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Author Topic: Do American cars all suck?  (Read 17155 times)

Harm

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2011, 07:58:07 PM »
Well I haven't been buying cars a long as most but I have had much greater success with domestics than imports. 

1980 Chevy 1/2 Ton Pickup - inherited from my dad in 1997.  I put 30,000 miles on it in HS and rolled it over the 350k miles (original miles) and I cracked the engine block.  Replaced for 900 and drove it past graduation and then gave it to my younger brother. 

2000 Nissan Frontier - shared this with my Brothers.  In a 6 year period we replaced the transmission/clutch three times and finally the engine.  At that point with 150k miles and thousands in bills my brother sold it to a junk yard. 

1988 Lincoln Town Car - my college car - shagging wagon - all around beast.  It was a huge IIRC 404 Engine in it and that thing was so much fun to drive.  It already had 220k miles when I bought it.  Big.  Boat like.  Yes.  Powerful.  In 3 years I put about 100k miles on it of my own - including a trip to Idaho - California and back to Az.  The only work I ever had to do besides changing my oil was a new exhaust after I took it down the wrong dirt road.  heh heh.   >:D  good times.

1994 - Jeep Grand Cherokee - My wife and I's first car together.  We drove it for 2 years and put about 50k miles on it before she got a wild hair to replace it.  I loved that Jeep.  Powerful V8 - plenty of clearance and a badass 4x4 rig.  I miss it so much.

2000 Olds Alero - this car had dozens of minor issues - the biggest one being the stupid automatic windows that cost $400 when the motors and spindles broke.   :doh   but you know what - I never worried that it would drive.  It was fun to drive.  Had pickup and control and had a lot of room.  it was comfortable.  In 5 years we put 200k miles on it.  Original Engine, Original Tranny.

2007 Nissan Quest - We've had it 4 years and put 110k miles on top of the 30 it had at purchase.  This van annoys the s___ out of me!  Things are constantly breaking.  We've had to pour at least a few grand PER YEAR of ownership for repairs - not maintenance - REPAIRS.  fluff!  Stupid machine.  Its fun to drive - not even for a mini-van - just fun.  Its roomy and comfortable and its gotten us from point a to point b.  But part of the problem (or so I've been told) is the quantity of miles so fast.  IDK about that.  But I've got a dozen friends (yeah apparently its a Mormon wife thing) that have them and have not had the problems we have - and they've not put near the miles we have.   :shrug 

1996 Jeep Cherokee - I bought it with a little over 200k miles this last May and this morning it rolled over past 217k.  Its a fun Jeep to drive and I've had to make a few minor repairs, radiator, thermostate, water pump (in southern Arizona our heat kills radiators and batteries and the water is gnarly) - all told a few hundred bucks.  It runs like a champ and is torquy and fun.  Its got a great on road stance with loads of room - even packed up the whole family in it and went camping.  It was even more fun sliding with it in the mud.  Seriously I love this Jeep.  In fact I'm thinking about buying another one in the next year or so.  We'll see. 

Obviously my stuff all seems to rack up high miles which may have an impact on its wear/tear and so its anecdotal evidence at best.  But I'm a big fan of the Jeep family.  FWIW. 

I think its dependent upon the classifications.  For instance every brand has their suckage lower tier models.  And even higher tier cars have their suck - look at the NEW Land Rover Defender.  SUCK.  ;)  (I was just trying to find a way to call the new Land Rover Defender a sucking POS departure from the heritage of the platform...  so I said it.  Its s___)
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FMJ

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2011, 08:31:15 PM »
Quote from: Outbreak
The biggest thing they point out about American cars on Top Gear is how cheap the interiors are, and they're right. We don't do the luxury thing real well.


Wholeheartedly agree!
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2011, 08:37:36 PM »
That's interesting Harm, we have an 06 Quest and have put about 100k on it and have had ZERO mechanical problems (small electrical issue i fixed for $5) Maybe it's climate? I know that a lot of cars arent built or tested to stand up to 120 degree ambient temperatures.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2011, 12:13:35 AM »
I have owned mostly imports, and I have to say that I have had stellar luck with them. I'll give and abridged list.

