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What will it take for consumers to buy American brands??



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    sonicblucrisissonicblucrisis Member Posts: 52
    The only thing Japanese imports are better at is holding their value.

    Which, of course, gives lie to your entire argument. You can't beak market response to figure out which product has high or low quality.

    I agree that quality levels for Ford and GM are much higher than a decade ago, and certainly are higher than they were in the '80's But there is a generation of young to middle age buyers out there with a preconceived notion. Breaking that will take a concerted effort, not price buster rebates and "employee pricing" that kills the resale market, and gives consumers reason to hold off paying prices that give the manufacturer an opportunity to make a profit.

    Perception IS reality. If GM or Ford really has a better product than the Japanese or Germans, then put an Accord or a 3-series BMW in the showroom next to the Ford 500 and really invite a comparison. They don't because they'll lose.

    Speaking of dealers, Nuke the entire dealer "network" and open "company" stores, who's employees actually give a care about the products that they sell. Dealers are out to make a buck, not a future for their manufacturer, in fact, most of the big dealer's conglomerates sell every make, both foreign and domestic. There is no brand loyalty at all.I've been steered by salesmen in a couple instances from a low profit domestic to a higher profit import in the next showroom over at the local "MegaAutoMall". IF the guy selling me the car doesn't believe in it, why would I? I know that I'm generalizing a little (or maybe a lot)here, but it's time to throw that particular baby out with the bath water!

    I remember reading a long time ago that Sochiro(sp) Honda drove his company's product every day to work. Not just a new car every once in a while, or a lap around the track, but day in and day out, commuting in traffic like the rest of us. Do you really think he was just being frugal?. Do you really think that EVEN ONE GM or Chrysler exec does the same thing?

    Lastly, American manufacturers are capable, but need to be willing. If we can design, engineer, build, and excite the public about the '05 Mustang, which is a world beater in it's class, if we can sell every damn one they built in 2004-05 at or damn near MSRP, then we should be able to get folks just as excited about the next mid-sized people mover as well.
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    big_prizebig_prize Member Posts: 50
    I'd like to know how you conclude that the biggest contributor to cost is labor. Let's take your figure of $75 an hour for labor cost. Do you know how many person hours are involved in the assembly of a car? According to the Harbour report, it's 34.33 for GM. In the Ontario plant it's under 18 if I remember. So if we take 34.33 times $75 that yields $2,572. Not the biggest cost by any means.

    Don't forget the cost of all the workers who aren't working.
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    sonicblucrisissonicblucrisis Member Posts: 52
    My experience has been the opposite. My US made Contour had no rust when I sold it, whereas one of my Hondas (Japanese made Civic) was becoming a rust bucket, although my US made Accord has been okay.
    Replacing the brakes on the Accord was also the most challenging, expensive brake jobs I have ever required. The Contour's front brakes took about 25 minutes, performed twice in 120,000

    The great thing about anecdotal evidence is that it has almost no meaning, but sounds great. Mine?
    1990 Toyota pickup, 120,000 miles, no brake job. no other work either other than routine oil changes, one battery, and 2 sets of tires. Resale at 10 years age and 120K miles? 50% of purchase cost
    1995 Ford Windstar, 160,000 miles 3 brake jobs ($90 or so each) 5 warrantee repairs when new, and 4 recalls, ( both free, but much lost time) a partial engine rebuild, ($1,600), Transmission repair ($1,200)A/C repair, ($250). the list goes on. Resale at 9 years of age and 160K 13.5% of purchase cost

    So, let's review, 1 cost me nothing to maintain for 10 years and I got half my money back, the other ran up thousands in repair costs, and was essentially worthless when I sold it (I actually got a mercy trade from a dealer).
    Well, at least the Windstar wasn't a rust bucket.
    To be honest, however, neither was the Toyota

    These aren't my best and worst, just my most recent. I currently have a VW Passat that has cost me nothing in 3 years and 36K miles, An '05 Mustang, and an '03 Ford E-350 that is actually quite reliable at 50K, but does eat brakes somewhat (here we go with the brakes again).
    I'll wager that more folks have had my experience than have had yours.
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    townhometownhome Member Posts: 104
    I too bought A Chevy Malibu Maxx last year. Everyone I know has an imported car (literally -- I can't think of anyone with a domestic car, a few SUV's and trucks, but not cars.) Honestly, I bought the car because no one else did. Around Los Angeles, I have seen maybe 8 different Maxx's in the past year. You can see 8 different Camry's just driving down my street. I really don't understand why everyone buys the exact same car. Sure, the Camry is reliable, but my Maxx hasn't broken yet, so I would have to say it is reliable so far. The first 13,000 miles have been trouble free, which was not the case with my friends '04 Accord.

    Another thing that I don't understand is that J.D. Power says the Malibu beats the Accord and Altima and ties the Camry in the initial quality survey. Why isn't GM shouting this from the rooftops? If their advertising focused on this, wouldn't some people be convinced? People just assume that domestics aren't as "nice" or as "good" w/o ever even sitting in one. Maybe if GM followed Hyundai's lead and increased their warranty to 10/100 then people would take them seriously.
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    carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    "Honestly don't know why people don't come back to US brands because as others have stated, the quality is about the same."

    I had a Toyota. I liked it. If presented with five cars that are equally good, I would be happy to give Toyota my money again... just because I feel like they worked for and earned my repeat business.

    If I hadn't owned a Toyota, and I was presented with five equal cars, I'd pick the one with the best reputation.

