Dear Mr. Ford (a modest proposal)

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Simply not true. The difference in interior material quality, design, and fit and finish between my '02 VW GTI and my '05 Impala is significant. The GTI had split folding rear seats. The Impala does not. (this is important to me, as the Impala is a company provided vehicle, and I might occasionally have a need to transport large pieces of equipment as part of my job...) The GTI had heated leather seats, heated mirrors, a rear wiper/washer, and a sunroof. The Impala does not. The GTI handled reasonably well and had awesome acceleration. The Impala does not. In fact, the only things the Impala has that the GTI did not are rear doors, a big trunk, and a (crappy) automatic transaxle.
Guess which car costs more...

This is very true, but the reputation of American (and to be fair, VW) dealerships is crappy service and a consumer-unfriendly attitude. Compare and contrast with the kissing your ass gets at an Infiniti or Lexus dealership, of course those cars have great reputations, people forget about the little problems they've had with them because the dealer gave them a loaner car and fixed the issue for free, with no hassles, and apologizing the whole time.

Sure. But if you were involved with fleet service, you probably only dealt with dealers for warranty work, and even the crappy ones didn't give you the fecal matter that they would give to Joe Average, because they wanted you to buy more cars from them. The average guy, they know he's not buying anything any time soon, he just bought a new car.

and reliability, performance, handling, and dealer service... especially dealer service...
nate
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Sorry... did you seriously lump all American dealerships, such as ford, pontiac, mercury, chevy, dodge, plymouth (defunct), chrysler, etc. and compare them straight faced to Lexus and Infiniti??
Just not a realistic comparison.
J
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Well, it isn't a realistic comparison but Ford, Pontiac, Mercury, etc, would LIKE you to believe their dealerships will treat you that special. Remember the much-ballyhooed Chrysler 5-Star dealership program? I don't know if that program's still going but the nearest Chrysler dealer was a 5-Star dealer and they were a bunch of morons who'd cut their own throats if it would help them screw the customer. I went in to look a used car and the salesman made me an offer that was frankly illegal.
Service at the Toyota dealer I use isn't exactly cheap but they do treat you like visiting royalty whenn you show up with your Toyota. And they offer good, solid low prices with no switcheroos, no add-ons and no shenanigans.

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Personal opinions aside, the number one rated dealerships for customer service, according to J D Powers, is Lincoln. Toyota dealerships are way down on their list. ;)
mike hunt

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I just researched that, and it was quite suprising. Lincoln, Caddy, Saturn and then Lexus. Toyota was WELL below average, while honda and chevy are in a basic tie. Ford was just slightly below the average ranking.
of course, to be fair, the issue we were discussing was to compare the chevy, fords, and dodges dealers of the world with the Lexus and infiniti dealers of the world. simply put, a well run luxury dealership should easily be able to provide better service to each customer.
Second, let's remember that the nationwide ranking of a brand of dealer has nothing to do with how good the dealership in your area is. Ford is listed slightly below average, but we have a ford dealership nearby which is simply the best dealer of any brand I've ever been to. Dale Jarrett Ford in indian trail... it's just that good.
There's a nearby chevy dealer that is probably the worst dealership i've ever tried to deal with. rude, with no training for their salespeople.
In short, don't go by the rankings by jd power or similar... visit your local dealer and make your own decision.
JP
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On Thu, 02 Feb 2006 02:28:52 GMT, Jon R Patrick

Exactly. I went to two different Nissan dealers, and they were polar opposites. One would have done almost anything to get me to buy a car, while the other insulted me because I wasn't interested in a Sentra.
Guess which I bought a car from?
Dave
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You are correct any 'list' by itself is subjective, it is the ONE that effects you that is important. The fact is everything on the 'list' could be bad, or good, the list would simply show which were worse, or better the case may be, hardly an indictor of what might effect you.
Many will point to a their brand of vehicle as a 'better' than another, when in fact ALL manufactures today are building vehicles that are of good quality and reliable, but one will be 'listed' on the top and another must be one the bottom. Whether the one you buy is one of the 2% that are bad, or one the 98% that are good, in the chance you take when you drive it home Why some are willing to pay a 20% to 30% premium to buy a particular brand when the odds are they will get one of any manufactures 98%, is silly. ;)
mike hunt

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You're absolutely correct on a good part of this. It's human nature, I believe based on our competitive drive, and that's based on our fight- or-flight response... but it' our nature to like lists to see and compare where our choices fall. In many ways choosing 1 brand over another for individual reasons, like reliability, may be statistically irrevelant, but JD Power is never going to come out and say that "Well, actually ALL cars are good now and you can pick what you want and feel confidient!"..No, they have to cut and parce and piece together to come up with a list.
Regardless, whether all manufacturers are building good quality and reliable products, it is still not just a 'toss up'. What I mean is that I think we will see much more where styling, interior design and the quality of the 'environment' of the car will become increasing important. Ford might make a great product, but if you hate the design or quality of materials they use in the dash, seats, etc.... you might be happier elsewhere.
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Jon R Patrick wrote:

That's the point, there is no comparison. People are willing to spend more money if they can realistically expect to be treated better.
nate
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Mike Hunter wrote:

It may be a fallacy in many cases, but the perception is that Jap cars are more reliable and of better quality. That helps a lot when you want to sell your used Honda or Acura or Toyota.
Besides, lots of GM and Ford cars are uninspired and boring. On the contrary, most European cars and some Japanese cars (Subarus, Infinitis, etc) are quite desirable.
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Oooh ooh! Don't forget that my Honda has devalued less in 3 years than my Fords did from driving off the lot.
Dave
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Bur alas in three years the domestics return a higher percentage of their drive home price than does you Honda. ;)
mile hunt
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Mike Hunter wrote:

That assumes you can sell your domestic car. Around here, it is almost impossible.
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The differences are far from miniscule. I have owned at one time or another: Beetle, VW Bus, Golf, Escort, Buick, Chrysler Town & Country Wagon, Geo Metro (3 cylinders & 1.0 liter-lots of fun around town), Chevy Prizm (Corolla). There really were significant differences in the fit and finish and in dealer treatment of the customer (me). The import dealer(s) was a *whole* lot better at taking care of the customer that Detroit's *and that is what is killing Detroit*! Granted that their quality has improved of late but it is too little, too late. There are an awful lot on mistreated and burned customers out there and they have very, very long memories. If domestic car companies cannot get those folks into the showrooms (maybe with 100K bumper to bumper warranties, and some priceless word of mouth advertising) they will be as dead as the dinosaurs that they, and they alone, have made themselves.
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If that is the case why does GM and Ford sell two and three times as many vehicles as any of the import brands? ;)
mike hunt

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Either you are not very old, or you have a very short memory. Having owned import cars or dealt with family members that owned them in the 70's, 80's and even 90's, I can promise you that there were (and still are), wretched import car dealers and crappy import cars. My list of problematic import cars include a 1975 Datsun 280Z (clutch, EFI), 1980 Honda Accord (rust), 1983 Toyota Cressida (a wretched piece of junk with so many problem I can't list them all), 1983 Mazda (AC, cooling system, trim), 1986 VW Jetta (fuel pumps, transmission, CV joint boots, electricals), 1990 VW Passat (motor mounts, interior and exterior trim, cam drive, electricals). When we owned the Cressida, the local Toyota dealer was run like an extortion racket. Over price the new cars, sell you unreliable crap, and then hold you hostage for parts that cost two and three time the US equivalents. Things are a little better in my area now, since there actually multiple Toyota and Honda dealers, but they still treat you like they are doing you a favor by agreeing to consider selling you one of their cars. And the service departments are still run by extortionist. Maybe things are better over at the Lexus and Acura dealerships, but how would I know? I don't trust the opinion of anybody dumb enough to pay 25% more for a Toyota or Honda because they have cool brand name. At least two people I know recently ditched their unreliable Japanese cars and bought American. I have seen it go from people not buying foreign cars because there Grandfather said they were crap, to people not buying American cars for the same reason. During my lifetime, my Father has only purchased one new car that was not a Ford. Of the 21 Fords he bought over 50 years, only one was problematic (1957 Station Wagon - blew the engine in 1964 at 85,000+ miles, he had the engine rebuilt and trade the car). One other one was irritating (1979 Station Wagon - exhaust leak the dealer couldn't fix, but there was no cost since car was totaled in an accident before it was fixed). Of the other 19, I doubt he ever spent more than $300 in repairs on any of them. I spent more on the Toyota every year I owned it. So when people tell me how great Toyotas are, I just have to wonder what they are comparing them to. Everything is much better now than in 1972. I might very well buy a Toyota in the next few year, but it will be because the particular product I buy offers the features I want at an acceptable price - not because some Usenet expert claims US cars are junk and Toyotas are great. I've been to the Toyota dealership and seen the service bays filled with broken cars. I've seen my neighbors Camry lay down a cloud of blue smoke every morning. I've seen a local farmer's broken and rusted out hulk of a Tundra.
Ed
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I was waiting for someone to bring up those dealers.... my parents had such an experience with a honda dealer back in '81 or so as I recall. They ended up leaving not buying anything at all. The Japanese import dealers took the demand for the cars as a chance to treat people poorly.
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On Thu, 02 Feb 2006 16:57:57 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brent P) wrote:

I've also seen a Ford dealer tell a woman to "be quiet and let the men talk." We walked out damn fast, since she was buying the car for herself. I was just the Go-With-Guy, and neither of us minded going to another Ford dealer with a better reputation.
Oh, and that happened in the 2000s, not the 1950s.
Dave
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In the 90's my (then) fiance and I had... 1. a ford dealer tell me that "I've decided on the car, and now she can decide the color". 2. a vw dealer show us the trunk mounted cd changer and point out that while I'm driving, she can fold down the rear seats and get into the trunk to change my cd's.
We've never been back to either. jp
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On Thu, 02 Feb 2006 16:57:57 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brent P) wrote:

And Ford and GM dealers just treat everyone like crap. So does Toyota. Honda dealers can be very crappy too, especially for service.
So what do you do?
You go to a few, get your best price, then go to the one you chose to buy from and tell him what you are willing to pay. Give him 5 minutes, then turn and walk out if he isn't in the mood to sell a car.
Everytime I buy a new car I do this, and the treatment I get is irrelevant because I know I won't buy from anyone until I am ready, and then I treat them just like they do everyone else. In the end, everyone is happy. I get the vehicle for what I WANT TO PAY, and they get to experience poor treatment. Oh wait, I forgot, they usually want to be the one treating the customer bad.
************************* Dave
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