GM, Ford, Chrysler vs. Toyota, Nissan, Honda production

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Brian wrote:


My Dad's got a 92 Dakota (5.2 v8). 198,000 miles on the original trans. Never even changed the fluid and filter (yeah, that's abuse but its not my truck). I helped him replace the steering rack a few weeks ago, and the darn thing drives and runs like new. Its durable as a cockroach, as far as I can tell.
Replacing mutliple trannies in a Dodge truck is a sign of an incompetent dealer. That tranny is the A-518, which is the venerable old A-727 with an overdrive tacked on. About the only problem they ever had was that up through mid-year '92, a torrington bearing in the O/D could fail under heavy loads.
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Approximately 8/27/03 09:47, 'nuther Bob uttered for posterity:

Snip from Business Week Online...
" There must be a lot of long faces at the headquarters of the Mercedes Car Group in Stuttgart. On July 8, the world's most esteemed luxury auto maker suffered the humiliation of seeing its ranking in the annual J.D. Power & Associates Inc. survey of car dependability plunge to No. 26 from No. 16 last year, eight slots below the industry average, trailing Chrysler, Ford, and Plymouth. "
Not only did Chrysler beat Mercedes, but a dead brand also did....
Go figure.
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says...

I've noticed that Mercedes-Benz has been engaging in mass production of cars that are priced entirely too low. Something had to give and that's what happened.
The moment they switched from quality to quantity they sealed their fate.
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Since when is any Mercedes priced low???
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Maybe not where you are, but they now produce many budget vehicles and in Europe, where their cars are often taxi's, their commercial vehicles and budget cars compete on equal terms with Toyota, Nissan, Ford and GM. Only the sad give credence to the badge or their perceived image of the product. IMHO the A Class and the early new-model C plus the V are, or were, truly dire products. The M, while being a reasonably well engineered product, also has barely acceptable build quality and fit-and-finish. Were it not for the badge and a fair driving experience then these products would bomb in big style.
Huw
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I don't agree, even not living in the UK. The A-class starts at L13000, while the Golf, at L10000. The C and E-class may be used as cabs, but they're still more expensive than similarly sized and appointed cars by other manufacturers.
Granted, a L13000-car is a 1st for MB, but all its models are significantly more expensive than the competition, even when not offering anything that justify commanding the premium, other than infantile snob.

It's always been like that. Since the early 80's, thus before the "cheap" 190 and A-class, the S-class was plagued by electrical problems, for instance. Let's just face it: high prices don't automatically equate to high quality.
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I worked at a Union grocery store while I went through college. Parents didn't have enough income to support me fully so I had to pay my own rent and such. I couldn't get the income based grants though because my parents inhereted 50 acres of land in WV. The .gov said sell your land for the money. Well land in WV doesn't sell very easy even if they wanted to. Anyway, I was part time and had to work around ym school schedule, I worked there because the store was open 24/7 and was big so there was always work to be done. All the union people started "bumping" my hours because they had senority over me. They would let me know it too, I would reply my schedule can't be changed because I have school, I can't have an overlap of the two, but they would try anyway and sit down with the union steward and whine about it. Sometimes they would actually change my schedule to hours that I was in school so of course I would get repremanded for coming in late. The other part was I didn't want to be in the union, didn't need to be in the union and didn't care or even disagreed with the unions political views. I wasn't going to work there forever, just through school so I didn't care about senority or benefits and stuff like that. They took my money and gave it to organizations like the Bill Clinton electrion fund, stonewall union (gay rights), abortion clinics, etc I promise myself I won't ever work for a union shop again.
As far as parts to build, this is my unscientific observiation. Most import cars were/are smaller, yes they are closing the gap, but you can still set two mid size class cars side by side and the Ameircan car will be slightly larger, which means there will be more sheets of metal welded together, more seperate interrior plastc, etc. Also the import car engines seem to have a lot of "modules". Go stand in line at an auto parts store, American car owners will buy $5-$15 sensors like the map sensor, cam sensor, crank sensor, etc. Import car owners always seem to by needing $300 modules. From what I have seen, they combine several functions into one 'module' which makes assembly faster since there are fewer seperate sensors to bolt in and plug up the wires, but they cost more when one of those sensors fail. And the myth of the imports being more relaible doesn't seem to hold up in line at the parts store counter, there seem to be as many import owners needing parts.

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VW have to compete here in the same class as Ford and GM. Golf and Focus diesels sell for about the same money for equivelent specifications. The A Class is probably more of a Focus/Golf alternative than a Fiesta/Polo alternative. The A is certainly more than competitive on passenger space with those others.

Mercedes reliability is good. Maybe not the best but still very good.
a mere 2-year warranty in

3 year warranty in the UK. Service intervals around 15000 miles apart. High resale value for most models. Depreciation is by far the highest cost of car ownwership apart from fuel. Mercedes has superb residual value generally, [though the V is a bit iffy] and therefore, along with its low servicing cost, it is not an expensive car to own.

Averaged out over milage, the cost of repair should be not much more than any other car. Once over 5 years and over 70 to 80 tousand miles these cars are typically not serviced by a main dealer and, in common with all cars, common wearing parts [fast movers] can be bought relitively cheaply through motor factors.
Then again, if one's leasing for a couple of

Companies lease and they lease on cost. Cost is vastly influenced by the service and residual costs. More and more companies lease prestige marques. Private buyers are most likely to buy prestige and least likely to buy Mondeo/Vectra because they do not have sufficient discount to make these cars competitive against C or 3 series in running cost.
I get the impession that Mercedes and BMW are rare where you are. Believe me when I say that they are trully mass market in Europe. At least they are below S and 7.

Does anyone buy those?