    Now if an American car is a better value, or if I feel that the people who design and build Toyotas are less deserving just because of where they are (and some are built here in my hometown, as opposed to say, Mexico)... or if I feel that making profits for an American company will lead to more investment in our economy (who's building the new plants?) then yeah, I'll buy the American car.

    Or if it's cooler.
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    drewbadrewba Member Posts: 154
    I don't doubt that Big 3 quality is way up in the last 10-15 years. However, I have been in recent models such as a 2005 Grand Caravan SXT, 2005 Chevy Cobalt and some recent vintage rental Oldsmobile. They all seemed to be functional vehicles with a level of equipment that was appropriate to their market. However, they still felt and looked sub-par to me on the inside. I'm not giving a free pass, many of the import interiors aren't any good either. At least for me, an interior that I like is sort of like pornography: hard to define, but I know it when I see it. Is it an opinion? Sure, but it is based on recent experiences.

    On the issue of missing features, I could just as easily turn around and point to the things that many domestic cars are missing: stability control, side curtain airbags, available navigation systems...

    I actually think that some of the newest offerings at least look interesting. If the Ford Fusion had been out 6 months ago when I was shopping, I definitely would have taken a look.

    BTW, for purposes of this discussion, I'll ignore the awful Cavalier that Chevy was selling through the 2005 model year. GM should buy up every last one of those currently in rental service and destroy them, because anyone who drives one will never go look at a GM product.
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    jlawrence01jlawrence01 Member Posts: 1,757
    Do you know how many person hours are involved in the assembly of a car? According to the Harbour report, it's 34.33 for GM

    You are NOT including all the legacy costs - pension, medical, etc. for retirees ...

    One of the reasons that they can produce the vehicle in only 30+ hours is that they have outsourced a lot of the components to 3rd parties.
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    luvcars2luvcars2 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2001 caravan. In a little under 5 yrs i had to replace the front end twice, fix the track on the sliding doors 3 times, and repair window molding on my front windshield. While the engine has been GREAT, i feel if you were to propose the big 3 makes quality cars, problems like mine should have been minimize, ie..fix the first time.

    also, i owned a 1998 accord with 125,000 miles and to be honest, had no problems outside of maintence.

    while i believe the big 3 is getting better at quality, experiences like these has made me tainted towards foreign cars and i believe i represent a majority of people who rather buy foreign.
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    tlongtlong Member Posts: 5,194
    The whole notion that american cars wont last more than 40K miles is old and tired.

    Well, my brother's '94 Windstar had the usual problems that many of the big three's cars have - dead transmission before 50K, and serious head gasket problems as well. We took a chance on a '94 Mercury Villager, and are now at 196,000 miles without major problems. But we were willing to buy American ONLY because the engine and transmission are made by Nissan :).

    I can tell by reading some of the comments here than many of you havent bothered to look at any Big 3 vehicles in the last 3 or 4 years. The stuff about build quality and materials is all old news.

    It's new news. I drove a 2005 rental Jeep Grand Cherokee this summer. It is the brand new redesign. It astonished me how poorly it was designed. Big without much interior room. Cheap hard plastic dash (this on a vehicle that with a couple of options is well over $30K). Door handle at knee level rather than higher where it should be. Engine that made tons of noise while delivering marginal acceleration. Gas guzzler. You wouldn't find this in a similarly priced Honda Pilot.

    Imports cost cut left and right. One of the biggest way they cost cut is to minimize the number of ways a car can be built. Honda is the master of this.

    Some people would car these cars are 'loaded' for the price. Perhaps Honda is the smart one?

    Nissans skimp on materials, cars like the TSX and TL dont offer split folding seats.

    You're trying to show that cars like the TL are somehow skimping, yet this car is among the best values at its price point - leather, bluetooth, >250hp with high mileage, 5.1 audio, heated seats, air, cruise, sunroof, choice of manual or 5 speed auto, map pockets behind the seats, power driver and passenger seats, Michelin tires. There is style, design flow, and beauty - much more than ANY American car I know.

    Your mentioning one thing (the folding rear seats) as showing how costs are being cut destroys all credibility. I could go over the features in many American cars and prove similar points much more easily.

    I would like to know how American built camrys built by americans with parts and materials from America can be considered great but an Impala or 500 meeting those same criteria would be "Big 3 junk".

    Simple: 1) Design is much better; 2) Technology is much better; 3) Workers non-unionized know they are working on a merit rather than seniority basis, so they care about doing a good job; 4) Lower cost of benefits creates job security for the workers and competitiveness for the manufacturers.

    What import lovers fail to realize is that in many cases the same suppliers are providing components for Chevy and Toyota and Honda and anyone else who wants to buy.

    But are they the same items, are the specifications the same? I don't see cheap GM switchgear in Hondas and Acuras.
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    blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Member Posts: 6,249
    I've helped 8 people buy cars over the past two years and I've bought two myself. I'm the only one who was even willing to set foot on american car lot (drove the CTS).

    The rest of my friends and family flat out refused to even look at American cars. We're talking about all people in their 30s and all but two have post-graduate degrees. I was the only one and I did so just in case the magazines weren't lying about the CTS (they were). My peer group (30+, homeowners, post-grad degrees) wants nothing to do with American automobiles.

    American manufacturers lost my peer group in the 70s and 80s when we saw the garbage our parents drove. Now most of us won't even consider American cars - no matter the cost, appearance, performance or promised reliability. Essentially Mopar/GM/Ford are dead to a good-sized segment of the population.
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    callmedrfillcallmedrfill Member Posts: 729
    That's one of my All-Time best! :D

    Anywho, Perception is the main factor in the current Titanic-like demise of the US Auto Industry.

