For many years, German cars have had an overwhelmingly positive reputation amongst car owners throughout the world. The term “German Engineering” has become synonymous with quality and longevity. Brands like Volkswagen, Audi, and Mercedes have been known as some of the most dependable cars on the market. The BMW M3 has been a darling of performance enthusiasts the world over. However, in light of poor reliability rankings, that show many German cars among the worst in reliability, why do they maintain such a positive reputation?
The reputation of German cars around the world is one that rests strongly on history. In the first annual Consumer Reports reliability index, the Volkswagen Beetle ranked as one of the most reliable cars in production. In the 1940s, Volkswagen (literally, “The People’s Car”) was known to produce cheap, reliable vehicles even during World War II. Into the 1980s, Mercedes-Benz emerged as a dependable luxury car brand, a reputation that has continued to this day despite what some deem unreliable offerings from the brand in more recent history. Volkswagen’s small cars (the Rabbit, Gulf, and Polo, for example) have developed a reputation as fun, economical hatchbacks in more recent years. The BMW M3 emerged in the early 1990s and quickly established itself as a serious performance contender, a reputation that follows it to this day. Porsche’s line of 911 models has been praised consistently since its inception. Throughout the years, different manufacturers have served to maintain that reputation of German cars and keep their desirability at a high level.
Role of Advertising
Advertising has also played a large part in maintaining German brands’ reliable reputations. The aforementioned “German Engineering” tagline has been associated with Volkswagen since at least 1987, creating a connection between German cars and reliability that has lasted well into the 21st century. For decades, Mercedes-Benz commercials have strived to associate the brand with luxury, style, and reliability. Many of the brand’s historical models are still revered as some of the best cars of all time, which has also cemented the Mercedes reputation.
Sleek and Technologically Advance
Finally, German cars have gained a reputation for embracing technological advances sooner than many other brands. This has made them appear as cutting-edge driving machines enhanced by technology, which makes them more desirable among early technology adopters. For example, BMW’s iDrive system was one of the first to incorporate computer systems into automobiles to centralize vehicle system controls and allow drivers in-depth access to their vehicle’s functions. German manufacturers remain at the forefront of cars that will drive themselves, supporting that belief.
Do German Cars Deserve Their Reputations?
It’s no secret that many German cars’ reliability ratings have dipped dramatically to the point that “German Engineering” seems to be more catchphrase than true statement. However, many German cars remain among the cream of the crop, as evidenced by the results of the World Car of the Year Award competition, in which the Volkswagen up! beat out the BMW 3 series and Porsche 911 to take home the fourth title in five years for the VW brand. Luxury German brands remain in demand across the world due to stylish looks and consistently outstanding performance. Though German cars no longer provide the outstanding reliability they once did, their other merits maintain a well-deserved reputation as quality automobiles.
Drake Goodman is blogger who focuses on auto repair, auto upkeep & maintenance, used vehicles and other related subjects. Those interested in viewing used cars should see this Arlington car dealer.
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