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The Current State of the US Auto Market



  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "When I rented Japanese bottom-feeder cars throughout the '80's, I hated the buzziness, interior vinyl smell, one-inch-thick doors, and 'lost a hubcap' look that was standard equipment. "

    That description fits the early model Chrysler LeBaron K-car that my FIL purchased... The one that talked to you.

    Definitely not Chrysler's finest hour...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,899
    My impression (unscientific) is that the domestics have a lot longer list of TSBs.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,813
    edited September 2013
    That description fits the early model Chrysler LeBaron K-car that my FIL purchased... The one that talked to you.

    My uncle briefly owned an early '82 Plymouth Reliant sedan, in 1989. You could tell it was an early '82 because it had stationary windows in back...they didn't start making them roll-down until later in the model year. I drove it, once. Miserable little car. I timed it with a stopwatch, and got 0-60 in around 25 seconds I think. I also remember taking a tape measure to the inside, and being surprised that shoulder room was something like 58.5". I measured door panel to door panel though, and I'm not sure that's where they always take the measurement. I don't think the published specs were that generous. Anyway, it was wider inside than the '89 Gran Fury I owned a few years later. BUT, the doors on that Reliant were paper-thin! The Gran Fury's doors were nice and thick.

    My uncle also had an '88 LeBaron turbo coupe, and that was actually a pretty nice car. He sold it to me when I was married, and I let the ex have it in the divorce. It was a total piece by 118,000 miles when it finally got retired, but I'd say it was a pretty good car up to around 90,000 miles.

    One of my friends back in college had a 1980 Accord hatchback. It was aging horribly...interior falling apart, rusting, etc. But one thing I'll say for it, its sheetmetal actually seemed pretty thick. It was also a surprisingly good highway cruiser. Took awhile to get there, but at 80 mph, it was quiet, no rattles, and fairly comfortable for a small car.

    Another one of my friends had a 1983 Nissan (well, Datsun back then) Stanza. Now that thing seemed about as sturdy as a beer can. Those were popular cars though...seemed like they were everywhere, for awhile. I remember his freshman year in college, he traded it for a 1989 Escort, and the Stanza was pretty much coughing, wheezing, and leaking by then, so the dealer did kind of a mercy trade for it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Japanese and Americans scandals have nothing on the Germans.

    What, no prostitutes? Psshhhh....

    Child's play.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    From AN:

    During a press conference today in Washington, top Justice officials told reporters that price-fixed parts were sold to Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, as well as to the U.S. subsidiaries of Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Subaru

    Read more: execs-to-plead-guilty-in-u.s.-price-fixing#ixzz2g1ZXIQVM
    Follow us: @Automotive_News on Twitter | AutoNews on Facebook

    For the folks who don't realize how global the supply chain has become.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I really, really hope mine is included:

    Last time I got a free car wash. Cleanest condition it's ever been in.

    It was the recall for rusty spare tire chains, even though mine was unaffected they still replaced it and washed my van.

    I think that was 2011.

    I haven't washed it since. :D

    PLEASE wish me luck! Re-call! Re-call! Re-call!
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,595
    edited September 2013
    "My impression (unscientific) is that the domestics have a lot longer list of TSBs."

    I'll bet your spot on. :)

    Here's a link for the Cobalt.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 47,626

    Moderator - Buying questions? Please include selling price (not OTD), zip code and trim you are shopping.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 8,389
    Man, nobody in their right mind enjoys a recall. It generally involves an unscheduled visit.

    BTW, here's a large recall that just posted today: nsor-defect.html

    No, I'm not posting only import recalls and not domestics (ahem); I post 'em as they show up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,899
    Geez, that's longer than the rap sheet on some NFL football players. :)

    Really, that is disgraceful.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited September 2013
    Dealer is 2 miles from my house, and right next to a hardware store (100 yards away).

    Free parking, free car wash, excuse to buy new tools. :shades:

    Shifting gears a little....

    TSBs or recalls compared to quality is a loose association at best. A TSB could give service techs instructions on how to perform maintenance.

    I am much more concerned when a manufacturer does *not* issue a recall even when an issue is common and people complain on boards like these. Or no TSB even though nobody knows how to fix a common ailment. That's poor reliability and poor service.