    BUT, that perception is borne out of a history of reality, biting the Big 3 in the "Boot"

    The main problem is the Big 3 haven't really had to "compete" for sales until the early 70's oil embargo. The Japanese were either building crappy cars, or small cars. Americans like neither.

    But cheap, efficient cars will sell, and the US didn't make them, so better made Corollas and Civics begin the Japanese acsent.

    In response, the US builds Gremlins and Pacers. Japan wins Round One. Start small, but good.

    After 5-6-7 good years of building reputations for making good, efficient, affordable, small cars, Accords, Cressidas, Coronas, Maximas start to pop up. These are not legendary generations of the lines, but they didn't disappoint. And they weren't the size of barges either. garageable. Easy to use. Now a Civic driver can move up, or stay in a Civic. Growth continues.

    Can anyone name a GOOD midsize American sedan before the '86 Taurus? I didn't think so.

    So Taurus comes, and sells great, wins all these awards, and Ford is more than happy to think the war is over, and rest on their laurels. The Japanese still couldn't build a strong V6, and were still noticably smaller than the Taurus.

    But Honda's Accord 4 cylinder has earned the market, through hard work, and consistent quality, plus a nice leadin with the Civic.

    Honda in particular, start to focus on the other end of the spectrum, with Acura, and now you can get a sweet V6 powerplant and a nice roomy midsize platform, but you gotta pay for it.

    Nissan and Lexus shoot even higher. One of them hits a bullseye!

    Then the Fall of '91 comes, and here is the new Camry, and it has acres of smooth V6 power, and a roomy back seat, and an interior that raises the bar, and now Taurus is Day-old eggs. Honda still leads, but hears thunderous footsteps!

    To Hondas credit, the '92 Civic was as earth-moving as the '92 Camry, and it wrest the Corolla from the small car top spot. While the Cavalier definitely had some huge years, no one would say the Cavalier was anywhere near the car the Civic was.

    At the end of this history lesson is the fact that you build a perception from positive, or negative experiences.
    If Honda and Toyota built average-to-below average cars for the last 30 years, we wouldn't be having this conversation!

    Good cars make good perception. No repairs make a good perception.

    "Planned Obsolescence" makes for a bad perception. Many repairs makes for bad perception. Detroit knew what they were doing, but they didn't calculate the long-term costs. Now they do. Can you say rebate? Or 0%? :blush:

    They built their market value from Civic and Corolla up, one car at a time. No "Planned Obsolescence", which is costing the Big 3 more than they "Planned". Make the best car you can, and they will come back for more. We didn't do that in the 70's, or the 80's (except for the Caravan and Taurus), and we thought about it in the 90's.

    It took 20-25 years to see this ship of destruction, sailing slowly, but surely, across the Pacific, and everyone has their head in the sand. We fight amongst ourselves and our unions. And we make nothing but scrapmetal.

    NOW we're cooking with gas! It's 2005, and we're still making Malibus and Cobalts and Colorados.

    Is it too late to start making good cars? Yeah.

    Chrysler is the only one that really gets it. Build the best car you can (and get some good German help).

    Is the Fusion, or the Cobalt, or for that matter the Ecotec engine, or the Malibu, the best we can build?

    Boy I hope not. :sick:

    Bad management is another noose around our necks.

    Ford owns Mazda. Mazda make the Mazda3.

    Does Ford sell a Mazda 3? No. Is the Focus half the car the Mazda3 is? No. Is the Focus joining this great platform? No. Will the Focus miss this opportunity to upgrade it's image, quality, and performance? Yes.

    The Focus won't be redone unitl 2008.

    The Mazda3 is carrying the Mazda.

    Could Ford use a crutch right about now?

    In the end, death comes to us all. Some tempt it more than others. :surprise:

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    nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    every model on the domestic lots being award-winnign in one way or another, be it JD Power, NHTSA testing, or some magazine's car of the year.

    Anything less, they should pull the model off the market until they redesign it. And every award that IS won, should be trumpeted from massive marketing campaigns.

    I don't think GM and Ford can do this, what with the enormous overhead they are carrying. But in reading a lot of the posts here, I think that is what is needed.

    Oh yeah, and the fire sales HAVE to end. At least stop advertising them entirely.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

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    littlezlittlez Member Posts: 167
    Those who are only supporting the import brands, which seems to be quite a few on this forum, would it matter to you if GM and Ford both filed for bankruptcy and went away?

    I live in an area that is represented mostly by American automobile workers and their families, be it suppliers of or directly for Ford and GM. In the past six months, in my neighborhood at least 50 homes have gone on the market for sale. After a little research I found out that, no exaggeration, at least 45 of them were owned by someone who lost their job at Leer, TRW, Ford, GM or some smaller parts supplier. The ones that I spoke to, only a few, are moving out of state and none have gotten another job associated with the automobile industry, foreign or domestic.

    Do you mind if we live in a country that is merely a service country? What else is "American made" anymore? Are you really willing to give the automobile industry to the imports? Japan has already taken most of the industries we spend our disposable income on and a good chunk of the rest of it has been gobbled up by China. Now, they are working on our automobile industry. IMHO, I believe that for our future and our childrens future we need to think about our purchases today.

