Why are French cars generally poor quality?

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Post Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:29 pm

Why, particularly in the automotive industry are French cars and parts of such poor quality?

They have the same materials and tools available as the rest of the world. It's not a poor country or anything like that.

So, is it work ethic or something?

Interested to hear some opinions as other than that, I'm at a loss really.
djones
 
Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Post Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:28 pm

It's got nothing to do with the country.

It's more like the coincidence that Renault, Citroen and Peugeot are targeting the same market. Then again, Citroen and Peugeot are even the same group, and they share product lines, so at least for them you get very similar products.

It's for the same reason that there is a perception that German cars are the best. Some makes have built that reputation, and others are driving on it.

And while there may be a quality difference, a big part is perception. Just imagine Peugeot building a Mercedes E-class competitor. Even if it would be equal in quality and price, it wouldn't be a huge sales success anyway. I guess that is the main reason why they stick to their well explored markets.

I have for instance driven 7 years with a Peugeot engine, and it hasn't show even the slightest hiccup. On the other hand, I know from colleagues that Peugeot's have less developed software, and when you get bugs in one car, you'll get it in all of them, since all these packages are shares across the entire brand.
Steven
 
Joined: 19 Aug 2002
Location: Belgium

Post Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:17 pm

Steven wrote:It's got nothing to do with the country.

It's more like the coincidence that Renault, Citroen and Peugeot are targeting the same market. Then again, Citroen and Peugeot are even the same group, and they share product lines, so at least for them you get very similar products.

It's for the same reason that there is a perception that German cars are the best. Some makes have built that reputation, and others are driving on it.

And while there may be a quality difference, a big part is perception. Just imagine Peugeot building a Mercedes E-class competitor. Even if it would be equal in quality and price, it wouldn't be a huge sales success anyway. I guess that is the main reason why they stick to their well explored markets.

I have for instance driven 7 years with a Peugeot engine, and it hasn't show even the slightest hiccup. On the other hand, I know from colleagues that Peugeot's have less developed software, and when you get bugs in one car, you'll get it in all of them, since all these packages are shares across the entire brand.


All true but brand reputation can be improved. Ford did it, but it took a long time and consistent attention to quality.
Moxie
 
Joined: 6 Oct 2013

Post Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:39 am

Are you basing this on past experience or more from a "French Bashing" point of view, because it seems to me it is the latter.
Renault -Nissan share many of the same parts and platforms and Nissan's reliability and quality is not poor and I don't think the newer Renaults are any worse. I have friends that own Peugeots and they are very happy with them. I recently drove and spent some time in their 508 and I can tell you that the interior fit and finish (materials used, etc.) was better than my much more expensive 2010 C class Mercedes. While it can be said the the quality of French cars has been up and down since they their existence, so has many other brands.

German cars have built a reputation on superior engineering but they certainly don't have superior long term reliability (or quality). A shinny, pretty penny is just a shinny, pretty penny on the outside and what really counts is what is on the inside...
I have owned several high end German luxury cars - BMW and Mercedes Benz and I can tell you that while pretty, shinny and generally good driving cars, they have woeful long term reliability, especially right when basic warranty expires. It seems that most parts are just engineered to last that long (50K or less) and both brands including Audi and Volkswagen are the same. I have owned a $60K 2008 BMW 535xit (tourning - twin turbo) and it was constantly in the shop (new turbos at 50K, new front suspension bushings, leaking drive train, numerous fuel injection problems and defective fuel pumps, broken electric water pumps, and the list goes on... I got rid of it when I hit 60K since I knew from past experience reaching 100K would be extremely expensive. Completely unacceptable. Our 2010 Mercedes C300 had a balance shaft defect in the engine, broken interior door handles - requiring a complete replacement of the door trim? Defective wheel bearings, defective locks, again all these problems right after the manufactures warranty expired (50K)! I have had nearly 10K of repair bills. I also got rid of the car. These are not isolated cases, they are well documented problems with the cars I have mentioned above prompting several class action lawsuits (against BMW in particular) for defective engineering leading to potentially dangerous situations caused by such poor quality. Reliability = quality. It is rather amazing that people tend to ignore these issues and continue to buy these cars just because they are the shinny pretty penny on the outside that feeds a certain status symbol. I also have a 13 year old Lexus that has over 200K miles on it going strong...

German brands have ranked among the worst reliable cars on market with the most problems per cars sold (Consumer reports, JD Power, etc.). There is simply no excuse for these types of failures and repairs on such expensive cars. A friend of mine has a 2012 BMW 550 V8 and between the constant fuel injection issues and large amounts of oil consumption his car is always in the shop (All documented problems).

We have a saying on this side of the Atlantic - you lease German cars and buy Japanese! In fact the German manufactures know this and are constantly providing incredibly low lease deals to move their cars (along with free maintenance), the deals are sometimes too good to pass up.

