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02-19-2014, 09:31 AM

As part of my master thesis about purchasing behavior on the car market, Iím conducting a survey in the U.S.A. and would like to ask you to take part in it.

This survey focuses on your "gut feeling", so it does not matter, if you consider yourself a specialist on the automobile market or if cars do not interest you at all - your opinion is matters! In the end, the results of the US survey will be compared with results from Germany and China to give an overview in what way these "gut feelings"/perceptions towards the car market differ when purchasing a car.

You might not know any Chinese car brands and that is fine, if the survey asks you something about Chinese brands answer according your general perception of Chinese products. If you generally have a good impression of Chinese products, give a good rating, if not, give a low one. If you feel uncertain and want to keep an open mind, simply give a middle rating.

If anybody feels like they would like to help even further, posting it on your Facebook page will be greatly appreciated! The more U.S. respondents, the better!

Simply click the following link for the survey:

I appreciate your time and effort!

Cheers from Germany !

02-20-2014, 12:28 AM
I took your survey. Here are some more ramblings...

Thankfully, we don't have Chinese cars here, yet. I avoid Chinese products whenever I can, because World War III will be with China. I don't mind buying products from South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan, all likely to be our allies in WWIII against China.

We're up to are belly buttons in South Korean cars; and they're much better than they were 30 years ago. One of the wealthiest people I know is car shopping: BMW 5 series, M-B E Class, or Hyundai Genesis.

I ordered a 535i. Production started today! Here's what made me decide on the car:

Dealership experience: My BMW dealer is rated #3 of 338 in the U.S. by customer satisfaction. Everybody I know with a Mercedes-Benz hates dealing with the service department of the closest dealer. I bought a BMW instead of a Porsche or Mercedes-Benz because my BMW dealer is so good: honest, skilled, meticulous.

Styling, performance, safety, "luxury." I idea of perfect cars are: BMW 3-series coupe', BMW 5-series sedan, and a Porsche 911. For me this was true 35 years ago, and is still true today. The 535i replaces a E46 M3. I used to prefer BMW's over Mercedes Benz because BMW's offered manual transmissions. But, modern automatics and DCT's are so good now that this is not much of an issue with me anymore. My 535i will be one of the last manual transmission 5's in the U.S. But, I would have bought it with an automatic it that was the only choice.

Styling is important, but I prefer conservative styling (Carrera vs GT3, 535i vs. M5) BMW's current M cars and M-B AMG's are over styled. The perfectly styled M car was the E39 M5 (larger radiator intake, four exhaust tips, round mirrors, and nothing else.

Rear wheel drive. I don't need all-wheel drive. I don't want front-wheel drive in an expensive car.

Reasonable fuel economy. The 535i is acceptable. The 528i, 535d, and 5 Hybrid higher efficiency was unnecessary. The 550i and M5 efficiency was unacceptable.

A spare tire: The 535i doesn't come with one, but the rim off the mini-spare tire of an X5 will fit with a centering ring. The 5's trunk is big enough to hold the mini spare and luggage. Otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. I passed on a M5 because of the fuel consumption and lack of a mini-spare or a full size spare storage in the trunk floor.

Non-metallic white paint: Durable (especially in sub-tropical Florida), doesn't absorb heat, repairable, visible at night. If a car doesn't come in non-metallic white, I don't buy it. For this reason, my wife will not get a LLexus or Accura (Honda premium brand in the US) SUV. She'll likely get a BMW X3 or X5 to replace her current car in a few years.

I've only bought one used car after finishing college, and that was a clunker to drive to work where it was susceptible to vandalism. I buy new cars, special order them to get exactly what I want and put between 75k and 125k miles on them before replacing them. I prefer that my road trip cars have less than 75k miles.
My local driving cars can have more mileage.

I take care of my cars and usually have a line of people (friends, co-workers, relatives, neighbors) waiting to buy them. I sold my M3 on the BMW Car Club of America web site (in one day).

I would not buy a slightly used car, because it would most likely not have been taken car of the way I take car of cars. If the previous owner took care of the car, he wouldn't have sold it in just one or two years.

I'll always own an inexpensive Japanese or American car in addition to expensive German cars. Expensive cars attract vandals and trigger aggression in the U.S. I need a cheap car for driving to shopping districts, work, sports and entertainment events, and trips to large cities. Japanese cars have much lower maintenance costs than inexpensive European or American cars. But, I get special discounts on GM cars.

02-20-2014, 07:41 AM
Thanks for taking the survey,goatboy.I can tell everybody that Chinese cars are might take a couple of years, but it is unavoidable. I have some experience on the Chinese market and I can say that 90% of the Chinese car manufacturing is really crap, but the remaining 10% are learning fast. Nobody would have thought that Japanese cars will set the standard in quality one day.....and nobody had Korean cars on the radar, yet, here they are.China has a similar development path.The main reason why we have not seen Chinese cars in Europe and the USA is simply that China itself is the most lucrative car market at the moment.BUT what is happening right now as we speak is Volvo already being Chinese, GM bringing its Chinese joint venture more and more on board, and an interesting start up of experienced Western managers and Chinese investors creating a Chinese brand with Western quality standards.....Quoros. German car manufacturer so far have tried to outbalance the Asian competition with customer service and product quality, but......we all know what this means for the car prices.

02-20-2014, 08:15 AM
The Germans have a way to go to catch the Japanese on quality. My wife's Honda Accord had NOTHING break in the first 100k miles. The only thing I replaced were: battery (four years), tires (78k miles), wiper blades, fluids, and filters. The floor mats look new at 110k miles. My biggest gripe with my M3 was trim, particularly the floor mats. I ordered two spare sets of floor mats for the 535i.

The big gripe I have with Japanese cars is the lack of non-metallic white paint, timing belts, and solid valve lifters. The Honda's 100k mile service was $2000 (timing belt, water pump, valve adjustment, engine oil and filter, air filters, transmission fluid, spark plugs). But, since the car had no failures prior to that, I was glad to pay it and keep the car another 25k miles.

BMW's going down-market to get their corporate fuel economy up, and to... well... survive. All of their competitors are giants. They're going too have to keep ownership costs down if they're going to survive in the lower priced market. I know a lot of people who buy one BMW, love driving it, but don't buy another one because of maintenance costs.

Building a brand, especially a foreign brand in the U.S. takes a long time. A relative of mine had a BMW 2002 when I first started driving in 1975. I loved driving that car. At the time, almost nobody in the U.S. knew what a BMW was, much less wanted one. It took BMW about two decades to really get rolling here.

That's interesting about Quoros. If they build a good car that holds up, they could eventually become another BMW, or at least another Subaru, or Hyundai. The modern automobile is, to a large part, has been defined by the Germans. Everybody else copies them, for now. But, I remember the first big Lexus back around 1990 causing Mercedes-Benz and BMW to go back and redesign their interiors (with more wood, gathered leather, and conveniences).

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