    Ford has introduced (or face lifted) a number of very good vehicles in the past two years; the new F-150, Mustang, Five Hundred/Montego, Mariner, Freestyle, Fusion/Milan/Zephyr, Explorer/Mountaineer and the Escape and Mariner Hybrids. Most publications say these vehicles are very good competition for its import rivals and most of these vehicles have had little to no problems. All perform well in crash tests and several are top picks for a variety of safety awards.

    Ford scores well in the JD Power Dependability Study, scoring above industry average and out scoring car manufacturers such as Nissan, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Saab, Hyundai, Subaru and about 15 others.

    So, will the US be better without GM and Ford? I don't think so, but it's just my opinion.
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    Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,154
    A reporter from a large daily newspaper would like to hear from consumers who are shopping for a vehicle right now and the importance its gas mileage will be on your car-buying decision. If you have a story to share, please respond to ctalati@edmunds.com with your daytime contact info., city/state of residence, and the make/model(s) that you’re researching no later than Monday, December 12 by 10:00 AM EST.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

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    2zmax2zmax Member Posts: 140
    Hey Doc.
    For what it's worth, I laughed like hell at your previous post.
    And I agree with you 100% on this one as well.

    Can anyone tell me how the last 10-15 years of Good American car manufacturing figure stuck here? Most American cars that were made until 2002 are JUNK.
    Here is my personal example:
    89 Ford thunderbird – Dead after 77K miles (needed new transmission and engine)
    96 Mercury Cougar – dead after 78K miles – new tranny and 3 head gaskets later
    97 Ford Mustang – Dead at 90K miles (needed new engine and tranny)
    2002 Mercury Cougar – JUNK from the get go – it was a lemon, and I dumped it for a 2003 Maxima, which has 60K miles, with NO trips to dealership EVER.
    Do you think I will buy A Ford again?

    In the last 4 years I have driven every rental car there is! (Lot’s of travel for a job)
    I’ve driven numbers of Malibus both the sedan and Maxx – THEY SUCK!
    The seats are horrible, and the steering is preposterous, feels like you’re about to fly off the on-ramp at 35 mph. The inside is screaming CHEAP. And the 4 speed tranny is so crappy, that when cruising on the highway at 75 mph, it constantly downshifts when going up-hill. What the hell is that? The car can’t even keep up the speed, and when you depress the accelerator it does NOTHING, until you have to floor the damn thing to get it to go.
    My Maxima does 75 mph, and I can’t even feel it, and if I press the accelerator, it does not need to downshift to get to 100 mph in a hurry.
    Both cars have 3.5L V6 - what the hell is GM thinking?
    I don't care if my max get's 4 mpg less - it makes up for it by keeping my blood pressure below 120 ;)
    I’ve driven scores of Pontiacs, Impalas, Taurus (the worst by far) and many others.
    American cars are Uninspiring, anemic and generally have worse reliability.
    Maybe the new Impala SS, or the Charger are a right step forward, but the price tag on these cars is ridiculous. I’d take a Subary Legacy 2.5 GT, over any mid size American offering.
    Yesterday My realtor gave me a ride in her new Ford 500.
    She loves the car, and I have to admit her 500 Limited AWD was pretty nice inside.
    But the acceleration was so weak, it’s depressing.
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    john81john81 Member Posts: 60
    As a general rule of industrial/military machinery, if maintenance costs reach $100 per 1 hour of actual production/operation, that piece of machinery now becomes a liability.
    Maintenance stalls in car dealers were never meant to become an additional segment of the auto factory plant, but to provide minor maintenance upkeep. Unfortunately, these maintenance facilities at dealerships are having to almost re-configure mistakes missed at the factory. These additional maintenance costs after the fact now drives the vehicle into the "red" zone (liability) where the dealership looses money and market share.
    Everyone who has written has stated this fact, mostly pointing toward the big 3 auto makers.
    For those who can remember, Every local gas station had its own 2 stall garage for minor repairs. Every street corner had an auto parts store and most weekend mechanics were able to fix minor repairs themselves. This "cult" of backyard auto mechanics has now disappeared and given way to the proprietary computer controlled vehicle which is more disposable than economical.
    Today, name of the game is dependability and fuel efficiency.
    If there were any dinosaurs whose company was way behind the power curve, its the big three auto companies. Why would I want to buy a V8 engine where a computer controls certain cylinders to turn off or on depending on the drive load? Could I fix that problem in my backyard? What would be the maintenance costs when these engines reach 50,000 miles with uneven wear between cylinders?
    I like diesels. I like small gasoline engines with minimum computer assitance. I like manual transmissions. Why would I want to give my dealership technician job security every time I bring my vehicle for a diagnostic check-up or a have a new program or computer update installed?
    You know that dealerships hate it when the consumer reads these messages on Edmunds. Dealerships hate a knowledgeable consumer. Just like a good resturant, the more cars in the parking lot, means that good food is inside. So where are all the buyers these days when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle? Toyota, Nissan, Honda.
    Should Ford and GM go backrupt? Sure, let them go under. Just like a bad politican, you vote them out of office and find someone who can get the job done. In the end, its the consumer which drives costs, maintenance time and reliability estimates. And the consumers have spoken, GM and Ford are dinosaurs.
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    2zmax2zmax Member Posts: 140
    I don't think that they should go bankrupt, but I do think that they need to get rid of the union and the legacy costs. Spend the extra money on engineering and higher quality materials. in my opinion DOD and MDS is a crock.
    I will never buy a car that has much higher a potential to self-destruct after the warranty is over.
    I will only buy it if it has a 10 year/100 K mile warranty attached to it.
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    "American manufacturers lost my peer group in the 70s and 80s when we saw the garbage our parents drove."

