into a vehicle. They design them for enthusiasts. American companies are more concerned with the bottom line, and that means volume. Since the majority of americans aren't enthusiasts they don't have to put as much performance into the car to sell it. When they do make something fast, it is large and handles like a pig.

America's design it fast, get it to the showroom fast mentality also takes away from a lot of the fit and finish. I will admit that american cars have been getting better, but they still aren't up to par with some of the german and japanese companies.
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Old 10-07-2000, 06:18 AM   #11
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HmmÖ Iíll take a stab at this. They make great cars because of a mix of ego and pride. German's have historically been known for their engineering excellence. So when a parents have a smart little kid they wish he could be an engineer. (Kinda like here in the US, a great aspiration would to become a Doctor or Lawyer Ė and perhaps this is why we have excellent medical technology here as well as enough laws and lawsuits to choke a horse.) If it is a highly respected field of work, highly self-motivated people will gravitate towards it.

Iíve also been involved with the purchasing of automated packaging equipment for work. Most of the best quality equipment comes from Germany, but there are draw backs. First of all it can cost almost 4 times as much as itís domestic counterpart and takes twice as long to get. Secondly, they have different work ethics than the US. They rarely are willing to work around the clock, busting their a$$ to get it out the door to fit your timeline - when itís done itís done. This also means that they take their time, do it right and produce a quality piece of machinery.

Basically, I think it is a combination of better people aspiring to the engineering field, along with more quality oriented work ethics and pride on the production side.
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Old 10-07-2000, 07:38 AM   #12
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Oh, god... here we go again.

Calm down, calm down. Repeat, "You won't start ripping a$$es over generalizations anymore. You won't start ripping a$$es over generalizations anymore."

Just walk away from this post... that's it, nice and easy. No sudden burst of anger over ignorant generalizations.

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Old 10-07-2000, 07:40 AM   #13
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Being the owner of a 14 year old BMW with over 200,000 miles I think I can be of help.

Nothing it built as solid as a German car. This thing (86 E28) is a tank. The doors close with a solidity not found on American cars. The engine starts immediately and runs with that smooth well balanced precision that on the BMW six has. The interior leather is still near perfect. The carpets are still mint (and are the only ones I have ever seen with 20mm padding). The paint is still in great shape. ALL the electrics still work, sunroof, windows, locks, seats.
The driving experience is wonderfull. Balance, composure, surefootedness.
No American car has all these qualities.

The Germans are also especially adept at building in that intangible "something" that makes you smile the moment you pull out of the dirveway.

-Matt
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Old 10-07-2000, 10:20 AM   #14
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Thanks to our educational system I'm a smartass...
Big difference is also in the customers.
Most american customers lease their cars and don't care about quality that much, because they replace it with another new one after 3 years. Most german customers buy their cars.
Plus to be a mechanic you have to go through a 3 years apprentienceship(aeh, spelling?) to get the lowest degree. Thats right, EVERY mechanic has to have a degree. No greasemonkeys there. Of course some still suck.
Next thing is the way of engineering a vehicle. In Germany most of the testing is done during the design, at least way before any customer sees the car. In the US the cars get built first and then recalled.
The mindset is more biased to build first and if it breaks, they make it thicker, rather than testing until its nearly perfect and then making the whole car.
Then the workethics of the workers:
In Germany you have your workhours and if the planning is right, the work gets done in 40hrs/week. Thats because they care and know what they are doing.
In the US the worker(automotive) is mostly concerned about making overtime to get as much money as possible to buy luxury stuff.
Most places I've seen here(US) where extensive overtime is made, the pace is slower than a snail and nobody really cares. This does not apply to overtime that happens because of something going wrong, those guys really work their A**es off.
So, lots of different reasons, not all apply in all circumstances, of course.
Still drivin' a Japanese subcompact...
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Old 10-07-2000, 10:27 AM   #15
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CHARISMA! CHARACTER! my dub may have broken before, but its something you fix with love! you guys may have all the fun on dirt, but mah vr6 will destroy youz all on the pavey pavement! people who buy american cars buy em for transportation, people who buy german do it cuz they love driving.

