German cars 'among worst for engine failures'

German manufacturers no longer most reliable
18 Jan, 2013 3:05pm Claire Holden

Audi, BMW and VW ranked in the bottom 10 of a study into engine reliability

German-made cars are not as reliable as many believe, according to new research. Warranty Direct has studied its claims data to compile a list of the manufacturers with the most reliable engines - and Audi, BMW and Volkswagen all finished in the bottom 10 out of a total 36 makers.

In fact, the only firm whose cars had a worse engine failure rate than Audi was MG Rover. MINI wasn’t much better, finishing third from bottom, while its parent company BMW came seventh from bottom. And, despite its reputation for rock-solid reliability, Volkswagen came ninth from bottom.

Honda scooped the gold medal – the study found that just one in every 344 Honda engines failed, compared to one in every 27 Audi engines. Despite its recent recall woes, Toyota came second and Mercedes managed to outperform its fellow German brands with a respectable third-place finish.

Duncan McClure, Warranty Direct Managing Director, said that engine failures are the worst for motorists as they’re the repairs that can lead to the highest costs because of the parts and hours of labour required to fix them: “The nuber of failures may be low compared to areas such as axle and suspension damage but engine repairs almost always result in costs reaching the thousands for motorists who aren’t covered by a warranty.”

An engine failure on a Range Rover Vogue recently led to Warranty Direct’s highest ever claim of £13,000.

Top 10 manufacturers

Manufacturer Failure rate (%) Failure rate (1 in x)
1 Honda 0.29% 1 in 344
2 Toyota 0.58% 1 in 171
3 Mercedes 0.84% 1 in 119
4 Volvo 0.90% 1 in 111
5 Jaguar 0.98% 1 in 103

Bottom 10 manufacturers

Manufacturer Failure rate (%) Failure rate (1 in x)
1 MG Rover 7.88% 1 in 13
2 Audi 3.71% 1 in 27
3 MINI 2.51% 1 in 40
4 Saab 2.49% 1 in 40
5 Vauxhall 2.46% 1 in 41

What’s your view? Do you think German manufacturers still deserve their reputation for building the most reliable cars?

To discover the most reliable cars on the market today, visit our sister site Carbuyer.

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German manufacturer NEVER had a reputation for relaibility. Only magazines like Auto Express elavated them to superstar status over the past few years by being impressed with things like "soft-touch dashboard plastics". I have often chuckled at how car hacks confidently recommend a car as a 'Best Buy' on the basis of having spent 2 days with it, and being 'impressed' by its "jet-afterburner shaped air vents", and "how flatly it corners at 100mph"!! For those of us who pay for our cars with our own hard-earned cash and live with our cars for a few years, factors like reliability and comfort matter a whole lot more.

Not a surprise have had at various times from new, Audi A4, Golf Mk3, Mk4, Touran and first generation new Beetle which all suffered with a myriad of faults. These included bits of trim dropping off, indicator stalks snapping, to the engines failing or turbos blowing. This combined with what can only be called legendary useless aftersales has led me finally come to my senses and not even consider anything from the Audi VW group when looking at a new car.

Over what time period are these failure rates based upon? All engines will fail eventually so knowing the time period would be useful.

"Engine failure" is so vague as to mean absolutely nothing. Of course, it's not in Warranty Direct's interests AT ALL to issue a press release pointing out what a supposedly high chance people have of needing thousands of pounds worth of repairs that could be avoided by buying their warranty.

Preiviously had a BMW e46 320d, total ehgine failure, inlet manifold flaps dropped into the engine, a problem BMW have been aware of on 2 litre diesels engines built between 2001-2006. I am aware it is common for nearly new BMWs needing costly engine repairs, luckily for most it will be in warranty period. Currently have a Mercedes C Class, no issues after 3 years of driving.

What complete rubbish, seven BMW's in a row and never so much as a broken lightbulb. One Honda, worst car I ever had the misfortune of owning.

but they did

the length of the warranty so I would say one year mainly, possibly more if customers paid for longer

Rings fairly true for us. Seen engine issues on VW group cars, and also my Peugeot THP, which is a BMW-related engine. But I've also seen several major engine failures on Nissans. Honda, on the other hand, really is bulletproof. Three generations of Honda Civic (petrols), covering well over 100,000 miles in total, and so far we have had to fix one lambda sensor. That's it!

Yes, "quality" is judged very superficially, e.g. fit and finish of interior trim. A quality car is one that provides durable, reliable transport year in year out, which cannot be judged on what the glovebox is like. A fancy finish does not mean that you have a quality car.

Yeah but if the average warranty for a Honda was taken out when the car is 3 years old with 36k miles and the average warranty for a MG Rover was taken out when the car is 9 years old 100k then it is apples and pears

I had a 2011 skoda fabia (built using the same... everything of the polo!) and it was awful.. so many engine faults, rattles etc. Worst car ever.

Where can we find the full list?

It all depends on the way these cars are driven. German cars are driven straight from a stop as if racing cars and thus, inevitably engine failures will occur. Japanese cars cannot be driven like this and as you cannot force a Japanese car into accelerating abruptly, their engines won't fail.

Could not agree more. Vw and audi are rubbish had my fair share!! Its a shame magazines and tv hype them up so much.

Buy Japanese.

Not exactly a surprise

AE are going to find themselves pushed down the priority list for road testing VW Group products for publishing this. Good to see the worm has turned!

Yet in 23 years of driving, I've owned more than 15 Skodas and never ever had a problem.

Yes, and you'll be recalled several times a month!

We need to know what constitutes an engine failure. IS it just the EML coming on, or is it a snapped alternator belt, or is it a piston into the valve train etc?

This article means next to nothing without this information.

The stats are from an extended warranty provider. over and beyond the period covered from new. Therefore if the averge manufactor warranty is say 3 years then the claims are with Warranty direct after the 3 years has passed.. and these are the stats they are calculating.

Unless they provide the year the car was made, the miliage and how many of each they cover then these figures are baseless rubbish. They may cover 10 MG's and 2000 BMWs, you do the math!

funny... everybody I know has a good impression about GM (Opel-Saab) engines... I have 220000 km without a problem with a 1.8 Saab. Everybody I know with a TDi VW-Audi had to change theyr camshaft at 90.000 km... it's like clockwork!!


that means aknowledging a problem. not something our european constructors know anything about. I have a friend with a 2.0D Bmw X3... 1000 euro's/year into drivetrain and 4x4 system problems... no recall tough....

try one with a DSG and you will never drive another Skoda again. or VW...

Just try google this - Audi A4 Best of All Classes in
DEKRA Used Car Report

Jaguar in top 5??? yee right, thats british report is it???

completely agree. living in Sri Lanka in 'less than ideal' conditions with high humidity, you should see how Audi interiors look like in 5-6 years.. the trim literally melts away on your fingers.. and i've had 5 BMWs which makes you think that BMW lives off your repairs! on the other hand, all the Hondas i've had, had zilch problems... so i guess i can relate to this.

Just a thought, if you don't want to be associated with sh***y journalism, always link the source!! Otherwise you may be making all of this up.

Somehow Toyota and Honda have less safety complaints per car sold (per the US safety agency NHTSA and its database) than others. So what are the others hiding?

I'm sorry, but without data to show how those figures were derived, they're completely meaningless. By careful selection of data it's easy to make statistics say whatever you want.

It's not surprising MGRover's stats are so poor when you consider that in 3 months time they won't have been produced for 8 years.

No vested interest here from tge company that did this survey!

Just a confirmation on what everybody has known for a long time now. One wonders what has prompted Auto Express to publish this only now - payments from VAG & BMW stopped? ;}

Pardon me, I have an overwhelming sense of "schadenfreude".

Dire journalism, Obvious questions

Definition of engine failure? Broken crankshaft or a dodgy sensor leading to an engine warning message?

Age of cars when fault occurred?

Mileage of cars when fault occurred?

Number of cars in sample?

How have the results been analysed to take into account these

Information as provided is pretty meaningless.

I'd rather they recall and sort the issue than pretend there isn't one....

BMWs might be OK, mine ( a low mileage 120D se bought from a BMW main dealer in Pembrokeshire) broke down on a VERY regular basis - usually but not always new air bags or it just didn't start. The fact the dealer refused to investigate the failure to start as BMW Bracknell wouldn't recompense then as the computer showed no error codes ensured that I'll NEVER EVER buy a BMW again - sold mine back to the dealer after "words"

PS what's the betting that the slating of this article and of AutoExpress comes from BMW owners who don't like their choices being laughed at ;)

ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. I had an audi a6 2.5 tdi, which i run from 10,000 miles to 155,000 miles over 3 years which only needed servicing. I then had a passat 2.0 petrol which i ran to a simular mileage, again not needing anything. I now have the latest mercedes c class which i bought new last year and it has 50,000 miles on the clock, again not needing anything so far. During all this time the rest of my family have had astras, corsa's, focus's, mondeo's, fiat 500's to name but a few, ALL with a few niggles whilst my german cars have ALWAYS been reliable work horses.