    They didn't lose ALL of us. I'm essentially of your peer group. My grandfather's excellent experience with his full-size Chevrolets from the 1960s through the 1980s and mine with my Buicks and Cadillacs has made me a GM man for life!

    I don't know what it was like where you grew up, but anybody who was anybody drove Cadillacs, Lincolns, or Imperials. Regular people had their Chevrolets, Fords, and Plymouths.

    Maybe memories from my childhood have colored my perception of Japanese cars. From what I remember, only the desperately poor people drove anything Japanese. Japanese cars were regarded with the same disdain as Yugos and early Hyundais. They truly were this bad. They disintegrated into piles of orange-red iron oxide dust after two NE winters, the hot summer sun split their thin vinyl seats and cracked their dashboards, and the city streets very quickly pounded them into nothingness.
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    anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    If you've never owned an import (my guess is some on here never have) you'll never understand the draw. Differences are still pretty obvious to me too, but don't tell a GM diehard about that. They'd have you believing there is no difference between a Chevy Impala and a Bentley Continental GT if you let them...

    I love to hear comments "Get over your bias and just go buy a Buick". These crack me up, big time. My wife and I have had 8 Hondas in our lifetime and will continue to consider them in our future purchases. Bias? Ya right. Try satisfaction. I have zero reason to shop a Buick because, aside from a few souls who would prefer the "Julia Child" end of the performance spectrum, Buick offers nothing in the way of performance, handling, sporting intentions whatsoever. Maybe it's something you appreciate when you are older I guess... I'll check back in about 40 years...
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,765
    Japanese cars tended to be popular on the coasts...West Coast moreso than the East coast. In areas where they weren't popular, they were often considered cars for the cheap/weird/eccentric. They caught on fast, though. Honda went from not even having a fully-automatic transmission in 1979 (it was 2-speed and clutchless, but you still had to shift from 1st to 2nd. I think you could start off in 2nd though, if you were into masochism) to having a 4-speed automatic by around 1982.

    Also, I think people's perception of you depended on the Japanese car you bought. Sure, if you had a Civic, Corolla, Accord hatchback, 210, 310, F10, etc, then people thought you were cheap or poor. But if you drove a Corona, 510, Cressida, 810, etc, people just thought you were eccentric! And if you drove a 280ZX, Supra, etc, you probably had your feathered hair and Tom Selleck mustache to go along with it, so you still probably got some! :P
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,765
    Heck, I can usually tell the difference between a GM car and a Chrysler! :P I'd usually prefer Chryslers because they'd tend to handle better, although you'd give up a bit in ride comfort. And when GM went to cheap plastics, Chrysler was still using good old fashioned stab-you-through-the-heart metals for their knobs and other interior trim. Sure it'll maim ya more readily, but at least it won't fall apart in your hands! And sometimes, even little things make a difference...I preferred the window cranks in my Darts to the window cranks in my '67 Catalina, for example.

    I do think GM is improving, though. Whether it's enough remains to be seen. If nothing else, I think GM, and the others, might have benefitted from some of the cost cutting of the imports. For instance, a Nissan no longer looks like a quality piece compared to a domestic anymore. And when the Camry was re-done for 2002, I thought it looked pretty cheap. Seems like they learned their lesson though, because I swear the current ones seem to have nicer interiors.
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Well, by the time they finally see the consquences of buying decades of foreign goods and killing the U.S. industrial base, it'll be too late. They'll get the picture:

    When they lose their own jobs to foreign workers.

    When they can't find any decent-paying job to replace the good one they lost.

    When meaningful well-paying work is replaced by 18 hours of mindless low-paying drudgery at two or three minimum wage part-time jobs.

    When they're desperately ill and shouldn't work but must because they have no health-care coverage.

    When the repo man comes for their beloved CamCord.

    When they have to move out of that lovely home in the gated suburban community due to foreclosure.

    When they have to move into a fleabag apartment in a ghetto neighborhood where the law of the jungle is the only law.

    When the poor, working-class people they once mocked are now laughing at their misfortune.

    When their lives aren't dictated on the own terms but by those of the gangs that rule the streets.

    When they see scores of emaciated kids and their chronically unemployed or underemployed parents dying in the streets of American cities.

    When the U.S. government is but a puppet of its Japanese and Chinese masters who hold all its debt.

    When violent crime is rampant due to crushing poverty and millions of desperate former factory workers are roving the streets in marauding bands.

    When their kids have master's degrees and are working as Wal-Mart greeters.

    When every single American city looks as bad or worse than Detroit, Gary, Indiana, or Camden, NJ.

    When the country and suburbs themselves look just as bad as the above cities.
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    snakeweaselsnakeweasel Member Posts: 19,376
    I don't think Ford or GM will go away anytime soon. Putting aside any bias for any particular make of car any car properly maintained should give plenty of worry free service (with a couple of possible exceptions). I had a 92 Chevy Corsica that passed 200k along with an Omni, a Caravan and a Mustang that I got similar mileage out of.

    Anyways I think GM will survive in a much smaller version of itself but will remain a big player in the automotive market. They seem to be starting to make a few cars that are catching my eye (a difficult feat to do) with the Pontiac and Cadillac brands. GM will have difficult times ahead but will survive.

