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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Buying a car, and driving it well past the last payment provides the most cost effective ownership experience. I maintain my vehicles, and I try to be proactive with repairs."

    I agree totally. From a pure $$$ standpoint, unless there are unusual circumstances, the average modern production car could probably be kept and driven indefinitely (and maintained properly) cheaper than buying multiple cars over the same time period. That's the reason manufacturers spend so much money on marketing, so the public will feel the need to trade cars often. And, its difficult to factor in enhanced safety features into the costs equation.

    "...parts for "American Cars" are cheap and readily available."

    That's certainly been true in the past, but as car production continues its progression into parts from worldwide suppliers, I'm not so sure that trend will continue. That's why I think the primary limiting factor in the longevity of cars purchased today will be much more electrical/electronic related .vs. mechanical/body panel related.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,150
    That's the reason manufacturers spend so much money on marketing, so the public will feel the need to trade cars often. And, its difficult to factor in enhanced safety features into the costs equation.

    I wonder how often, on average, people trade nowadays versus back in the old days? Once upon a time, the styles changed so fast that people were encouraged to trade every few years, whether the old ride was still running strong or not. In 1957, nobody wanted a car if it didn't have fins, but by 1960 or so, nobody really wanted a car with those towering monstrosities.

    And once upon a time, a new style could come out that made the previous look downright ancient...for instance, every time GM downsized something in the late 1970's. Or the 1986 Taurus versus the LTD. Heck, even when Ford redid the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis for 1992, they seemed to make the old models seem ancient.

    I'd guess people don't trade nearly as often as they used to, so sometimes I wonder how the auto makers stay profitable? They also don't restyle as often as they used to, or offer as many choices, so that might be part of it.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "I wonder how often, on average, people trade nowadays versus back in the old days?"

    The main difference between then and now is that no one leased cars in the 50-60's, but leasing is incredibly common today.

    Leasing effectively changed the way cars were, and are, marketed.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    I was astounded to find that my VW dealer leases 70% of the vehicles they move. And sell the rest with 0% financing? Hard to imagine. I think some automakers are just floating in cash.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
    Some of it was style and planned obsolescence, but cars really didn't last all that long either. Once you hit 50,000 miles you were living on borrowed time. Three year trade-ins were the norm in the 50s and 60s if you could afford it.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,333
    I suspect the premium Germans are the same way. The profit margins on these vehicles are huge, they aren't losing money at it.
  • and increasingly integrated systems might determine the end of life for vehicles today. At some point, the repair cost exceeds the comfort level of the owner. It is not just the cost of a replacement engine or tranny any more.
    As an example the charging issue with my car could have been the alternator, a wiring harness or even the engine ECM. The ECM would have cost me 300-400.
    There are countless parts whose failure would result in an check engine or ABS light-even though the car could still drive it would no longer pass the state inspection without repair.....
    And bad advice/repairs by unskilled, uninformed "pros" can cost 1000s.
    Those old cars that went miles and lasted decades had something modern cars lack-metal parts.
    But I am not complaining about modern comfort/safety/reliability or fuel economy either.
  • Compressor-$125
    dryer-$25
    expansion valve-$20
    another $50 or so for cleaner, oil and R134
    I borrowed a friends a/c machine. Bought parts on e-bay.
    I went in from the top-pulled the top radiator support, removed the cooling fan and then removal was easy.
    This one was my fault as well. Note to self-if you have to add freon there is a leak. And if the gas gets out the oil does as well. It all made perfect sense after the compressor seized on me. It was last winter too-I was running the defroster. The leak is the evaporator-I hope the a/c sealer works. I do not want to deal with removing that.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I was watching a "How Its Made" program last nite on the Bentley currently in production (they're doing a series on exotic performance, high $$$ cars).

    According to the show, the Bentley has 8 MILES of wiring inside a single car.

    That's a lot of conductive material to keep in conductive shape. Maine tracking down a wiring problem in that vehicle...