    Edit: dealer has Cadillac and Infiniti, so those M owners might be joining me at the same hardware store. LOL
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,899
    Ah, apologist for the fascist insects! ;)

    Well course, you're right actually...the NUMBER of TSBs would have to be individually "weighted" for gravity before we made any direct relationship to reliability. However, the circumstantial evidence is compelling.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That site is hard to search, I guess you have to subscribe.

    2009 Altima is a sample they offer, and it has plenty of TSBs as well: 138629625/138629629/34853741/34850750/42063452

    Plenty of the TSBs are instructions for service techs and not problems, for example:

    Navigation System - Map Data Update Index
    Suspension - Strut and Shock Absorber Replacement Guidelines

    So a TSB is not always for a problem. That's what I meant.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    You have to love the line item about 30th from the bottom of the list... "General - All units - How to Read a Wiring Diagram".

    Now, really, is that a TSB that should be necessary to distribute to repair personnel???
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,813
    I believe GM issued a TSB for the 2000 Park Avenue, so that they could change the display on the HUD so that it reads "Check Gauges" instead of "Check Gages".

    Oh, and one for the 1976 LeMans to swap out the idiot light that says "GEN" for one that says "ALT". :-P
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    Or they get promoted and/or sent off to retirement with a golden parachute of benefits and lifetime pay.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 8,389
    edited September 2013
    Hey circlew, how's there TSB's dated from '88 (!) through '04 for the Cobalt, which was introduced for the 2005 MY?

    Just sayin'.

    Matter of fact, you put in 2009 Cobalt for specifically my daughter's car (weird), so any TSB dated prior to Sept. '08 wouldn't apply.

    That's 80% of your list.

    TSB's like 'normal oil consumption' and 'brake rotor policy' apply to all models, not just one, incidentally.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    Is the Cobalt really any different than a Cavalier?

    Was more changed than just the sheet metal and the label?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 8,389
    edited September 2013
    You're kidding, right?

    TSB's aren't issued for future manufacturing. ;)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 6,127
    Ha, well, I see your point.

    Although, the TSB never written for my '95 Dodge having spontaneous windshield splitting would still apply to the 2013 Dodge Dart Edmunds bought :)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,990
    I'd bet the odds of getting a bad trans in a Honda is fairly low. I've had several family members who've owned multiple Odyssey's, Pilot's and MDX's and none have had trans problems.

    We've also had 3 Honda makes (one an Acura) and have never had a transmission problem.

    While Honda's tranny problems were well publicized in the 2002-2003 or so time frame, the main reason that was noteworthy is that the brand had such a reputation for reliability in general. I've heard of so many tranny problems, seemingly mostly in Chryslers but quite a bit in GMs and Fords as well. I suspect Honda's tranny failure rate is quite a bit lower, overall.

    Actually I've NEVER had a tranny failure in any car I've owned over 40 years of driving - that includes numerous cars in the 100-200K miles zone and one well over 200K miles. That includes Honda, Nissan, VW, Audi, and Mazda makes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,899
    I think many dealers just throw 80% if the TSBs in the trash anyway.

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  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,990
    I recently had a Jetta rental and here are some impressions.

    I'm somebody who has always liked VW and prefers smaller more premium cars. As such, I found this Jetta quite disappointing.

    The 2.5 SE has the higher line 5 cylinder engine as compared to the base 4 cylinder model. The car also had leather (or pleather) seats. In spite of those things, I found the car fairly roomy, but pretty devoid of character. The interior looks cheap and has no style. The engine was reasonably powerful but also pretty buzzy (almost as bad as the Cruze turbo 1.4 I rented a month or two ago). The steering was decent but not noteworthy.

    In short, if you want bland, this is your car. Bland exterior, bland interior, nothing much to distinguish it. I might have liked a really nicer interior or nicer looking car and that would make me be willing to put up with lower reliablity and the VW dealer network, but if I were buying a car in this class today, I'd save my money and just buy a Honda or a Mazda or Hyundai instead.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 18,630
    a few months back my daughter and I looked at VWs to see the Jetta. Liked the exterior, but was woefully under impressed by the interior. Did not drive one, so can't comment about that.

