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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    >failure, you have no right to a golden parachute/big pension/other perks, not to mention the 7 and 8 figure compensation. It simply cannot be justified. Rewards for people who screw up...no logic.

    I agree. American company execs have pay not in line with other countries.

    Should your quote also apply to politicians in DC?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,978
    Certainly it should. Some of them (I won't name names) are so crooked they make the average corporate coward look like a pope.
  • I see that you are using Consumers Reports as your source. Concerning this I would like to say that when reading their reviews and looking at their reliability ratings, I wouldn't just accept everything they say, as it almost always tends to favor foreign brands over domestics. That's not to say that foreign car companies may not sometimes have the ''better'' car, I'm just saying that Consumers Reports is extremely biased against American cars,and their reliabilty ratings often seem to be very inaccuarate, such as on Jeeps where they often score very low. My Jeep has over 200,000 miles and has had only minor problems, as is to be expected of a 200,000+ mile engine. I know of many other families wit hJeep products who have had the same results as myself. Also, in reviews, they tend to point out and complain about many things in American cars, yet conveniently not mention those same things, or other annoyances that I have encountered when driving foreign cars.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    The retirement plans they have given themselves are incredible when the total amount to be paid to them over a lifetime is totalled. Their management of fiscal affairs in my opinion makes GM's management look like saints. The forefathers surely didn't have this kind of lifetime politician in mind.

    At least GM's making baby steps toward righting the ship; the US...?
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Didn't Disney award Michael Ovitz something like $90 million despite royally screwing up? Geeze, I'll mess up for a 10th of that amount!
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I see that you are using Consumers Reports as your source. Concerning this I would like to say that when reading their reviews and looking at their reliability ratings, I wouldn't just accept everything they say, as it almost always tends to favor foreign brands over domestics.

    Consumer Reports surveys its readers about the reliability of their cars, and then tabulates the results of the responses.

    If American cars come up short, that's because the readers of Consumer Reports have had bad luck with their cars. Perhaps the traditional US brands will perform better in the surveys if the owners who get surveyed are fortunate enough to get a more reliable car.

    It is simply a cop out to blame the consumer for choosing to buy products suitable to his needs and tastes. If the "US" automakers want to sell more cars, then it is their responsibility to build and sell what the market demands. It's not my fault if someone at GM failed to realize that selling unreliable, poorly designed cars that the public hasn't wanted would not be a winning strategy for success.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    >Consumer Reports surveys its readers about the reliability of their cars, and then tabulates the results of the responses.

    Do they survey all readers? Do they get a response from each of their readers? Do they get a response from a true, random, sample? NOT.

    It's amazing that someone who tries to use government reports as absolute truths would accept CR's convenience survey as valid.

    Do you know the number of people who responded to each car type that CR provides data about? In most random surveys, the sample size and the possible error amount is given. Have they given that on, oh say, CTS's?

    >It's not my fault if someone at GM failed to realize that selling unreliable, poorly designed cars

    JD Powers and even some of CR's statements indicate this isn't true, anymore. Why are you assuming it still is? Haven't the 'speed limits' changed; hasn't the build quality on GM cars improved. Some GM models are better than Toyota other than the Toyota Lexus. Could someone post a link to recent JD Powers' data?

    It's an uphill battle when media slants their reviews and puts their person preferences for foreign brands first. I just saw the local paper with a comment on the Detroit Auto Show. They had a picture of a future Toyota. All the rest of the print was about all the great cars there, new models, muscle car models and how great they were. Wouldn't it have made more sense to picture one of those as being 'cutting edge.' No. We got a Toyota sedan picture.

    Oh but that's not a bias showing, is it? I've got a bridge out in San Francisco I'll sell to you. Email me!!! :shades:
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Do they survey all readers? Do they get a response from each of their readers?

    You obviously don't know much about statistics if you believe that getting a survey from every single Consumer Reports reader is essential in order to get a useful pool of data. It's pretty much Statistics 101 that you do not need to survey every single person in America to get a useful survey, because a well-chosen sample will closely resemble the population. Using a sample large enough to yield a low margin of error is more than adequate.