VW a reliability benchmark? I don't think so! Reliability benchmark in the UK is Toyota and Honda. Maybe Nissan, but certainly not VW who I perceive to be not much better than average. The average must surely consist of Ford and Vauxhall/Opel who make up the majority of sales but since these have made huge improvements in recent years they are certainly as good as VW IMO.
Huw
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I don't know, it makes me puke... :-)

Hey, it fared 26th place in a long term reliability survey by JD Power!

It is over here...

Say, is it true that because taxes are so high in Europe many people drive company cars as part of their compensation to avoid taxes?

Nope, they're a dime a dozen. Well, not a dime, but it seems that they're like belly-buttons, especially the 3-series...

Plenty. In my trips to Europe I seldom see anything above a 4 cylinder Diesel, often under the skins of the likes of 3-series, A4, etc. Pityful...

That's the impression I get from reading European magazines (Quattroruote)...

OK
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Is that a long term study of mechanical reliability or a study of the assembly quality of new vehicles? Whichever it is, like all surveys of this kind, take it with a pinch of salt. In general, reliability is much of a muchness except for particular models within a range at a particular time [such as a new model with glitches in early production] and for a trend for a manufacturer to be particularly good or bad. All manufacturers products away from [say] the bottom and top 10% are very close together in reality.

I don't know about 'Europe' but here in the UK many take company cars because it is part of their salary package. There may or may not be a tax advantage according to circumstances but you can be assured that an employee is taxed on his company supplied car.

Plenty of four cylinder cars but you specifically mentioned four cylinder "Like a 4-cylinder 5-series? :-P" which you trimmed from above where I have inserted **** I can tell you that 5 series is common here but four cylinder versions are rare.

It wouldn't happen to be a German based magazine ;-)

Huw
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Check it out for yourself: <http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID 03050>. No mere 10% difference. Funny enough, it's MB that drags down Damler-Chrysler. ;-)

Interesting. Thanks for the bit of information.

No, I mean 4-cylinder 5-series and others, like the E-series and the A6. Again, pityful. A big turn off seeing a sleek A6 clacking like a tractor...

Nope, an Italian one. How do brands rank in the perception of reliability there in the UK?
TIA
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Neo wrote:

Oh yeah this is a valid survey ...... Buick ranked 3rd with 179 problem per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet was 17th with 272 problems per 100 vehicels, Oldsmobile was 19th with 283 problems per 100 vehicles, and Pontiac was 21st with 293 problems per 100 vehicles.....Doesn't this make you wonder?????? Buicks are not built in unique plants. For the most part, they are built by the same people on the same assembly lines that are building Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs. This survey is nothing more than people spitting back the ads run by the companies and the stuuff they read in newpapers.
Check out the local Lexus dealer sometimes - the lot at our local dealer's shop is packed with vehicles. I suppose they are there for routinne service....yeah right.
Ed
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 21:49:12 GMT, "C. E. White"

This is prolly a circumstance that the Oshawa, Canada plant, which builds the Marque leading Regal, also builds the nearly forgotten Grand Prix. This plant has been advertised (in Canada, at least) as the plant with the least problems in the entire Western hemisphere.
Vuarra
Quid quid latine dictum sit altum videtur. (That which is said in Latin sounds profound.)
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I have bought a 1999 GMC Jimmy (brand new) and I have had to: - replace the rear main seal - replace the oil cooler lines (three times) - re-glue the outside door cladding - replace the wheel hubs+ bearings (3 of them) - replace the seat back handle - replace the head gasket - then another oil leak: I was told the rear main seal was leaking again as well as the manifold intake. Just when I was pondering what to do about this, the engine blows (I have put in a new engine) after less than four years and 110,000 kms. - replaced the turn signal (around CDN$500) - noise in the dashboard: it appears that an engine mount is bad
So, now, what brand should I consider next ? Hmmm, amybe another GM ?

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with MB fairing the worst.
--
Clive

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writes

This is the issue with the sensational "German brands lose their shine" cover page? Not worth the paper it is written on! This sensationalism is based on an apparently very poor showing from the Audi TT and a deterioration in the just released E class compared to the well sorted prior model [surprise surprise]. In fact all car models from all makers seem to be very reliable but it is no surprise to find the Japanese vehicles all at the top end of a crowded reliability scale.
Huw
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You haven't been keeping up much, have you? Reports within the past year from both Consumer Reports and JD Power (as well as informal ones by Motor Trend and others) reveal that German quality has slipped to or below American levels. YEOWCH! Mercedes is the worst offender, with most of their cars getting black marks (1s and 2s out of 5) at CR. They've slipped below GM, which is on the rise. As is Hyundai. Mercedes has always been overrated, second-rate crap to BMW in every way anyway. Inferior engines, inferior suspensions (ride and handling), inferior steering feel, inferior styling, inferior pricing, inferior resale value. Across the board. And they try to compensate for all this by endowing their lineup with bigger engines. What an American solution. Now that Mercedes can't build their cars to Chevy Cavalier standards, their prestige will surely go down as it deserved to years ago.
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Have you ever been in one of the Big 3's plants? I have, for extended periods, and I can tell you exactly why that is. The folks don't want to work. but they want paid (plus overtime) period. end of story. I've personally seen them sleeping, (even have beds made out of milk crates and foam), witnessed them deliberately disable/crash/destroy equipment so they can work the weekend on overtime (and laugh about doing it). The companies install 200% capacity so they can run 60% actual. It is unbelievable unless you have personally witnessed it.
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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Hooray for UAW!
Then they'll come to this forum complaining about jobs going to Mexico or Canada, where workers give more than a damn about their job. :-)
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wrote:

Extended periods? How many times did they fire your ass for sleeping or trashing equipment? I just don't understand how you ever got rehired.
--Vic
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