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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    edited August 2013
    well the cars are better than 20 years ago, but "better" as a generalization is...well...a generalization.

    I know I'M better off now than when I was 22, because nowadays 22 years old don't have to worry about being drafted and dropped into a jungle.

    Unemployment rate is the same it was in Dec 2008--7.4% and it was the same in 1993 and over 10% in 1983. So for most americans, things haven't changed much---perhaps it's just that different TYPES of people are now unemployed.

    Buying a car on credit isn't difficult these days--low interest rates and plenty of factory-financing deals.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,246
    edited August 2013
    I'd ask her not only economically, but in every way.

    Exactly right. Or ask my 90 year old mom. She'll tell you everyone raised their own food so they didn't starve but times were hard. She'll also tell you just about *everything* is better now than in the "old" days. About the only downer she can think of is that you can't hop a passenger train from her old hometown and get to New Orleans. My mother-in-law in the UP used to take the train to Chicago back in the day too. And both moms lived in rural small towns. Cheap cars and cheap gas and airlines put the hurt on passenger rail.

    Most people back in the "good old days" didn't much live past their mid-80s, much less were they driving around at that age back then.

    My mother-in-law switched back to Buicks after a fling with BMWs in her 70s. My mom's last car was a Mazda Protege that wouldn't die. It really outlasted her ability to drive safely.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,367
    The unemployment counts have been "adjusted" since early days to reduce the number of unemployed. AND those who are employed are working more part time jobs now, at lower wages since more and more higher paying jobs left for overseas. Hard to get a loan when you're making $9.00/hr at the local fast market for 22 hours a week and 9.00/hr at a second part time job of similar ilk.

    More and more people here in the Western Ohio region are driving around in old cars. The newer cars are being sold to lots of older people on SS and other retirements along with the higher income folks who have come through the continuing recession just fine.

    And there are lots of new cars being sold in the last 9 months or so here. I keep wondering if it's a bubble that will taper off now that the need for replacements after people kept their money in their pockets for so long have replaced their worn out clunkers.

    And is this new car surge related to the cash for clunkers in the past where so many cars got traded for the government push to try to jump start sales back then? Fewer good used cars on market then. That was 4 years ago.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    It was hard to buy a car ANY time at $9 an hour.

    If the unemployment figures were "adjusted" to lower unemployment rates, then it was still worse in the early 1980s than now.

    As for more part-time workers, what that means is "less than 40", not 20.

    Sure, the rust belt and agricultural communities are going to take a harder hit, but many parts of the country are boomtowns right now.

    Even parts of Detroit are humming and being invested in. Just not the parts we see on TV. There's no "juice" in a success story about Detroit.

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,234
    But remember that life also has aspects that are not necessarily quantitative. Quality of life reaches far beyond income and consumption data sometimes. I think that life today offers a lot of things that weren't available in yesteryear, but sometimes the price is loss of time and simplicity, and the enjoyment that can arise from that.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,246
    Great post - I have a friend or two who "keep score" with their bank account and they can't understand why we quit cold turkey and took a year off in our "prime" earning years.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,232
    So very true. Some things you can't crunch numbers on. The trick is to not wish for a world that in reality never was---it's like with old car videos, or old car TV commercials---it all looks so idyllic in that Corvette---but you don't have to work that bear of a clutch while watching the film clip, or endure the waves of heat washing over you on a hot summer's day.

    What's happening (my two cents) is that people's time reference is shifting to the "present moment". Everyone now lives in the now, the immediate. There is no future or any past for many people anymore. Technology is of course driving this.

    Why else would you insist on e-mail in your car?

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,234
    24/7; It's kind of sad to me really that some need this to feel wanted and important. No time to smell the roses because I might miss some critical email drivel of which, what - far less than 10% is actually important and useful, while the majority is boasting, false crisis and/or messes caused by misinterpretation. Funny thing to me is that so often I find that if people had just talked the email fiasco wouldn't have blown up in the first place. Technology can be great until it starts replacing emotion. Ironically, 24/7 probably reduces a person's capability over time because I think it just leads to group-think rather than innovation and real accomplishment.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,367
    edited August 2013
    > critical email drivel of which, what - far less than 10% is actually important and useful, while the majority is boasting, false crisis and/or messes caused by misinterpretation.