[This message has been edited by Pezboy420 (edited October 07, 2000).]
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Old 10-07-2000, 10:32 AM   #16
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CHARISMA! CHARACTER! my dub may have broken before, but its something you fix with love! you guys may have all the fun on dirt, but mah vr6 will destroy youz all on the pavey pavement!

oh yeah! FARAZ YOU DORK! VW aint no more naziesque than the rest of german cars! hitler rode round in them thar mercedez bents! Porcshe built huge tanky tanks! :P
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Old 10-07-2000, 11:45 AM   #17
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Germany also does not follow the same philosophy of American Car Platforms. True, the Beetle, TT, and others are built on the same platform, but the parts that they share are designed for both cars, not just one and crammed into another to make it fit. They also won't chop off 2 cylinders of a V-8 to make a V-6, they will engineer a completely new engine.

Germans also have a very stringent set of standards that are followed to a "t". They don't base their design on the market, i.e. U.S. manufacturers think, "Hmm...the average consumer buys a new car every 3-5 years, therefore we should only design our parts to last 3-5 years." I have a feeling that Germans (and the Japanese) don't think this way, instead they base their design and failure mode calcs on a much longer life cycle. I am not sure about how Germans are about their assembly line (I have yet to visit the BMW plant), but I know most American Co.'s will not stop the line at any cost, because some accountant determined that they lose $XXX,XXX per second that it doesn't run. So any defects that result from poor assembly are reworked once the car is off the line or forgotten about (we find them after we buy the car-my friend's '98 Camaro had an alignment problem with the drifeshaft and gearbox, as a result the car ate 3 transmissions before the problem was properly diagnosed, all before 50,000 miles and in less than two years). Japanese Co.'s use on time assembly, where the line is actually stopped if a defect is found and the problem is fixed then and there. Therefore, more problems are nipped at the bud resulting in a higher quality vehicle. I think Germany uses a similiar process, but you should double check.

My Dad had an 82 BMW 728i when we were overseas, and that car was by far the best we ever had. Pity he couldn't bring it to the States (Amerispec and emissions would have killed the poor thing). The doors closed with a resounding, solid thunk, the engine was extremely smooth and well balanced, and is was completely devoid of any noise, rattles, or squeaks. On one ocassion, my dad hit a rock in the middle of the desert and it took out most of the oil pan. He got the car home and noticed an oil leak and the hole, so he took it to a mechanic and they replaced the whole oil pan. The car had almost no oil in it for God knows how long and it did not die or strand him in the 120 F desert. That car was bulletproof and is the reason why I would buy a new BMW M3 in a heartbeat if I could afford one (although IMHO they are a bit overpriced) and park it next to my Impreza P1 WRX (I'm dreaming) and Legacy.
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Old 10-07-2000, 01:08 PM   #18
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Ever been to Germany?
Most of the cars are smaller subcompacts with 1.0-1.6 ltr engines in it. VW makes the Lupo, the Polo, Opel makes the Corsa, the Astra, the Vectra, MB makes the A class, the Smart, lots of French and Spanish cars.
Yeah right, most german cars are luxory cars. Try to get a rental car with a 2 ltr engine in the midsized segment. Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2000, 01:11 PM   #19
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Yea, but even America's high end cars(like the viper) can't compare to the German high end cars. The viper is a performance monster, but it wasn't designed like a german car would be. Vipers aren't very driver friendly. The driving position is all messed up. You sit in one spot, have the pedals a little offset to your left, and the steering wheel slightly offset to your right. Makes for a very uncomfortable driving position. The interior quality of the viper isn't up to par with an equally priced mercedes, bmw, or porsche either.

I will hand it to Dodge though, they did do quite a job on the performance side of the viper. Of course the only reason they made the viper at all was for advertising purposes. They didn't build the viper for enthusiasts. They built the viper to win races, attract attention, and get customers into the showroom. The customer will see this $80,000 beast, and be impressed. Then the salesmen will try to intrest them in a Neon. American companies are only concerned about the bottom line. German companies build a car with a purpose. They make their cars to appeal to the enthusiasts, and appeal to the luxury folks. The only time american companies do that is when they want to get attention so they can sell more of their low end cars.

Edit, also wanted to mention the Corvette. I actually like the C5 Corvette very much. For years chevy hasn't made a good corvette, but they seem to have gotten most things right with the C5. The only thing that doesn't equal Germany on the new corvette is its overall fit and finish. It is very nice, but has rattles and vibrations that you won't find in say a BMW M3, or Porsche 911.

