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Interesting artilcle from USA Today. Sorry if its a repost but it didn't come up in my search.

European car sales hit skids in USA
By Earle Eldridge, USA TODAY
U.S. sales of European cars are tanking as buyers switch to Japanese or Detroit brands.
Sales of European brands fell 6.9% in the first quarter, while Asian brands were up 9.5% and domestic sales grew 2.2%, according to Autodata.

BMW, PRN, Volkswagen
European automakers, including BMW, from top, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, are seeing sales in the U.S. market slide.

Meanwhile, almost 40% of Volkswagen owners who bought a new car in the first quarter switched to an Asian brand, according to Power Information Network, an affiliate of J.D. Power and Associates. More than 22% of Mercedes-Benz owners switched to an Asian brand during that time.

"Owners of every European brand are moving away from the brand," says Tom Libby, director of industry analysis for the Power Information Network.

Quality might be an issue. While the quality of all brands has improved since 1998, Europeans have made the least gains, according to J.D. Power's initial quality survey.

The survey asks new vehicle buyers to identify problems in the first 90 days of ownership.

European brands went from ranking No. 1 in the 1998 survey to tying for second place with domestics behind Japanese brands in 2003.

Europeans particularly have problems in the survey with features such as electronic accessories, turn signals, power windows, sunroofs, trip computers and navigation systems, says Brian Walters, senior director of vehicle research for J.D. Power.

This year, for the first time in 24 years, the average domestic car was rated more reliable than the average European car in Consumer Reports magazine's annual survey of owners.

"It comes down to reliability," says David Champion, head of the magazine's auto test center. "Reliability of European brands has taken a toll on sales."

Volkswagen has set up a 50-person team to attack quality and reliability issues.

"Our goal is to find the root cause of any quality issue and get it resolved within eight weeks or less," says VW spokesman Tony Fouladpour.

But Fouladpour says VW's sales drop, 25% in the first quarter from a year ago, has more to do with the fact that VW models carry less rebate money than rivals.

Mercedes says its sales were down about 5% in the first quarter because of a changeover to new models. The brand has 10 new products coming for the 2005 model year.

Keith May, vice president of sales for Mercedes-Benz USA, predicts those new models "will take us to another record year this year, and our biggest product offensive in history (is) coming in 2005 and 2006, which will take us forward from there."
That really hurts: Sales of European brands fell 6.9% in the first quarter, while Asian brands were up 9.5% and domestic sales grew 2.2%, according to Autodata.....
 

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I cant say im too surprised about this. My car has been in and out of the shop so often over the past month that last time I was there, one of the sales guys asked if I had punched in my timecard yet :cry: :cry:
 

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I think incentives have a lot to do with it too. Wait five more years when the Japanese companies and the US companies are on fiscal skids making up for their inability to make money off depreciated leases and loans (due to cash back deals which drive the resale value of the car down the minute it leaves the lot) and have to scrap quality, lay off workers, committ less to design and raise prices to make up for it. They are on a treacherous slope that will yield positive short term results but the long term looks shakey at best. Top that off with how they are encouraging buyers to go into these loans upside down... the average buyer in 5 years will be paying twice what the cars are worth and defaulting on the whole amount. So the automakers will be getting paid minimally tomorrow for cars sold today. Bad bad...

I'm sticking with my Euro cars!
 

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Europeans have alway been ahead of the game, so they had little to improve one since they were always so innovative as compared to the japs and americans. Lets take a look back to the 80's. Bmw, MErc, and Audi all had nice leather interiors with power seats and power windows standard with a wide range of engines from 6 to 8 cylinders. Did you see any of those features on american cars or japanese cars? Lets not forget styling also....
 

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Interesting that the article makes no mention of Saab or Volvo. I might be wrong, but it seems like they're selling a heck of a lot more cars than they used to.
 

