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Old 10-18-2010, 09:55 AM
hotrod2448 hotrod2448 is offline
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Location: NC
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Mein Auto: F80 M3, F10 535i
Originally Posted by Jon S. View Post
When I first started selling cars (Nissans) in 1986 we had Japanese and American-built Sentras (Smyrna, GA.). No doubt about it, the American ones were inferior. It was most obvious, even visibly so as the rubber exterior bits like windshield seals, black bumper covers, etc. all began oxidizing almost immediately on the US-built, and not at all on Japanese. There were several other noticeable differences. My next stop, Honda, same thing. The Japanese Accords made of better materials, also better fit and finish. We had plenty of customers refuse delivery based on assembly point. The only similar BMW comparisons that could be drawn were with the SA built versus German E46 sedans. They were very close, I couldn't tell a difference, yet again, we had buyers refuse SA-built vehicles.

For me the point to be gleaned is that the jobber/supplier issue is more salient than the assembler issue.
Fair enough but, again you could argue that manufacturer is responsible for the QC of the parts from a supplier and if they approve inferior parts with different materials or qualities from a supplier in a foreign country it is their fault for allowing the supplier to be different. There is no inherent reason that trim work can't be made to the same quality or of the same material in the US or South Africa as it is in Germany. I've owned 3 German built BMWs (E90, E92, E65) and one American built (E70) and I can't tell any discernible difference in how they are assembled.

Kind of a funny BMW supplier story, My father-in-law works for Exide who is now producing batteries for BMW. When they first started the evaluations to be an approved supplier they were furnished prints to build the parts to. At this point I believe there was an Italian company manufacturing the batteries. When the BMW engineers showed up to do the evaluations they found something that did not fit their fixtures like the production battery did. Apparently they kind of acted like they weren't surprised that us dumb Americans can't even follow prints. It turns out the Exide part was built accurately and to the print but, the go/no go gauge they built was fitted off a production Italian battery that was actually out of BMW spec for one reason or another.

Last edited by hotrod2448; 10-18-2010 at 10:06 AM.
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