1982 Lincoln town car - powered by what felt like a 12hp 302 V8, it got lousy gas mileage and no get up and go (TBI had some to do with that) Electrical issues too.
1992 Nissan Maxima - drove it over 140K miles, sold it and it's still going at over 280K, 27hwy/20 in town and it cost me all of $400 over 4 years
1989 Acura integra - paid $350 for it, put in clutch and junkyard engine, drove for 2 years, sold it for more than I had in it.
1989 Toyota Supra - 17mpg no matter what at 230 and 530hp, spent a fortune making it go fast, even more fixing small stuff as it wore out, car never rattled or squeaked and rode/handled superbly
2003 350Z -Handled better than many cars I've driven that were 2x as much new. Excellent build and MPG (27/23) even after I dropped from 3.54 to 4.08 rear gears
2005 Silverado HO- 18 hwy/14 city, 380ft-lbs of torque and 345 hp, no rattles or squeaks, serpentine belt is all but I have only put 25K on it last year so we will see
1999 Camaro Z28- 27hwy/18 city, tons of torque and the cheapest interior this side of a neon or a mustang, rattles some, plastic doors, and an exhaust that seems like it was added after the car arrived at the dealer because the engineers forgot to include it. Handles pretty well, but more like a switchblade to the 350Z's scalpel. Got it for 1/3 what I paid for the Z so I think I got what I paid for (way more than 1/3 the car)

I have mixed feelings about American cars. My Camaro is a time bomb. The stock 10 bolt axle can't hold the factory power under any racing conditions and the exhaust is retarded for a 5.7. Skip shift and the anti-theft are annoying and useless. But the LS1 is a powerhouse of tire frying efficiency and the T56 is a beast of a transmission.

The 350Zs have proven the axle and transmission into the 10s and I personally was running 12.8s with my car. Of course my boss' son bought one after I was selling mine and he killed the shift linkage on the car at under 40K miles. The whole tranny is dead (shifter in neutral while car is frozen in 5th gear).

Overall, I have rarely been impressed by American cars, but everyone's experience is different. I wouldn't trade my Silverado for a Titan or Tundra, that's for sure.

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2011, 02:56:53 AM »
That being said the best car I have driven in the last 3 years, American that is, is the Pontiac G8.

The Pontiac G8 is a re-badged Holden Commodore, so it's Aussie  ;) but... I am in love with my GXP badged one.
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Harm

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2011, 02:16:14 PM »
The Pontiac G8 is a re-badged Holden Commodore, so it's Aussie  ;) but... I am in love with my GXP badged one.

Buddy of mine has the G8 and its indeed an awesome car.  But as Dasol says - its an Aussie ride.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2011, 08:51:25 PM »
Its a GM subsidiary so I will still put it under American. 
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2011, 09:54:21 PM »
What I love about the G8 is that it is a Q-Ship. Sure, performance geeks will know it on sight, but nothing about it screams "ZOMG! IZ MUSKEL CAR!" To the unaware, it looks like a Pontiac Sunfire.

One of my coworkers has one, forget which option package, but I'm pretty sure it is the sickest, and he has further modified it upwards from there. He has also debadged it and assiduously avoided any hint of bling or custom look. It is a sleeper in the laziest sense of the word. It looks like a family sedan, and he even keeps his child's The First Years window shade in the rear window, just to complete the image. He has routinely had someone acting a fool next to him, proceeded to smoke said fool with ease, and had the guy come up at the next light, leaning out the window and yelling "WHAT THE  :cuss IS THAT THING?!?!" :D

Fun times. If i didn't already have my fast car (sluggish compared to his), I would own one.

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dasol

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2011, 12:50:34 AM »
Its a GM subsidiary so I will still put it under American. 

Ok, though it is built in Australia.