    they are also ditching the 2.5l finally for 2014 in favor of a turbo engine (the 1.8T). Even putting the IRS on all the models.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Have had many Honda and Acura vehicles over the years. Along with many other brands and never a problem with trans and driven to 70K, 80K and up to 195K. Had only one vehicle that we kept over 200K miles. A 1986 Honda Accord. The trans failed at 217K miles and had to be replaced. Did not think this was a big deal given that American brands, such as Dodge/Chrysler supposedly had transmission failures at much, much lower overall odo mileage. Like 50K, 60K and so forth.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,687
    "A 1986 Honda Accord. The trans failed at 217K miles and had to be replaced. Did not think this was a big deal given that American brands, such as Dodge/Chrysler supposedly had transmission failures at much, much lower overall odo mileage. Like 50K, 60K and so forth.
    facebook connect"

    Yeah, it wouldn't have been unheard of to go through 2-3 transmissions by 200k in a Chrysler minivan with the ultradrive transmission.

    I think most makes have made bad transmissions at some point.

    Andre can verify issues with GM's 4l60e trans. I burnt one up before 50k and I know people that have had 3 rebuilds by 150k miles on their GM 1/2 tons.

    A few years back Edmunds had one fail by 30k miles or so in one of their long term Silverados.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,687
    I haven't sampled a current gen Jetta. From what I've read there is quite a difference between the lower models and the enthusiast GLI trim with the 2.0turbo. Even the rear suspension is different, and I believe the interior is nicer too.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 36,458
    Don't complain about the actions of the executive cabal! Their lack of ethics and undefendable fortunes are a drop in the bucket compared to the overall economy, so we should just ignore their actions. We're all just temporarily embarrassed millionares anyway. It's trickling down.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 18,630
    The GLI really is a different car. Suspension (rear IRS), engine, interior fittings, etc.

    though for 2014 the SE will have a real engine and IRS, and "other upgrades". Will be interesting to see what they do with it.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,595
    edited September 2013
    Largest U.S. vehicle recalls
    Rank # of vehicles Model year Model Problem
    1 21 million 1970-1980 Ford cars & trucks Transmissions that fail to engage Park
    2 15 million 1992-2003 Ford cars & trucks Cruise control deactivation switch fires
    3 7.9 million 1988-1993 Ford Taurus, Explorer, Probe & Mercury Sable Ignition switch fires
    4 6.9 million 1965-1970 Chevrolet cars & trucks Unintended acceleration due to broken motor mounts
    5 5.8 million 1978-1981 General Motors A-body cars Lower control arm bolt failures can lead to suspension collapse
    6 5.4 million 2004-2010 Toyota, Lexus Unintended acceleration risk due to floor mat interference
    7 4.1 million 1970-1971 All Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys Shoulder belt pins
    8 3.7 million 1971-1972 All full-size Buicks, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, and Pontiacs Rock can jam in steering coupling
    9 3.7 million 1986-1991 Honda Civic, Accord, Prelude; Acura Integra, Legend, NSX Seat belt buckle jams
    10 3.7 million 1949-1969 All Volkswagens Windshield wipers

    Looking at their entire recall list, several facts stand out:

    Recalls didn't start until 1969, with the founding of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    Ford Motor Company has the three largest recalls, by far, on the list, due to electrical components - ignition switches in 1981 and cruise-control switches in 1999 - that were installed across the company's entire lineup.
    The solution to the largest recall in history, for Ford transmissions that failed to engage Park, amounted to no more than dealers installing a warning sticker. Well, I feel so much safer with that sticker on board.
    The industry has made an awful lot of progress since General Motors downsized its "A-body" lineup in 1978 that included the Chevrolet Monte Carlo and El Camino. The '78 A-Body amassed perhaps the three most alarming recalls, for collapsing front suspensions, jamming steering mechanisms, and wheels and axles falling off. (My father drove three and could have vouched for several of these maladies.)
    The latest Toyota recall is nearly 20 percent larger than Toyota's 2009 recall for sticking accelerators; the company's parallel floor mat recall didn't make the list.
    Other than the Toyota recalls, foreign companies are not well represented on the list. That's not to say they are without blemishes on their record, just that the scale didn't reach Top 10 proportions. For example, Japanese automakers had some problems with seat-belt buckles in the 1980s. And Volkswagen had one recall that mirrored Ford's problems with installing a single faulty component (windshield wipers) across its entire lineup for many years.
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