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in4sir said:
Europeans have alway been ahead of the game, so they had little to improve one since they were always so innovative as compared to the japs and americans. Lets take a look back to the 80's. Bmw, MErc, and Audi all had nice leather interiors with power seats and power windows standard with a wide range of engines from 6 to 8 cylinders. Did you see any of those features on american cars or japanese cars? Lets not forget styling also....
Lets not start this debate again... :weirdo:
 

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in4sir said:
Europeans have alway been ahead of the game, so they had little to improve one since they were always so innovative as compared to the japs and americans. Lets take a look back to the 80's. Bmw, MErc, and Audi all had nice leather interiors with power seats and power windows standard with a wide range of engines from 6 to 8 cylinders. Did you see any of those features on american cars or japanese cars? Lets not forget styling also....
Our 1988 Jetta was purchased new when VW was in the black. Compared to Asian, other European and domestic makes of the time, it was cheaply made. There are bits and pieces, both interior and exterior that scream low quality and cheap. However, the vehicles structure is as solid today as it was in 88. Every wear/tear item has been replaced several times. Considering that its spent its entire life in the Northeast, its rust free. Its been very well maintained, the motor runs great, has not exhibited any power loss, does not burn or leak oil and is very economical.

Its rare but, I still catch a glimpse of an old Quantum, Scirocco, BMW 3, 5 and 7 series, plenty of Diesel Mercedes and every so often, Rabbits… they look old and weather beaten, but are still running strong and are mostly rust free. Let’s not get into the performance, high speed stability, road holding, engineering and crashworthiness of European cars compared to Asian and Domestics.

In 1999 Lexus arrived with their over priced Toyota’s… For those in the Northeast…How many “older” Lexi or Infiniti do you see around. Those you do see have been blinged blinged to death and carry tons of bondo and layers of paint (courtesy of the Ghetto body shops) hiding the rust. Forget the domestics, they have probably been recycled several times by now.

I’ll stick with the Euros :lol:
 

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Elias said:
In 1999 Lexus arrived with their over priced Toyota’s… For those in the Northeast…How many “older” Lexi or Infiniti do you see around. Those you do see have been blinged blinged to death and carry tons of bondo and layers of paint (courtesy of the Ghetto body shops) hiding the rust. Forget the domestics, they have probably been recycled several times by now.

I’ll stick with the Euros :lol:
I assume you mean 1989.

I don't know here in chicago (also known for their rusty cars) I see quite a few older Lexi :)

-Nick
 

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My dad has a 91 LS400 with over 140k miles on it, and it has been much more reliable than my 2001.5 passat with 35k miles on it.

Nothing has broken outside of regular maintence items. The Lex has started up on the first crank every time since '91.
 

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pacent said:
My dad has a 91 LS400 with over 140k miles on it, and it has been much more reliable than my 2001.5 passat with 35k miles on it.

Nothing has broken outside of regular maintence items. The Lex has started up on the first crank every time since '91.
And it will continue to do so for many more years and miles to come. As far as reliability is concerned, the Asians have everyone else beat hands down. Which is probably why most European owners are switching to the Asian and even domestics.

IMHO, there are those who prefer the European build quality over that offered by the Asian and domestic brands. Unfortunately, the Europeans have skimmed on build quality over the years. This in addition to the less than stellar reliability has turned customers away.

Another factor is price, the Exchange rate between the Euro and US dollar is to the US advantage. Most European manufacturers are not making the profits the Asians are.
 

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Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:59 pm Post subject:



I think incentives have a lot to do with it too. Wait five more years when the Japanese companies and the US companies are on fiscal skids making up for their inability to make money off depreciated leases and loans (due to cash back deals which drive the resale value of the car down the minute it leaves the lot) and have to scrap quality, lay off workers, committ less to design and raise prices to make up for it. They are on a treacherous slope that will yield positive short term results but the long term looks shakey at best. Top that off with how they are encouraging buyers to go into these loans upside down... the average buyer in 5 years will be paying twice what the cars are worth and defaulting on the whole amount. So the automakers will be getting paid minimally tomorrow for cars sold today. Bad bad...

I'm sticking with my Euro cars!
i agree, watch and see
 

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IMHO, there are those who prefer the European build quality over that offered by the Asian and domestic brands
True but it looks like they are realizing how inferior that build quality is. So what if it looks and feels good if you have to keep repairing it.
I like European cars myself but if I have to watch my neighbors in their non-european cars driving them while I'm waiting for mine to get repaired, I'm switching.
It appears many feel the same way.
 

