I wouldn't say unqualified, instead I'd say his comments are very
qualified! They're qualified by the time period he keeps his cars, and
HIS expectations of what quality is, a very subjective issue at best.
For example, IF he EXPECTS trouble within the three years he's likely to
keep a vehicle (which, sadly, so many of my GM owner friends DO), and
NOTHING goes wrong, the vehicle is of high quality. To him. OTOH, unless
he drives these cars literally 24/7, I seriously doubt he can add any
worthwhile data points at 150k, 200k, 250k, even 300k miles and beyond.
Nor can many GM owners I know relative to the number of Toyota, Honda
and Subie owners who can. To those of us who have cars with that kind of
mileage, quality takes on a completely different face: what's the cost,
in money and down time, of keeping a car on the road that long? To me,
overall dollar cost/mile is a strong indicator of "quality." For others,
it's a moot point. The leather, the fantastic sound system, the
"prestige" (whatever that means to them) are, for their purposes,
definitive of "quality." What's the ol' saying, "One man's junk is
another man's treasure."
Don't get me wrong: my family was "all GM, all the time" for MANY years.
But when they were starting to have trouble at 50k and beyond, while
their neighbors with Toyotas, Hondas and such were going two and three
times that long without trouble, they started scratching their heads and
going, "Hmmm..." Today there's not a GM vehicle in the family. There
have been Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas and Subies. Nissan's the only "didn't
go back and probably won't" Japanese make so far. And I seriously doubt
any of the family would ever buy another GM product.
But competition's good for the species: without the Japanese influence,
we wouldn't have GM vehicles that can now at least make 100k miles with
relatively little drama. GM's quality HAS improved some over the last
decade or so. Still, as they say, it takes a lifetime to build a
reputation but only minutes to lose it, and GM's screwed the pooch with
too many former owners, so they won't come back. And IMHO they don't
quite build a car that appeals to the guy who's looking at a Honda or
Toyota, so there's another sale lost. Then we look in the paper to see
rebates of up to several thousand dollars. Constantly. What's that tell
us? I don't know about the rest of you, but to me a "rebate" is an out
and out admission the product was seriously overpriced to start with.
Doesn't matter what it is. With cars, it's even worse IMO, since car
dealers and manufacturers have been suspect for years as it is--how many
other products does one EXPECT to haggle over price on like we do cars?
So, while for MY purposes I think GM makes garbage, and perhaps many
here share my thoughts, people like Mike keep 'em in business cuz they
serve HIS needs and meet HIS expectations. Good for them! We just have
to realize Mike speaks for himself, not the vast owner base of GM
products, and remember NO car is perfect. So his comments ARE very
Yeah, you are right.
In addition to what you write below, there is also a group
of people who change cars every 3-4 years 36k-50k miles,
See, I have been living in the Western US., for so long, I
totally forgot that some well-to-do folks in the rust belt,
or pot-hole ridden places, like Chicago, change their cars
frequently because of generally quicker deterioration due to
bad roads and bad weather (bad roads are also weather
Many frequently park their cars in front of various
city dwellings (high-rises etc.) where they sit exposed to
the elements, get dented in crowded urban conditions, and
are constantly driven on terrible inner city roads, and therefore
deteriorate very fast no matter whether import or domestic.
Who wants to drive that 3year old dented Buick, or Lexus,
whose suspension is shot, exterior lost its shine, and the
body is beginning to show rust around the numerous
scratches etc. I suspect it makes more sense under these
conditions to buy a cheaper domestic car like for example
a Crown Victoria, than to pay for the Avalon; both will do
the job splendidly.
You hit the nail right on the head with that last line. In most cases, it's
not at all a matter of if the car is holding up, or fit and finish, or any
of the other attempts to justify preference for one brand over another, as
much as it is the very subjective perspective of what quality is defined as.
That subjective perspective distorts vision and it's what allows others to
see GM cars as rust buckets with weekly trips to the dealer for repairs
while seeing Toyota products as supreemly reliable, trouble free cars for
My perspective is that the GM line offers some extreemely high values for
the dollar. I keep my cars for an average of 200,000 - 250,000 miles.
That's typically 8-10 years. I live in the Northeast so rust is a concern
for all cars - no matter what the brand. Anyone who believes a Subaru or a
Toyota will not rust out as fast as a Buick in upstate NY is fooling
themselves. The cars are their own testimony to what salt does and it
affects them all. This is not to say they're rust buckets though. My cars
look as good as any typical 4 year old car when I get rid of them. I wax
them once or twice a year... or every two years - to say, I don't spend
inordinant amounts of time on this stuff. The paint looks as good as any
other car out there at the end of it's life. All of the manufacturers use
the same paints and techniques, so it is really silly when some suggest a
Subaru's paint looks better after 200,000 miles.
As for cost of ownership - I do all of my own repairs so I have an excellent
handle on what lasts and what does not. GM's will cost you a wheel bearing
every few years. They will cost you an alternator a couple of times over a
200,000 mile lifetime. They will cost you a fuel tank and a sender unit
(this one is a sore spot to me) once within their lifetime. My expectation
for a car is 250,000 miles. I expect the engine to hold up and perform in
such a way as to feel almost new at that point in its life. I expect the
interior trim to remain intact and only show some signs of use wear at that
point. I expect suspensions to only suffer an occasional ball joint
replacement, shock replacement or tie rod end at that point in it's life. I
expect the transmission to hold up without a flaw and still shift positively
at that point. Every Buick I've ever owned has met these expectations.
I do believe you are mistaken above though, with respect to GM owners and
high mileage. Agreed that many, if not most owners of new GM's may not keep
their cars to 100,000 miles, but those cars do recirculate in the economy.
