Re: OPINION:Quality and Passion Declining in European Automakers
> (please note;this is crossposted to Mercedes,BMW,Jaguar,Audi and
> Volvo)Although I am a fan of 70s' and 80s' European automobiles,I can
> not help notice this trend all across the board!Rust on new Mercedes
> and BMW,plastic on the exteriors of Volvo,and so on.......Who do you
> see as the dominate automaker,say,10 years from now?What is a realistic
> life expectancy of 2000 and newer European automobile and are you truly
> happy with your purchase(do you feel cheated)?In your opinion,what
> item(s)need to be done away with or improved?Hopefully,all those whom
> respond understand that it is not my intention to start a bash war,just
> want to hear opinions from fellow European automotive enthusiast!
Mercedes quality is improving, but the cars aren't functional as they
used to be. I find the CLS rather ugly, tiny windows, submarine like.
I'm surprised at how many find it beautiful. And the functional Mercedes
of the 80s would never make such a compromised-function style design.
Road manners are fine, some of the tanklike firmness has been softened.
BMW's styling is now at least controversial, but solid and well built
with excellent handling and class-leading dynamic qualities. Maybe
overkill with electronic steering and a bit too much stuff inside. I'd
like to see them go back to functional.
Audi has had questionable reliability in the past. The interiors are
some of the best in the business. Cars feel like planted German cars to
me. Handle well, quattro is great.
Volvos handle better, look better, use quality materials (with some
exceptions), plastic was first used by Mercedes in the 80s--I remember
the S class using plastic on the lower bodies. I think Volvo is fine,
the s40 is very understated and goes well, so is the xc90, but I miss
the visibility of all of the European cars of the 70s and 80s. Spotty
reliability, especially early s80, s60, and some issues with s40s and xc90s.
Jaguar is hard to guage. Jaguar is in a rut of sorts, I don't find the S
and X to feel like sumptuous Jags of the past. Only the XJ feels this
way. There's more Jag components in the Ford platforms, so maybe Ford
learned its lesson that Jag can't have too much Ford content.
I like the Saab 3, but the other Saabs are questionable. I hope this
very individual brand gets back to being unique, but I'm not counting on
GM to keep it this way. Losing the hatchback loses at lot of
individuality and carrying capacity.
VW's feel great, but the new Jetta looks Corolla-like in some ways,
inside and out, and they've softened the handling a lot. New Passat
looks like it will overtake Camry/Accord quality.
Overall, European cars are still desirable, Japanese cars keep them on
their toes. Also, some Japanese cars, like Infinity M45, which used to
have pathetic interior and exterior styling, now has wow styling and
feels more cutting-edge than the more conservative European designs.
But, new Mercedes S looks good, BMW took chances, Volvo's s40 has some
interesting features, Audi's A6 is wonderfully modern and integrated.
Competition is yielding interesting designs.