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High End Luxury Cars



  • oacoac Posts: 1,594


    That's why their is CR, JDP, etc... with thousands of data points from *real-life* owners. Minutia details about these cars reliability are generated from these surveys to determine rankings. I'd not take your 2-person example, nor Edmund's chest-thumping examples, as too much evidence to claim a car is more reliable than its competition. JD Powers, CR, and lots of auto magazines perform these tests and show without a doubt that when it comes to reliability, BMW and MB cars and trucks overall has more repairs / 100 cars or trucks than their Japanese peers such as Infiniti, Acura and Lexus.


    Don't take my word for it, tho'.... I am just one owner with a single data point.
  • That does not sound like a dealer who wants to sell cars.


    If you haven't already try an 05 Lexus LS430 with sport mode..I personally think it is a far more reliable car and even if you bought the ULTRA it would cost you less then $70,000....and you will have every goodie there is.
  • LS 430 does not rattle at any age (At least I have never seen one that does)...I have looked at many, driven many over the years (helping my kids and friends look for cars, I like it and they need the help)...They have been as old as 8 years...My current 01 ultra is just like the day it came off the dealers floor..
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Understand your opinion. That's why I'm saying out in the world there are roads, potholes, deer and cars and they do not mix well together at the same time.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Like it or not - just face fact - This is a car the germans would love to be able to claim as theirs. They are not all perfect or near perfect but an extremely high percentage of them fall into those buckets. It's been that way for 14 years and counting now - since day one. When you get a huge snowstorm some areas get killed with a foot or more and some areas get less than an inch. The LS lives in the less than an inch area.
  • jvcnjvcn Posts: 50
    I would think that BMW and Merc fans would welcome these criticisms. The flaws of any specific study do not change the trend: On the whole the evidence seems clear that the great German marques are not keeping up with the reliability revolution brought on by Toyota/Honda or even keeping up with the trend towards improvement of Detroit's big three.


    This can only force rethinking for the good. Merc, Audi, and BMW will not survive if the only buyers are those so enamored of performance and image that reliability and price are nearly irrelevant. Imagine how much worse and more expensive the Bimmers and Mercs would be if Acura, Lexus and Infiniti had never existed. I believe (and firmly hope as a Lexus buyer) that the Germans get their act together and really turn this around.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    This conversation makes it seem like BMW unreliability is something new. Just remember that some people are aware of unreliability and accept it as a trade-off for other redeeming qualities. This is what you happy campers do NOT seem to understand. Sit by the campfire and have fun. Others choose to explore the trails.


    (Alright homies, let's not get nuts, just my 2 cents. Ljflx... woo-woo ;-)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I don't think Mercedes prices have ever been affected by Acura, Lexus or Infiniti "competition." And that is part of the problem. Their unrealistic arrogance. But it is finally catching up to them and I for one couldn't be any happier.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Not measuring up to the absolute reliability set up by other brands does not make a car "unreliable". I would whole-heartedly concur with anyone who states that Lexus-Toyota lead the field in reliability, however this does nto mean that every car that isn't a Lexus is going to leave the driver stranded all the way. So no, I do not agree with a generic statament that says that BMW (and basically every brand that isn't Lexus) is "unreliable". It merely means the probability if being in the shop is somewhat higher. And based on the fact that statistically and according to every study all these brands are within less than 10% of each other, the differences are not quite as dramatic as the discussion here would want to make one assume. Kudos to Lexus for leading in quality, and do so consistently (amazing process and quality management!), but it's not like the differences when it comes to the numbers are quite as extreme.


    And yes, definitely BMWs have always had qualities that make them not only redeemable, but for several buyers far more rational buying choices. It all depends on what the buyers value. I think BMW's I6 engine is the best engine on the planet, for one, no V8 can touch it in refinement and turbin-smooth revving ability, and driving it with a stickshift is *extremely* rewarding. Shame about the Bangle designs about late, but BMW will be back.


    At the end of the day, it's all cyclical, and when it comes to corporate level stuff things can and probably will change over the next years. Just buy the car you like now...
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Excellent post.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Well said! However, regarding the Bangle designs, most people I speak to like the new designs. It's a delicate balance, how to design a *new* BMW and yet have people think it's still a BMW. The saying you can't please everybody applies.