    At least, I understand one reason the car cost so much...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,986
    Most modern cars have about 5 miles of wiring says Todd H. Hubing,
    Michelin Professor of Vehicular Electronics, Clemson University.

    And most new cars contain about 100 microprocessors and that is expected to double by 2018.

    The big bugaboo, I'm told, is worrying about electromagnetic compatibility.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "The big bugaboo, I'm told, is worrying about electromagnetic compatibility."

    I'm waiting for the day when drivers have to check the forecast for solar flares before backing the family car out of the tinfoil-lined garage...
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    older cars, I believe I "ran into" andre1969 on the Intrepid forum when I leased my 2000 Intrepid back in late 2000...5 years lease, car was fully loaded minus one option...ABS brakes...it had everything else...even tho the V6 only had 200 HP (IIRC) it had great pickup and averaged 26-30 mpg overall...on road trips it would average 30 mpg at 70-75 mph...after paying $500/month on a lease for 60 months, I thought their asking price to buy it at $9000.00 was simply too much...but I thought it was a good car, just had to be careful backing up as rear vision wasn't so good...

    Now my 2004 Crown Vic has 209,000 miles...runs pretty good, always got 20-21 mpg no matter what I did...just put in a fuel pump (dropped gas tank, $700 later, and my car runs)...I thought fuel pumps mounted to the block at the camshaft and cost $25 to replace...

    Wife's 2004 Ram 1500 Hemi has about 85,000 miles on it...had a small wreck last March, about $2500 worth of right front damage...fixed and good as new...just wish it got better than 12.9 mpg in city running...but oohh, the power from that Hemi...
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    "...parts for "American Cars" are cheap and readily available."

    That's certainly been true in the past, but as car production continues its progression into parts from worldwide suppliers, I'm not so sure that trend will continue.


    That will depend a great deal on how many of the particular make/model are sold here in North America. I have a 2003 GMC Sierra, and there are literally millions of these on the roads. If you count the GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado together, they have been the top selling model for many, many years. There will never be a shortage of parts. Now your Mini or BMW 3 series, well...
  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    I have to wonder if all of these additional electronics won't actually end up lowering the life span of a new vehicle. The China factor, which also makes me more concerned about buying GM vehicles given their large presence and investment over there. Gotta think you've got higher odds of Chinese crap in your domestic car from them.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Generally speaking, higher volume vehicles will have higher parts availability.

    Don't forget, though, that towards the end of the Space Shuttle program, NASA was finding it more and more difficult to find spare electronics parts to keep the shuttles flying... Parts that were extremely common during the beginning of the shuttle program.

    As more and more microprocessors are used in different auto subsystems, and as the microprocessor evolution continues to evolve, even extremely high-production vehicles may reach the point when the parts that go into the vehicle control modules may disappear from the market.

    I'm not making any predictions... I honestly don't have any real idea how it will all play out...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "I have to wonder if all of these additional electronics won't actually end up lowering the life span of a new vehicle. The China factor, which also makes me more concerned about buying GM vehicles given their large presence and investment over there. Gotta think you've got higher odds of Chinese crap in your domestic car from them."

    I don't think that's just a GM problem, if it is indeed a problem at all.

    Chinese electronics, along with other Asian produced items are found in practically every manufacturer's products today.

    Generally speaking, reliability tends to decrease as complexity increases. But not always, nor in a linear fashion.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    .I thought fuel pumps mounted to the block at the camshaft and cost $25 to replace...

    In an effort to increase longevity the fuel pump is now place in the gas tank to keep it cool. So if you're the type that drives around all day on a quarter tank...let's just say that the life of your fuel pump may be substantially reduced.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Mr Shift stated: "The big bugaboo, I'm told, is worrying about electromagnetic compatibility."

    And, vulnerability. Recount the cars that died in the latest version of War of the Worlds. Yet, a Dodge Minivan somehow was able to avoid the electromagnetic scourge of the evil alien monsters.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,877
    Now your Mini or BMW 3 series, well...