    Ford will survive on the F series trucks and the Mustang as well as the Fusion/Milan (My guess is that the Fusion/Milan will do well). If the Fusion/Milan is a hit and Ford can recreate that magic in a compact car Ford will be a major player in the years to come. Ford can go either way here, but either way they will survive too.

    Depending on how things go for me in the next few years I will buy 2 or 3 cars in the next 1-3 years, all of the "big 3" have cars that will be considered. FWIW only 1 or 2 cars from Japanese manufacturers have actually caught my eye.

    2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

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    2zmax2zmax Member Posts: 140
    I hope I'll never get to see this, but you're right to some extent :cry:
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    stmssstmss Member Posts: 206
    All I can suggest is to keep your chin up and keep plugging away. I have owned a number of imports over the last 15 yrs but this year leased a Freestyle and so far I do not regret it. (the truck anyway, service is a different story). I also have a Volvo and Saab but choose to drive the Ford when I can.

    I don't think the industry would be better off without GM and Ford but they need to look very hard at themselves and the competition, decide what they want to be long term and do it. They need to deliver the goods and drop the 'all show, no go' product appoach.
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    anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Wow, so let me get this straight. Because America is not standing by GM and buying their product (whether they like it or not) we are all going to be living in some sick apocolyptic country you described above? You have got to be kidding... It's MY fault for not buying GM, because god forbid GM corporate has anything to do with this.

    BTW, FMC and DMC are much more deserving of my dollar at the moment. Does supporting them have the same chaotic effect?
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    reddogsreddogs Member Posts: 353
    We have sent every other manufactoring job overseas, what do we have left making lattes working at STARBUCKS. :mad:

    If they would bring designs and quality to the showrooms that the consumers are searching for, they would be opening new plants instead of closing and hiring more workers instead of letting go. Its as simple as that, they just have to make cars that are sexy and that look good and feel like quality from the seats, to the dash, the dials and buttons all the way to the paint. Make something desirable that people want and they can forgive a lot. Visions of lates sixties Mustang GT's, Pontiac GTO's, Dodge Charger, have been just in consumers dreams until finally the Big 3 woke up and started the retro brands lately but what about the Chevy Camaro SS, Ford Cobra's, with a 'Cuda or a Challenger. Where are cars with the mystic of the Boss 302, the Mach I, the Chevelle SS 396, the Road Runner, the Shelby, the Sting Ray........

    Build cars like that and the buyers will come, and demand will put the Big 3 back in the drivers seat, but will they do it, can they get over this obsession to build as cheap as possible with the most basic design........I dont know if they can let go of that mindset and it will be their doom unless they turn it around and build what people want .........
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    No. GM's problem is but a small symptom of a much larger, more fatal disease. We can't keep losing or outsourcing all our industries until there is nothing left. Our steel industry is but a shell of its former self as well as our textile industry. Our entire electronics industry is gone aside from a few high-end boutique manufacturers. No toys are made here. Our machine tools industry is dying. Go into any store and you'll be hard-pressed to find anything that is still made here. These scenarios represent millions of lost jobs. Do you want the U.S. auto industry to go away to add hundreds of thousands of more lost jobs? Do you think the U.S. can survive if everybody is a retail, fast food, service, or goverment worker?
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,765
    I think the results would be pretty chaotic, but it wouldn't destroy the company. It would be devastating for areas of the country, such as parts of Michigan, where the economy revolves around the GM workers. For instance, if a GM plant went under, I'd imagine that local restaurants, grocery stores, retailers, etc would also suffer. People would move to whereever they could find a job, and property values would plummet.

    However, if GM were to exit completely, somebody would have to pick up that slack. No doubt Ford and Chrysler would benefit to an extent, but I'd also think that even as the Japanese gained market share, it would prompt them to either build new assembly plants or buy out existing ones.
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    imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,230
    Is there a parallel here with the (small number of politically-selected) people appearing in front of a Congressional committee yesterday complaining about how it's everyone else's fault that New Orleans flooded and they weren't taken care of in advance--everyone except their own local authority.

    It's not our fault that we bought all that and let all those countries import into US is that attitude I'm talking about.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    ...the last-term effects of the collapse of an industry, one needs to look no further than the collapse of King Coal in the NE Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. It's 50 years later and the whole region still hasn't emerged from its economic depression. Sure, a few band-aids were put in place like hundreds of non-union factories and warehouses that pay $8 an hour, but that's about it.
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    reddogsreddogs Member Posts: 353
    Take a look in any Sears or Walmart and the Black and Decker, Dewalt or other brands and they are all being made overseas and the quality has suffered. :sick:

    Look this Christmas at the toys, the fabrics, the clothes, the outdoor furniture, anything you buy thats new and its more than likely from overseas. What do we make anymore, just software and hot coffee......... :surprise:
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    altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    "Maybe memories from my childhood have colored my perception of Japanese cars. From what I remember, only the desperately poor people drove anything Japanese. Japanese cars were regarded with the same disdain as Yugos and early Hyundais. They truly were this bad. They disintegrated into piles of orange-red iron oxide dust after two NE winters, the hot summer sun split their thin vinyl seats and cracked their dashboards, and the city streets very quickly pounded them into nothingness."

    And this still colors your perception of Japanese vehicles today? Wow. You need to jump forward a couple of decades. Maybe you still remember when color TV's were still made in the US. One of the US companies had a slogan..."with the works in a drawer", meaning for easy service and repair. The Japanese responded by building color TV's that didn't need service. Period. b

    I don't see anyone holding a gun to GM's head to globalize their business. But I can tell you this...as sure as God made little green apples, if GM could move their entire operation to China, they would. They don't see themselves as an American corporation anymore. They're a multi-national in the business of making money for their shareholders. Thet's the number #1 job.

