Germans build most of the cars.
Italians sew some great shoes and great hand built cars, tailored
suits and what great food.
I wouldn't want a car built by the French.
The Dutch provide some great chocolate manufacturing machinery.
Then there are the Swiss. If you have to ask, you can't afford.
So it depends.
Having represented several European instrument manufacturers over the
years, it is obvious they have a whole different way of looking at
Europeans expect to perform routine maintenance on a regular basis,
while for the most part US users have adopted the Andrew Carnegie
approach of install the equipment, run it till it drops, remove to the
junk yard, and install new equipment.
Most European equipment will not survive without regular maintenance,
USA goods OTOH, usually will for an extended period of time.
BTDT, no T-shirt needed.
They said that about Japan in 1960. That nation then went on to hand
Europe and the US their butts in the manufacturing of optics,
electronics, and so forth.
Quality is not just a data point. It is a curve with the y-axis being
price and the x-axis being quality. The curve rises asymptotically as
you move to the right. The question is not "is it high quality?" The
more usual question is, "Is it high enough quality for the desired
task at hand AND is it worth the asking price?" Sometimes the quality
you need justifies asymptotic costs - say when life support is
involved. At other times a fairly low level of quality is all you need
or are willing to pay for - say a tool you will only use once to solve
a specific problem.
There are many examples of very successful companies and industries
that learned how to manufacture "good enough" technology for some
purpose. Microsoft is a great example of this. There were far better
technologies around when Microsoft first entered the desktop OS
business. But Microsoft figured out how to commoditize it at a price
people could live with. Was it "high quality"? No, but it was "good
enough" quality for the overwhelming majority of people and a
multi-billion dollar industry (and company) was born.
That said, my experience for most tools is that saving money is a
false economy. Good tools tend to last for the lifetime of the owner -
or at least a very long time. Short term savings end up biting you in
the hindquarters later on when you have to buy a replacement tool.
Incidentally, I'd argue that the Japanese are very much on par with
the Europeans for many classes of tools these days. A Mitutoyo digital
caliper is every bit the equal of a Brown & Sharpe for considerably
less money, for example.
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
I can't say the same thing about the bug and Opel, but I know my
Rabbit had the greatest seats in the history of automobiles. I used
to work, on my feet, for 10-12 hrs on the production floor and at the
end of the day when I came out to my old Rab, I'd jes sit there in it
and luxuriate for a couple mins in its perfect spinal alignment. It
was like a personal chiropractor. I once considered doing my house in
Rabbit front seats... dinette set, circular lounge, etc. LOL
I will have to disagree with you there. Kim and I bought a new 99 Jetta, it
left her stranded on the freeway 3 times under warranty the first 18 months,
and a dead battery replaced under warranty. That was the Mexico built
vehicle. Towed into the dealership and "no problem found " on the 3 rd time
we immediately traded for a German built 2000 Passat. We almost kept it 4
years. While we had it, it left Kim stranded 2 times, once was a faulty
starter relay, the second time another dead battery replaced by me. Then
there were numerous emissions problems, the need to replace both outer tie
rod ends at 30K, and the heater core at 43K. The transmission was showing
signs of failure. Traded for the 04 Accord at 47K. Both vehicles were
serviced more often than recommended by the dealer. The 99 Jetta and 2000
Passat were serviced/oil changed at 3K VW recommended every 10K. After
trading the Passat we got a factory letter rewording service intervals for
the turbo, every 3K and with synthetic oil. I saw that coming.
I bought the VW's on their past reputation.
Maybe my first VW's were a fluke but I'll probably never buy another.
Totally agree with that and I attribute the failure to poor teachers that
don't give a shit and that finally led to teachers that could not find a job
any where else. Long ago when teachers could step in as a parent and
administer discipline he or she could actually teach. We have lost teachers
that actually taught for baby sitters.
Yeah, but how many cars come with a tool kit? Admittedly, the tool kit
wasn't much. It consisted of a cylinder with two socket ends (which fit
virtually every nut on the car), two screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, and a
metal rod used to turn the socket cylinder.
There's a video floating aroung (Guiness Book of Records folks) showing a
crew removing a VW engine, moving the engine four feet from the rear bumper,
reinstalling the engine, then driving the bug away. In one minute, four
My motor pool guys would repair any VW engine, on the mess hall table,
for no charge and in about twenty minutes. In the service in Germany in
the 60's and 70's there was the proverbial "$50 Volkswagen", which you
bought for $50 from the guy going back home, and sold it for $50 to the
next guy when you left. Some of those things had titles as long as your
arm and had changed hands literally dozens of times.
My "$50 Volkswagen" a 1960, with tire chains on it, would take on any
blizzard with style; being air cooled, it never failed to start in
subzero weather, and it would run on the Autobahn all day at 80mph.
When winter hit in Southern Bavaria, and since I lived 20 miles from
base on mountain roads, I left the 2002TI at home and drove the Bug by
choice for the duration.
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