PLEASE tell me if this is not reliability at its best then what is???????

I am onto my second Mercedes - no problems on either in almost 80k miles between the two. Had a ford Focus before that, 60k miles in 4 years (petrol, as well) - no problems. My Dad's 1.8 petrol Mondeo did 150k miles from new - no problems... Bloke across the road, has an 08 Civic and gets value for money off his AA membership. Woman at work has an 06 Civic - recently replaced the engine thanks to bust timing belt. And I could tell you the Toyota horror stories... Point is, it takes more than an engine to make a reliable car.

Could not have said it better.

Buy Japanese and end up dead or mamed when you smash it due to it's iffy steering or breaks. Only car I have ever been in and genuinely feared for my life was a Toyota Auris. Dreadful. All over the road on the test-drive both as driver and passenger.

More to the point, Japanese cars are mostly driven conservatively (by, shall I say, older folk) and aren't really used as "working cars" - I can't remember the last time I got in a taxi that was a Japanese make... Mostly Ford, Vauxhall or VW-group. The Ford Focus is the automotive equivalent of a Collie Dog; willing, works hard, plucky and always works if well treat. Try to work a Japanese car as hard and it will fail every bit as much as a European one. All cars fail from time to time, and it depends upon how they're driven and how often and how hard they are worked.

The Civic doesn't have a timing has a timing chain!!!

You have obviously never owned Japanese cars 'Neil O' -reading your comments because you are talking c**p, as is 'Toshul' and not making much sense either. This story confirms everthing we have always known about Euro cars!

Bought my Astra 1.6 SXI brand new in 2005, its just clocked over 80k miles and apart from general servicing its been near perfect for the 8 years I've owned it. Could never understand all the hate for Vauxhall's.

foad thx

foad retard


German cars are rubbish

I have 3 vws that we have all bought new starting with an 83 rabbit and they have been the best cars ever, we also have a 97 audi a4 with 200,000 miles and has no problems. German cars in my opinion are more reliable when compared to american and japanese cars. plus they just have the feel an touch that other cars dont have.

I've got a 4 year old BMW E90 318d & had from new and covered 98,000 miles with no issues and not even had to top the oil up between services - and I do check it regularly.

what you drive then thats so good? a yaris? matiz? fiesta?

Quite likely that the mentioned £13k bill to repair a Range Rover was because it had a BMW engine in it.

I drove a Yaris. From 16,000 miles to 125,000. Zero glitches. I wonder if there are similar figures for German cars of similar price range.

If you take a look at large-scale reliability studies done over time in a multitude of countries around the world [including the UK e.g. 'JD Power', 'Which?'], you will find that German marques rarely come out as the most a general rule, they tend to be mid-table. I am pleased for you that you have had the good fortune of having had 3 very reliable German cars. However, as you can see from the various posts here, mere anecdotal experiences do not become the rule. There are just as many people here reporting problems with their German cars as your glowing praise of yours. To put it simply, your 3 cars may have done you proud, but are not statistically significant. Also, if you want to rely on purely subjective observations, as Arjuna has pointed out, in many developing countries you still see very old Toyotas plying the roads, whereas German cars are far more scarce. Those hard plastic Corolla dashboards survive for far longer in the heat, dust and humidity than the Golf's soft touch, glowing backlit ones. ps. As this report indicates, Mercs are the exception, as evidenced by the number of old Merc taxis globally.

Used to have a Golf - went bang at 60k and drained my bank account in process. Like I say German cars are rubbish

This is a fair point... however in my experience of running a wide variety of cars to high miles... the german cars have always faired better. My 2001 civic needed a new engine at 135,000, the turbo went in my mondeo at 55,000, gearbox in my astra at 75,000 and now my fathers corsa is in the garage as we speak requiring a new engine at 80k!! In contrast to this i have had not a single niggle with my german cars... maybe this is because all the german cars i have owned have been bigger cars, and the reliability is a problem with smaller cars?? All i know is that i would definitely buy german again over any tasteless alternative

Agree a warranty provider putting fear into high end car owners so they might buy their over priced insurance product. Save the money per month for the cost of the insurance and your soon be able to afford a new car!

No need to make it personal.

Driven, yes. But actually owned? No, as they are dreadful. Apart from Mazda. Which are Fords. Japanese cars are five to ten years behind the times.

Oh, yeah, just checked. Common rail diesels... European development. Air bags... Yup, European. Anti-lock brakes? Yeah, Europe again. Rico, it is you who needs to do some reading. Easier to rip off European technology and development than it is to actually innovate and develop something yourself.

Just saying its inferior to European rivals. But then, reliability means a lot when you're in ITU coz your car is less stable than one developed for more demanding European routes, than grid iron Japanese ones....

This is a good point.. different manufacturers design for different markets.

Needed replacing nevertheless. Unlike my dads mondeos timing CHAIN.

Your opinion is based on anecdotes, theirs are based on data.

when my nice mercedes breaks down i'll let you know :)

Suzuki Swift. 2008. 15,000 miles on the clock. Double crankshaft sensor failure, so engine just ran, backfiring, missing, stalling. Had to limp home or would have frozen to death in minus 15C winter. Just out of guarantee. Agent demanded 300 euro for 2 tiny sensors.
I put Suzi Swift at the bottom of my list.

Glad to see this report. I, personally, have always suspected that the oft-heard references to "German engineering" may have been misguided. On the other hand, I have been a big fan of "Swedish engineering" inso far as the three Volvo's I've owned have been proverbially built like tanks. They're definitely the most reliable cars I've ever owned and driven.

Saab's four cylinder 2.0 liter engine has been, and is indeed like a clockwork, but GM doesn't have anything to do with it. They might not have as good gas mileage than most other cars, but it's worth it if you're able to rip an extra 80 - 100 bhp from the engine without having to change any parts, and being able to drive it 400,000 kilometers without a worry. On top of all, with RE85. That's the Saab I love, even though I've got a 9-3 myself, which isn't bad at all either.
As the slogan goes; Born from jets - ruined by idiots.

Neil O: Come to Australia and hop into one of an increasing number of Toyota Prius and Camry hybrid taxis. Stories abound of cabs showing well over 500,000 kms with NO problems at all.


The good reputation of German cars like Audi and VW is due to the fact that the fit and finish of interior and exterior is excellent with nice materials, but the technical relaibilty is far less impressive. Secondly the 'objective' autopress always (only) look at the cars fit and finish and the long term quality is not of any importance, sadly enough. The marketing power of VAG is impressive, and advertising income for AutoExpress and its siblings Autobild and Autoweek are to important for the publisher. So they 'plu'every new VAG product in a shamefull way. VAG 'controls' all the motoringpress in Europe, quite impressive how they have established this, to be honest.
Yes, Toyota, Mazda and Honda are the best choice when you want a reliable car, by far the best choice.

Utter crap this statistic, in Europe you see 15-20 year old (and even older) german cars on the roads on a daily basis but not many japanese, french or italian cars since they have by then long disintegrated into dust. Many people I know drive all sorts of german cars with far more than 200K on the clock without any engine problems at all. I myself am the first owner of a 2005 BMW 120d with 203K to date and not only have I not had one breakdown ever, the car did never need any service other than regular maintenance… and besides, go and have your japanese car fixed by a licensed dealer, that's when you realize you are paying premium for a not so premium car.

To all the fools who think it's great to become personal, go ahead and flame me!

My current e92 320d (09 plate) has 45k on the clock and just had to have turbo replaced (within warranty, though). I love the car but dread the cam chain, swirl flap and turbo issues (well, not the turbo issue anymore) - all related to the engine!.

Had the same with a 330d and BMW left me out in the cold when it happened. Even the main dealer didn't warn me about preventative maintenance (so why bother with a high priced main dealer when they don't seem to be very useful in actually maintaining a fairly new BMW????).

What BMW seem not to understand is that when people wont buy the cars out of warranty that the second hand market falls away, thus driving the cost of ownership for the new car buyer far higher. This of course results in lower new car sales. BMW has a very short sighted approach and their service is far beneath the brand proposition they present.

Errr no, I think you need to do some research on facts- Mazda's are not Fords although some are based on shared platforms - the running gear is actually unique to Mazda's and the new skyactive models ie. CX5 and new 6 are nothing whatsoever to do with Ford (not even platform share) Ford now dont own anything of Mazda!!
While were talking facts I ve owned Japanese and actually German and like the majority of stories I m reading here would agree that German and euro cars live up to their reputation in that they are problematic. You need to face up to the statistics which are consistant year in year out from different sources that Japanese cars are superior in terms of reliability!!!

There wont be since a Polo or Fiesta will struggle to reach six figures without failure. VW/Ford etc equals = unreliability.

Mondeo's are rubbish

My 2003 330 IX is the best, most reliable engine I have owned. I don't know about the other German cars except when I was in Germany, the only cars I saw stalled out were non-German.