    Really, what I see is this being a segue way to nationalized health. I've read that most of the Asian manufacturers look long and hard at Canada when they consider building a new plant in North America. Why? Educated work force and national health insurance, which, I've read, saves a manufacturer $1,200 a car.

    Here's a forecast - GM goes into bankruptcy. They break their union deals, they shed the liability of providing health benefits for the legions of retired union auto workers to the Federal gov't, and re-emerge as a leaner, meaner money-making machine. Whether they build any cars worth buying is a moot point.
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    xrunner2xrunner2 Member Posts: 3,062
    When they lose their own jobs to foreign workers.

    First, to answer board question: I would/will buy an American brand car when I am convinced it has the quality and reliability of a Honda, Nissan or Toyota "and" has design and performance that equal or surpass these foreign brands. Of course, the price must be competitive for me to ulitimately buy.

    Regarding losing jobs to foreign workers - wonder what amount and percent of US branded cars are actually built by American citizens in the contiguous 48 states. Aren't a good portion of GM, Ford, Chrysler made in Mexico and Canada? How does that compare to the amount and percent of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai built in 48 states?

    Should US citizens stop buying Fords made in Mexico or Chryslers made in Candada? After all, the Mexicans and Canadians are taking away jobs from our own union workers.
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Pretty soon it'll just be hot coffee and even then the main component is imported. All the IT jobs are going to India and China. Try supporting your family on a Starbucks salary!
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    imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,230
    >They break their union deals, they shed the liability of providing health benefits for the legions of retired union auto workers to the Federal gov't,

    That'll show 'em who's boss, won't it. Pass the cost of healthcare and pensions to the Federal Government. That way NO ONE will have to pay for it, right? LOL Just us, U.S., that is. Taxpayers won't have to pay because it's the Federal Government paying, right?

    >Educated work force and national health insurance,

    National health care does wonders--works better than the system we have where noone is denied healthcare even if they don't have company paid healthcare, right? That's why they come to US for operations.

    And Canada's people are better educated? Do you have data for that statement?!!!

    Let's get real here on costs and who pays.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

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    anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    For that, I agree. But I still don't see the hangup from buying an import car. If I buy a Honda for example, I am buying a car with about 70% US content built by US workers right? And I'm not going to Japan to buy the car, so I am buying from a US dealership with American sales people. When I service my vehicle, I don't expect Japanese mechanics to come over to the U.S. to work on my car, so once again I am paying American workers to. Sounds like I am contributing plenty to the U.S. economy with my purchase.

    Question for you: If all of a sudden the Big 3 were to reign supreme again and all import car builders were suddenly gone from this landscape, what do you think the outcome would be? Really, you've just put hundreds of thousands of IMPORT manufacturing, sales and service people out on the street because "If it ain't big 3, it doesn't belong here!". What do you think the U.S. would be like THEN?

    A place of endless prosperity? No more hunger, no more homeless, everyone will be happy, healthy and rich because they have a Chevy in their driveway?
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    Still have an old American-made Zenith console that still delivers an excellent picture. The reason the works were in the drawer was probably because it was made when TVs still used vacuum tubes. Today, everything is solid state and unserviceable. Had nothing to do with the Japanese.

    As for vacuum tubes, most high-end stereo manufacturers still use them. They deliver a richer sound than the cheesy solid-state units sold at Circuit City or Best Buy. Trouble is, they are out of the reach of many as they are frightfully expensive.
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    imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,230
    In the GM discussions in the past someone had info that the foreign brands didn't use as many US suppliers as American brands. Also, the suppliers tend to be captive or related companies and the real ownership of the dollar transferred in purchasing parts goes offshore along with lots of other dollars. In the past Ohio had a report that was confidential on companies in Ohio who paid less than $50 in taxes; the implication was that they were able to manipulate the costs of their supplies and manipulate the ownerships to offshore locations to avoid taxes. I was unable to get more information when I contacted my representative.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

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    xrunner2xrunner2 Member Posts: 3,062
    As for vacuum tubes, most high-end stereo manufacturers still use them. They deliver a richer sound than the cheesy solid-state units sold at Circuit City or Best Buy.

    Actually, it was an American company named Harmon-Kardon who many years ago designed, engineered and sold the first leading-edge solid state pre-amp and amp that surpassed its "own" tube high-end amps in measured and subjective testing for sound fidelity.
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    lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    I don't understand how restricting productivity (by purchasing cars from less efficient companies) will stimulate the economy.

    If we pay higher than market value for goods, the whole nation suffers. If Joe Blow in Detroit loses his job, only he suffers, and it isn't my fault. Maybe it is his union's fault, maybe it is GM's fault, I don't really care either way.

    My wife drives a Honda that was built 40 miles from my house by my fellow church members, by parents and relatives of my child's friends, by the spouses of people with whom I work. And it is a much better vehicle than the domestic competition, so why should I buy American again?
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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    I don't know what it would be like, but it just seemed like things were a lot better back when the Big Three and other U.S. industries reigned supreme. The only guys I knew of that were homeless or impoverished were drunks and drug addicts - not guys who once had a great job in a manufacturing company who are now living in their cars despite the fact they work 40 hours or more a week. You would be surprised at the number of homeless or near- homeless people who work full-time. North Philadelphia was once a thriving community with all the industries located there. All the apparel manufacturers closed or moved overseas and the other factories followed. Now it's a drug-infested war zone. I don't see Toyota or Honda coming there to save the day.
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    lemmerlemmer Member Posts: 2,689
    Here in Alabama, I can tell you that local suppliers are regularly used - Mercedes, Hyundai and Honda have been a boon to our economy.