While it seems that I am bashing German cars, that was not my intent. I just want to point that that before you make a generalized statement think about what you are saying. In my opinion, French cars are no worse or no better than any other European brand, they just don't happen to be as shinny and pretty on the outside as some of their rivals, former reputations and good looks can be deceiving.
Long term F1 Fan
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2015

Post Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:47 am

Maybe it comes down to the bean-counters over-ruling the engineers?

Cars like Peugeot 404/504/505 had a good rep' for being robust ( Citroen were always a bit complex),
& even mighty Mercedes-Benz suffered damage to their rep' when they went cheap on engineering..
"Cybermen do not promise.. such ideas have no value.."
J.A.W.
 
Joined: 1 Sep 2014

Post Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:18 am

J.A.W. wrote:Maybe it comes down to the bean-counters over-ruling the engineers?

Cars like Peugeot 404/504/505 had a good rep' for being robust ( Citroen were always a bit complex),
& even mighty Mercedes-Benz suffered damage to their rep' when they went cheap on engineering..


True. My mate had his C-Class recalled for an assembly error. First time it was the seal of the oil filter that needed to be replaced. Later his C-Class needed to be recalled for a steering lock problem.
"Be too complex to categorize. Specialists are insects."
WaikeCU
 
Joined: 13 May 2014

Post Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:49 pm

http://www.reliabilityindex.com/news/52 ... eliability

So to answer the question in the title of the thread, they aren't.
Greg Locock
 
Joined: 29 Jun 2012

Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:26 am

The perception and therefore generalization is a big issue when it comes to car reliability. According to numbers, French car makers are doing just fine, having Mini, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, Mercedes and Audi behind - http://www.reliabilityindex.com/manufacturer

Traditionally, we have Japan brands occupying the Top 10, so no surprise there. I'm glad that Ford rises up.
Kiril Varbanov
 
Joined: 5 Feb 2012
Location: Bulgaria, Sofia

Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:51 am

Long term F1 Fan wrote:Are you basing this on past experience or more from a "French Bashing" point of view, because it seems to me it is the latter.
Renault -Nissan share many of the same parts and platforms and Nissan's reliability and quality is not poor and I don't think the newer Renaults are any worse. I have friends that own Peugeots and they are very happy with them. I recently drove and spent some time in their 508 and I can tell you that the interior fit and finish (materials used, etc.) was better than my much more expensive 2010 C class Mercedes. While it can be said the the quality of French cars has been up and down since they their existence, so has many other brands.

German cars have built a reputation on superior engineering but they certainly don't have superior long term reliability (or quality). A shinny, pretty penny is just a shinny, pretty penny on the outside and what really counts is what is on the inside...
I have owned several high end German luxury cars - BMW and Mercedes Benz and I can tell you that while pretty, shinny and generally good driving cars, they have woeful long term reliability, especially right when basic warranty expires. It seems that most parts are just engineered to last that long (50K or less) and both brands including Audi and Volkswagen are the same. I have owned a $60K 2008 BMW 535xit (tourning - twin turbo) and it was constantly in the shop (new turbos at 50K, new front suspension bushings, leaking drive train, numerous fuel injection problems and defective fuel pumps, broken electric water pumps, and the list goes on... I got rid of it when I hit 60K since I knew from past experience reaching 100K would be extremely expensive. Completely unacceptable. Our 2010 Mercedes C300 had a balance shaft defect in the engine, broken interior door handles - requiring a complete replacement of the door trim? Defective wheel bearings, defective locks, again all these problems right after the manufactures warranty expired (50K)! I have had nearly 10K of repair bills. I also got rid of the car. These are not isolated cases, they are well documented problems with the cars I have mentioned above prompting several class action lawsuits (against BMW in particular) for defective engineering leading to potentially dangerous situations caused by such poor quality. Reliability = quality. It is rather amazing that people tend to ignore these issues and continue to buy these cars just because they are the shinny pretty penny on the outside that feeds a certain status symbol. I also have a 13 year old Lexus that has over 200K miles on it going strong...

German brands have ranked among the worst reliable cars on market with the most problems per cars sold (Consumer reports, JD Power, etc.). There is simply no excuse for these types of failures and repairs on such expensive cars. A friend of mine has a 2012 BMW 550 V8 and between the constant fuel injection issues and large amounts of oil consumption his car is always in the shop (All documented problems).

We have a saying on this side of the Atlantic - you lease German cars and buy Japanese! In fact the German manufactures know this and are constantly providing incredibly low lease deals to move their cars (along with free maintenance), the deals are sometimes too good to pass up.

While it seems that I am bashing German cars, that was not my intent. I just want to point that that before you make a generalized statement think about what you are saying. In my opinion, French cars are no worse or no better than any other European brand, they just don't happen to be as shinny and pretty on the outside as some of their rivals, former reputations and good looks can be deceiving.