    Yup. That sounds familiar. And Facebook is a prime example. My wife just abandoned her Facebook after all kinds of irritating problems with the self-propagating efforts of FB to expand their knowledge for advertising. Then family took offense that she didn't live her life on FB with them. And that she didn't want every kid's constant emails with their school friends being sent to her email to make her look on FB to see what the drama is.

    Bad enough to try to make a point in print on Edmunds to have someone twist the point to try to make it different than originally it was. I can't imagine handling that while driving with my high tech infotainment center.

    And the higher equipped cars seem to come with the unneeded centers with 12-inch GPS and control center for the whole capsule. :(
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    I had a chat with my grandmother's cousin last night. I had to go over there to help her set a trap for the feral cats we have running around, as she's a bit too fragile to set it.

    As for the Depression years, she says she remembers a happy childhood. Christmas was nothing extravagant. You might get an orange in your stocking, but that was about it. But, she lived in a 5-bedroom house with indoor plumbing and a bathroom, which was a rarity around here. I don't think my house got a bathroom until 1950, when the county ran a water line through. And my grandparents' house, built in 1947, had a "wash room", but still had an outhouse.

    She went on to live in Washington DC for awhile, and met her husband in 1942. At the time, he manned an anti-aircraft battery on a hill at what is now the National Arboretum in DC. But then he went off to Belgium, Africa, etc, and came back with what today is known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

    She had her ups and downs through life, but I think she's done okay over the years. She says that in many respects things were "better" in the old days. For instance, she mentions about how as a 9 year old, she could go out at night and go visit her best friend who lived about a quarter mile away, and not be worried about anything. Truth be told though, our neighborhood isn't that bad...you could probably do that today, although today you'd have to worry about getting hit by a car at night.

    Oh, and yeah, back in the day, she remembers her family raising their own food. Everybody around here did that. In fact, at my house (wasn't my house then, obviously), I remember as a kid, there was an old chicken coop that was falling in on itself, out back by the workshop.

    And Grandmom and Granddad always had a garden, going back as long as I could remember. Granddad last had one in 1989, as he died in April 1990. But I remember that summer, helping Grandmom put one in, just because it was a habit for her. That habit eventually died off though, although every once in awhile, my uncle will till up a patch of ground in the spring, plant a few tomatoes or something, and then not tend to it so it just becomes a buffet for the local critters and such.

    As for cars outlasting their drivers, that's happened in my family, as well. I got Grandmom's '85 LeSabre, after she couldn't pass the eye test anymore. Ultimately ended up with Granddad's '85 Silverado as well. Grandmom kept it for about 5 or 6 years after he died, but then gave it to my Mom. She got a new F150 in 2002, and sold it to me. On my Dad's side, he gave up driving at 90, back in 2004, and he offered to give me his '94 Taurus. I didn't need it though, so another cousin got it, and it lived a hard life until he gave it away in 2012.

    My grandmother's cousin is still driving, but she doesn't know how much longer she'll be ale to. But, GM isn't making any money off of her, and neither is anybody else. She's still driving an 1989 Coupe DeVille that she's had since her then-boyfriend sold her back in 1992. Before that, she had a 1979 Volare wagon and before that, an early 70's Duster with a 318. So, in my lifetime, she's only had two brand-new cars. That Caddy has spoiled her though, and she says she'd love to get another. I doubt if she'd be able to even see over the dashboard of a modern Caddy though...or most modern cars. I'm sure she'd have major visibility issues with all the high beltlines, thick pillars, and such.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    edited August 2013
    Hopefully the 12 inch will be upgraded to 16 inch in a few years along with capability to get cable tv channels. Why are drivers being deprived access to important tv shows such as the weather channel, the famous cable news channel and sports? Drivers should be able to access these, especially on Sundays when out driving and football games being played. Of course, voice command should be mandatory so that drivers do not need to use buttons or dials to change channels or to rewind and review a football play to see if it was a fumble or not.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited August 2013
    I spent a weekend with a group of Battle of the Bulge veterans about six years ago. One used the term "shell shocked" to explain himself after the war, and he said, "That's P.T.S.D. today". I'd always heard the term 'shell shocked' but I guess I never knew precisely what it meant.

    Boy, the stories were flying! Most seemed glad to be around to enjoy each other.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,766
    Hard to get a loan when you're making $9.00/hr at the local fast market for 22 hours a week and 9.00/hr at a second part time job of similar ilk.

    Well, I see working at a market, unless you are a manager, as a school job. You know, the one you get at 19 years old while you are studying to make something of your life. Or you are a mom wanting to make some spare change to supplement hubby's income.