    I have no experience with Mini, but BMW has its BMW Classic(FKA "Mobile Tradition") division which provides parts for older BMWs. Best of all, you can get the parts through any BMW dealer. As a result I have no problem obtaining parts for my 1975 2002 or 1995 Club Sport, and I expect that situation to continue for the foreseeable future.
    http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/history/bmwclassic/content.html

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,986
    MINI parts are readily available as well, as well as a vast array of competition pieces. Biggest headache with a MINI is not parts prices (which are no better or worse than most German cars) but accessibility to repair. The cars are tough to work on.

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  • dave8697dave8697 Posts: 1,498
    Most apple products are made in China. I read where it costs a couple bucks to make an Iphone 5S there. Just think, if our car full of Chinese parts breaks down, we need to use our Chinese phone to call for help and the tow truck driver needs a Chinese phone to answer your call and a Chinese computer to google where you're at.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,173
    And wonder if they add a chip to all their electronics that can be shut down by a single event. They could bring the entire country to a screeching halt.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,333
    Free trade! Aint it grand.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    It makes no sense to argue about whether 6/72K is a cut or enhancement to 5/100K. First, you get 20% more time but 30% less miles, so the math isn't in your favor.

    Second, and more importantly, Hyundai has a 10 year/100K warranty so there is no need to argue, just buy something else with a better warranty.

    Third, that brings me to my main point, why not just make the warranty 6/100K GM? Why not make the long mile people happy, and the long time period people happy at the same time? Lengthen the time, keep the miles the same.

    Of course, that's just too logical for GM.

    How are those "lifetime" Chrysler warranties holding up?
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    Hyundai has a 10 year/100K warranty so there is no need to argue, just buy something else with a better warranty.

    I don't have any personal knowledge, but I have heard that the Hyundai warranty is not exactly something to aspire to. No personal knowledge, just what I've heard. As I recall, the warranty is not transferable, so it doesn't help the resale value. And there have been instances of Hyundai not exactly being enthusiastic about honoring warranty claims.

    You would need access to a lot of raw data before you could crunch the numbers and determine which would be more costly for the manufacturer, 6/72 or 5/100. And I rather doubt the manufacturers would be amenable to releasing that data.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,040
    As I recall, the warranty is not transferable, so it doesn't help the resale value.

    Actually the powertrain warranty is transferable but it drops from 10/100 to 5/60 to match the basic warranty.

    The warranty is a marketing point. I would be surprised to see that Hyundai had higher warranty costs than other makes.

    And there have been instances of Hyundai not exactly being enthusiastic about honoring warranty claims.

    There are stories about all makes denying warranty claims. What I found is that if one services one's car with the dealer during the warranty period, then the dealer will be willing to ask favors of corporate to take car of issues that under the specifics of the warranty would not be covered. I've had Honda and VW both pay for things outside of warranty just because I had a good relationship with the dealer.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "And wonder if they add a chip to all their electronics that can be shut down by a single event. They could bring the entire country to a screeching halt."

    Others have had similar thoughts...

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/08/us-usa-china-huawei-zte-idUSBRE8960NH2- 0121008
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Actually the powertrain warranty is transferable but it drops from 10/100 to 5/60 to match the basic warranty.

    The warranty is a marketing point. I would be surprised to see that Hyundai had higher warranty costs than other makes. "

    I tend to agree on the marketing aspect. Really, any mass produced modern auto sold in the US today should have a power train that lasts for 5 years or 60K miles.

    And, if the Korean makes are as heavily leased as other makes (I don't know if they are or not, but I can't see why there would be a significant difference), then the de facto warranty isn't 10/100, but 5/60, the same as most other competitors.

    10/100 just sounds a lot better to a potential buyer.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963
    The Previa was introduced in 1990 and stuck around until 1997.

    Spotted not one, but two Previas today, one in NM and one in CO. One was a bit rough looking but the other looked good, at least on the outside.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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