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Old 04-02-2009, 09:29 AM   #41
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Sam did I just read you say something positive about government regulation? It actually save consumers money and saved lives.

Must be some type of April fools joke
I knew I was taking a risk.

In a perfect world, the carmakers would make these changes (seat belts, third brake light, door beams, safety glass) and let consumers decide if it is worth paying for. I'd bet all these things might add $500-$1000 to the cost of a vehicle, and most folks would pay it (if marketed correctly--go heavy on the guilt/responsibilty angle). Other stuff, the safety features that only work if everyone does them (bumper heights/bumper under-ride protection, etc) are where the government might have a more proper role.

But, as we are now in the habit of paying for each other's medical bills and medical disabilty from work, etc, and the working power of each individual is increasingly recognized as the property of the community rather than that particualr indvidual, we have a right and a responsibility to assure others don't get hurt. Everyone be careful out there--you're working for the collective!
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:42 AM   #42
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GM and Chrysler lost a good share of the domestic market due to building crap. The japanese models spent much less time in the shop and required less maintanence.

This was due to the unwillingness of GM et al to re-tool and start machining the parts better, for better fit, and thus better wear and tear. Closer fit on engines equals better reliability. People did not want to constantly bring cars to rip off mechanics for repairs on systems that were not needed as much with Japanese makes.

Reliability and durability in the average auto is what failed GM and the others. It's that simple. Right now, they are a day late and a dollar short. This is due to incompetent management who thought they "knew" what the country wants.

Their best bet now is bankruptcy court, this way they have a chance of emerging as meaner and leaner companies, there is no other way out.
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:43 AM   #43
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I'd bet all these things might add $500-$1000 to the cost of a vehicle, and most folks would pay it (if marketed correctly--go heavy on the guilt/responsibilty angle).
And insurance discounts in some cases. For example, last year I took an online defensive driving course recognized by the state for $25, and when I completed it I get an auto insurance discount for three years that will save close to $150 over that period of time.

When the math works like that, it's easier for people to pay up.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:15 AM   #44
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GM and Chrysler lost a good share of the domestic market due to building crap. The japanese models spent much less time in the shop and required less maintanence.

This was due to the unwillingness of GM et al to re-tool and start machining the parts better, for better fit, and thus better wear and tear. Closer fit on engines equals better reliability. People did not want to constantly bring cars to rip off mechanics for repairs on systems that were not needed as much with Japanese makes.

Reliability and durability in the average auto is what failed GM and the others. It's that simple. Right now, they are a day late and a dollar short. This is due to incompetent management who thought they "knew" what the country wants.
Mr. Lister will be along shortly to show you how wrong he thinks you are..........

It's pretty easy to list my recent experience with domestic cars:

2004 Town and Country - bought new, needed 2 new rack and pinions in first 40,000 miles, along with tie rods, a new catalytic converter, etc.

1999 Dodge Grand Caravan - replaced rear wheel bearings, power steering pump, rear coolant tubes, etc.

1997 Eagle Vision - what a POS. I spent $3000 in 2 and a half years trying to keep it running........

1996 Grand Prix Se - bought new, tranny went at 27,000 miles, was 3 months out of warranty, and only by screaming at Pontiac did I get 2/3 of the repair covered. Power antenna went at 40,000 miles, and a bunch of little stuff

I guess its time to step off my soapbox for now........
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:53 AM   #45
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Mr Lister is correct in that personal experiences vary widely with both domestic and foreign brands.
Where he is incorrect is that subjective satisfaction numbers make no difference.
It is EXACTLY satisfaction that plays a large role in what car someone buys. Their own past experiences with both the car and the dealer, then those of family and then friends.

As for reliability, that is one of the reasons I can't wait for EVs to hit the market in numbers. Far fewer moving parts so far less maintainance required
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:59 AM   #46
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This may be the strangest argument I have seen on this august forum.

When you guys finish with this, I hope you will you turn your attention to whirled peas.

Ha
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:28 AM   #47
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Mr Lister is correct in that personal experiences vary widely with both domestic and foreign brands.
Agree.........

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Where he is incorrect is that subjective satisfaction numbers make no difference.
It is EXACTLY satisfaction that plays a large role in what car someone buys. Their own past experiences with both the car and the dealer, then those of family and then friends.
The point I was trying to make. Why do Toyota and Honda owners REPORT some of the highest satisfaction numbers? Well, because they ARE SATISFIED........
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:29 AM   #48
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This may be the strangest argument I have seen on this august forum.

When you guys finish with this, I hope you will you turn your attention to whirled peas.

Ha
I have NEVER whirled as I peed...........at least that I can remember......
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:33 AM   #49
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The point I was trying to make. Why do Toyota and Honda owners REPORT some of the highest satisfaction numbers? Well, because they ARE SATISFIED........
Well, as someone who is in the business of measuring customer satisfaction, it's certainly true that their perception is their reality. If they expect to be more satisfied with a product's quality, they probably will be.

