Why cant Toyota or Honda make a car that drives just like a BMW?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by elmo, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. elmo

    elmo Guest

    I mean what's stopping them from making an exact mechanical copy of a lets
    say 3 series? I know the Lexus IS is aimed at the 3 series but according to
    car magazines its not quite the 3er...why not? After all a car is mostly
    mechanical components. If Lexus wants the ride and handling qualities of a
    BMW why don't they jus copy the exact suspension geometry? If they like
    that engine, then open the BMW engine up and make an exact copy of the
    parts, etc.

    If computer makers copied the IBM PC through reverse engineering (because of
    patents, etc) why cant car makers just copy each other flat out? I'm sure
    BMW doesn't have some patent on the suspension geometry.

    Does Toyota know something we don't? I mean, it's mostly us driving
    enthusiast that want a car that drives like a BMW, but does the avg. Joe
    want to drive a car that has the "bmw ride"? Maybe not. But if Lexus is
    flat out aiming at the 3er, then I don't know why they cant make a car that
    drives exactly like one.

    what do u guys think?
    elmo, Sep 10, 2003
  2. elmo

    Jack G Guest

    If you want a BMW why not just buy one?

    Jack G, Sep 10, 2003
  3. The CAN make a copy of the 3 Series if they wanted to.

    What you have to understand it that automakers design and build to a
    perceived customer and an expected set of demands that customer might have.
    They seem to think that a BMW customer is some sort of anamoly that has a
    unique set of demands, or something. They seem to think that what they are
    building has broader appeal in the market place. If they build a car like a
    BMW, and it appeals to 5% of the buyers, or they build a car like the Camry
    that appeals to 40%, which do you think they will build?

    There are complexities that go along with the decision to build like BMW
    builds, but they seem to think that people will rather spend 22,000 and get
    close to what they really want than spend 32,000 to actually get it. Of
    course, now that you and I have a BMW in our garage, we appreciate the value
    of the extra 10 grand. ;-)
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 10, 2003
  4. They could make one, but remember - BMWs are not really any
    more reliable than GMs. Good, but not great.

    All that performance comes at a price, afterall. A bit
    lighter weight here, a bit higher revving engine there...
    Unless you want to get a Mercedes AMG model, and pay upwards
    of 50K, then you "settle" for a AMG lite(aka BMW for $15K less).
    Joseph Oberlander, Sep 10, 2003
  5. elmo

    John Guest

    They could make a very good BMW clone but to achieve a truly comparable car
    (suspension, electronics etc), their cost would be very close to that of a
    John, Sep 10, 2003
  6. From: elmo ()
    Subject: Why cant Toyota or Honda make a car that drives just like a
    This is the only article in this thread
    View: Original Format
    Newsgroups: alt.autos.bmw, alt.autos.lexus, alt.autos.toyota,
    Date: 2003-09-10 11:58:35 PST

    It is difference in engineering and production cost, my friend. The
    way BMW manufactures their cars is substantially different from great
    Japanese companies namely, Toyota and Honda. If Toyota starts putting
    technology in a Corolla that is more or less the same that is found
    BMW, it would end up costing the customer after the profit margin
    almost the same as a BMW 3 series. Now, that does not necessarily mean
    that the reliability of German cars is better than Japanese. Far from
    that. Nevertheless, the fit, finish and quality of all the components
    used in the car ( BMW uses laser etching to even out the body for that
    perfect finishing) is what separates the German cars from the rest of
    the flock. Although, the compact car division is getting so
    competitive the new models (2004 Corolla, for instance. I have driven
    four Corolla models my dad's 1982/83 in my mid teens about 8 years
    ago, 1995, 1999 and now my own new 2004 Corolla Sport) is a massive
    improvement over the predecessor models. No one could have predicted
    the quality and cutting edge technology I expect the same with the
    next Honda Civic as well and who knows one day they will have cars in
    compact category that can stand next to a BMW or Audi 1.8T.

