24th Nov 2013, 00:41

Following on my Saab review:

I lived in Japan for almost a decade, worked in a Japanese company, selling cars to the rest of the world.

On average going through 500 cars per year. That's where my numbers are coming from.

Spoiled for choice as well.

Japanese cars for customers, European cars for myself.

Couldn't resist it. Euro cars are cheap in Japan (I wonder, why?) and most are left hand drive.

If I had to go for a Japanese car, my favourite was a Legacy or Impreza with a 2 litre boxer turbocharged. They are OK for short time ownership, but with higher mileage too expensive to fix. A non-turbo 2 litre will still give you good performance, and a 1.8 the best mileage and reliability. 1.6 and 1.5 are gutless.

Somehow had a soft spot for Cimas and Glorias/Cedrics. Weird looking cars, especially if you lower them.

Had few Buicks... OK cars, but too outdated design.

No Korean cars... Have a Korean wife though, really enjoying that. But their women are much more beautiful and reliable than their cars. Much more fun as well.

The company where I worked in Japan was going through 100-120 cars per day. So it was easy to pick up the numbers I needed. What I noticed though, was that 99% of Japanese cars were faultless, but most European cars came with some kind of fault. I had to source parts for them before selling.

After all these years and cars, I can't really name any car that is my favourite. They all have good and bad points, more or less.

I know, that I prefer Audis over BMWs and Mercedes, but that's my personal view.

If I ever buy a European car again, it will be an Audi A6.

I had one before, surely it failed on me eventually, but I had a good run out of it - bought it on the auction for $9k with a faulty transmission, fixed it, had it for 2 years and still sold for $12K with a blown head gasket. Of course, the buyer knew it had a blown gasket, don't get me wrong.

Nowadays, as the production of both European and Japanese cars moves to China and likes, it will only get worse.

So choose wisely, people.

And stay away from SAABs.

24th Nov 2013, 02:42

Please read some independent publications like "Dog and Lemon Guide" for cars, for example. Toyota Corolla is marked as having "Reliability Above Average", whereas Saab gets a "Below Average mark".

It is based on statistics, not on my personal opinion.

In saying that, I personally hate Corollas with a passion and never will touch one. It is a reliable car, just so boring.

I loved my Levin though, still miss it.

24th Nov 2013, 03:03

"..Saabs do NOT share engines with Volvos. That comment alone tells me all I need to know about the bias in this review.."

1. Please point exactly where I said that engines are SHARED.

2. What about the rest of my "biased" review? Saab electrics are not done by VDO, Volvo 740/940 heater blower fan has ball bearings and Saab 9000 clutch slave cylinder is not "inside" the gearbox? Maybe Saab/VDO ignition cartridge never fails and TDC sensors last forever?

Good luck with your "trusty" Saab, or whatever that is.

Just don't forget to put a towing rope in the boot, as well as cartridge and of course, keep your Road Assistance Membership up to date.

Although, they are not of much help when it comes to Saabs.

When my Saab failed, an NRMA truck was carrying my Saab all around the town for a whole day, as no mechanic would touch it. Eventually I was quoted $500+ just to get it to Sydney "to look at", with a possible cost of a further $1500 to get fixed.

I am not biased.

I am just realistic.

24th Nov 2013, 19:49

Good luck finding any mechanic that will work on a Saab. VW is also really bad for that; no mechanic will touch them with a ten foot pole.

Personally I only buy American cars; they are much more reliable than people make them out to be, and parts/repairs/maintenance are always cheap.

Japanese is good too, as long as it's Honda or Toyota.

European cars are not made to be reliable or have low operating costs; people just buy them as status symbols, and they devalue really quickly, as no one wants the used models and the problems they come with.

24th Nov 2013, 20:46

I owned a Saab 9-3 Convertible for 5 years, & the only regret that I have is selling it. Great car, reliable, comfortable, powerful & well-made.

24th Nov 2013, 22:02

That would be the bit where you said "That applies to Volvos as well (same engines)"

4th Dec 2013, 06:27

"..VW is also really bad for that; no mechanic will touch them with a ten foot pole.."

I used to be a big fan of VWs. What broke me eventually were 2 cars: a 2002 VW Sharan V6 and 1998 Polo.

The Sharan, with a mileage of only 42,000 km, was failing pretty much every day, and no mechanic would touch it, even a VW dealership.

The Polo was reasonably OK, only 3 repairs in 6 months - outstanding for VW.

Finally I noticed that engine stopped warming up to the normal temperature, kept warm only to 40C degrees instead of 80-90C. Took the thermostat out and discovered that the actual body, which holds the spring and valve inside, was MADE OF CHEAP PLASTIC and was cracked.

Now it starts to get most interesting.

For the same age Volvo, a new thermostat is $9.95 online, $14.95 from a dealer. Maybe $19.95 if you go to a crooked dealer. But anyway it is cheap. And made of metal.

A VW thermostat was $189 new and $90 from a wrecker. The wrecker commented on this saying: they are expensive BECAUSE THEY BREAK.

So here comes VW and other Euros dirty politics of making money - they knowingly make an unreliable part, from a cheap plastic, expecting it to break; then sell a spare one for megabucks, and make money on those poor b*****ds who were stupid enough to buy their cars in the first place.

My Audi A6 auto transmission DIDN'T HAVE A DIPSTICK. Audi expected me to go to an Audi dealer every time I wanted to check the oil level, and pay $90 to do this simple job.


That was the last drop that caused me to lose any respect left for Euro car manufacturers.

As soon as you buy Euro car, you are ENSLAVED.

Just keep paying and paying for the damn thing to keep going.

I really can't understand people who buy them.

As one Alfa 33 owner nicely noted here, on carsurvey.org: "I must have been in a state of temporary insanity when I bought this car".

5th Sep 2017, 11:14

I've been buying the "Dog and Lemon" books for years, since the mid-90s. They are OK, quite accurate, but I find them to be NZ and Australia biased. I mostly use them just for fun reading, not as a source of reliable information.

5th Sep 2017, 21:26

Not all "Euro cars" are the same; just as it is true for all American or Asian cars. There are plenty of examples all over the spectrum.

One thing that is universally true though: If you buy a car from a luxury marque, you will pay more for work compared to a comparable mainstream vehicle.