What I love about the G8 is that it is a Q-Ship. Sure, performance geeks will know it on sight, but nothing about it screams "ZOMG! IZ MUSKEL CAR!" To the unaware, it looks like a Pontiac Sunfire.

One of my coworkers has one, forget which option package, but I'm pretty sure it is the sickest, and he has further modified it upwards from there. He has also debadged it and assiduously avoided any hint of bling or custom look. It is a sleeper in the laziest sense of the word. It looks like a family sedan, and he even keeps his child's The First Years window shade in the rear window, just to complete the image. He has routinely had someone acting a fool next to him, proceeded to smoke said fool with ease, and had the guy come up at the next light, leaning out the window and yelling "WHAT THE  :cuss IS THAT THING?!?!" :D

Fun times. If i didn't already have my fast car (sluggish compared to his), I would own one.

Mike

Ha ha yeah it certainly is a Q-ship. Unfortunately for me being in the Dayton area nobody even tries to race me. I just get "WTH is that" stares, which makes it look like everyone gets hit by a case of frown face at every light I stop at. 
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2011, 01:06:53 AM »
That G-8 isn't any E46 (lol), but it also does not look half bad.  Gotta give it some credit.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2011, 01:15:05 AM »
That G-8 isn't any E46 (lol), but it also does not look half bad.  Gotta give it some credit.

I saw a clean '06 M3 SMG coupe with 36k miles on autotrader not far from my place. I could pick it up for you and deliver it :D
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2011, 01:22:31 AM »
I saw a clean '06 M3 SMG coupe with 36k miles on autotrader not far from my place. I could pick it up for you and deliver it :D


If only I could afford that.  :drool  :wub 

And I would let you drive it down to deliever, lol.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2011, 12:20:44 AM »
Pick a video, any video:  http://www.thinkfordnow.com/2011F150BestInClass/?intcmp= 

Yeah, fords suck. :facepalm  The GT-40,  Shelby Cobra, Mustangs in general, the f150 lightning.  They all suck.  :bash

They're just pissed 'cause we do it all better. >:D

I've owned Fords since before I was legal to drive.  I have NEVER had one leave me on the side of the road, nor lay down done before 250,000 miles.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2011, 12:27:50 AM »
That's the thing about Top Gear.  Brits and Europeans shouldn't be allowed to review pickup trucks.  They don't drive pickup trucks over there, for the most part, and don't have any idea what a good truck should be.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2011, 01:01:45 AM »
Right.  If it doesn't have a boot and a bonnet, hands off!!!  You know not of what you speak.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2011, 03:55:42 AM »
I've mostly been loyal to American vehicles but over the past decade or so I've had the opportunity to drive quite a few Mercedes and BMWs while doing some work for a car dealer friend.  I have to say the quality and handling are at an entirely different level than any American cars I've ever driven.  I find myself saying "why can't ford, gm and dodge build cars like this?" 

If I had the money to go out and buy a brand new car it'd be a Mercedes or a BMW. 



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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2011, 05:07:19 AM »
I guess it depends on what you are comparing them too.  My buddy was shopping for a new car around '08 and we popped into the local BMW dealer to look around.  We over heard another customer badmouthing a Chevy he once owned and  I recall thinking "$20k Chevy:$40k+ BMW::apple:orange".  It is also bit disingenuous to compare a car that is produced in the hundreds of thousands to one produced in the tens of thousands. I wouldn't compare a Camry to a 530i or a Cadillac either.

The biggest issue that the domestic brands have had to contend with is what people see and have seen.  Fit, finish and the (apparent) lack of quality materials, and lowest bidder parts really hurt them from the minute people first sit in in them.  The interiors are were they should have been ten years ago for them to be truly competitive.  For example:  I'll argue, from my experience, that GM has the best truck power-trains (engine, trans, t-case, axles).  You will be putting a cat in it at some point (an issue that isn't limited to GM), but they are otherwise solid.  The thing that turns people off is that the paint will rub off every radio button, the rear dust shields will rot out after 30k, the steering will clunk, etc.  It isn't the trans blowing up after 150,000 miles that makes people unhappy, it is all the piddly annoying stuff that drives people nuts and gives the impression that the manufacturer doesn't care.