    Best wishes,

    Faisal A Sheikh
    FaisalCorollaS, Sep 10, 2003
  7. Falling asleep through elmo's post...
    Don't think they need to. They are trying to with that Lexus, but they
    make thier money with bread and butter cars like Corollas and the new

    "If you can't change a tire, you're not allowed to have a beard. It's the
    most basic part of a car: If you don't know that much about a car, you
    really shouldn't be driving, should you?" - Jimmy Kimmel
    Owner of Henry Cotter, apparently not the first,
    Pahsons - Somnolent, Sep 10, 2003
  8. elmo

    elmo Guest

    But you are comparing a corolla and a 3er. What i'm saying is, when Lexus
    decided to build a "3 series killer" which is the IS and came short (based
    on opinion ofcourse) of making a car which is as fun to drive as the
    3er...i'm sure Lexus engineers realized that the IS was no 3er killer when
    they had the prototype, it was a good alternative to it because of the
    cheaper price and higher reliability, but I'm sure that they were not
    focusing on building a car that is 2nd in the fun to drive category (the
    reason people buy BMWs) and first in quality and value. Why didn't they
    just do a mechanical copy of the 3er to start of with and then beat BMW by
    offering the car w/ a lower price and higher quality (which they can easily
    do w/ more efficient production)? And I don't buy the argument that BMW
    uses higher quality components Vs. Toyota, infact its quite the opposite.
    How many electrical problems do people exp. w/ Mercedes and BMW's Vs.
    Toyota, Im sure the problem rate w/ BMW components (mostly made by Bosch) is
    much higher then a toyota (mostly made by denso). Anyone making an argument
    that BMW employees a higher quality standard (including in production)
    compared to Lexus has to be smoking some real good shit.
    elmo, Sep 10, 2003
  9. elmo

    Dan J.S. Guest

    Because BMW reliability is not that great.
    Dan J.S., Sep 10, 2003
  10. elmo

    Guest Guest

    Well, that's kind of what Nissan did with the Datsun 510...
    Guest, Sep 10, 2003
  11. elmo

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    No, they copied the basic design. The geometry ain't even close, trust me...

    Matt O.
    Matt O'Toole, Sep 11, 2003
  12. I think the answers pretty much summarize it. To borrow a phrase from
    the 19th century Robber Baron era, Toyota (and GM and BMW too) is not
    in business to make cars-- it's in business to make money. It just
    happens to make money by making cars.

    I suspect that the engineers knew exactly what they were doing when
    they designed the IS. I test drove a 330 and an IS and gave my
    decision a lot of thought. I'm no racer-boy, but my limited driving
    impression was that the IS was actually hotter than the 3-series. By
    my subjective judgement it seemed able to pull more Gs, its ride was
    more taught (read stiff), and there was less body lean. I couldn't
    compare raw acceleration since I drove an auto Lexus and a manual BMW,
    but they seemed pretty close.

    On the other hand, the BMW definitely was a more sophisticated car.
    It's rear seat, while by no means roomy, was a bit roomier than the
    IS, as was its trunk. Its lines were more elegant while maintaining a
    dashing appearance, the interior materials were of higher quality, the
    exterior colors were something aimed at an adult as opposed to a
    16-year old moving up from a "pocket rocket", and the "little things"
    were better-- an example would be the gas struts in the hood and trunk
    instead of a prop-rod and gooseneck hinges.

    I thought about the choice a lot and in the end decided that while the
    BMW was probably a little nicer car, when all was said and done it
    would cost $5-6000 more than a comparably equipped IS, and it wouldn't
    be as reliable to boot. I could afford to cough up $40k for a 330,
    but the car just wasn't worth it. The car seemed grossly overpriced.
    Combine the substantial extra money for the Bimmer with the legendary
    Toyota/Lexus reliability and on balance the choice turned out to be a
    no-brainer for me. I bought the IS and haven't thought twice about it

    My guess is that the Toyota engineers knew that, and I was exactly the
    customer they were looking for.

    Back in the early 1980s, before Lexus, Acura and Infiniti started
    nipping on their heels, someone once asked a representative of
    Mercedes what they thought of the Japanese cars. Merc could afford to
    be honest, since they didn't yet perceive Japan, Inc to be a threat,
    so they said something like "for us, cost isn't that much of an
    object, but we never cease to be amazed at how they manage to build
    cars with the quality and features they do while selling them for that

    That about sums it up-- Japan Inc builds their customer base by being
    a lot more reliable, just about as good, and substantially less
    expensive. Why should they throw all that out in pursuit of the last

    That said, I do think that the Japanese couldn't design a car as
    beautiful as the Europeans if you gave them 100 years and infinite
    money to do it. Why they don't just give up and hire European
    stylists and designers is a mystery to me, although I suspect the
    answer is very similar to my answer above-- it's just not worth it to
    Mark Klebanoff, Sep 11, 2003
  13. I had one 30 years ago. You're right-- it was known as the "Poor
    Man's BMW"
    Mark Klebanoff, Sep 11, 2003
  14. elmo

    Ron Loewy Guest

    I doubt that this is true. Some Japanese cars are great looking - even
    beautiful. The 3rd Gen RX-7 is one of the best looking modern sports cars to
    my eyes. The current Miata reminds me a lot of a scaled down version of the
    Jag XK8 and I also like the RX-8 a lot in person.

