Originally Posted by d_crome
My 2 cents.
1 - Toyota, known for the highest levels of reliability, since they started manufacturing their Corolla and Camry lines in the US have experienced MORE break downs since the transmissions were constructed in the US. The Japanese constructed vehicles did not have this flaw. Bottom line - the US worker didn't construct the vehicle to the same level of detail as the Japanese worker.
Toyota since raised their standards, much like Honda for their US constructed vehicles.
2 - US vehicle DESIGN. Face it, US engineers REALLY lost the plot somewhere in the mid 70's and really never recovered. ALL the really good GM variants out there are derived from their external US brands, Opel, Holden, Vauxhaul etc. Ford Australia and Europe also manufacture and design desirable and performance oriented vehicles that challenge BMW in finish and design (try a UK delivered GTO vs an M5 and you'll see it's a close call).
Bottom line - some serious changes are required in the US in regards to engineering and styling. Market forces are already starting this trend (i.e. the death of some GM and Ford brands - who'd buy a Malibu when an Accord LOOKS and PERFORMS better?). More "world" cars need to make it to the US, their design, efficiency and performance will help an ailing US based manufacturer - which is already occurring - Saturn are importing Belgium Opel's, Pontiac are rebadiging Australian built Holdens, Ford SHOULD import their high end Focus's from the UK, and potentially Falcon's from Aus too - more efficient and performance than that of US derived vehicles.
3 - There's no reason BMW COULDN'T BUILD great cars here - Honda have been doing it for 20 years because THEY HAVE HIGH STANDARDS. If these same standards are enforced here, then you should care less if an American, German, Brazilian or Saffa (Sth African) constructed your vehicle.
HOWEVER - if BMW EVER hired a US Engineer or designer - you can consider my interest in BMW finished. The engineering skill is what makes BMW a BMW, much like Honda and Toyota. US GM/FORD designers are simply not ready yet, their standards have been lax because the market ALLOWED them to be lax. They constructed cash cow SUV's and when they wanted to expand and change, they were restricted by the money men - the money was with the SUV. Look what happened when Ford purchased Jaguar - they had no idea how to design a Jag and the company went bust - people refused to buy a Jag that was essentially a Taurus....with the same reliability (not that Jag was very reliable before...lol).
The same, but in reverse, occured with the introduction of the 5AT on the J-Series with Honda/Acura.
It has little to nothing to do with capability of US engineers and more to do with economic restrictions faced by domestic manufacturers.
In approximately twenty years in the industrial sector I have seen failures by all engineers. The economic landscape often defines the allowances. That said, the aerospace engineering in this country is not lacking.