    People who think a cashier job is a CAREER have made poor choices IMHO. Where are there skills? Did they get an education, or did they learn a valuable trade? I don't see running groceries by bar code scanners as a valuable trade.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,246
    Fun post Andre. My UP in-laws talk about the Christmas orange too.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    People who think a cashier job is a CAREER have made poor choices IMHO. Where are there skills? Did they get an education, or did they learn a valuable trade? I don't see running groceries by bar code scanners as a valuable trade.

    I agree, to an extent, but I think a bigger problem is that there just aren't that many good jobs to go around anymore. In many cases, it's not that a cashier job is all these people can do...they're capable of much, much more. But those might be the only types of jobs readily available.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,898
    I agree, to an extent, but I think a bigger problem is that there just aren't that many good jobs to go around anymore. In many cases, it's not that a cashier job is all these people can do...they're capable of much, much more. But those might be the only types of jobs readily available.

    And after a while they get comfortable in that job and lose any confidence they may have had to try and get something better.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    People who think a cashier job is a CAREER have made poor choices IMHO. Where are there skills? Did they get an education, or did they learn a valuable trade? I don't see running groceries by bar code scanners as a valuable trade.

    OTOH, any job where you are dealing with the general public first-hand, year after year after year, can be challenging just trying to tow that diplomatic line while often being abused. If I had to choose between being a 'lowly' cashier in a grocery store vs sitting behind a desk crunching numbers as an accountant, I'd rather take the paycut of the cashier, than slit my wrists after a few years of accounting.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    And after a while they get comfortable in that job and lose any confidence they may have had to try and get something better.

    I wonder how comfortable they're getting, though. I've heard some of the employees at my local Giant grocery store chatting, and occasionally hear about them picking up second jobs, going back to school, etc. So at least some of them aren't just sitting still.

    The other day, an older gentleman who helped me out when the self checkout wouldn't scan my nuts (Planter's Honey Barbecue now, everybody get your minds out of the gutter!) said something to another employee, about working two jobs to get ahead, and I chimed in that I had to do it myself, and I know plenty of others who did.

    Heck, for a brief moment in time, I was actually working THREE jobs! I hope I never have to do it again, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I'll never forget one of my friends saying I was selfish for having three jobs, because it was taking a job from somebody else. But, if I didn't have those three jobs, the creditors would have been taking something from me! Like my condo!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I sit behind a desk doing accounting, but I don't think I'd take a 500% pay cut to be a cashier. ;)
  • berriberri Posts: 4,234
    Sounds like your grandmother has tried to keep a positive perspective on life. I really believe that negativity is a killer, quite literally. Constantly negative people and their anger seem to have more illness and die younger.
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I guess I've been lucky, I've never had to work 3 or even 2 jobs just to make ends meet. I have worked a 2nd job at times, but in every case it was something interesting that I wanted to do.

    I remember selling beer in a minor league ball park just to meet young women. That was a fun job. And back in the day, before there were all of these specialty car stereo shops, I used to charge people to help them upgrade their car stereos. I enjoyed it, and made a few dollars as well.

    And no, I would definitely not take a big cut in pay to be a cashier!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    Well in my case, I had been working a part time job in the evenings, but in 1992 picked up a part time job in the day to fill the gaps between college classes. They put me on full-time after I graduated. I kept the part time job for awhile, to help build up savings, but got in a bit over my head by buying a condo before I was truly ready for it. And then I got married, which made things worse!

    At that point, I picked up a third part time job delivering pizzas, and did that during the nights and weekend time that I wasn't working the other part time job, which was in a department store. I made a lot more delivering pizzas though, so I started phasing out that department store job fairly quickly. Once I got out of debt, i tried to keep delivering pizzas, but by that time my career was advancing, and I found that I really didn't need the pizza job, so I phased it out, as well.

    And no, I wouldn't take a pay cut to be a cashier, either! If I got laid off, I'd be willing to do the job if I had to, to make ends meet, though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    You should try to find her a mint similar era Coupe DeVille to replace her aged one. They can be had for little money - a few grand can buy a nice one.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    edited August 2013
    I've thought about that, although her family would probably do it in pretty quickly. And, she doesn't know how much longer she'll be driving...said so herself. But, on the flip side, she does run my grandmother to doctor's appointments in that car, and I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before it leaves them both stranded. As it is, the power steering has a slow leak in it, but apparently it's not a simple fix. Her mechanic said it would cost about $1,000. Her son keeps topping it off for her, but it's only a matter of time before he forgets, or it suddenly starts leaking faster.