It seems the more advanced cars become the more there is to go wrong with them and the more expensive they are to fix.I recently purchased a 55 golf,a beautiful car but i've had constant problems caused by a ESP sensor making the car go into 'limp home' mode.A replacement ABS unit is 'only' £1100 plus labour,(wonderful).German cars probably score badly in this respect as many are premium cars with more gadgets and sensors to potentially fail compared to average cars.Still it's no excuse.

well that wrong about jaguar because they don't sell many in Uk. All of them are sitting around dealerships. Had Bmw never had problem.had golf did valve in.I guess it how well can you spot a good car or pick one that problem driven.Most merc engines don't fail in warrenty usally when there out and done 10000miles and timing chain slips or vavle seating on 271 engine.Had more problem with gearboxs

Statistical insignificance is what it is.

German cars now are ridiculous. The difference between a Toyota and VW is VW use a lot of their budgets on "soft touch materials" while Toyota spend more of it on the drivetrain and engine, stuff that matters! And its not as if you can call a Toyota interior tacky or flimsy. All their interiors are built to last and hardwearing. The quality their is Lexus which have both durability and finish. No surprise Honda is the top for reliability however, their quality, as in interior build has been declining some say, but they are still great cars, I jut prefer Toyotas. And its funny there are no French cars in the bottom 5, which supposedly has a bad reputation for reliability. German cars are a never ending list of problems. Want a proper luxury car? Get a Lexus.

German cars now are ridiculous. The difference between a Toyota and VW is VW use a lot of their budgets on "soft touch materials" while Toyota spend more of it on the drivetrain and engine, stuff that matters! And its not as if you can call a Toyota interior tacky or flimsy. All their interiors are built to last and hardwearing. The quality their is Lexus which have both durability and finish. No surprise Honda is the top for reliability however, their quality, as in interior build has been declining some say, but they are still great cars, I jut prefer Toyotas. And its funny there are no French cars in the bottom 5, which supposedly has a bad reputation for reliability. German cars are a never ending list of problems. Want a proper luxury car? Get a Lexus.

Not strange at all about there being no French cars in the bottom 5. Someone has done a highly effective "black propaganda" job on them.

I drive and have driven 20 year old Honda civics for a few years, still only oil service, lightbulb, tyres required. Even in the cold climate -25c they start up like a champ...

Depending upon how they are driven and maintained, etc. Funny what you say about the Mazda-Ford thing - esp as the parts are interchangeable as most of the technology is identical. Next you'll be telling me that the reliable Volvos don't use Ford parts either (Even though Volvo is now Chinese the tech sharing still exists).

Nice name change, btw.

Media will always perpetuate the myth of the "nicest place to be" being the best car. If they were to report on, what we all wish to read, reliability, they would have to test drive vehicles for months if not years. By which time, they would be old marques, and of no interest to us.

One of my comments above highlights that different manufacturers are making cars for different markets.
My family are builders and engineers. All prefer Fords for their high-mileage driving and durability as load-luggers. I loved my Focus, but switched to Mercs coz life has been good to me.
I've owned two high-mileage Fords and two high-mileage Mercs - no
problems on any of them. I know and have owned Japanese cars (all
low-mileage compared to the Fords and the Mercs) that also haven't had
any problems...
I am not exactly knocking Japanese reliability, but am skeptical that their cars are any more reliable than European counterparts if all is equal (e.g. use, maintenance, etc).
I even had my old Focus serviced by a local Mazda dealer because a mate worked there and in his words, the Focus and Mazda 3 were "the same car, really".

Aren't the batteries in need of replacement by then? In UK, cab drivers are sticking to efficiency-tuned diesels.

As said in the report, 1 in 27 Audis will have an engine failure. Did you own more than 27 Audis, to be able to make such statements? (Actually you'd have to own hundreds to make any statistically significant claim)

You've fallen in what can be called a "heuristics trap" by placing personal anecdotes over statistics. It's a very common mistake, almost everybody falls victim to it. Very often found as a variety of "My old man smoked a pack of cigs a day and lived to be 92 years old... therefore smoking cannot possibly impact health"

As a side note... Vauxhalls/Opel fares poorly as well while Merc does great according to the figures above.

Admit it. In Australia Prius is selling like a dog. No-one wants one. I live there too mate.!

Had an '06 Seat Leon with VAG engine obviously and at 2 years / 56k of easy motorway miles it needed new engine turbo and DPF. The great irony is I had been into the dealer 3 times before telling them something wasn't right in the months before hand. It had to be recovered 3 times, the last one being the death of the engine
In comparison - Land rover discovery before that had a dodgy gearbox cable that needed adjusting occasionally but other wise pretty good.
Insignia had no problems in 60k.
Currently got a mondeo but it has only done 22k so not exactly old enough to tell.
Wife has had 2 ford focus from ford direct and they have all been great.

I ran a Golf from new to 170,000 miles for 10 years, before selling it on. It was superbly reliable. In the last year before I sold it, I changed the clutch & gearbox, but I put that mainly down to my hard driving. Nothing ever went wrong with it, other than a couple of electrical problems early on - which I think were caused by a poor garage repair following a bump. I now have another Golf based on how wonderful and reliable my first Golf was. I've had my new Golf for just over two years now, and it drives like new - completely and utterly reliable. :-) With regard to German cars in general, I'd say BMW are the most unreliable based on the experiences of people I know that have them, and I've seen quite a few broken down over the years -although, I should say that did have a new E46 330 coupe which I kept for a year before selling it on, and nothing went wrong with that. The only thing I would say, is that I didn't like the attitude of some of the VW dealerships, and didn't feel as if I was getting good service.

You seem to be contradicting yourself! You say in a comment above that you have driven, but not owned Jap cars because they are 'dreadful' yet you say above that you know and have owned Jap cars. Which is it to be?! Incidently I am also from an engineering background so know what a quality car is!

I don't think there's enough detail in this report. One thing I am aware of since we had this wet year in UK is the number of German cars (BMW/VW group) which had real issues with sucking water into engines. My friends BMW 120 was a write_off and only a year old!
This sort of issue could skew these statistics in terms of "normal failure" though I would still be upset.
However I am told Skoda have positioned some of their air intakes differently and are far less prone to taking in water.

Only German car l ever owned was a VW Golf, the engine caught fire, it put me right off of ever buying German ever again. Glad to say my family got out the car whilst it was going up in flames, but l vowed l would never get taken in by the marketing bull "If only every thing in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen" ever again.

Nice to see Warranty Direct are the biggest company in the business in the UK are now bringing these facts to our attention, as they have to pay out the claims on engines failures.

I agree that MG Rover had a lot of issues towards the end, but IMO the stats hide reality. MG Rover cars are all well over 8 years old,, and the majority even older given how volumes decreased at the manufacturer in the last couple of years, many more may have been put through Warranty Direct when bought used. All these figures do is tell people the rate of failure for cars covered by Warranty Direct and that in itself tells a story. In the same way that Audi, BMW and VW get a bad rap, when people go out and buy a 7 year old car from a backstreet dealer or a private sale, chances are the car has seen a bit of the world, often these cars are only being traded in because they are showing signs of trouble, so I believe that Warranty Direct end up with a higher proportion of 'troublesome' cars than normal. It wasn't too many years ago that Warranty Direct hailed the ancient Rover 45 as THE most reliable used car money could buy - and I didn't buy that story either... So like the AE Driver Power survey, this might make interesting reading and sell magazines but I think I'd take the stats with a pinch of salt. In fact, knowing how many cars from those makers are sold in the used market, this can only serve to sell Warranty Direct a few more policies and I'm sure they are full aware of that marketing opportunity.

Not surprised that Audi iand VW come out with poor engine reliability assume Porche will be alongside them certainly in thefuture I used to do the Accounts for an Audi VW dealership and could not belive the number of engine replacements on cars 2 to 4 yrs old .Agree that the Toyotas will come out well I suppose Nissan should a swell .I have and friends have owned many Merc,Bmw ,Audi and VW cars in the past and certainly have had their share of problems but I like LandRover and Jaguar along with Ford ,Toyota and Hyundai for normal prices the later three are good cars.

Emmm ....Top 10 and Bottom 10 ?

Next time try using both hands to count with.



Also, please read the comments of 'Albert, Netherlands'. He may be right with his assumptions. Personnaly, I suspect a lot more than what he has elluded to.

Ever wondered why the U.N use a fleet of Landcruiser's and Patrol's in the harshest climes, rather than a crappy Q5 or ML, cause they are the definition of durability and reliability.

Completely agree with your remarks.
You obviously have taste.

You are 1 piece of data. The reliability review does not say EVERY German car has a bad engine.

Article states 'failed.' Does that mean there was a glitch that needed repairing or does it mean the engine blew up? To what extent does the term failure actually mean? Poorly written article appealing to emotions and very light on facts.

The only reason why MG Rover is on this list is HGF on the K-Series. If it wasn't for that, they'd be fine. The Chinese and MG UK sorted it relatively recently though on the TF and now the 6 - so its pretty much a thing of the past.

Anecdote is not the same thing as evidence.

