I suspect that many people, at least in these parts, think of German cars as maybe a little more expensive than others, but to compensate they are better designed, safer and more reliable; whereas Japanese ones, say, are cheaper, less solid and less well made. In fact, advertisements by Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes and others often play on the particular image of quality and solidity. But is it a correct one? Think again.
One of the consistent findings of car reliability surveys is that Japanese cars are best, and German luxury cars are worst. The latest American one, from consumerreports.org, finds that Acura, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Scion, and Toyota are the most reliable cars, while BMW and Audi do very badly, and Mercedes is the least reliable of all. And just in case you think that might be a flawed survey, the evidence is the same in this report from CNN.
What amazes me is that German carmakers, who have clearly had some quality problems for some time, have still managed to retain the image of themselves as the main quality brands. How long can this last, if they do not improve reliability?
I must now confess that I am a Mercedes owner, and actually a satisfied one (not one of the largest models…).