To be 100% fair the big three have a stigma attached to their wares stemming from the crap they produces from the mid-70s through the mid-90s.  A lot of that was them resting on their laurels, a lot of it was a culture of "good enough", and a lot of it was union related.  (I could write a long essay on that, but it is 0400 and I'm at work.)  GM has long been a retirement management that built cars on the side and that in addition to other union obligations limits your ability to spend the money and make the other needed changes to correct those issues. These limitations are not a burden to European and Japanese makers.

I spent 9 years at a GM/Chrysler dealer (I work at a Ford/Toyota dealer now) and I have seen why they've lost market share.  GM was run by bean-counters and didn't start to turn things around until Lutz/Wagner took over. They squeezed suppliers and got mediocre parts - when they could get them at all.  They would re-engineer some parts for cost, but would fail to fix nagging quality issues (see the above steering clunk).  Ugly looking trim gaps and cheap looking plastics make older GMs appear inferior to the competition and they suffered for it.  All combined over the long term to tun people off.

I don't mean to be picking on GM (everyone has issues).  It is simply the manufacturer I have the most experience with.  I will say, that before things went sideways they really seemed to be on the right track.  The imported Holdens (GTO and G8) and old Saturn (Domesicly assembled Opels) showed what the company was capable of when they didn't have the baggage.  Holden is and Sauturn was a wholly owned subsidiary and not part of GM proper.  If every car they made was perfect it would still take a generation for the sins of the past to be forgiven.

Ford is an example how to turn things around.  They started a bit earlier than GM fixing the interior issues.  I'd say mostly from Volvo.  THey picked up a lot of technology and know-how from the acquisitions and partnerships they made during the Nasser era and were later guided by some guy who's last name happens to be Ford.  Having Ford at the head of Ford can't be stressed enough  He cares about product and understood that that is what was needed to turn things around - not incentives of the week and a gazillion fleet/rental sales.  Having distinctive, seemingly well assembled, good handling cars made people look at them again and has allowed them to grow sales and actualy turn a real profit.

Ford was the best thing that happened to Jag, Aston Martin, and Land Rover.  Driving any one of is nice until you had to fix them.  Repairs were an frequent and expensive proposition.  Lucas Electric: prince of darkness.  Comparing them to the big three is a distraction because all three of them operate in very different markets, at much higher price points, and wouldn't exist if Ford didn't invest billions in capitol to un-f**k them in the 90s and 2000s.

Just for the record:

I've spent the better part of 11 years in the auto business.  Seeing what used-cars need is very telling indeed.

MY first car was a '95 Monte Carlo Z34  I loved that car. A suburban blowing though an intersection did that one in.

I've had:

*An '85 Caprice POS (for $500 I got what I paid for)
*A '95 Civic with 250k.  I hated that car.  It was uncomfortable and under powered.
*A '95 Chevrolet Impala SS.  I loved that car.  It was fast, comfy, and handled far better than any car that size should.  Black ice killed her around 230,000 miles
*A '00 Neon that nickel and dimed me until I killed it just shy of 130k.

I now drive a 2009 Corolla.  I bought it because I have a long commute and I got the best financing though Toyota's certified pre-owned program.  I was a hairs breath from buying a '06 GTO ::)



Jeremy Clarkson reviewing trucks is like having Philly citiy councilmen review firearms- bit out of their depth.  The US version's comparison of the HD duellies was entertaining and informative. :clap  I'd like to see the UK review of the Raptor just to see how ignorant they can be.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2011, 10:38:12 AM »
Ford owns Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover?  That's hilarious.  In your FACE, Jeremy Clarkson.

As for the Big 3, they don't make anything that will compete with a high end BMW or Mercedes.  But really...you can get those cars here.  And not that many people are in the market for a $60,000 4-door luxury sports sedan.

