Going back to what I said about the Mk IV Golf/Jetta, how it's sad that those cars seemingly don't last long, and how great I thought the marketing was, it's also sad to me that VW abandoned "Drivers wanted" and have beat the drum of the most asinine, insipid tagline in the business ever since: "Das Auto."
What does "Das Auto" say about the product? What does it evoke in a potential customer? Nothing, absolutely nothing, other than that "this car is 'German'." And what is that supposed to mean when most Volkswagens sold in the Americas are built in the Americas, in plants in Mexico and Brazil? Nationality of a car is this nebulous marketing pap that VW has bet the entire farm on, and it's supremely stupid. I said "overpriced German junk" in reference to the Maybach in jest, only because highlander posted the picture mere minutes after I posted that ridiculous "Chevy Silveraydo" video, but... reality is pretty much just that: overpriced German junk.
You can say that with just about any "German" car, or any "German" household appliance, or anything else that ties its marketing so closely to being a "German" brand. "German engineering" was a marketing department invention and for some godforsaken reason some people believe it makes a machine better, despite study after study showing that just about any brand of machines that markets itself as "German engineered" tends to be mediocre at best when it comes to reliability.
There are two ways of qualifying reliability: durability and robustness. Durability is the measure of a machine's ability to withstand the wear-and-tear of the processes the machine was designed for. Robustness is the measure of a machine's ability to withstand the stresses of what it was never designed for. In my experience "German" machines—cars, appliances, boilers—tend to be mediocre in durability and tend to be significantly less robust than other comparable machines. People wouldn't make joke ads about window regulators if it wasn't their experience too.
For all the plaudits "German engineering" gets in the marketing world in the real world it sometimes really makes me wonder what the hell the engineers were thinking or whether they were thinking at all. E.g. I was helping one of my aunts change the wheels on her VW Jetta a couple weeks ago: Volkswagens use lug bolts instead of nuts. In order to get the bolts threaded the holes on the hub and wheel must be lined up perfectly, and the only way to do it is at a glance or using a temporary dowel of some sort as a locating pin. And God forbid you cross-thread a bolt, because instead of having to replace a nut and stud you'd have to replace a bolt and THE ENTIRE GODDAMN HUB...
In 1909 French racecar driver Victor Hémery set a new "official" land speed record of 202.7 km/h driving a 200 hp Blitzen Benz, built by Benz & Company. In 1910 Fiat set out to beat the record with "The Beast of Turin": the S76.
Its 28.5 L (yes, really: twenty-eight-and-a-half litres) four-cylinder engine producing 300 horsepower pushed it to over 217 km/h over a one kilometre run in 1911, but the rules of the official record were that it had to be set by making a run in the opposite direction within an hour, to negate the effects of a tailwind if any. The Fiat couldn't be prepared quickly enough, and its record was merely unofficial. (In 1924 Fiat smashed the record with a car called Mephistopheles anyway.)
Two S76s were built: one was sold prior to the First World War and the other was disassembled by the factory to prevent the armed forces of another country from capturing it. About ten years ago the one that was sold before the war was purchased by a British collector who had the car restored to its original condition, using the engine from the car that was disassembled as a donor. Last year they got it running again, for the first time in 100 years.
It made a "static" appearance at least year's Goodwood Festival. This year they got it moving under its own power.
I have had very good luck with Porsche cars. I had a 911 for 7 years for example and it was extremely reliable. The only problem with it was that the GPS was crap. On the flip side, we had a Mercedes which was atrocious from a reliability standpoint and very expensive to fix.
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Bombshell news in the automotive world: Volkswagen has stopped selling diesel cars in the United States after researchers at a university discovered that VW programmed the cars to detect when they were being emissions-tested and run in a condition to minimize emissions only when in the test cycle. Outside of the test cycle the cars were programmed to produce maximum power and achieve maximum fuel economy at the expense of meeting emissions. In fact outside of the test cycle conditions the cars produce 10 to 40 times as much nitrogen oxides as they do under the test condition.
VW has deliberately flouted US emissions standards since 2008 at the very least, and could be fined $37,500 per car sold under the provisions of the Clean Air Act. They've sold about half a million diesel cars in the US since the beginning of the 2009 model year, meaning the potential fine is about eighteen billion dollars ...