Japanese Top Auto Quality Study; GM Gains Ground

This is a note worthy survey because the cars are 3 years old, not 3 months. Check out Mercedes, that POS. All you "German engineering" fanatics should
be scratching your head now because there really isn't any valid reason for you to justify your expensive purchase...except the fact most of you are suffering from the "small penis syndrome". "German cars last forever"..LMAO
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Tue Jul 8, 1:05 PM ET Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Justin Hyde
DETROIT (Reuters) - While Japan's largest automakers dominated an annual vehicle quality survey released on Tuesday, General Motors Corp., scored highly and DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes brand stalled.
The benchmark J.D. Power and Associates survey of long-term vehicle quality polled 55,000 owners of 3-year-old vehicles and found that some automakers are not living up to their promises -- or reputation -- for better quality.
"About half of new car buyers say longer-term dependability is a key factor in choosing which vehicle they want," said Joe Ivers, J.D. Power's executive director of quality and customer satisfaction research. "This is becoming the next major issue in the auto industry, and a much more consistent focus from automaker to automaker than it has been in the past."
As it has for the past several years, Toyota Motor Corp. (news - web sites)'s Lexus luxury unit topped the brand rankings with 163 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Infiniti brand, GM's Buick unit, Porsche AG and Honda Motor Co. (news - web sites) Ltd.'s Acura brand.
Among manufacturers overall, Porsche led the list, followed closely by Toyota. Honda, Nissan and BMW AG rounded out the top five.
GM was the only one of Detroit's Big Three automakers to rank above the industry average of 273 problems per 100 vehicles, with its Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet brands all performing above average.
Ivers noted that GM had never performed above the industry average in prior surveys and that the survey backed up claims from GM executives that they were matching the quality of Japanese automakers.
"This year, we see them (GM) sort of turn a corner," he said. "They've begun to show evidence of closing that gap" with foreign automakers.
PLYMOUTH VS. MERCEDES
Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand scored just above Honda and its Mercury brand did better than the industry average. But the Ford brand was below average, with 273 problems per 100 vehicles, dragging down the company as a whole.
While Ford's F-Series pickup topped its class, the survey was the first to include the Ford Focus, which was plagued with quality problems when it was launched in 1999.
"Since the 1997 model year, Ford vehicles have been improving on a consistent basis. This year is a bit of an exception," Ivers said. "The Focus is one of those vehicles that hasn't aged gracefully."
Perhaps the study's most shocking results involve DaimlerChrysler. Since the 1998 merger, Daimler executives have contended that Mercedes-Benz's knowledge of how to build quality vehicles would be used to improve the Chrysler brands.
But Chrysler, Dodge and the now-defunct Plymouth brand all outranked Mercedes, which had 318 problems per 100 vehicles. Ivers said Mercedes' troubles were concentrated in its M-Class sport utility vehicle and its E-Class sedans, which accounted for roughly half its sales.
"The M-Class has had a lot of problems since its launch," Ivers said. "The rate of deterioration on the E-Class is greater than on any other vehicle in the industry."
Long-term quality often translates into money won or lost for automakers. Ivers said Honda's reputation for durability translates to a $1,500 premium in the new-car market, with a even larger premium in used vehicles.
In addition, auto suppliers have said Japanese automakers' warranty costs average $300 to $400 per vehicle, with Toyota averaging less than $100 per vehicle, compared with $600 to $700 per vehicle for the Big Three.
This year's survey is not directly comparable to previous studies because J.D. Power lowered the age of the vehicles it was monitoring to catch problems earlier.
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Japanese cars have always been more reliable. We know that. There are reasons other than reliability to buy a car . Aethetics (which Lexus has never gotten right in my opinion) is one e.g.
h

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I don't know, elmo, I think that your passion on this is admirable if somewhat perplexing. For myself I couldn't care less what other people drive. You want to buy a Rolls or a Kia--that's OK with me. Personally I find the Lexus offerings insipid and lacking in style. I do think that they are much more reliable than MBs though. I don't begrudge anyone choosing reliability over style (although I think that there are many other reasons to choose MB over Lexus as well such as safety and innovation).
I'm amused that you're so concerned over what I drive as I couldn't care less what you, personally, drive.
h
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No doubt, and drivability is another. However, you can't drive it when it is in the shop, and as the survey suggests, it's there a lot. My MB mechanic no longer recommends recent vintage MB's, as I've posted in the past. BTW, my S 600 with 56K miles and $8k in repairs in the last year is now gone, and my LS 430 arrives in about a week. Will I miss the MB? You bet! It will be nice to take a trip, though, and think I'll get home without a breakdown. I realize that this is a single data point, but the Powers survey vindicates what most honest MB service managers will tell you. Funny how the salesman's opinion and the mechanic's often differ.
You can't do it with style alone and hopefully MB will wise up, although with the early reliability record on the new E class it doesn't look like it. I suppose they will improve when they have to, and with the support of Chrysler's sheer numbers of sales, that may never happen. Too bad, just as the legendary reliability of Volvo is also no more. Ditto for Land Rover, with great off-road performance but legendary unreliability. No wonder they lost to Land Cruiser, although Land Cruiser doesn't import directly competitive models for the smaller Land Rovers. What's up with the Euros, i wonder? Still drinking French wine, though. ; )
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<<<All you "German engineering" fanatics should be scratching your head now because there really isn't any valid reason for you to justify your expensive purchase>>>
Priced American cars lately Elmo?
Scott D

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<<<All you "German engineering" fanatics should be scratching your head now because there really isn't any valid reason for you to justify your expensive purchase>>>
Priced American cars lately Elmo?
Scott D

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No doubt the japaneese cars are reliable. But I don't think their engines are as indestructible as the straight sixes from Benz & BMW, the V*'s from Benz, the 4's from saab and volvo- those engines routinely went hundreds of thousands of miles.
I'm sure every one on the list knows without thinking twice what a 20 year old E-class, 5/3 series, 240 or 900 look like. They're still all over the road. Can you tell me what a 20 year old Toyota looks like? Don't see may Cressida's on the road, do you?

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That is true, but too bad that the recent mercedes may not make 20 years like its predecessors.
20 years ago Toyota made economic little boxes, while mercedes made quality luxury automobiles. Today, Toyota makes quality luxury automobiles and economic automobiles, while mercedes make worse and worse luxury autos and totally "crappy" economics (e.g., C sport coupe - hatchback).
Leave out the Japanese, and the Buick still had better reliability than today's mercedes.
I love mercedes, but the company needs to wake up.
In short, bringing up a 20 year old mercedes in this argument is pointless. No one is arguing that mercedes used to make good cars. The concern is in their new line of cars.
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