    You are correct that the fact that the survey is voluntary does create some survey inaccuracy. But it's simply silly to believe that this always works in favor of Toyota and always works against Chevrolet. I thought that we were talking about cars, not conspiracy theories.

    I just saw the local paper with a comment on the Detroit Auto Show. They had a picture of a future Toyota.

    Yet another example of confusing a random anecdote with "data". I just saw a television report that highlighted the debut of a new Camaro (and boy, does it look gawdy) -- perhaps I should claim a Detroit conspiracy to get this bloated retromobile a puff-piece profile? Or in the alternative, I might sober up and realize that the editors had to choose something to highlight, and they went with the Camaro because that was preferable to profiling dead air.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    the local news programs I saw last night here (one at 6:00, a different one at 10:00) both had coverage of the Detroit auto show, and they both put the Camaro on the screen when it came time for pictures of cars.

    And I hear GM's stock got upgraded yesterday on news of the future models they have in the works, as evidenced at Detroit. Someone somewhere thinks GM will take cars seriously enough in the next few years to boost sales...

    Does buying GM really equal buying American? I don't think so, any more than buying Toyota means buying Japanese. The very biggest carmakers in the world (GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan-Renault, VW Group, perhaps to include Hyundai/Kia in a few years) are totally global enterprises now. They are investing money all over the world every day in new design and manufacturing, and the only people getting rich off them are stockholders, who are all over the world.

    Now if you decide to buy one of the first Cherys off the line, then you are pretty much buying Chinese, so that will be an exception for a while. But as long as the Chinese do well in car sales, even they will eventually become global enterprises too.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Look, I'm not into the "buy American" gig (I work for a Dodge/Honda dealership, and my Hondas are more American than Dodges), but CR is very biased against domestic cars.

    For example, every new domestic entry gets a predicted reliabilty of "too new to rate", while every new Honda and Toyota gets excellent.

    Also, Honda has had some serious tranny problems in the last few years, but they still get excellent predicted reliabilty while every GM, Ford, and Chrysler fights to get average.

    We have just as many Hondas getting repaired at my store as Dodges, sorry, it's just a fact.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    For example, every new domestic entry gets a predicted reliabilty of "too new to rate", while every new Honda and Toyota gets excellent.

    I'd like to see some specific examples of what you're referencing, but the fact is that Hondas and Toyotas have been consistently more reliable and have typically (although not always) had superior build quality as compared to the "US" products. So it's reasonable for a magazine to be more cautious in assessing likely reliability of domestics whose predecessors have a relatively poor or mixed track record than firms with consistently strong performance.

    Toyota's use of TQM (Total Quality Management combines superior forward engineering with team-based manufacturing processes that lead to fewer defects and better long-term reliability) creates better results than the Henry Ford-inspired process used by the US and European makers that relies more heavily on post-manufacturing QC to spot defects and fix them after they've already been built into the product. Toyota pioneered TQM, Honda borrowed it, and both have had good results with it, so why not learn from them rather than look for exceptions to the rule as if those would prove the point?

    FWIW, I drive a German car (hence my handle here), so I do see benefits to driving cars not of Japanese manufacture. (For one, I find my car to be a lot pleasurable to drive than are its Japanese competitors.) But it remains to be seen whether my car will have the long-term reliability typical of most Japanese makes, something for which they have a well-deserved reputation.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    the local news programs I saw last night here (one at 6:00, a different one at 10:00) both had coverage of the Detroit auto show, and they both put the Camaro on the screen when it came time for pictures of cars.

    Yeah - poor Dodge. GM really stole the Challenger's thunder.
  • 151ranch151ranch Posts: 109
    Again, this is just the type of conjecture/bias almost everyone brings to the boards...

    Also, Honda has had some serious tranny problems in the last few years, but they still get excellent predicted reliabilty while every GM, Ford, and Chrysler fights to get average.

    Yes, just the 6cyl models were failing at a very "unHonda"-like rate. Probably making the failure rate close to the domestic transmission failure rate.