    Lexus knows its' market, its' boring designs haven't been updated in years.
  • Kd:


    I live in a rural area...and face all those elements...The car is truly like a vault.
  • You're right (and it pains me to say this as a BMW fan and someone who thinks that the Lexus style is simply derivative). BMW unreliability is not a new issue. In my experience it goes back to problems in the mid 70's with cylinder heads cracking and continues forward. Just read the BMWCCA journal, Roundel, for a sampling of the problems Bimmer owners endure and the C130 Hercules-like maintenance schedule the owners are told to go through to keep them running. For example, if you told owners of any other brand that every two years you have to power bleed and change out the brake fluid and at 70,000 miles to throw away most cooling system parts (water pump, plastic thermostat, etc. etc.) there would be a class action law suit. Finally, the ultimate irony is the way that they spin this lack of reliabilty into a profit center. Its common knowledge that you don't want to own a Bimmer not in warranty. As a result their CPO program is a huge success and commands upwards of $4000 above Edmunds TMV Dealer Retail and costs the dealer only $1190 for the certificate (plus whatever parts he had to put into the car). Having said all of the above, I believe that the brand that retains the most value after three years is a BMW!
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    You make an excellent point; reliability is not the only factor that makes a car great. Otherwise, Jaguar would have never sold one car. But you lost me on your factual observations re: reliability ("all these brands are within 10% of each other"). According to the 2004 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study, MB had 327 problems reported per 100 cars, BMW had 264, and Lexus had 162. That doesn't look like 10% differences to me. And this is based on 48,000 people reporting on their 3 years of ownership of MY 2001 cars. Seems that is a statistically significant universe. Granted, things could have radically changed since MY 2001, but does anyone really think that is the case?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    It's a 90%+ likelihood that it has swung even further into Lexus' favor.


    BMW - The 5 and 3 hold their values pretty well, the 7 has always been abysmal. But all of this will probably change for the worse though with i-drive and the ugly new designs. Maybe kdshapiro finds those designs exciting but I certainly don't.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Well said. Amen!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I don't think so as long as the majority of BMW customers still believe they are drivers cars, their values will hold.


    I didn't buy BMW for it's reliability, but then again I didn't think it would require 5 service visits in 3 years either including scheduled maintenance and a trip to the uh body shop - I bought it for it's legendary road feel and handling. 100% of people I talk to about BMWs are of the same opinion.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Let's see, five visits in three years, including a body shop visit and three scheduled maintenances. That sounds like one non-maintenance, non-owner error visit, in three years. That's not bad at all.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    No one has suggested or implied that ALL BMW cars are unreliable. Far from it. What survey shows (see post #7114) is a greater propensity for problems than some of its peers. Numbers don't lie. Even BMW dealers are spinning this issue to their advantage and making money off this reliability issues, charging far higher $ from those who are enamored with the name-plate, and buying a CPO BMW. What will be sad is for BMW execs to refuse to do anything, believing, as kdshapiro said above that people will buy their cars and trucks for their "... legendary road feel and handling..." Don't forget that 90+% of owners don't feel the same way; they are buying the name...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Don't forget that 90+% of owners don't feel the same way; they are buying the name..."


    They are buying for the name because the name implies "the legendary road feel and handling..." BMW has worked hard to engineer that into their vehicles.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "Don't forget that 90+% of owners don't feel the same way; they are buying the name...


    Where did you get that number and what exactly is the implication? I hope you don't mean only status because as kdshapiro suggested there is equity in the BMW name.
  • "Equity in the BMW name." Designman, this is too much MBA talk. Are you saying that the brand has trasferrable value (i.e., "equity") apart from perceptions of status, handling, exclusivity, sophistication of engineering, etc? Brands have no inherent value beyond commonly held and accepted perceptions. (Who was the social scientist that said that "what men define as real is real and has consequences"?). BMW has equity, positive equity, in that socialpsychological sense. A Neon has equity too but it is probably negative equity.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It's a metaphor. I explained the thought by citing kdshapiro's comment. At least I think I did. No?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The BMW name has intrinsic value, this is not MBA talk. Corporations can and do put a dollar amount on this value. When one mentions BMW there is a certain image/attribute that comes to mind.


    Whether this is a positive image crafted by the BMW machinery, road feel/handling or a negative image which is an interpolation of your own negative experiences with the BMW brand (status seekers, poseurs etc).


    All brands have an image.
  • KD, I'm fairly sure that less than 100% of the people you know owning BMW bought their vehicles for handling reasons alone. You for one seems to be spending more time discussing about your BMW than driving it; furthermore, having more discussion about it in "Marquee"-related topics than BMWCCA autocrossing discussions for example. There is no need to be ashamed of that.


