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Why do you think we overrate "German Engineering"?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by BassyBill, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    This seems to be very common when discussing quality of manufacture of BMW, Audi, Mercedes, VW et cetera. Yet none of these have particularly impressive reliability data when compared to other makes. Why do people seem to think otherwise, especially in the US? I'm genuinely interested in this after a conversation with a German this week who was equally baffled.
  2. Truktek2


    Sep 5, 2008
    Queens, NY
    Because we compare it to our engineering which is done in China? :bag:
  3. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    nothing more than clever advertising that has made it into the set of cultural myths known as "common knowledge".
  4. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Germany's reputation in the sciences has been great for centuries; a simple answer is unlikely. Why do we underrate Russian engineering?
  5. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    The Germans are not the best engineers on the planet.
    They are the best machinists on the planet.
  6. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Or French engineering? Unless I've been lied to, Paris has been a hub for architecture and engineering for centuries.

    While I do love German cars, I wouldn't say VW is a good example of German engineering. I've had more problems with my (new) Jetta in 4 years than I did with my (used) Nisssan in 6.


    Jan 14, 2007
    While semi off topic German cars are built great and have a total different driving experience. However any electronics remotely European blow!
  8. Ever wonder why there are good German restaurants in Huntsville AL? It's because we brought the best German engineers there after WWII to help with our missile and space programs - and we succeded. Germany - great engineers, Russia - great scientists and mathematicians. Don't pass over the middle east - some of the best math students in graduate programs today are Iranian - or so the University researchers I work with tell me.

    Don't undersell America either, we are still terrific innovators with technology. I'm just worried we're headed for the same "bread and circuses" syndrome that got the Romans.
  9. I personally wouldn't buy a German car. I'm aware of the lists of reliability issues, plus I'm not a fan of German aesthetics.
  10. Ripper


    Aug 16, 2005
    Classic Mercedes and BMWs (and even the old type 1 VW's) are known to either last forever or are able to be fixed with your bare hands. However, in modern times they're either just as good or even a little lower quality than vehicles from most other countries.

    The Russian engineering being poor thing I believe comes from the Cold War era when everything was made the same with no competition to improve or simply propaganda in the rest of the world telling us that their engineering is poor (though there was a Top Gear episode about communist cars, and they seem to be just as bad as their reputation).
  11. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    Or some sort of marketing or just psychologic.

    Something that looks dull and generic is percieved to have higher attention to quality and reliability.
    Something that is full of passion and emotion and trendy may be percieved not designed for quality and reliability.

    My car is Swedisch.
    My motorcycles are Japanese.
    My instrument is American.
    My amp is British.
    My beer is Belgian.
    My wine is French.
    And my girlfriend is Greek.

    I'm good.
  12. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    German Chocolate Cake-They win.
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I couldn't speak to the reliability of German motor vehicles. But maybe their good reputation has to do with the high quality of German engineering...across the entire range of engineered products - which is indeed very good, AFAIK.

    Consider, for example, Delano, Glockenklang, TecAmp & Warwick. I rest my case... :smug:

  14. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    That episode was funny. There were some miserable failures and not just cars.
  15. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    What? :eek:

    With all due respect, I doubt i've ever heard a more debateable statement.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I've had two Mercedes (E300, E320). After the second one I switched to Lexus and never looked back. The Mercedes had buckets of problems, and their maintenance is hyper-expensive. Maintenence on the Lexus is high, too, but not if you have it done at the Toyota dealer. When it comes to reliability, no one surpasses Toyota and Honda.
  17. René_Julien


    Jun 26, 2008
    Toyota really is dropping the ball on realiability the last years.
    When I bought an Isuzu pickup a friend of mine bought a Hilux. I was a bit jealous at first cause the Hilux looks nicer than the Isuzu.

    But my Isuzu was a reliable workhorse, never anything wrong with it and my friend's Hilux spent a lot of time in the shop for various problems. Mostly injection and electronics.

    Agreed on Honda though... I sell Honda. :ninja:
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  19. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I think the German companies overrate "German Engineering" as a marketing tool.
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I think that "German Engineering" is an aesthetic, i.e., a look and feel that makes products seem engineered. For instance, functional, structural, and safety elements are not concealed or merged with decorative features. An example is a row of identical rocker switches on the dashboard that look like they came out of a catalog (Bosch) rather than from the design department. The user experience is designed to give the owner a feeling of skill when using the product, whereas most American products are designed to be foolproof. An example is the newest BMW, which gives you a lever to push back and forth, even though it contains an automatic transmission.

    This isn't to disparage German engineering at all. The German engineers with whom I've worked are top notch. What gave Toyota and Honda the edge in quality was not engineering, but rather, a passion for quality and a way of organizing a manufacturing business to make quality a priority.

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