BUT, there is no data over how many km / miles these car been driving in average. That makes a big difference if say the average honda done 5000km / year and average Audi done 30000km / year. Many many leasing cars are german cars. Are all used only for private use? What is the average engine? What are the most common faults and models? The only real and fare test you could do is take cars in the same class, and let them do the same driving under the same conditions, and THEN compare the data. Just my opinion though..

As others have said, it's anecdotal. To demonstrate this I had a passat for a year, oil leak, water leaking into the passenger footwell, new brake calipers, the list goes on. I have had an alfa 156 for the past 5 years, It's done 165,000, original engine, turbo etc, I've only had to replace things which have worn like track rod ends, tyres, wishbones, filters.


Nonsense. I ran a 1983 Fiesta to 174k miles with no issues; and a 2002 Mondeo to 149k before I sold it on. Smaller, cheaper cars will hit "uneconomical repair" territory earlier than a German premium car for *the same fault*.

Not really rubbish mate, our works car park is full of all sorts of cars, the ones generally leaving on trailers to the garage are Audi's and BMW's. We have one Audi A6 3.0TDi here that has had 2 new gearboxes within 30k! By the sounds of it you have been very lucky with your cars but don't expect that to go on. I was look with my Alfa 147, did over 120k in it and never missed a beat just had its service and my old Astra barely had a service and still racked up 50k in just over a year and never did a thing wrong. A friend of mine has also had 2 turbos on a Golf in less than 20k! So they really aren't all that.

seven-speed DSG gearbox...ohh my good..tecnical nightmare that vw did...

You're looking for an excuse for the Germans.

'Failure' is the same for all manufacturers and could range [as you intimated] from a malfunctioned sensor to a serious mechanical failure. The criteria of these findings has been compiled by Warranty Direct who, it must be said, will have absolutely NO alliegencies to any manufacturer whatsoever. Thier data is accumalated using information provided by Franchises, Independant Garages and Breakdown Associations (amongst others).

It clearly [and unequivocally] shows a distinct reliability issue from the named manufacturers.

I agree totally 'istvan'.
Lets get a level playing field and test cars side-by-side. Same [type of] drivers, same roads/conditions, same abuse.

Using your suggestions, we can remove obvious 'private' cars like Hondas and Toyotas (to name just two). These are generally driven by older clientele and would rarely exceed 3000rpm. Lets compare the German marques with another, high-mileage fleet favourite, one which has been lambasted over the years for various reasons?

Lets have a look at FORD. This companys' cars have long been regarded as tools for the Sales Reps trade and are often punished to within an inch of thier Service Booklets. If these produce better reliability than the German marques, then will you consider the possibility that they are MORE reliable than you have been led to believe?

Curious then that Ford finish higher than VW/BMW/Audi.

I'm glad that Ford is NOT as reliable as a Volkswagon :-)

Don't you consider Astras and Corsas to be German cars?

Premium? You realise that's just marketing and you come across as angry that your beliefs are being questioned. Premium? That means free wifi and real coffee in a real cup whilst you're waiting for your car to be repaired as they're too mean to lend you one! Premium ?- all BMWs bits probably come from the same manufacturers as Ford or Opel

Whatever the definition of failure it relates to BMWs and Hondas equally and Honda trounces the Big Mouthed W*****s cars :)

Blimey, around Woking just about every Taxi is Japanese with the exception of REALLY old Mercs built in the days when they were built as solid as a vault

They're churning them out now though to try overtake Toyota as the biggest manufacturer.. Quality is slipping my friend

But the Japanese will use our cash to push whales to extinction...

Just to point out - not a single French or Italian brand in the bottom 5, so to those who have refused to take another look at how their quality has improved - here are the stats!

Also, Jaguar (who of course share most engines with Land Rover) are in the top 5. I think stats like these really shake up prejudices against brands with historically below average reliability. And good on them, for too long German's have relied on 'rock solid' reputations without the levels of intangible quality expected of them.

Some people have mentioned that they see older German cars on the road still, but not older Japanese cars - here is the answer. Because people believe the 'premium' hype, they buy old, cheap German cars (because they cannot afford recent models, and should be buying newer 'mainstream' cars instead within their budget). Once purchased, they keep spending money on the old moneypits to keep them on the road, and as a result, most of the old German cars you see have had almost every part replaced - does anyone remember 'Trigger's broom' from Only Fools & Horses? Same thing...

Ive driven several German cars over some hundred thousand miles and only few and small repairs. My next car will be an Audi or Beemer again.

That's a good point!
Why do the mags only test cars for around 10,000 miles?? Buy a second hand car at 20K and test it for another 20K. THAT I'd be interested in reading.

Couldn't agree more Paul.
It's no secret that Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford use [mainly] Peugeot/Citroen diesels and that Nissan use Renault diesels.
Question: Just HOW corrupt are journalists I wonder?

Mercedes used to publish the money they set aside for warranty claims for their car division alone. It ran into billions and this was when they offered a 1 year warranty. Everyone I know, including myself, who has run a so-called premium German make has had expensive problems. The most reliable car I owned was a Citroen BX which did over 200,000 miles from new with two problems - a Bosch ABS sensor and a Blaupunkt radio - both German products. As someone said to me in VW - ''If you want to buy a relaible VW, buy a Skoda'. Says it all.

I've been saying this for years.

Kudos to you too for realising this is the case!

Ha-ha-ha. Calm down 'tschotsch', you'll be giving yourself a hernia!

Two things;
1. In order to state that this is "Utter crap", you must have contradictory evidence - please post a link. I am genuinely interested in the truth.

2. Are you REALLY claiming that Warranty Direct would falsify thier findings? To what gain?

Also, check out the Driver Power findings (using bona-fide VW owners) and compare the results with the two competing manufacturers. If the owners are reporting problems, doesn't that make you wonder . . . . . . just a little?

Here's the link:

If you go to the Warranty Direct website they have figures for the least reliable cars. You will notice that the premium German marques feature prominently and it seems inversely to the cost of buying the thing in the first place. The bottom 10 cars are ALL German. I include the Range Rover because, until recently, that was a BMW.

Engine coil problems anyone?

You cannot force a Japanese car to accelerate abuptly? Blimey, so they have gone from accelerating of their own accord to now ignoring the driver who may be trying to get out of a dangerous situation. Is there no end to the marvels that are Japanese electronic glitches?

Which is why Toyota have had a torrid few years in which they have admitted to/been exposed over some fairly serious faults and design flaws that were otherwise always brushed under the carpet. Not to mention the multi-million $ payouts in the US for breaches of safety and class action law suits. Yes, Toyota have done marvellously well conjouring up a false image of reliability. Or have you slept through the last few years that unveiled Toyotas to be really quite poorly conceived machines? As for fit, finish and interior quality....that's a whole other thread.

So from your 'engineering background' which is rather arrogant and somewhat broad statement to make, what exactly constitutes a 'quality' car?

Have you looked at the servicing intervals of these cars? Typically the French and Italians are at the bottom, right? They tend to have the longest servicing intervals... I've seen up to 35000 km. The Germans are around 25-30000 km, also not reliable. The Japanese force you to come every 15000, maybe 20000, and lo and behold, they are the most reliable. Heck, in SE Asia you'll have to service your Honda every 5000 km. Might as well drive around with your mechanic on the rear seat...
The way I see it defects and problems are noticed much earlier with such a short interval, so the cars are always kept in good condition, defective or soon to be defective parts that will cause a lot of trouble in future are replaced before they can cause problems.

And drive a piece of automotive history. A brand new oldtimer...

In some markets Toyotas highest end D segment car has 2 or 4 airbags, no stability control, and a 4 (high spec 6) speed gearbox. Yes, obviously it is going to be reliable. This tech has been around for the past 20-30 years! Might as well drive a Dacia. Old, proven tech.

Since its owned by GM, no.

New or used ? With a used car you never know how it was driven before.

So how do you suggest testing "long term reliability" within two days to a week of testing time ?

I am interested. People always mope around but offer no solutions.

Hahaha, sure thing. Can you show me the newspaper article ? As i am sure such a story would be a big deal for them.

Typical British anti German sentiments. Take a look at the German DEKRA REPORTS on reliability over a span of 150000km for a balanced view on the reliability of various cars. Note that the jaguar is really an Indian German reinvention of what was to say the least, a bad joke.

No, not anti German but merely a welcome corrective to some of the excessive adulation

Reliability is all about how you drive, maintain and look after your car. A bad owner can spoil a Honda within months, a good owner can have 500,000 in a Fiat. Have seen both. Also you cant compare brands thats wrong, you have to compare models and reliability will differ from country to country as driving conditions are different. So I only believe in statistics made worldwide over a million users. Small statistics are waste of time, no point arguing guys. Also you have to compare models spec for spec, no point comparing a 7 series with millions of gadgets to a Hilux in that doesnot have even electric windows. Take an S-class and a Lexus LS to moldova, and i guarantee you thats S class will beat the lexus everyday in those road and wheather conditions. The fact that lexus has fantastic dealerships does not make the more reliable, but improves customer satisfaction and that is reflected on the surveys they fill. So statistics are waste of time unless they are on a massive scale collected in 200 countries (full stop)

Different here in Australia from my perspective as an ex mechanic at a VW dealer, had loads of customers who took care of their cars from day one and I mean really pampered their cars from a mechanical point of view, wasn't uncommon to see cars with 50-60000KMs coming in with cracked heads, cracked cylinders etc. Not sure about in the UK but anyone who needs to rely on their cars as a source of income buy Toyota- look at airport shuttle bus companys. We have a 2006 Toyota Hiace commuter 2.5L D4Diesel with the that we service= bullet proof, only standard by the book services and 1.2 Million KM on original drivetrain and gearbox and this thing gets smashed 24/7- 12 Passengers + trailer and luggage! Smashed by drivers who don't care about the car either.