Remember that German cars made for USA and made for Europe are two different worlds. Rust protection, another assembly etc.. Totally different quality. Normally we are saying that american cars are american junk. .. Steering with absolute no road feeling at all, shock absorbsers acting more like air pump...
toraabe
 
Joined: 9 Oct 2014

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:01 am

toraabe wrote:
Long term F1 Fan wrote:....



Remember that German cars made for USA and made for Europe are two different worlds. Rust protection, another assembly etc.. Totally different quality. Normally we are saying that american cars are american junk. .. Steering with absolute no road feeling at all, shock absorbsers acting more like air pump...



Did you know that the US market is the second largest market for both Mercedes and BMW and probably Audi as well. In fact, back in 2013 fully 1/5 of all Mercedes sold world wide was in the US market place. The US luxury car market is one of the largest growing markets worldwide and is highly important to those brands. So It makes absolutely no sense that they would be selling a lessor quality car for the US market.

While US cars have had there share of problems over the years, they have gotten much better. Look at the reliability report posted on this thread. Regarding how they drive, Europeans really need to drive the newer Cadillacs both the CTS and ATS. The CTS is regarded as a better driving car today than the current BMW 5 series. BMW's "ultimate driving machine" has gained some very serious weight and has lost all sense of steering feel from its highly acclaimed predecessor the E60. How things change...
Long term F1 Fan
 
Joined: 13 Apr 2015

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:37 pm

The problem with the reliability index (to a certain extent) is the type of owner.

For example a lot of people I know that have at least some knowledge of cars would never buy a Renault. So the people who actually buy them maybe have lower standards?

Conversely, anybody who buys a Porsche will have high standards. This slightest little issue and its a fault, or they complain about it in reviews.

So something like a dashboard squeak, a Porsche owner would complain about in a reliability survey. The Renault owner probably didn't even notice it and if they did, so what the car was cheap.

A massive generalization there of course. But I would be willing to bet the type of person who buys a french car has lower standards. If they had high standards, they would not have bought one in the first place.

Them lower standards can only ever skew a reliability survey. One of these cars that the owner thinks are perfect would probably be full of faults if 'you' drove it. Gearbox whine, rattles, knocks over bumps etc.
djones
 
Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:23 pm

djones wrote:...
A massive generalization there of course. But I would be willing to bet the type of person who buys a french car has lower standards. If they had high standards, they would not have bought one in the first place.


Well, no. I have high standards, but I have no money, for example. I drive cheap Honda. In what segment I am in?

If you want to dive in reliability indexes, read this - http://www.reliabilityindex.com/what-is
Then, go deeper into the site and look around, but read carefully - most of the stuff that bothers you are already answered. Finally, if you want to get real impressions, do your own research in a large group of people and make conclusions.
Other than that, I see no merit in meaningless discussions, a la gossip style: I heard from one guy.
Kiril Varbanov
 
Joined: 5 Feb 2012
Location: Bulgaria, Sofia

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:06 pm

You have no money (like me), but knew the Honda would be a much better car. So did not buy a Renault.

I think it would be unrealistic to say that based on that survey the french cars are some how reliable. Because anybody who knows about cars and has friends with a wide range of cars knows they are unreliable and poorly built.

Even the design is poor.

I once changed the clutch on a Megane and aside for the stupid fact you had to take all the sub frame off, certain parts of the bumper were stapled on. Bolts or actual re-usable fasteners? no, stapled.

Anyway, I will leave it as that as there are clearly people on here who will argue for the sake of an argument. The original question was why are they like this. Trying to justify that they arnt and they are some how just as reliable as a BMW etc is total crap because they are not.
djones
 
Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:19 pm

I am just going to add that from my very limited and irrelevant view, I'm not sure I'll ever buy a car by a french manufacturer anymore. I have no doubts that an unreliable car can be found with any maker, but the Citroen I had was the worst ever experience. I'm not even going to start on what was so bad, but I wasn't the only one with some of those problems.

Yes, Citroen isnt in the same ballpark as other french manufacturers are; and to some degree, it was cheap, so couldn't possibly expect any miracles. Anyway, the impression rubbed off unfortunately to the point that another french car will not be on the table. Next car will either be a Ford, BMW, Audi or perhaps something Japanese.
Phil
 
Joined: 25 Sep 2012
Location: Switzerland

Post Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:23 pm

Phil wrote:I am just going to add that from my very limited and irrelevant view, I'm not sure I'll ever buy a car by a french manufacturer anymore. I have no doubts that an unreliable car can be found with any maker, but the Citroen I had was the worst ever experience. I'm not even going to start on what was so bad, but I wasn't the only one with some of those problems.

Yes, Citroen isnt in the same ballpark as other french manufacturers are; and to some degree, it was cheap, so couldn't possibly expect any miracles. Anyway, the impression rubbed off unfortunately to the point that another french car will not be on the table. Next car will either be a Ford, BMW, Audi or perhaps something Japanese.


Stick with Japanese, trust me
irsq4
 
Joined: 12 Dec 2013

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