Having said that, I think there *is* still a quality gap (in general) between U.S. and Japanese automakers, though Detroit has been closing the gap in the last few years and a few of the D3's models are right up there in the quality ratings. I almost keeled over when I saw some U.S. vehicles in CR's recommended list in the last couple of years. I thought their preconceived pro-Japanese bias based on past history was too much to overcome.

Still, it's going to be hard to convince people burned by Detroit in the '80s and '90s and who found Hondas and Toyotas to be more reliable to give U.S. autos another chance.
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:33 AM   #50
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I have NEVER whirled as I peed...........at least that I can remember......
Given how windy it is here today, I wouldn't even try, whirling or not.
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Old 04-02-2009, 11:58 AM   #51
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As for reliability, that is one of the reasons I can't wait for EVs to hit the market in numbers. Far fewer moving parts so far less maintainance required
I doubt the EVs will be much (any) more reliable. The automakers have pretty much mastered the internal combustion engine. Look at CR's reported problems tally: The engines are generally not a significant source of trouble, the major auto manufacturers have done a good job in reducing maintenance requirements and increasing longevity. Brakes, transmissions, electrical systems, air conditioning, and especially body integrity are some of the more persistent trouble spots for many manufacturers. With EVs, the new technology batteries are going to have teething pains. The electronics to control braking/power use will be new. Hauling around hundreds of pounds of batteries and electric motors (combined they weigh more than an IC engine and fuel) should not be expected to improve brake life or body integrity.

There may be some good reasons to look forward it plug-in EVs, but I don't think reliabilty is likely to be among them for awhile. This isn't like comparing a gasoline weedwhacker to an electric weedwhacker.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:20 PM   #52
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Well, as someone who is in the business of measuring customer satisfaction, it's certainly true that their perception is their reality. If they expect to be more satisfied with a product's quality, they probably will be.
In the case of Mercedes and Audi owners, that is DEFINTELY the case, even though they pay a ton in dealer service visits........
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:15 PM   #53
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And government mandates such as 5mph impact bumpers, air bags, bumper heights, emission standards, CAFE requirements, etc. One I was personally involved in was the CHIMSL (center high mounted stop lamp). Can't remember how this became a government mandate but all of a sudden we had to engineer this into every car. You can't believe how much time and effort this took and the dollars required to meet the goals and deadlines all set up by our government. I am not bitching about the requirements, but we had to jump through hoops to make this happen within the time limits allowed. It just makes me sick to think of how much stuff we had to work around that the foreign mfg got a free ride. Sorry, I'll stop!

Are you saying that Europe does not have similar requirements? I think they do...

Also, 5 mph bumpers are a joke... I don't think I have had a car that would not have damage with a 5 mph hit...

The car companies are not (or at least were not) interested in our safety... (including foreign makes) that is why there has to be some standards... If you want to slap together a car to get you from here to there... they have that new $2,000 job in China or India... but I would hate to be in any kind of major accident in that car...
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:30 PM   #54
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....
But perhaps I am straying from the real problem here. At the end of the day they are just not making any profit off the cars, which is a requirement to stay in business. Definitely some very bad decisions were made somewhere and some of those were definitely UAW based but likely many others were made as well. I do really believe that the best thing for a free marketplace is to let these car companies make it on their own with no federal assistance. If they can't restructure and solve the problem then it is time for them to go.

Cheers,
Mr Lister

There are two sides to the UAW contract... the UAW did not hold a gun to management's head to force them to sign... they did so with the knowledge of what might happen... but for sr. mgmt, it is EASIER to sign the contract, try and make profit and big bonuses before it costs the company... just kick it down the road to the next CEO...

So, IMO management was not looking long term... like a number of people have been saying...
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:30 PM   #55
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Are you saying that Europe does not have similar requirements? I think they do...
The emission standards in Europe are FAR lower than the USA........

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The car companies are not (or at least were not) interested in our safety... (including foreign makes) that is why there has to be some standards... If you want to slap together a car to get you from here to there... they have that new $2,000 job in China or India... but I would hate to be in any kind of major accident in that car...
GM engineers invented seatbelts and anti-lock brakes in the 40's,but did not use the technology until govt mandates and/or public demand made them.........
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:56 PM   #56
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Lot's of interesting aspects here, but not as many as I had hoped on the original question. Let me frame it differently. Whether you personally agree or not, there are people who think the D3 don't have the small, fuel efficient cars they need to be successful short term (cost effective EV, H2 are long term IMO). Ford is actively re-engineering their current Euro Ford Fiesta for sale in the US, but evidently it's going to take up to 2 years (emissions, safety, etc.). As far as I can tell, it is a far better car than a Ford Focus or anything Ford offers in the US today. If we want to help US automakers NOW, why not let them import these cars NOW for a limited period (2-3 years) for sale here to generate some revenue (and maybe help turn opinions of their quality) NOW and give them a little time to continue the re-engineering in parallel instead of forcing them to sit on the sidelines in this awful economy. I am somewhat of an environmentalist, but I'd support this for a few years to help get them on their feet. It seems GM has some better small cars abroad too, Opel, Holden maybe? Again, whether you personally want a Euro Ford Fiesta or not there is some demand here - what's the downside?