    As for looks - when was the last time a BMW was beautiful? Some of them were
    good looking, but beautiful? Maybe the 507, 70's CS (was that the E9?) and
    pre-WW2 328. Everything since has been somewhere between respectable and
    good looking in a muted kind of way (E34) to caricatures and "flame

    On the other hand - with the possible exception of some English cars, it
    seems like the Italians just have a special ability to capture the true
    beauty form of the automobile. (Did you see the new Alfa Romeo 8C
    Competizione?) (http://chat.autoweek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3764)

    Ron Loewy, Sep 11, 2003
  15. elmo

    Steve Larson Guest

    totally agreed, my opinion is that the look and appeal of the IS300 is
    terribly immature and juvenile compared with the BMW line. I bought the
    ES300 because my wife thought the IS300 was atrocious looking. In theory,
    that's the class of car for me, but Lexus dumbed it down too much.
    Steve Larson, Sep 11, 2003
  16. elmo

    bfd Guest

    One problem with your "logic" is you're assuming that if Honda or Toyota
    made the *exact* same car as BMW, it would be at a "lower" cost and of
    "higher" quality. That's not necessarily true. BMW are more expensive to
    maintain. But, there's a reason. BMW service requirements are more exacting
    and specified than Honda or Toyota. For example, BMW requires things like
    coolant and brake fluid flushes every 2 years (more if you track the car),
    tranny and differential fluid changes every 30,000 miles. Neither Honda or
    Toyota does this. Result - BMW will be more expensive to maintain, even if
    you DIY. However,these requirements are just one more reason why BMWs
    perform better. BMW also does things like have fluid-filled bushings like
    the 750i control arm bushings. BMW does this for a reason to provide more
    dampening in the suspension. Never seen a Honda or Toyota do that. Again, it
    ends up costing more. Don't get me wrong, Honda and Toyota make fantastic
    cars. But if they copied a BMW *exactly* I doubt there would be much of a
    price or quality difference....
    bfd, Sep 11, 2003
  17. I have sat inside a 6 speed manual transmission IS 300 and to be
    honest with you, I would prefer it over a BMW 3 series any day. Apart
    from the prestige point of BMW, the IS 300 has the greatest interior I
    have ever seen. I would know that with a Lexus, I would be getting the
    Toyota reliability and all the luxury and quality that I could imagine
    in a luxury car since it is all that and more. The car was so powerful
    that when the Toyota Sales guy floored it, I almost had a heart
    failure. Believe me, it is that fast. I know now how people perceive
    cars. They perceive it as a commodity to inflate their egos while
    everyone else drools at the car as you pass by. That is where the IS
    300 falls behind. When a Lexus passes by, people would say "yeah it is
    a Lexus, great car, but not that hot a car". When they see a label of
    BMW pasted on any car, they go "holy smokes!!!! it is a BMW, this is
    the coolest car on the block". Even if the car is technologically
    heaps of trash. The name BMW will do the trick. It is no secret
    anymore that 5-7 years down the road, Japanese cars fair better than
    German cars in terms of reliability and cost of maintenance and
    service. That is so unfortunate. sigh!

    Best Regards,
    FaisalCorollaS, Sep 11, 2003
  18. elmo

    dizzy Guest

    Design compromises, cost compromises, thinking they can do it better,
    knowing they'l have to price it for less than a BMW, etc etc. All
    sorts of reasons they don't make an "exact copy".
    Again, who says they want to? Maybe the entire point is to seek a
    niche that's close-to but different-from BMW.
    dizzy, Sep 11, 2003
  19. elmo

    Philip® Guest

    Design copywrites?
    Recall the early Toyota Landcruiser? Copy of 250 Chevrolet 6.



    "Never let school interfere
    with your education - Mark Twain"
    Philip®, Sep 11, 2003
  20. elmo

    Philip® Guest

    Really? I understand Merceds is "gluing" body components instead of
    welding so ... what does BMW do different from Toyota?
    If you clone then you do not have the R&D costs.


    "Never let school interfere
    with your education - Mark Twain"
    Philip®, Sep 11, 2003
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