Are the Germans really that good?

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Thread: Are the Germans really that good?

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    Are the Germans really that good?

    I have noticed all of the chatter about GM and PSA and Opel.



    To cut to the quick, are Germans plants and those who work in them really that good? I am talking in terms of quality.


    If they are: Maybe it would be time to put the Opel brand in storage and use it to boost Chevy or something else in Europe. Maybe start building Cadillacs there.


    If they arn't: Maybe it would be a good idea to just give away those plants to another maker and keep the engineering and design folks and build stuff
    elsewhere.


    Can someone help me with this?
    Last edited by Nordoff; 11-13-2012 at 03:51 PM.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    In one word: Yes

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Not really, Trollhattan was better for all objective metrics

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Is Volkswagen a perennial bottom feeder when it comes to quality? Do people own Bmws much past warranty?

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bejeweled View Post
    Is Volkswagen a perennial bottom feeder when it comes to quality? Do people own Bmws much past warranty?
    You're going to run the gamut on answers on that one.

    To a VW and BMW tech, they're probably the best cars on the road. VW has the rep of haunting electrical problems. So many BMW's are leased because of the high maintenance costs (often included in the lease). If you own one out of warranty, better have deep, deep, pockets. But they are a blast to drive.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordoff View Post
    To cut to the quick, are Germans plants and those who work in them really that good? I am talking in terms of quality.


    If they are: Maybe it would be time to put the Opel brand in storage and use it to boost Chevy or something else in Europe. Maybe start building Cadillacs there.


    If they arn't: Maybe it would be a good idea to just give away those plants to another maker and keep the engineering and design folks and build stuff
    elsewhere.


    Can someone help me with this?
    Manufacturing in Germany is not Opel's problem nor is it the solution for Cadillac in Europe (there are car makers that succeed in Europe with and without plants in Germany). So getting manufacturing out of Germany or moving Cadillac production there doesn't solve any of the problems that need to be solved.

    Does that help?
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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCritical View Post
    You're going to run the gamut on answers on that one.

    To a VW and BMW tech, they're probably the best cars on the road. VW has the rep of haunting electrical problems. So many BMW's are leased because of the high maintenance costs (often included in the lease). If you own one out of warranty, better have deep, deep, pockets. But they are a blast to drive.
    BMW resale value seems really high for the first few years then drops waaaaaay off as issues start popping up
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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bejeweled View Post
    Is Volkswagen a perennial bottom feeder when it comes to quality? Do people own Bmws much past warranty?
    The cars are generally well made. I think most of the quality issues are from engineering flaws and cost cutting on components, not manufacturing.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    GM's plants in Germany should be OK. This is a mature market with deep pools of qualified labour force, and those factories have been running for very long to develop experience and streamline processes. GM also kept investing in them enough to keep them up-to-date and up to the general industry standards.

    The problem, if any, with any GM plant is for it to have anything to produce. Those plants are not flexible enough to build cars on more than one or two platforms at a time, and GM is notorious for loose platform integration (even cars on theoretically the same platform may share too little for cost-effective building on the same line) and proliferation of unrelated models doing the same job, while not covering others adequately. Product and production planning also suffers.

    Let us start with GM outsourcing small vans to Tofas-Fiat in Turkey, having overcapacity themselves. This was because they needed to hastily replace the old Opel Combo and had no budget to develop a new model having spent a lot on three different compact Thetas (Captiva+Antara+VUE, Equinox+Terrain, SRX+9-4X). Then there are GM Daewoo Chevrolets imported from Korea to Europe and Opels exported from Europe to Australia and China. And the game goes on.

    And yes, Trollhattan was better in terms of efficiency, flexibility and baseline costs.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    As far as not producing in Germany - easier said than done. By the time the German government and unions are done with GM (or any other manufacturer) it will be really hard to close a plant.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Thanks for bringing up the subject. I consider the whole German automotive Juggernaut thing one of the most intriguing as well as disturbing developments of the last decade. Let's put matters into perspective. The present economic crisis in the EU is bad, and will get worse before it evens out. PSA, Renault, Fiat, Opel and Ford Europe have been losing multi billions over the last couple of years. Plants need to close, thousands of employees lose their job... And then there's the German Wieder Wirtschaftswunder. For VAG (VW, Audi, Porsche etc.), BMW and Daimler (Mercedes) last year turned out their best year ever: a combined profit of 30 billion euro, close to 40 billion USD. BMW will probably better its sales this year.

    What is disturbing is that you, Yanks, don't seem to care! Over and over I have tried to bring this to the attention of GMI readers. The Germans are that good because they systematically seek out the most profitable segments in the global car market, and they have a good sense of what the future of motoring, car travel, personal mobility, etc. will be. Think that GM is safe in its fastest-growing car market, China? I would not be surprised if the Germans, who already have the advantage of compromised Japanese competition because of the conflicts regarding those small islands, will roll back Detroit's presence in the years to come. What's funny, is that the pathetic excuse that American labor has become too expensive is being refuted by German autoworkers, who are the most expensive in the world.
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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    OMG if only we stupid Americans could be as smart as the Europeans we could probably land a man on the moon or a vehicle on Mars.

    Do you not think that GM can take advantage of the compromised Japanese competition?

    First it was Toyota the juggernaut and now the Germans. When we will ever be able to compete.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    It's not about the Europeans. Germans are the subject here. All Asian brands put together don't make as much money as the Germans do. Besides, Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda have to cope with surging Korean competition. The Koreans will feel the heat coming from the Chinese within 5 years or so. When is the proverbial light bulb coming on? All German brands make a lot of money, except Opel... which is run by GM. My suggestion for Detroit? Simple: fire all board members and sr. management, hire Germans (and Japanese) to run all brands.
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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Thanks for the laughs and clarity as I too agree completely with you...

    Quote Originally Posted by supermoto View Post
    OMG if only we stupid Americans could be as smart as the Europeans we could probably land a man on the moon or a vehicle on Mars.

    Do you not think that GM can take advantage of the compromised Japanese competition?

    First it was Toyota the juggernaut and now the Germans. When we will ever be able to compete.

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    Re: Are the Germans really that good?

    Yes, they are good for making you overpay for some stuff you do not need in the name of boosting your self-esteem by selling you “the best or nothing” etc..

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