Your comments are fair enough. Two questions though:

1. Where can I get such a report?
2. Why are German brands revered so much when evidence suggests otherwise.

Mercedes have had many historically unreliable periods in the past (remember the E-class issues of circa 2000?) yet you firmly 'believe' that the Merc would beat a Lexus in Moldova. I'm not saying that it would or wouldn't, just asking where you've obtained your belief?

I fear that you, my friend like so many others, have been 'Marketed'.

In the words of Lt. Caffey, "I WANT THE TRUTH". Problem is, there are too many owners who 'can't handle the truth'.
Nothing else matters. Is there someone out there with the balls to compile such a report?

Couldn't agree more Paul :-)

That probably has more to do with an idiot owner who didn't know how to service his own car.

Hahaha! Funniest comment yet! 15 Skodas in 23 years!

Someone told that that in Germany BMW and Audi's are just considered to be our British equivalent of Ford/Vauxhall rep cars. Somehow they have managed to get labelled "Premium" in UK (great maerketing) when in reality they are not, Premium means Mercedes, Lexus, Jaguar or Range Rover. Don't forget buying British-Made cars helps the UK economy -not a bad thing for all of us to start doing in this recession, maybe.

Ha-ha-ha-ha. Nice one Cyclops, like it!
He even had Skoda's when they weren't owned by VW and were the most unreliable cars on the road - and never had a problem! I believe him :-)

Two or three cars in that time would back him up. 15 clearly means it's a brand to avoid. He doesn't get it, does he?

I just read the AE long term review for the 208.

Being French, they criticised it's reliability:

- A hose came loose

- Preventative service item check

- The sat nav once lost satellites

I wondered if it was an A1/Polo/MINI review, would they focus on the negatives, or write about the handling and the plastic on the dashboard?

There are all sorts of things going on here. The life of an engine is often more about how it is used and how it is serviced than any other factor.
I have a Mini Cooper (an original Rover Mini) with over 120,000 miles on the clock. I did every one of them so I know the mileage is genuine. Original engine never stripped down only removed the cylinder head to gas flow it. All original. Was I lucky yes but it has ben looked after, other than the occasional rally.
My last two cars have been Alfa Romeos no engine problems in over 60,000 miles. Again I did the miles and there is the key. Many cars, often German, are made from some pretty top end materials and stand high mileages well cosmetically. This makes them easy meat for clockers. Just how many second hand cars have mega mileages yet are sold with below average on the clock. Suprise suprise they then prove unreliable.

True values or just mascaraed number to promote some manufacturers and give bad image to others.... I like to know the real condition of these test...

There are always cars who are monday cars but there are manufacturers that built more of them than others!! Some of us have luck ithers don't.

I have a BMW 540i e39 range model, with about 170000 miles on it now. It has only had a few gimmicks like a snapped alternator belt and a rusty fan, but this all due to the way the car was handled. The previous owner of this car mustn't had serviced my car well, which is why this has happened. It all depends on the owner, if he services it right, it will last as long as he/she would like it to. Just because a car has longed well for you it doesn't mean that it has turned out like this for others. Think before you say.

absolutely correct. It's all about reliability. What's the point of quality dasboard if the car a good part of its life at the workshop.

I bought a new 2008 BMW 335i twin turbo, Well just into 8K miles the fuel pump went bad.It did it again at 26 K miles. I took it to the dealer at the normal maint intervals. This car has been a nightmare. Right now Im just glad I got rid of it. I sure miss my 2001 Honda Accord that had 126K on it.I only had to change brake pads, tires and oil in seven years. Dont buy a BMW with turbo charger it will fail and leave you stranded.

This is just an example of people not understanding research. All that is being observed here is confounding variables. The type of people who own audis vs Hondas into such high mileage, the way they drive and the servicing. What this research needed was to show you further numbers for each group- eg no of owners, service history, average age of current owner (and the standard deviation)

For example, the type of people who buy a Honda Jazz. Elderly couple who keep it in immaculate condition until 800000 when they buy another new. Audi a3- James a sales reps new company car who thrashes it and gets a new one at 40000. Then some 28 year old buys it as the top end of his budget takes it to bobs rust garage then it will jave 3 other owners and no real service or timing belts until someone buys it as the 4th owner at 120000

Couldn't agree more!!!

I have had the misfortune of 2 engine failures on my e90 320 diesel. Ive owned the car from new. Full dealership history very conservative driver. First lasted 40k miles, engine then replaced under manufacturers warranty. New engine lasted just 30k siezed up. Im now looking at a bill of nearly 3k for a used engine. Might as well scrap the car and get a honda.

I drive a W204 C Class CDI, nice car, but the engine not close to the 2.0DCI Laguna in terms of refinement i had previously. Renault/Nissan alliance are the best current diesel manufacturers with the M9R and R9M engines - they are amazing and way better that BMW, Audi, GM

They are even getting nice dashboards now!

You never topped the oil up! Idiot owner at fault

We all know Polo/A1 and MINI's are rubbish

Clio/Fiesta are way better but dont have the nonsense of perceived quality

Coil packs are minor minor issues

my golf gti has a different fault every week. currently running with nine engine fault codes logged

Anyone that buys a German car should remember this; German auto makers do things because they can, not because they should!

diaff thx.

I have no experience of German cars, but I have owned three Italian cars and they were absolute rubbish. Since that awful experience I have owned Proton, Hyundia and Kia cars with no problems at all. I have owned a Kia Magentis for the last nine years with No problems at all, the build quality of this car is quite incredible for a cheap car.

Surprised to see Jaguar up there. My '99 Jag keeps going but it is so over-complicated it keeps having little failures here and there (ignition coil, breather hose, ALWAYS a vacuum leak somewhere.) It keeps running but I can't remember the last time it was running at 100%.

True a lot of these turbocharged engines still have a lot of ?? around reliability.

You do not know what you are talking about. I have a VW Polo since 1999, took it all over Europe, including in former Yougoslavia, on hillsides and not-so-well-tended mountain roads and still runs perfectly. The only problem I ever had that I had to clean the idle control valve. After so many years it doesn't have any rust under the chassis. Just look at a Ford focus after five years. My mechanic showed it to me...

The figures are from Warranty Direct who provide aftermarket warranties on used cars. I would like to see the figures broken out by age of vehicle and mileage as many used BMW, VW, Audi products are high mileage company cars. Only then would I feel I might make a judgement on manufacturer reliability. I have owned over 50 cars in 44 years of business motoring and regularly clock 100K miles in a vehicle. Only once have I had an engine fail and that was a used 1966 Cortina Mark 1 which had not been serviced at all by the previous owner.

I have a Vauxhall Omega 3.2 Elite "2002" with just over 190k and its still going strong ... (Touch Wood)

And the writter of the article is ...?? A British citizen maybe ?

or do as Mercedes did with the A-class steering rack and pretend there's no problem.

Alas, my uncle in Nigeria was right all long.
That's the reason why Africa is flooded with japanese cars. He stated that while in the West Mercedes is classed above Honda, in Nigeria its the other way round, people are more likely to fork out more money for a honda than for a mercedes.
If you should wander onto the streets in Nigeria it is literally filled with japanese mpvs & vans

Well, I've had three Honda Accord diesels and had engine trouble with ALL of them - never a complete failure, true, but hundreds and probably thousands spent on repairs. If this is the best, God help the rest.

Le Mans...that's enough said.

I honestly think that you can judge reliability on the number of years warranty offered by the manufacturer. If it's 7 years or 5 years like Kia and Hyundai then they trust their designs. Correct me if I'm wrong but BMW that all the magazines give generally excellent reviews only offer 3 years unless you pay extra to get a longer warranty. I know MSN are doing a long term test on a BMW 320d Sport and it's now turned into an BMW X1. Warnings about suspension failure on the BMW 320d Sport meant it had to go to the dealers then apparently it was a sensor that needed to be reset, which would take 30 mins probably at most. Why drive away in a BMW X1, which they are now raving about.

I have a mercedes C200K the drive chain snapped at
60,000 miles costing me £3800 in repairs.

the worst car I ever owned and over 50 yrs of motoring and owning many cars in that time was a Renault 14 it just fell to bits around dreadfull build quality , never been near one since

Well, I have driven German cars for the past thirty years, Mercedes (4) and now Audi.(2). Never had a problem with any of them! Superbly reliable, and as a lone woman driver this is my top priority. I am NOT put off by this report in the slightest and friends who drive German all agree with me! So there.