Speaking of, of the Big 3, I'll only buy a Ford.  GM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Obama Administration.  I've no use for a car designed by a government committee.  You know, like the Chevy Volt. :barf:
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2011, 11:37:23 AM »
Ford owned them until recently.  IIRC, Landry Rover is owned by BMW and Tara of Infant bought Jag and AM.

Ford owned Volvo too.  The Fuzion is basicly a S40.

I'm with you on GM.  I am a Chevy Guy and pains me to see it turnd into a socialist experiment.
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2011, 11:55:36 AM »
Just making sure, but you guys do know that the Obama Administration wasn't the only one trying to keep Detroit afloat, right?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/20/business/20auto.html?pagewanted=all

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122969367595121563.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/breakingviewscom/3852742/Bushs-Detroit-bailout-looks-like-a-path-to-bankruptcy.html

And that the recession we're currently in would have been a lot worse if they'd failed, yeah?

Just making sure the blame is spread equally...

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2011, 02:27:54 PM »
GM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Obama Administration.  I've no use for a car designed by a government committee.


::)  That joke is getting really old.  GM isn't a wholly-owned subsidiary of anything, nor does the gov't control GM.

There are/were two GMs.  The Old GM, and the New GM. 

The Old GM got the bailouts and began to try to dig itself out of the hole.  When things started looking bad for the tax payer the U.S. Treasury converted a big chunk of the loans into stock ("more than 50%", per the agreement), thereby receiving a 60% stake in Old GM.  That didn't go well and Old GM ended up filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy anyway.  The New GM was formed by the U.S. Treasury in July '09 and acquired all of the assets of Old GM.  The New GM restructured everything, divested itself of several assets (Hummer, Saturn, etc.) and IPO'd in November 2010, offering 550 million shares to the tune of $20 billion (biggest IPO in history they say).

In December 2010, New GM purchased back ALL preferred stock (84 million shares) held by the U.S. Treasury (at 102% of its value), thereby preventing the Treasury from exerting any control of New GM.  The U.S. Treasury is still a stock holder, but only of common stock which cannot exert control over the company.



One of the assets that were divested, among the many, was GMAC, GM's financial arm (basically a bank).  It was then re-branded Ally Financial.  Ally is a company of which the New GM holds only a 9.9% stake, only 4% of which is held directly. The U.S. Treasury holds about a 75% stake in Ally.  Ally is not GM.  But the media happily ignores that fact and just says GM.  And besides, they'll IPO soon too, just as New GM did, thereby diluting the Treasury's stock.

GM's new financial arm is called GM Financial, which was created with the acquisition of AmeriCredit Corp. in October 2010.


I realize you were just joking, but man... that stuff going around is starting to grind on me.  There are no committees on on Capitol Hill designing cars.  There are no Congressmen or Senators voting on GM's business strategies.  There is no gov't car company.

The gov't is merely a stockholder, just like any schmuck who owns GM stock in his E-Trade account, as well as a creditor that GM continues to make loan payments to.

Let's give it a rest.


Note that I knew full well that I would be summarily kicked in the junk for visiting Wiki for any information regardless of whether it was right or wrong.  So instead I went right to the source and went through all 290 pages of GM's financial report (in which GM reported a profit for 2010).  You can get it along with GM's SEC filings at their website under the Investor section.


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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2011, 02:56:23 PM »
Just making sure, but you guys do know that the Obama Administration wasn't the only one trying to keep Detroit afloat, right?


I did not say any such thing, nor did anyone else. The bailouts were just as stupid when the Bush Administration started them as when the Obama Administration went full-retard with them.

However:

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/apr2009/db2009041_951044.htm

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20625.html

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/28/uaw-to-get-39-of-gm-obama-administration-50/

The Bush Administration (or the Bush Administration's Treasury Department, more specifically) didn't own 50% of GM.  I pay taxes; GM has already gotten more of my money than I care to give them.