I haven't owned an American made car since 1978, but I have no interest in seeing the D3 and all those jobs disappear no matter whose fault it was. I would like nothing more than to see American build the best cars in the world again, why can't we?
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:03 PM   #57
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Lot's of interesting aspects here, but not as many as I had hoped on the original question. Let me frame it differently. Whether you personally agree or not, there are people who think the D3 don't have the small, fuel efficient cars they need to be successful short term (cost effective EV, H2 are long term IMO). Ford is actively re-engineering their current Euro Ford Fiesta for sale in the US, but evidently it's going to take up to 2 years (emissions, safety, etc.). As far as I can tell, it is a far better car than a Ford Focus or anything Ford offers in the US today. If we want to help US automakers NOW, why not let them import these cars NOW for a limited period (2-3 years) for sale here to generate some revenue (and maybe help turn opinions of their quality) NOW and give them a little time to continue the re-engineering in parallel instead of forcing them to sit on the sidelines in this awful economy. I am somewhat of an environmentalist, but I'd support this for a few years to help get them on their feet. It seems GM has some better small cars abroad too, Opel, Holden maybe? Again, whether you personally want a Euro Ford Fiesta or not there is some demand here - what's the downside?
Because the EPA WON'T let them import without meeting their standards. no matter what. That's what kept all those high mpg diesels from being sold here, we wanted "clean" diesels.......

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I haven't owned an American made car since 1978, but I have no interest in seeing the D3 and all those jobs disappear no matter whose fault it was. I would like nothing more than to see American build the best cars in the world again, why can't we?
We can, if the Big 3 decide to do so. The GM Cruz sounds like a winner. The Malibu is already a winner. Pretty much the Cadillac and Buick divisions are holding their own. Chevy and Pontiac are the big problems. I think Saturn's days are numbered........we can do it ONLY if the UAW legacy costs go away or are offloaded somehow........
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:36 PM   #58
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Because the EPA WON'T let them import without meeting their standards. no matter what. That's what kept all those high mpg diesels from being sold here, we wanted "clean" diesels...
Remains to be seen if our 535 wizards in Congress actually pull it off and I have my doubts, but if they can retroactively tax contractual bonuses at 90% I would think they could also waive ALL standards that prevent D3 automakers from importing their current small cars from Europe, Australia or any other developed country (with some standards) NOW. But I don't claim to know for sure.

I would buy a Euro Ford Fiesta today, and given that Ford is re-engineering to bring the car to the US within 2 years, it would appear Ford is convinced I would not be the only anxious buyer. I am confident they think they can offer it at a competitive price too or they wouldn't be working on it.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:50 AM   #59
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I haven't owned an American made car since 1978, but I have no interest in seeing the D3 and all those jobs disappear no matter whose fault it was. I would like nothing more than to see American build the best cars in the world again, why can't we?
You are part of the reason the D3 are losing money. Americans not buying cars from the D3 is why they are not making money, it doesn't matter your reasons as to why you aren't buying their cars, only that you aren't. You haven't purchased any of their products since 1978, but are now concerned with their survival? That makes no sense. That's like driving by the hopping nightclub every night, but never stopping to go in and have a drink. Then after two or three years, when it closes, you lament that it's closed. You didn't like the business (or their product) enough to stop and spend your money, so you really can't lament the company going out of business. You didn't support it to begin with.

Please don't take this as condemnation of buying from foreign companies, that is your right. You believed the foreign companies made a better product and you supported them, that's fine. It's called the free market, but don't sit there ans say you sorry for their sad state of affairs. If you were truly sorry you wouldn't have been buying foreign for so long.

Financedude bought from essentially the same manufacturer and seems to have condemned the whole US car market. That's fine also. I only wished I had spoken to him before I bought my Pontiac Grand Prix, mine was a piece of crap also. But the rest of the cars he listed were from Chrysler. I give the manufacturers several chances. GM had five and I did not see any improvement, so I don't and will not buy from GM. I've only purchased one Chrysler product and it has been trouble free since I bought it, but that does not mean I will automatically go out and replace the Dodge with another Dodge. My several Fords have all been trouble free, but again that does not give them a pass when it comes time for a replacement, but since I have not had any trouble out of any of those cars a few problems with a car or two will not chase me away. My next car will be from either Ford or Chrysler (if they are still around). The cars I purchased from them have been good and trouble free, so they get my money. I'm not taking anything away form the Japanese manufacturers, but call me old fashioned, I look at the domestically produced items first, then if there is nothing that fits my needs I go to the foreign companies.
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:18 AM   #60
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You didn't like the business (or their product) enough to stop and spend your money, so you really can't lament the company going out of business. You didn't support it to begin with.
I disagree. I am pulling for GM to do better and I would hate to see them go under due to the loss of jobs and damage to our economy in general.

I don't currently own any GM products, haven't for about a decade. But if they die, they can't learn from their mistakes.
And competition is good for the consumer. Without GM there is much less competition for the others that remain. I would lament that lesser amount of competition.
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