Since MG Rover stopped manufacturing in this country in 2005 and sales have been extremely low here since it was bought by the Chinese, even the newest MG Rover models used in the survey must be 8 years old. The average age will therefore probably be somewhere around 12-15 years old.
Hence it's hardly surprising that their cars do not show up well in the figures - has the survey corrected for vehicle age? It's like comparing the eyesight of the population as a whole with the eyesight of over-sixties and being surprised that more of the over-sixties need glasses.

My 15-year-old Rover passed its MOT first time with no faults a couple of months ago. I used to race Rovers in a mixed saloon car series and never had an engine failure in fifteen years of competing. I remember one race on a very hot day - we'd all been held in the assembly area for a long time and the temperature gauge was in the red when we started the race and remained there for 12 laps of Donington park but the engine performed faultlessly.

I had a Mercedes 500 Sl sold to me by a Mercedes Dealer....was supposed to be car of my dreams but in fact was car of my nightmares. Blown speakers , leaking roof seals , failing electrics, failing convertible roof, steering rack faulty, leaking boot, failure of Air conditioning.....the list goes on.....

Who wants to drive either Toyota or Honda, neither are known for having keen drivers, or likely owners whom neglect disrespect to pensioners.

"Sudy" Doesnt mention what sort of age/mileage the engine failure is at.. Personally Ive had an A4 that I wrote off at 180K no problems with engine. Currently driving a second hand 03 golf with 154,000 on the clock.. First car was a brand new punto that died at < 45K 3 years old...
Customers more likely to take out a warranty on a higher mileage car than a low milage one ie low milegae car dies but wouldnt show up on Warrantty Directs statistics (reported to encourage sales of Warranties- get a german car, get a warranty- Engine doesnt die no claim... they make money!!!)

Audi and VW use the same engines across the range (along with other brands) so VAG comes bottom, yes? How many were turbo failures? If a lot then they were NOT engine failures but lousy control systems and rip off garages! 1.9 TDI famous for apparent turbo failure under pressure BUT not caused by turbo failure. Waste gate, control module and EMC needs checking before the big £1500 job!

Unless I can't count, your report lists only the top and bottom FIVE manufacturers - NOT TEN as indicated above each list.

Regarding car reliability; I have had an '03 plate' MG ZT-T CDTi for 7 and a half years of it's 10 years on the road, it's done 133,000 miles and cost me a low-pressure and a high-pressure fuel pump - excluding normal servicing costs.

Toyota have had more 'recalls' in the last four years than any other manufacturer. The engine in the Saab is a GM unit and not a Swede so blame GM for the demise of a once great Swedish automobile.

The thing is with VW´s you HAVE to service with VW oils otherwise there are serious oil foaming issues which cause loss of oil pressure, starve the top end and turbos then do the bottom end due to no pressure, ergo, new engine required. They (VW) also will not stand on engine warranty if the cars have not been serviced every 8k miles. Just google "vw turbo engine problems" or "VW oil foaming issues" and you will see for yourself. I used to sell cars in Spain and we had three VW failures in 12 months which were all oil foaming.

I wholeheartedly agree. the driver is the main factor in the life of an engine. The engine that I blew up was a Ford Classic 113E (Three bearings) 1340cc in 1967

I realised I should have bought the 1500cc Cortina type engine and learning from my mistake always bought the car that best served my needs at the time.
I was a professional driver with often 80 to 100,000 miles a year and currently run a Citroen for the same reason as I chose all the rest - nil faults!
I have never bought German or Japanese so I guess I am immune to marketing.

Reach over to the 'Caps Lock' key and give is a click - Please.

The only car I will ever have again is my small Lexus.It's boringly reliable

Do they publish the full list anywhere? It would be interesting to see where other manufacturers come, if they use the same engines. For instance, SEAT and Skoda use VW engines, so why aren't they in there with VW? Peugeot and Ford share some engines, as do Toyota and Peugeot.

never did get this thing about German tech being so this and so that - 'bout time they got found out. Nice cars 'til they go wrong then they cost a bomb to service/repair. A very useful income stream for german car manufacturers.

The thing is that BMW/VW/Audi et al from germany may may nice looking and nice performing cars, but the fact remains that japanese cars are designed to be maintained less and be more reliable and so statistically are far more reliable than the german ones. I am quite sure that any car that is well maintained will last longer than one that is not, but the numbers do not lie -buy a japanese car and you are far more unlikely to have an engine problem with it than if you had bought german.
There is no arguing or quoting the cars you have had were great that will change these facts.
It does make you wonder why many in the auto media have led the public to believe otherwise for many years.

I am the owner of a 1996 Audi A4 with 225,000 miles on the clock and not a single problem with the engine. I guess standards have slipped in Germany since the 90's...

I am driving merc from 1981 this is my 4th car s320 cdi bought new 2002 since then i have spent more than£5000 under 100000 miles still not running properly now suddenley I park front of my house next morning I start and try to put gear to drive gear not moving Now I deaside I never buy merc again and tell my frinds and relative

Its probably because Audi and BMW owners are excempt from the speeding laws and seem to be able to thrash their cars down the motorways without getting stopped. Just think how often you get some overpaid bmw driving tory idiot tailgating you on the motorway while they are going down to their weekend holiday home. The locals on not much more than minimum wage are living in park homes in the summer and cheap winter lets in the winter.

If they're that bad,why do you keep buying them? (BMW)

My Honda has covered 247,000 miles - original exhaust. I rest my case.

Am on my sixth BMW now and the first five have averaged 165,000 miles before giving any problems, which seems quite satisfactory to me.

The Honda Accord we had was the only vehicle that never let us down. The Range Rover was by several miles the worst. Lucky to make it to the shops, and you wouldn't make it back if you did actually get there.

dead right David. But look on the bright side - if you told bad drivers they had to have a sign on their cars saying "Arrogant selfish driver - Avoid!" they would refuse. Yet they gladly drive BMWs and Audis which amounts to the same thing. Sometimes they have personalized number plates, which is like putting the message in bold font.

Sadly Mercedes have lost it. Last good ones are pre 1990 models.

It has a BMW engine by the way.

Yes, boost pipe comes off under pressure, just needs re-fitting. Cost? Minimal. Garage gets a lot more profit fitting new turbo

Mercs no good since about 1990.

Never buy Renault. Any mechanic will tell you this. But check whether your new car has a french or whatever engine. Lots of parts interchange here.

Do you mean drive chain or cam chain? Neither should break at 60,000 and you should claim against MB.

Worth asking whether the engines were Rover derived or the later Honda designed ones. The Rover ones were quite troublesome, which is why Rover chose a Perkins engine for their own models, leaving the O series adapted diesel to Honda. having said that, I did 300000 miles on my Honda with a Rover diesel engine.

He didn't say he didn't top the oil up. You BMW lovers are like Robbie Williams fans - you can't bear to hear that the object of your love is a .....

What upsets me about all these surveys is that cars with the same engines get such different results, depending on the perceived cachet of the badge. (Sometimes that's inverted - Skoda getting far better reliability results than Seat, although virtually the same cars). Personally I've found that genuine home grown Japanese is the way to go, but why should this opinion (which is also the opinion of all mechanics I've ever known) influence these surveys?

One of my brother's customers is the advertising man who came up with "Are you good enough for a BMW?". He also came up with "Daz, with genuine Bluinite". At the time, about 35 years ago, BMW was associated with the Isetta and a competent if rather dull motor cycle. They needed to improve the image, even though their cars were no better than Fords or Opels of the era. Great Marketing success.

Hang about...why is this bad? All cars should be checked every 3000 miles or so. Even with latest oils a 5000 mile service interval is pushing it. Many (yes I mean many) BW engines use a pint of oil every 1000 miles. So if you leave it 10,000 miles you'll have no oil and BMW will say why didn't you pay attention to the oil level light when the engine blows up and it will be down to you to pay for anew engine.

Yes, my German pipe has lasted 30 years. 105 stems and 200 bowls. (Joke for older people only)

They don't allow you to alter the Caps Lock in Rampton.

I think all manufacturers have their K series mistakes. Black cab drivers know this from bitter experience. Nissan engines that started off crap that turned out ok in the end, only for the manufacturer to turn to a Toyota engine that started off as rubbish but came right in the end. Now we're on a Ford which is crap, but hopefully will be sorted one day. BTW all the manufacturer needed to do with the K series was to sort the head gasket out and improve the cooling. Left to after-market people.

While we are talking about old VWs my Golf (c 1985) lost all the paint from the driver's door when I slammed it too hard one day. The paint came off in one sheet. It was three years old.

5000 km is a bit ridiculous though. I'd say somewhere around 15000 km isn't too bad... 30000-35000 is stretching it a bit.