Quote
And that the recession we're currently in would have been a lot worse if they'd failed, yeah?


For every massive government boondoggle, there is always some apologist ready to tell us how awful it would have been had said boondoggle not been effected.  So yes, the program in question may be a disaster, and cost inconceivable amounts of money the government has to borrow from the Chinese, and the recession hasn't gotten any better for any of their efforts, but trust us, they say, it would've been much, much worse had we not allowed the boondoggle to go forward.

Note that GM did, after all, go bankrupt.  It was reorganized, and is up and running again.  The same thing would've happened without massive infusions of taxpayer money.

To hell with GM, doubly so for the United Auto Workers, and screw Detroit.  They want to be paid fifty dollars an hour to build s___ty cars that can't compete on the world market? They deserve to go out of business.  Detroit keeps voting for the same left-wing crap that hasn't worked for the last forty years?  Detroit looks like a 3rd world city now.

Quote
Just making sure the blame is spread equally...


I find the inherent assumptions in this a little insulting, frankly.

Thernlund, I'm aware (though not in as much detail).  It doesn't matter to me.  Reshuffling some paperwork doesn't absolve GM of their bad decision making, or their being a political pawn of the DNC.  I guarantee you next time they screw the works up they'll return to their political friends in Washington, hat in hand, ready to be Government Motors all over again.  "New GM" is "Old GM" with a fresh coat of paint as poorly applied as that on my '88 Oldsmobile.  Note, for example, that the current CEO of GM, Dan Akerson, was originally appointed to GM's board of directors as a representative of the US Treasury.  I do not believe that the political connections have been severed.

That is, of course, my opinion, and my opinion only.  But a Japanese auto maker will get my money before GM will.

I did not intend such thread veer, apologize for it, and I will not continue it.  I've opined enough on this, and it's late here.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 03:07:42 PM by Nightcrawler »
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2011, 03:15:11 PM »
Agreed - the only beef that I've got is GM sunk Hummer right when they were getting interesting.   ::)  Besides the VOLT was being designed long before there were any Bailouts on the horizon - and I have it from several places that while the Volt is not SELLING - it is a GOOD car and plenty fun to drive.  

That said I DO have some problems with the way the WHITE HOUSE excercised influence with Chrysler.  There were many reports about when Chrysler closed some dealerships dealing specifically with the WH offering preferences to which were closed etc.  
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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2011, 03:18:45 PM »
NC - My apologies, no insult meant.  But I've run into people who - when informed of the previous administration's bailout - basically said "There's no way Bush did that!" and refused to believe me.  Like, close unto physical violence...

And I'm not coming at my assertion that the recession would be worse from any apologist viewpoint, but from simply thinking through what the economy would like if GM and Chrysler had gone out of business, and all of their employees - union, non-union, etc., all the way up the chain - were looking for jobs.  Gone out business. Failed. Not restructured.

Anyway... so... Jeep?  Jeep's not bad, though personally I'd go with the Toyota...

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Re: Do American cars all suck?
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2011, 03:23:18 PM »
Back to American cars....


Seems that every time I hear a car making funny noises, it is usually from an American manufacturer.  I know this is a rather unscientific way to draw conclusions, but it one of those things I've noticed.  And not just in Mexico.

In fact, guess what made me realize this thought in the morning and why I'm posting it right now?

Yup, heard a car make funny noises while walking from the parking lot to my MicroEcon class.  I look over and see a (GMC?) Envoy SUV.

MNW42 is so right about the interriors issues...

And it makes sense too.  If the small stuff looks s___ty/cheap/fragile/plasticky at face value--then I'd argue that most people would logically assume that the manufacturer must also skimp out in the bigger pieces.  At least I used to follow this train of thought in the past.  Ford interiors from about 10 years ago and beyond just make me depressed.

And not surprisingly, the thing I like least about  stepdad's Silverado 2500HD is the plasticky and clunky feeling interior.  I still enjoy driving it very much however.



In the end, I'm glad to see that American cars are turning around. 
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