    I do see some pretty nice cars, similar to hers, pop up at the swap meets in Carlisle PA from time to time. And they're usually fairly reasonable.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,043
    edited August 2013
    My wife just abandoned her Facebook after all kinds of irritating problems with the self-propagating efforts of FB to expand their knowledge for advertising.

    I am about to that point as well. I joined to see pics of my grandkids and it is totally out of control. I get stuff from all over if I accept someone as a friend. Not to mention dealing with a nest of Liberals on Rocky's page.

    I do get all the latest on GM from Rocky. He is still a diehard after they dumped on him.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    I see Rocky on FB all the time.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,949
    Oh yeah I forgot, family who are hard on cars. On that note, most of the scars on my grandma's Taurus aren't from her, but from my uncle, who is parking-challenged. I've seen a couple nice CdVs of that era locally for no more than 3K.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    edited August 2013
    Yo Uplanderguy this one's for you.

    Last Thursday was looking at the Acadia and saw a big puddle under it. Closer inspection revealed it was coolant. Being curious I refilled the empty over flow tank and started it up. In about 30 seconds it dumped out more coolant that I had put in. Watching the temp gauge climb in spurts of 25 degrees I shut off the vehicle and got on the phone to GM roadside assist. They tow it to the nearest dealer and on Friday I get a call around lunchtime asking if it was my Acadia sitting on their lot. So much for Roadside assist passing on the details. Gave the service writer the info on the leaking coolant and he said he would get back to me. Four hours later he calls and tells me they replaced the water pump and the car is ready to go.

    Fast forward... I returned home and looked at the work order. It stated that they replaced the water pump and on inspection found fluid leaking from the steering rack. Nice of them to let me know. So I go out and check the fluid level on the power steering unit and shows nothing. Thanks for filling that up knowing there's a leak. Anyway just thought I'd let you know on this 2010 GMC Acadia with 19,719 miles that the water pump and now the rack needs to be replaced.

    Luckily I was 5 days from the end of my 3/36 so I got the selling dealer to replace the rack under warranty. I was just thinking that if this had happened one week later I would be looking at $2K in repairs on a vehicle that has less than 20K miles. I think this vehicle will be traded once I get it back since I'm out of the 3/36 period.

    Just thought I'd share that story with you.

    Buying American cars what does it mean? Don't keep it past 3 years.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited August 2013
    I'm sorry to hear you were stranded. Not fun. And your dealer sounds like a doofus.

    But I simply do not believe that a week later you would've been charged.

    Your story is not unlike other posts of trans pukings on Accords.

    GM covered $2K worth of repairs on my Uplander when it was five years old and had 77K miles--without an extented warranty. One item was a steering rack. It was built before the bankruptcy, of course--although there were those here who flatly said, "GM does not honor the warranty after the bankruptcy." Period.

    Simply, is there an import that has the capacity and I'd say, style, of an Acadia? Not that I can think of.

    Your dealer does not sound up to the par of my Chevy dealer, unfortunately.

    I do see that CR shows cooling to be 'better than average' on a 2010 Acadia (although 'much better than average' on a Traverse with the identical engine). So, like people here say when I say I've had excellent service with my Cobalt, I guess I could say "sample of one".

    But I care only about my experience, so you do have my sympathy.

    BTW, I believe a water pump is part of GM's 5-year, 100K mile powertrain warranty. If a thermostat and new coolant is, it seems that a water pump would be. But I don't know that without checking.

    As noted here previously, GM's powertrain warranty is bested only by HyunKia.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,043
    edited August 2013
    As noted here previously, GM's powertrain warranty is bested only by HyunKia.

    My new VW Touareg TDI has a 10 year 100k mile power train warranty. And from the service I have gotten in the first 28 days I can say with confidence it will be multiple times better than the last GMC dealer I was stuck with.

    In fact it was my experience with my 2005 GMC Sierra Hybrid that put me on the side of letting GM fold up and go out of business. Doesn't sound like they are all that much improved as Government Motors.

    I agree with you the Acadia is a nice looking whatever it is. It also has lots of room. Worst part is they are GAS HOGS to the max. Looking at Fuelly.com they have gone down hill from the first year 2007. You are lucky to get the city mileage for an average. No where close to their 23 MPG hwy EPA rating.
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