Also, it's not a problem checking the oil levels, and at least my Renault warns me when it runs out of oil.

ah well this just shows the tablke is correct vauxhall is in the bottom 5 for reliability
and im having problems with my 1 year old seat mii. which is german

I just part-exchanged a 1999 BMW 528i auto with 110,000 miles on the clock for a new Corsa SE 1.4 auto with a guarantee of 100,000 miles. Previously I have had other makes and models yet none could compete with the BMW 5 series. It was reliable, powerful, comfortable, easily and cheaply maintained at a local repair garage (not the main dealer); the only problem being consumption with an average of 30 mpg. Living as I do in the countryside and doing mainly short runs 20 mpg was the usual. The Corsa, a tinny and uncomfortable vehicle, is advertised as providing 45 mpg yet in the 6 months in which I have had it the best consumption is a mere 28.2 mpg! Irrespective of what statistics say I have never come across a better built car than the older BMWs (and also the older Mercs). A different class of person buys those semi-luxury cars and what the statistics might be highlighting is the nature and attitude of this class of buyer. One should be careful of being too literal on interpreting statistics. The two Honda Accords SE Execs that I had from new were burning oil at 80,000 miles but the annual cost of maintenance was considerably higher than that of the BMW at the dealer's garages. I am now mourning the departure of that old 5 series BMW; a truly great car and looking forward to getting another (if the goodlady agrees).

It's not the engine failure that worries me but the myriad of sensors continuously checking for a failure in some other component that lasts far longer than the sensors themselves which in turn makes the CPU disappear up its own backside with alarming alarms.

The Germans managed to convince the rather stupid British that their stuff is the best when it isn't

Interesting comments!
I have a 2005 VW Touran 1.9 TDi 105, it has had main VW dealer service it every single year at 12k intervals & at 110,000 miles the engine blew up so spectacularly that when it was lifted out of the engine bay you could look through the holes in the casing & out the other side! + The block was cracked from top to bottom too. No oil pressure issues, no lights came on prior, no untoward noises, nothing! Just like some one rolled a grenade under the car. Best guess is the con rod or something just broke internally & the pressure blew it up.
Was doing 65mph in sixth gear at the time, pulling maybe 2200 rpm.
Thanks VW!
Had a Lexus GS before, covered 149000 miles in it, no breakdowns whatsoever.
My Touran now has a second hand engine from a 75000 Mile Golf TDi in it, That all cost me best part of £3000. Couldn't afford a re-con or new engine as had to also replace the dual mass flywheel, clutch, cambelt & water pump.

After a string of unreliable passats, one which i had to sell at a massive loss when it was18 months old because it had been off the road for a total of 7 months with numerous faults, audi a4 needing 3 particulate filters AT MY EXPENSE! within 50,000 miles, and a bmw that needed £1600 spent on an ECU when it was 37 months old... I have owned citroens and Alfa Romeos since 2005, much better spec, more comfortable and have not had a problem with any of them!
In my opinion PSA build the most reliable diesel engines available!

Simple. The point is that the quality of the built in TV screen becomes important every time you wait for the recovery service.

But it's not just cars! Germany has a world-wide (and well deserved!) reputation for superb efficiency and reliability in just about every facet of structural engineering. Even in the midst of WW2, when they were almost finished and everybody hated them, Germans were universally revered for their build-quality of everything.

Me too!

With all due respect, that's rubbish.

My wife's got a diesel golf. In the last few years we've replaced the gear box, radiator, headlights,cam-belts,faulty wiring and the usual items;batteries brakes tyres etc. The car fails her MOT every year -guaranteed. German rubbish.
I had a merc ,with it's rear wheel drive it was useless in the snow and ice. The servicing came in at just under a grand .Got rid of it and now have a toyota-brilliant!

I've driven Vauxhalls for years and have had very little trouble from engine failure - apart from one time when a cam belt shredded on the M6 while on my way to catch a flight to Cyprus.with all the family on board. But that was at over 80,000 Km and no one had replaced the belt on the last service as recommended by the manufacturer.
And the Vauxhall I have now seems to have a German engine in it anyway. (Lots of Opel stickers on various parts).

I've had reliability issues with BMW's and Hondas. The biggest difference is BMW have a full range of spare parts in the country Unlike Honda who have to ship many of their parts from Japan (with a 6 week delay). Most of these reliability disappear if you stop using supermarket fuel.

Same old, same old...
Back in 2003 we needed new wheels - the family Maestro HL had gone seriously toxic after 19 years use. Fuel leaks. Wiring probs. Scary!

We looked at everything, natch.
It was a German customer satisfaction survey that convinced us to try a Suzuki - they were then No 8 in their satisfaction chart iirc.

Mercedes were in the hands of the penny pinchers then, were well down in the 20s.

So we went for our local Suzi dealer's ex-demo Liana hatch with the alloy wheels/matching tyres and the silly body kit, for about £7000.

Wheels/tyres upgrade did do a good bit to help the handling vs the standard car. More positive.

Jezza Clarkson hating the Liana really helped us choose it!

Ten years on, the only failure I can recall is a main fuse blowing. Fixed overnight under warranty.
Very competent car, and the engine is a jewel.

puzzling. merc were terrible when Chrysler took over and made the C class in S Africa.

Maybe some Ger cars are overworked?

So this doesnt make any sense to me.

Germans did many wicked things in the war, and have never paid in any way for them. But they do make very good cars.

If only the Japanese could make nice looking cars to go with their reliability, they would do a lot better. MY old civic was Uber reliable but catastrophically ugly. I now have a VW Bora so I hope I have one of the good 97%.

Lol i had an oh so unreliable Alfa... 155 v6 which had 170,000 on clock and never let me down.... Another guy (mechanic also had one and ran it to 250,000 with not even an oil change in time he had it, just topping up from about 140,000) only just let go the other week.... Tbh i still drive Alfa and just sit quiet about bus fare jokes from audi and bimmer drivers knowing they always end up at side of road before me pmsl...

Always good to see some good real figures. Before you all pan Alfa they also get good places on jd power survey in Germany and have placed better than bmw & merc ;)

Badge envy, simples, the buyers grew up as kids when bimmer was cool and premium and built high quality to last (my e30 three series was a great car).... By the buyers now still associate,the badge with success :)

I own a garage and the number of German cars that require major work to the engine keeps us busy , Oil pump failure on Audi /VW cars is the most common with the 3 series chucking con rods out through the side and cam chains failing . The most reliable at the moment are the Citroen range and the Ford range , these share Engines and they give very little trouble . and they are comfortable and drive well .You see many taxi's using these cars which is a good indicator of reliability , You don't see many 5 series taxi's . Taxi's have to be reliable and cheap and easy to repair , Taxi driver s have at last realised that the cars have to be serviced correctly to last , they change the oil on the dot .

Your headline should be re-written:

THREE of the bottom FIVE cars, including THE VERY LAST, are English !

That puts the emphasis back where it belong.

what rubbish, yes honda,toyota are very reliable ,so are bmw ,if kept in great condition ,and maintained, i still have a e30 2.5(1990) 286,110miles,e36(1998) 167,300miles m3,e60 530d (2003) with 50,ooo on it i looked after them all ,audi and mercs are far less reliable than all the others ,mg always sucked ass,the new mini is a reliable car too,where did you get the figures??? ,they are miles out ,french cars are poor ,and supercars arnt so good either,i did have a older a6 for about 10k miles ,was told it was well serviced,had it checked within a month of getting it,was told the cam bearings were failing ,it depends on who drives it and how well its driven ,germany and japan are best for reliability ,i dont need a report to tell me that................,ever wonder if mr cameron is behind this telling us to buy "crap" british cars??

ive owned a vw golf vr6,,audi,bmw,mini 1275gt,honda civic,honda prelude,escort mk 1,2,3,4,5,6 ,merc c32 , most faults on merc,followed by fords

full service history is so important too
fords lasting 160,000 miles lol ,yeah if u say so,judging by some of the corsa,astra,focus,vw that some of you state theve probably been thrashed before u got them ,this report is utter BULLsh1t

As others have pointed out, nobody believes German cars are more reliable than Japanese cars. This is why I drive Honda - no need for breakdown cover if you drive a Honda :)

I paid £27,000 for a new Mercedes and during the three years I owned it there was not one day when it didn't have a fault of some kind. Selection of first gear was repaired four times but never worked reliably, while there were leaks around the windscreen, a window that opened at random, three brake servo failures, regular wiring faults and an alarm that went off at random and was never cured. Dealers and Mercedes UK clearly regarded me as a nuisance who shouldn't expect such a cheap car to work reliably. The contrast with my wife's Honda Civic couldn't have been greater: 18 years and 192,000 miles with, apart from routine maintenance done by me, only £72 spent on a new radiator.

German cars? They make great taxis don't they? Really does anybody part with there hard earned cash for them? Don't think so!!! There just the the modern day company car replacement the old Sierra of the eighties. If you have any sense buy Japanese

A 1989 Rover 600 with 190k genuine miles on the clock, my car has a 100% British-designed and built diesel engine which is running VERY smoothly, reliably and still hitting 60 mpg at 70(+) on motorways, including in France.
I know of another one which has done 260+K,

But then Rover were sold out to BMW...................