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IMHO, there are those who prefer the European build quality over that offered by the Asian and domestic brands
[/quote]

I agree, I think that quote should read "IMHO, there are those who prefer the European Percieved build quality over that offered by the Asian and domestic brands"

On Percieved Quality, I believe the Europeans have almost all others beat, on everything else though....mabey not quite so clean cut. :wink:

-Nick
 

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guys im not talking out of my ass here. My dads a mechanic and works with the head technician at bmw and all i see them work on are these american cars and japanese cars, the only time i see a european car is if its a 1980 with 250,000 miles on it. Id say 70% are american cars, and 30% japanese. Hes constantly complaining because the american cars are built like crap and so difficult to work on and the japs use cheap materials believe it or not. Lots of cardboard found in lexus beneath the panels... Both agree that japs are by far the most boring cars to drive and wouldnt own anything but european cars. I'm not tryin to start a debate or anything im just saying what i see day in and day out
 

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in4sir said:
guys im not talking out of my ass here. My dads a mechanic and works with the head technician at bmw and all i see them work on are these american cars and japanese cars, the only time i see a european car is if its a 1980 with 250,000 miles on it. Id say 70% are american cars, and 30% japanese. Hes constantly complaining because the american cars are built like crap and so difficult to work on and the japs use cheap materials believe it or not. Lots of cardboard found in lexus beneath the panels... Both agree that japs are by far the most boring cars to drive and wouldnt own anything but european cars. I'm not tryin to start a debate or anything im just saying what i see day in and day out
In4sir,

Just want to know, so your dad works at BMW? Or is it a private shop, sounds like a private shop if he sees all those cars.

I hate to break it to you, but the opponion of one mechanic is hardly scientific. He may see the cars exactly as you state, but that hardly justifys the broad sweeping statments that you make.

Its a fact that the Japanese make some of the more reliable cars on the road today. the Europeans used to, in 1990 Mercedes was #1, not any more.

http://consumeraffairs.com/news03/jdpower.html

http://money.cnn.com/2003/07/08/pf/autos/bc.autos.durability/?cnn=yes

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3131800.stm

German cars 'not reliable'


German cars, once famed for their reliability, have been given the thumbs down in a survey by Which? magazine.

Leading brands such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz all fared worse in the magazine's annual reliability survey than in recent times.

Less prestigious marques including the US' Ford performed better than in the past, overtaking their German rivals.

Overall, Japanese cars were found to be the most reliable in the survey of 80,000 readers, comparing 138 different models.

Poor

Mercedes-Benz slipped two categories, from best to average, in reliability, according to the survey.

Which magazine spokesperson
BMW trod water in the survey, achieving a disappointing average reliability rating for the fourth consecutive year.

However, Which? readers expressed greater dissatisfaction with Volkswagen cars.

The carmaker, which manufactures leading models such as the Golf and Polo, was downgraded by Which? readers to the poor reliability category.

Two other Volkswagen-owned companies, Seat and Audi, dropped from good to average in the reliability tables, while the sporty Audi TT received one of the magazine's lowest scores for reliability for years.

Overall, no German carmaker managed to make it into either the best or good categories.

"German cars were once known for their solid build-quality and dependability, but it seems no major German marque has escaped the steady decline we have noticed in recent years," a Which? magazine spokesperson said.

American dream

There was better news for US giant Ford, which the survey found has raised its game in recent times.


Most reliable cars
Honda Accord
Honda Jazz
Mazda 323
Nissan X-Trail
Toyota Celica

Source: Which? magazine
Consistently rated poor in the survey from 1998 to 2000, Ford has managed to clamber into the good category, having been rated average last year.

Dominating the top reliability places for both manufacturers and individual car models were the Japanese and other Asian makers, with Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota all in the best category for maker-reliability.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3129581.stm

Need we continue?
 

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Let me put it this way, if my wife has to drive to work passing through a most crime ridden part of the city. If her safety is depending on the car not breaking down in this neighborhood, which car would I feel is the most reliable that will give me the piece of mind ... knowing what I know about our beloved B5, it would be either a Toyota or a Honda ... sad but true :???:
 
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