    We have just as many Hondas getting repaired at my store as Dodges, sorry, it's just a fact.

    Sure, but how many Hondas do you sell for every Dodge? There's what - one Honda point for every 5 Dodge points? This fact is interesting, but doesn't prove anything. How many Hondas are in your franchise area compared to Dodges?

    Anyway, for an unbiased viewpoint, look at your dealers cost for service contracts.....I bet even Chrysler charges less to cover used Hondas than used Dodges.
  • Please don't take me wrong here. Honda makes a great product, but so does Dodge. The differnce between the best made cars and worst made are much smaller than they used to be (at least in reliability ratings).

    Also, in my market there is one Dodge and one Honda dealer (that's my store). According to our market registration analysis report, Dodge and Honda are almost evenly split for ownership in our market.

    Honda's tranny issues aren't limited to 6 cylinder Accords. We have had increases in tranny work on almost every Honda (excluding Ridgeline, too early as of yet). Of course, my service department is loving this trend...

    Your service contract point is valid, but the difference is not as big as you think. The difference between a Bumper-to-Bumper 6yr/75000 Accord warranty is precisely $113 cheaper than a 6yr/75000 Charger warranty (aftermarket service contract). That is a minimal expense for a six year period. Sorry, Chrysler doesn't charge less for Hondas than Dodges on used warranties either.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    Nice post. Good points. Sometimes the believers just don't understand American cars have improved from low years! And foreign brands have deteriorated. The trans problems are one example. Rattles are another in Accords. Odysseys have problems.

    When I read those discussion groups, they definitely sound more like American brand discussions. And the transmission problems at Honda have continued since ??? 1992? where they eventually extended the warranty so you got replacements that could fail after 100,000 miles when you hoped to get the car to 200K.
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    The problem is in perception, Americans expect the Honda's to be trouble-free while they expect domestics to have maintenance issues from the start. So no matter how many times or stories they hear that domestics have caught up, they are looking and thinking of cars from 1980's and 1990's and seeing the terrible trash built by Detroit at that time and its hard to get that ugly image out of their heads.

    It will take years to repair the damage from those years, such as the Fords that the ignition caught on fire or dropped into drive by themselves, the Dodge trucks and SUV's whose wheels dropped off, or the cheap and shoddy workmanship of GM who couldn't line up a hood or trunk if their lives depended on it.

    It was tramatizing to see your investment or $20,000 or more being built by Manufacturers of such cars........ :surprise:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    its true. and perception is often based on experience (whether that be personal experience or related experience). And the problem is, although many may think the domestics have improved (i'm one of them), only time will prove it. Once it becomes commonplace to see 10-year-old 200k mile domestics running around, it will get through to people.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    In our area you can see many leSabres and Park Avenues along with their Bonneville brothers and Oldsmobile siblings running around. Those had lots of miles in most cases. Neighbor buys used cars and fixes them up always from the 3800 GM era, 92 to 99, and sells them. He says 300K is not unusual to expect them to go before major work is needed.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    everybody has anecdotal evidence. Like I said, it has to become commonplace. It almost has to become folklore, in a way. Kind of like how people think "safety" when thinking of volvo, they think "reliable" when thinking of Honda and Toyota. It didn't happen over night for any of them. It was alot of years of marketing and stories being passed around the campfire. ;)

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,376
    >marketing

    Remember the Volvo ads with an Oldsmobile being put on top to show how "strong" and safe the Volvo was. Then quietly it came out that they had "reinforced" the roof to show that!!!LOL Most people remember the ad; the real story got little play.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    hehe. yeah, i do remember the ad. i didn't remember it was an Olds, though. I would have thought they'd use another volvo. I mean, why not get 2 of your cars into one ad, if given the chance? oh well.

    its funny how things don't change. It wasn't too long ago they showed the rigidity of the XC90s boron roof by intentionally launching one sideways and having it come right down on the corner of the roof and proceed to roll a couple of times. THAT should have been an ad! (i don't think it was, was it? i can't remember where i saw it, though.)