    Even Mercedes uses regular good old boys, including clients of mine.
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    2zmax2zmax Member Posts: 140
    Do you suggest that paying $40/ hour to uneducated, lazy wokers is better for economy than paying what the market can sustain?
    Geez, what are we talking about here?
    The reason that the industry is dying here is because no one wants to do any manual labor any more.
    People expect to get $25/hour for a job that ANYONE with an IQ of 80+ can do. We have a nation of overpaid Forrest Gumps running around demanding higher pay and more benefits. The reason why our industry is gone is not because we didn't buy "American". But because the robber barons executives have quadrupled in numbers and raised their salaries to unsustainable levels. They forced the companies to decrease operating costs by outsourcing – so that they can fuel their own greed.
    We have 10 VPs that make 500,000 / year for every engineer that makes 55K/ year – is that ok?
    We are sick as a nation, but it’s not our fault – it’s the few greedy ones that made our country what it is now – a shame.
    Let me ask you a question? Do you see a need in a mortgage brokers or a real estate agents? And don’t even get me started on the lawyers.
    I DO NOT. They are leaches and make lots of money of us.
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    andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,765
    you should buy American (well, "domestic" at least, as your wife's Honda is more "American" than many other cars) because I have stock in domestic car companies, and I need to make some money! :P I also have a bit of stock in Toyota though, so you should buy one of them, too!

    On the subject of stock, I don't know how telling a sign this is, but Toyota is starting to pay a bigger dividend. Traditionally, GM paid $2.00 per year, or 50 cents per quarter. And they're still doing it now, even in the shape they're in. Well, traditionally Toyota wouldn't pay jack in dividends. But over the summer they paid a 73 cent dividend, and just paid a 58 cent dividend.

    Now on the flip-side, a share of Toyota stock sells for greater than 4x what a share of GM goes for (something like $97 per share versus $22 last time I checked), so the dividend yield isn't as hot as GM's.

    I wish GM would take some of those dividends and put them into the cars. I'd be willing to forego my 50 cents per share per quarter, if I knew it would help rebuild GM so they would emerge a strong company with a bright future once again.
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    littlezlittlez Member Posts: 167
    Buying a domestic vehicle isn't paying higher than market value.

    Also, they just published a study of foreign manufacturers that assemble vehicles in the US. Their employment of auto workers is up over 75%, they have employed an additional 25,000 workers. That would be great, but the study also showed that over 100,000 American auto workers lost their jobs. So, good to see that your fellow church members, parents, relatives and spouses of the people you work with were some of the lucky ones who found a job with them. Many more didn't.
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    xrunner2xrunner2 Member Posts: 3,062
    North Philadelphia was once a thriving community with all the industries located there. All the apparel manufacturers closed or moved overseas and the other factories followed. Now it's a drug-infested war zone. I don't see Toyota or Honda coming there to save the day.

    How about the entrepreneurs, local leaders and politicians of that region save the day. Now is the time for the MBAs, lawyers, scientists and engineers to step forward. Where is the American spirit? Toyota and Honda have no obligations to go to any area of US to save it.
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    kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    In additon to being racist and xenophobic your post disparages our ability to adapt. If your idea of success is rewarding inefficiency in order to keep the status quo of your privileged existence. If yours is the prevailing sentiment in the struggles of the Big 3... then it deserves to dissappear.
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    nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    there's so much panic talk in here about auto manufacturing leaving the U.S.! If it does, it will be because Americans can't compete on a global scale in manufacturing any more. It will have nothing to do with whether or not the latest Malibu is STILL not up to the level of the competition.

    It will also be the inevitable conclusion of a trend that began decades ago. The U.S. has adjusted to the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, and will certainly survive the loss of GM plant jobs as well. It is just silly to predict that everyone will be working at Starbucks after that.

    I see GM and Ford very differently, even though they have been lumped together here. GM is a wreck, it would be cool to see it split back up into its component companies (of which a couple would be ripe for sale to other car companies). But everyone says that can't happen, they aren't really separate companies any more. OK then, so if that's not possible, bring on the bankruptcy. GM needed to downsize a decade ago, now it needs to be about 60% of the size it is, and this bureaucratic giant will never prosper in its current form.

    Ford, OTOH, isn't on a massive decade-over-decade decline. It is more inconsistent than anything. First it's up, then it's down, first it's revising its vehicle line and coming up with some humdingers like the ones mentioned above (new Mustang, F-150, Freestyle, Fusion hopefully), next it's totally neglecting its line and letting models that sell well and are popular sink into oblivion without another thought (Focus, Ranger, Taurus). While a couple never get off home plate (Windstar then Freestar comes to mind instantly).

    With a strong steady guiding hand (Bill JR could be this hand, but he's not the best pick for the job), Ford could come surging back and STAY back without a major reorganization, I think.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

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    lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    We had robber barons before that usurped our economy. It took decades of labor unrest, a Depression, and a World War to put them in their place. Trouble is, we took our eyes off them for a while to enjoy our newfound and richly deserved prosperity while they plotted and schemed to take it all away for their benefit. I'm afraid it'll take just as much effect to rid ourselves of them again and most of us probably won't live long enough to see them toppled.
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