Fantastic point Nick - nail firmly hit on head!
Just one point to all, I'm not actually sure that even the 'apparent' fit & finish of BMW's [in particular] is up to scratch; I recently went to a BMW showroom, sat in a 320D Sport (over 30k) and was apalled by the 'quality' of certain plastic mouldings. In particular, there is a piece of plastic trim (white in this car) that runs between the handbrake and the centre-console which beggars belief! Even KIA/Hyundia does it better. Other trim was very good, but it shows that the bean-counters have a huge hand in the design of current BMW's.
3-series - the new Mondeo?!

They never had a reputation for reliability. Whoever states that they did should get a reputation for making stuff up. German cars, especially BMW, sure are a great fun to drive.

I use BMW for over 3 years and never had any engine failure at all!!

what about proton? :3

"...all agree with me! So there." What are you? 4 years old? Grow up.

The 1.5 dCi K9K engine is the most reliable engine they've ever made (2004 engines ate their turbos at bit, but Renault fixed the problem).

2.0 dCi M9R is a Nissan engine. The 3.0 dCi V9X is a Renault-Nissan engine based on the 2.0 dCi, so should be very reliable. Reliability? Go Japanese - many have known this since the Eighties...

Gertrude - Joyce's remarks sum up the Audi driver mentality very well. "I am right regardless of other people". That's how they drive as well. As you obviously know what you are talking about, unlike Joyce, I would just add that the re-built Mercedes engines by Crewe Engines last longer than the originals in my experience, as they incorporate many improvements and use superior materials. I have no connection with the firm, just impressed with their work.

SEAT is made in Spain. VAG owned, but hardly classifiable as "German".

Agree Gertrude. Of the cars we've owned the ones that never let us down were both Japanese, Honda and Mazda.

have you looked at the seat mii , the vw up!, and the skoda citigo.. they are identical cars with different bumpers. all off the same production line.. vw engine &running gear. so the mii is highy classifiable as a german car

I apologize about saying these cars are made in Spain. It is the Polo platformed cars that are made in Spain. The Up! and co are made in Slovakia, which is a bit nearer to Germany I suppose.They are made at the Skoda factory in Bratislava, as are many other cars typically thought to be "German". German managed and owned, but not "Made in Germany", if that matters.

Absolutely true. Toyota have recalled and fixed 20 year old cars for the same throttle problems that BMW deny, even though they are listed in BMW technical service bulletins.

I've just had an Audi A8 engine fail with only 110k on the clock. Shame cause it was a nice car otherwise. I will never
touch an Audi again - they are really not very reliable.

155000 miles is NOT that much, I drive cars up to double that and way past the lifespan cars has. My 2003 A6 had engine and electronic problems by the time it got to 170000miles and by 200000 miles one of the drums inside the auto box broke into pieces. while my 1997 Subaru impreza drives without a hitch and it is also standing at 200000miles, my 1985 Alfa has proven more reliable than ANY of the German cars that has been in our entire family, In fact all but of my family drives a German car currently, they all moved to Japanese cars except my aunt with her VW Jetta which is more at the workshop than in her garage...O yes our family business is selling car parts/ spares... guess which parts get sold more ..... German and guess which spares is the more expensive spares.... German.

Astras and Corsas are Opel/ Vauxhall. They are in fact German cars

That's pretty petty comparing a Yaris with a German car like an Audi or new golf or a BMW that does cost far more, and the Yaris and fiesta will probably more reliable and even if not cheaper to fix. for the price you pay for German cars the reliability is NOT except able. I am a pretty big motor head and owned a LOT of cars. from old crappy Fiat 124, to late model Audi's, Alfas, BMW and even a Porsche to name but a few. My 2002 156 2.5 V6 that I bought used was far more reliable than my 2003 Audi A6 that I bought new, Whether you like it or not, German cars are not reliable. Figures don't lie. and to Heavyrightfoot how many cars have you owned and how many of them was from manufactures outside German and falls into the same price range and class/ category the German cars does. When you owned 30 or more cars which you drove and lived for more than a year or two then I suspect you will have valuable comments and not postings like-what you drive then thats so good? a yaris? matiz? fiesta?.

Interesting that Volvo should be way ahead of the 'reveered' badges, I know how good Volvos are, I own 2 of them and I don't understand why people sneer at them, they produce some fine cars, built just as well as anything the Germans produce and some can go just as well too! Japanese manufacturers being at the top doesn't surprise me at all, their cars are all very good as well, we had a Toyota many years ago and it got 2 years hard use and never failed once! I once owned a Honda as well, for all of 4 hours before some git nicked it and wrote it off, shame, because for the few hours I had it, it seemed like a great car! Honda's motorcycles are pretty good as well!

I had an old Audi 90 once as well which was a brilliant car, but it seems the newer ones have their niggles, I have friends that have owned brand new Golfs, Audis and other german machinery who had a number of warranty claims with them, one had an A4 with timing belt that lunched itself in 30,000 miles, and there's the well known oil pump failure problem with some of the VW TDi's, another had a Phaeton which was developing corrosion at 18 months old, not saying they are necessarily ALL bad, but they are not as invincible or as bombproof as some would have you believe, after all, the engine is the most important component of any car, regardless of who or where it was made.

My 2001 Citroen C5 Hdi has just covered 210,000 with no major components required. It's predecessor 1.9 Xantia did 225,000 and it's predecessor 190,000 - no major components required, ever.

In fact I have run French cars for 33 years (about half the 60 cars I have owned) and the biggest job ever was a Xantia cylinder head. I wonder if that's why Jaguar, LandRover, Ford, BMW and Mini have all used PSA engines in their products?

I must say I love the French haters as they keep prices low. I just bought a 407 coupe for a shade over £2000. Keep up the good work on AE by the way, great read.

VW reputation for reliability probably dates back to the sixties compared to rivals, Mercedes same with up to the high quality W123 range and BMW etc. Mechanical reliability is a much patchier picture these days even if the perceived quality appears good.

statistics is statistics, based on data facts collected over a certain period and Displays the average failure rate. Anecdotes are anecdotes, usually related to only one car or a few ones, not representative and therefore not comparable. other influencing elements like Service Status are not explicitly taken into account here. German cars never have been the most reliable but the most solid in manufacturing and technical Innovation. And definitely best in Marketing, selling cars at incredible high Prices only by inventing new categories like "premium" (for which no one can explain the difference) and selling the customer Features no one asked for (all those unnecessary assist Systems), creating an artificial demand.

SHEEPLE, you are ALL being fooled by a poorly written article, designed to promote the author.

First, notice that the information came from one company, Warranty Direct, and is an opinion based on facts that they gathered.

Second, the author and Warranty Direct fail to define, or explain, what an "engine failure" is that comprises the "failure rate." Is it the engine wouldn't start, or is the crankshaft damaged?
Third, they are a third party warranty provider, and they don't explain what the age and mileage is for the cars they insure, or whether they are used or new cars.
Basically, the information in the article is for the convenience of the author. The article is designed to inflame readers and pay the author every time someone views it. The more controversial, the more $$$$!
Complete waste of time.

Well, you could argue that in germany, where most people drive a german car, cars are being pushed to their limits more than in every other country on the autobahn. driving at maximum speed is very stressful for most engines.

car reviews are useless in terms of reliability. For that they need to be testing the car for a good part of 10 years. I had a mercedes once and it was just a non-stop money drain, along with my porsche. Dumped them and got a Nissan sports car (you guys know what it is ;) and a honda as a daily driver. The honda I bought second hand so it's currently 10 years old and has not given me a single inch of problem for the past 2 years I had it. Nothing.

Just accept the truth..

Mercedes does. Yes. They were always more durable and of higher quality than any VW/Audi or BMW. Now where is Porsche on that list?


German cars usually have a lot more going on than Japanese cars. What needs to be mentioned if these failures are engine failures that immobilize you, or are they things like the parking sensors failing or the automatic parking failing.

Just saying but I'd never choose a American, or Japanesse car over a German car. They're just way better made, have better engines etc. Also to be honest most of these safety tests, reliability tests etc I don't believe because I drove Japanesse cars for a while and they were horrible. (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla etc). Each time after driving one when I got back into my German car it felt properly made. It was tough strong and build of strong material (Honda and Toyota doors feel like complete paper) the steering wheel is way way more responsive and German car interiors just look nicer. Plus don't even get me started on the difference between performance.

Haha in your face french car haters(which are mostly german car owners) Love my Citroen to bits. PSA come lets be on the top part of the liat now.. Best diesel engine is french.

this survey is based on customer feelings, not facts : therefore it depends also on how customers are demanding : i believe an Audi customer maybe more demanding regarding the price he pays, and therefore shout louder in case of failure.

Oil change is due very 30 000km regardless of time according to maintenance schedule of VW,Audi, Seat and Skoda. Ten years ago you'd have to do that every 10 000km or every year. That might just be the possible explanation for the higher engine failure rate.