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Like I said, it has to become commonplace. It almost has to become folklore, in a way. Kind of like how people think "safety" when thinking of volvo, they think "reliable" when thinking of Honda and Toyota.

    I'm sorry, but it's disingenuous to claim that the superior reliability of Toyota and Honda as compared to US cars is merely "folklore", it's a fact that has been confirmed time and time again through owner surveys conducted by reliable organizations.

    Denigrating Toyota quality does nothing to improve GM and Ford's prospects for improved product quality. The fact that some recent improvements by a couple of the US marques haven't set the world afire shows that they will have to work harder to dispel years of a well-deserved poor reputation, and that some of those reliability improvements need to be combined with more vehicles that are somewhat interesting to drive. Blaming the consumer won't motivate him to spend his money.
  • dglozmandglozman Posts: 177
    I guess the reason for this is that since Honda became an American manufacturer (building cars here) the quality starts deteriorating.... ;)

    BTW I drive an American car - Honda Accord -- best quality car I ever had.
    There are no more big 3 (in terms of domestic brands) those are things of the past. Those cars and its components are built everywhere. - Mexico, Canada, China, Australia....

    So if you want to truly buy an American car you should be looking in to Chevy or Ford that were built in 1960's
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,054
    where they'd take a junk 240 sedan and line it up with a bunch of other old junkers, and then run over them with a monster truck or something. As I recall, all of the other cars were always hardtops, so naturally the lack of a B-pillar is going to make them weaker in the roof. But then it got leaked out that they were reinforcing the 240 roof, while weakening the roofs of the other cars! So not only were they hardtops, but they were hardtops with cut pillars!

    FWIW, I've been in plenty of junkyards where I'd see cars piled on top of the other. Most car roofs can actually take a lot of weight. You could set some old 70's mastodon down on top of another old 70's hulk, even a hardtop, and it's not going to crush the roof. Now if you DROPPED it down, that'd be a different story!

    Still, I'd imagine that something like a 240 would be pretty safe in a rollover, simply because it's lightweight. Smaller cars usually do better in rollovers because they don't have all the weight of a bigger car crushing down on them. Unless you're talking a really serious rollover where parts go flying every which way...then whether you survive or not often depends more on luck than anything else.
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    >marketing

    Or the "marketing" piece done by CBS to show that Ford trucks caught on fire if struck from the rear, and they were adding flares to make sure they caught on fire on cue........ ;)
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Right now we can see the reliability of cars from 1995 and 2000. Hondas and Toyotas simply win those contests. Not all of them, but overall, they do. And surprise surprise, many of the domestic nameplates from those years have been killed off recently. (That doesn't help reputations at all; now "Taurus" and "Cavalier" will always be bad words, whereas "Odyssey" and "Accord" weren't sullied by transmission problems because the bad ones were replaced by good ones.)

    Cars from 2005 might compare differently. But it's only guesswork to say that one group is better than the other. And a good guesser bases his guess on experience; the burden of proof is on the challenger, not the reigning champion. It's always worked that way; the media didn't make it easy for Toyota and Honda to get where they are, nor does the media do any favors to 3-series challengers.

    Now, if you think Big 3's cars in 2000 were a match for equivalent import cars in 2000, then it's going to be hard to hold a dialogue between us...
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Those Volvo ads were pretty bad.

    I'm surprised they resorted to trickery though; their sedans really did have a roll bar that other cars didn't. You can see it through the headliner in my friend's 240.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,978
    Same thing in a MB W126 sedan...the thickness of the B-pillar is amazing. Every pic I have seen of a rolled example has stood up amazingly well.
  • gteegtee Posts: 179
    That is a major-major difference between Honda-Toyota and Domestic car companies like GM and Ford. Domestic car companies simply do not stand behind their product. Period. Sure Honda had problems with their transmissions. They also fixed them for free. Even if your car was out of warrantee Honda picked up the tab for a new transmission.

    Ford and GM simply do not stand behind their products. You want proof. How about the GM Piston Slap on V8 engines. Instead of fixing the problem they are simply telling customers that it "Normal Noise." Do a Google search on "GM PISTON SLAP."