    Of course image-conscienceness is a big part of owning BMW, or MB or Lexus. Why else do we have a "High End Marquees" topic lumping them together? There is a cash value for a brand image, even if the company eventually becomes an utter failure at making cars. It's not that great sum of money though. BMW bought the legedary brand of Rolls-Royce for a relatively paltry sum of $50 million, compared to over $1 billion dollars spent on developing the latest Civic platform by Honda. Through the car companies, buyers get what they pay for, the Rolls owner get an image car to be chauffered, which may well be good return on investment for the owner of the limo company; whereas the Civic owner gets a good transport.


    The potential problem with BMW is the beating they have been taking at the reviews. Most people buying BMWs never really had that much time cross test-driving competitive models. The majority BMW's have been purchased for images for the last two decades ever since the professional reviewers in the 80's embraced the brand; often time company leases as fringe benefits to employees. Now, BMW must make sure the checks are indeed in the mail to the reviewers :-)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "KD, I'm fairly sure that less than 100% of the people you know owning BMW bought their vehicles for handling reasons alone. You for one seems to be spending more time discussing about your BMW than driving it;"


    Brightness - some people bought them because they think they are drop dead gorgeous although the realize the underneath the sheet metal is a fine handling vehicle. I'm not driving mine at the moment as it's getting it's sheet metal fixed, so I'm doing a lot of talking about it. :)


    "Through the car companies, buyers get what they pay for, the Rolls owner get an image car to be chauffered, which may well be good return on investment for the owner of the limo company; whereas the Civic owner gets a good transport."


    Exactly different requirments for the ultra-rich vs the appliance driving crowd. How much did it take to develop the RR platform? Almost any new car development costs north of $500M these days, so the $1B is not surprising.


    "The majority BMW's have been purchased for images"


    Well that's a huge generalization and speculation, but I agree if we're taking $70K+ and I'll tell you why and this applies to Lexus buyers as well. BMW has promoted it's brand as a mix of luxury and sport, with the emphasis on the sport. When BMW buyers acquire a BMW they are acquiring something more than a Civic, where the name conjures up something upscale. This is the big joke in the High-end forum to be talking about $70K+ cars and have the assumption that nobody will buy just because they can afford it, which is the same as buying for the name.


    To deny we don't want upscale items just because we can afford them is a big lie. But to deny that BMW has spent a lot of time crafting a sports-car like image is also a big lie.
  • A poster a while back (I couldn't find the post in a quick search) thought that one paid about $2500 "more" for a Mercedes. I think the figure was arrived at by computing the added advertising, warranty, costs etc. of the brand. This is an intriguing idea and I think that this brand premium would vary among the MB models and across manufacturers. Any comments? Does $2500 sound too low? (It sounds low by maybe 15K to me when I look at a Volvo XC and a E320 AWD wagon.)
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594


    That 90+% number was a conjecture on my part interpolating from the 90% number you provided for Porsche owners (for a group of owners that truly should be performance-driven), when compared to BMW that builds X order of magnitude more cars than Porsche.


    But I do not want to be mistaken for a BMW basher ! Prior to buying my LS, I was looking for a *sporty* car hence my test drive of the follwoing cars - GS300, IS300, A6 3.0, and 528i. My wife voted for the BMW, and I was this close to pulling the trigger on it, until I got behind the wheels of an LS. I realised how much a luxurious car truly is. The LS is a car than wins you over once you test drive it. WRT BMW, My criticisms are NOT directed at you owners, but at BMW corporate. I am sure they (or their surrogates) are reading these boards. My personal feeling is that they are on a turn for the worse - design and reliability-wise, at the most in-opportune time. With greater cut-throat competition from Infiniti and Acura, and Lexus promising to mount a real (and formidable) challenge starting in MY2006. We'll see how all this shakes out ....
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Oac, no sweat, I hear you and agree with much of what you are saying. My major point is that BMWs are nothing without the ride, and it is the ride that many BMW buyers crave. It's real and is the difference in their purchase. If BMW pushes the limits of reliability, they will have to answer for it… goes without saying for any manufacturer.


    "You have to answer for Sonny, Carlo."


  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    "Its only business Carlo. Nothing personal. Don't take it the wrong way. The

    Tatagulas all loved you and you sure treated my sister Connie real well."

    (The script if I wrote it.)


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