[This message has been edited by Eby (edited October 07, 2000).]
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Old 10-07-2000, 01:17 PM   #20
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Maybe its a social cost thing as well, Particularly since the 1960's a typical German employee is very expensive to their company, with high taxation and social costs (welfare payments etc) Therefore The Germans HAD to produce high quality vehicles/appliances as they could not compete on costs. A German company will never be able to produce for as low a cost as an American company, but they realised that they could produce a better product.

Now that doesn't cover the pre 1960's very well, but there you are looking at a whole different set of circumstances, immediatley post war the German economy was f***ed, with most tooling and machinery destroyed, this was replaced with new equipment (thanks to Marshall Plan) and gave the Germans an immediate advantage over other economies. There is an agruement that this legacy of decent new equipment enabled them to set up the expensive welfare and social systems, that led to the situation above.

Over all this is a regard for education that leads to benefits as described in other posts.

The other thing I like about the German system is that if you are a Doctor you are refered to as Herr Doctor XXXX and if you are a Doctor with an additional Phd, you are Herr Doctor Doctor, must get confusing if you are a "lifetime" student, how many Doctors can you fit in one line of your addresss?
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Old 10-07-2000, 02:27 PM   #21
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wolve80, please don't misinform our friend here. Those Mercedes you see are likely mid-late 70's 240d's. How many 70's Mustangs do you see running around (that have not gone through a complete restoration) As they are diesels they put out a bit of soot. They also last about 500,000 miles. They were/are used as taxis in Europe because they are so durable.
German manufacturers make MANY sub $25k cars, it is just that most of them are not imported in the US. In Germany you can buy a Mercedes with a cloth interior, crank windows, and a small displacement motor if you wish. BMW 3 series can be had for low 20's with 1.6 litre engines. Same for Audis. And they will still last forever. The overall price of the vehicle has nothing to do with the quality that Germans build in. The VW TDI 1.3l Lupo is built with aluminum and magnesium body panels and uses probably the world's most efficient combustion engine. The quality is VERY high, regardless of price. My current Golf IV has a level of quality equal to my former Audi 200t.
Im my opinion the Germans just care more about what they are doing. It is personal for them, their craft, their skill is reflected in their product. UAW workers just want the most money for the least time and effort spent, and if they don't get it they strike.

The impression that price is directly relative to quality is a unique American characteristic. As long as American manufacturing continues to think that way it is unlikely things will change.

..sorry for the extra bit of vitriol...

-Matt
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Old 10-07-2000, 03:49 PM   #22
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rsquire,

I'm not on any pills. This is right from a German. I couldn't believe it either when he told me that. I was just stating some information that was given to me by a real live person that lives in the Motherland. Question for you. When reading hp in europe, is hp usually written as kW? Because if it is, the M5 has 294kW on the German BMW website. I'm not trying to offend your intelligence, I'm just trying to get my facts straight.
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Old 10-07-2000, 03:54 PM   #23
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Eby, you're comparing an American sportscar with German luxury cars, from a luxury car company? Of course the German car will come out on top. True sportscars are nowhere near as refined as luxury cars. Most sportscars choose function over comfortability and that's why it is less refined than the German luxury sedans.
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Old 10-07-2000, 04:14 PM   #24
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Sleeper,

kW=KiloWatts, 1000 Watts
1 kW = 1.34102 hp
therefore, 294kW = 394.26 hp
They measure everything in the SI Unit System over there, Torque is measured in N*m (Newton Meters) as opposed to ft*lb. Oddly enough though, I see them using mph more than kph. Hope this helps. By the way, to confuse matters even more Japan & some Europeans use a PS (piedelstraffe (sp?)(I think)), which is also German and is almost equla to one horsepower.
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Old 10-07-2000, 04:40 PM   #25
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Oh man, I haven't laughed that hard for a while!!
What in the world is piedelstraffe? Nothing german, thats for sure. I'm german, so I know. PS means Pferdestaerke, translated the strenght that one single horse has. But piedelstraffe, thats hilarious!
BTW sleeper, I don't know what those other germans have been smoking, but the US M3 has about 240hp, while the german one has around 320hp. horsepower means the same as pferdestaerke, but is slightly different in dimension.
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