    How about Ford 4.6L plastic manifold failures. Ford finaly settled after a class action law suit was filed against Ford. It took about 6 years until Ford admitted their fault.

    What about Ford's problems with 4R70W Transmissions and Torque Converter shudder. I had this problem with a 1994 Thunderbird. While the car was under warrantee the dealer changed the fluid in torque convert and the problem stopped just long enougth so the car was out of warrantee until it broke for sure. Did Ford fix it for free? Heck NO!!!

    Not only do Ford and GM build a Below Average product, they also treat their customers Below Average.

    IF the quality of Ford and GM is so much better now, why don't they offer a 10 year / 100,000 mile warrantee like Hyundai. Before I will ever consider another domestic product, I want Ford and GM to put their money where their mouth is.

    I want a long warrantee!!!!!!!!!
  • Interesting discussion, and one that is bound to continue for as long the world is divided by borders (which means pretty much forever!). The whole issue of domestic vs. import (particularly Japanese) is shrouded in myth and patriotism, and too often bogs down to a slugfest using anecdotal evidence (as pointed out by someone else).

    As many have mentioned, it has become difficult to define what a domestic car is in this globalized environment. Do we look at where the parts are coming from? Do we look at where the company is headquartered? Do we look at where it is manufactured? Do we look at the company's history? Or, the biggest question of all, should we even care at all?

    When I choose a car I look for smart design (e.g. good use of space, many storage bins etc.), good fuel economy, safety, comfort, and reliability all in one package.

    I can determine comfort and smart design with a test drive. Fuel economy numbers are published for all cars for sake of comparison. Crast test results can be dug up. However, the problem is finding good sources for reliability. The one source I trust is Consumer Reports, which has thousands of owners report on problems and defects with their cars. It's an amazing resource and as neutral as you can get.

    Browsing through different makes and models makes it clear very soon that Japanese cars are head and shoulders above their European and American competition in terms of reliability. Especially when it comes to electrical wiring and power equipment. Why this is I have no idea, but I do know that electrical gremlins are among the most irritating problems you can encounter. If Japanese and American cars are tied for transmission and engine reliability, why choose the car that will have the power windows develop intermittent failure after three years (just after the warranty has expired!)? Made me choose a Mazda!

    My little Proetege5 also gives me great fuel economy, and it has much smarter use of space than many so called domestics. When I bought it I test drove both the Alero and the Grand Am. My 6'4" frame fit much better in the Mazda, believe it or not.

    My Mazda is actually manufactured in Japan. However, Japanese cars manufactured in North America also enjoy high reliability ratings. The Lexus RX 330 and the Toyota Corolla are both manufactured in Cambridge, Ontario. There's no other brand of car in the world that's more reliable than a Lexus - any Lexus. Honda manufacture their Ridgeline and Civic in Allison, Ontario. Again, reliable cars with no known big issues. The Chrysler 300 is manufactured in Brampton, Ontario, and it already has reported issues with electrical wiring and power equipment.

    These cars are manufactured in the same country, using the same pool of workers, but have different reliability. So, it must be production methods and management.

    Btw, it's interesting to note that the GM plant in Oshawa, Ontario (Buick Century and Chevrolet Impala) has been voted number 1 in initial quality by J.D. Power for several years. As part of cost cutting measures, this plant is scheduled to be closed down by 2008. Doesn't bode well for future quality of GM products...

    As the above demonstrates, a great many American car models are actually manufactured in Canada (and also Mexico of course). Should these modesl still be called domestics? Also consider that Chrysler is HQed in Germany and wholly owned by Daimler. It is still being mentioned as one of the big three domestics... The 300 and the Charger are actually just the last generation Mercedes E-class with a new chassis...!

    My main point though is that cars should be bought based on personal preference, and if it makes you feel better to buy a so called domestic, feel free. In many cases, car buying is as much emotional as it is rational. How could we otherwise explain all the New Beetles on the roads...? :P

    If you are still reading this I salute you, because I have surely rambled on for long enough now!
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