Look around again and see all of the 100,000 - 250,000 mile GM's that are on
the road. I'm not saying there are more than other brands, I'm saying that
the cars do run that long and they are there on the road right next to you.
There was a time... but I contend that that time is long past.
Ahhh - we converge. Agreed.
Don't know about your area, but where I live the imports play the same
incentive games. It's a car dealer/manufacturer thing. 0% interest,
rebates, free cases of beer for life...
Or because GM really does make a better car now than what your experiences
in the past have caused you to believe they would make. Like you said -
ruin a name and it's very hard to re-establish it. Is it possible that once
you decided that GM had hit the bottom of the barrel in quality (and they
did), that you never really saw the quality that is there today? I've owned
Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and some others over the years. Most all were good
cars in their own way. Some had some real design issues - not unlike the
claims against GM products. The only point that tends to aggrivate me is
when GM takes a hit from folks who sing the praises of Toyota or Honda or
whatever, and they so conveniently overlook the cost of ownership in those
cars. Many of the repair items I spoke of above reoccur within these brands
just as frequently as they do within the GM family. Cost of repair is
certainly no less for these brands, often more due to rates at the
Well, I think Mike does probably speak for the vast majority of GM owners to
some degree. Most GM owners are not first time GM buyers. They must like
what they purchase or they would go somewhere else.
Today I own both import and GM. Unless they stop selling the style of car I
want, I will probably continue to own GM. There are a lot of voices out
there who decry GM and have never owned more than one car, yet they shout
from the rooftops as if they were expert. Well - such is life, but it
really pays to measure specifics when comparing vehicles and not rely
totally on the subjective.
I forget to point out I also own five cars that I have owned since new. A
41, 64, 71, 72, and an 83. All are in pristine condition, with anywhere
from 100K to 300K on the clock. Most of the cars I have owned over the
years were sold to relatives and friends who ran them for many years. As I
said before I haven't had any vehicle, foreign or domestic that proved to be
problematic, in many years. Every manufacture is building good dependable
vehicles today that are capable of being run to 200K or more if given the
proper preventive maintance. The only real difference among them is style
and price, period
I was born in 1926. The 41 Continental convertible is the only one of my
old cars that I did not buy new. In fact I did not buy it at all, it was
willed to me by a friend and fellow collector in the seventies who bough it
Of course the dealer experience is related to the dealerships sales
Here one BIG company owner owns several car dealerships. He started with
GM Chev and is now into "foreign" makes.
From my horrible experiences of a few visits to his Chev dealerships I
will not enter a dealership he owns. These dealerships won't even stock
the deal car packages GM occasionally advertises. The last time I went
there they immediately tried to push me into a more upscale and
expensive car than I wanted. I left and eventually bought Chrysler, then
reported my experience to GM. However I'm sure this very powerful dealer
chain is still practicing the same customer imitation practices.
I've dealt with a few of our Chrysler dealerships over the years, only
one which is now out of business has not been enjoyable.
That's kind of a silly statement, car dealerships are local operations.
I've been treated at both ends of the scale by Toyota dealerships,
crappy at a Subaru dealer, and both ends of the scale by Jeep
dealerships. In fact, the crappy Jeep dealer also sells Mazda, GMC,
Ford, Cadillac, Buick, Lincoln, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Pontiac and Nissan
at his other dealerships on the same street.
The evil Subaru dealer and the awesome Toyota dealer are both family
(different ones <G>) operations. I got completely taken advantage of at
18 years old, by yet another family-owned Toyota dealer.
The awesome Toyota operation is by far the best dealership I have ever
dealt with, from the sale, to parts & service, to a warranty issue. My
local Chevy dealer, a smaller operation, has a stellar reputation with
lots of folks who's opinions I trust.
Yes the equivalent foreign cars have been much higher priced, that is
why I have stuck to Chrysler's NA built cars since '79.
Now that price difference is disappearing. For example the Chrysler 300
is just as expensive as the equivalent from Toyota.
Just compare the Avalon to the 300.
On 24 Nov 2005 10:46:01 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Off hand I would think you would care. When I worked production in a
similar business I figured out there were 2 overhead folks for every
actual producing worker. Most of them were paid more as managers,
engineers and sales people. Then I learned about he outside the plant
peripheral effects. For instance I used to read Backpacker
religiously but I dropped it 10 years ago because I could not afford
it. Folks like you seem to forget that the high standard of living we
had was because of the low end workers getting it so everyone else
did. Now the mantra is that they don't deserve it. Soon no one will
deserve it as no one left working will be worthy of benefits.
Sure they'll be working, in Toyota, Honda, etc. plants; while GM is busy
making corporate profits importing Korean, Chinese, etc. cars.
Can't you see it? GM is the traitor to employment here by not upgrading
their vehicles. GM is selling on price, not function and quality.
While we speak Toyota is building a second large plant in Ontario and
will be shipping the vehicles built there around the world. The first
vehicle they plan to build in this new plant has previously only been
built in Japan. Of course Toyota will be sourcing parts in NAFTA where
AFAIK the foreign owned plants are non union and low benefit. A major
cost problem for the big 3 is pensions that the newer producers do not
have because they offer 401K's instead of defined benefit plans and
have not been around long enough to have a huge load of pensioners.
Add it the location factor in that the old plants are often in high
tax areas where they are beaten up with local taxes much higher than
the low tax states have. There are some real issues there to deal
with. In the US medical benefits alone are reputed to cost GM
$1500/vehicle. That is part of why they do most of their assembly in
Ford was the first company to show me about imported cars - they
imported Angila's int he 1960's then dropped service when they were 7
years old. Not pretty at the time. GM is no better. They were
another pioneer in moving out of the country. I now live around
Rochester NY. The old Delco (Delphi) is in trouble and the old
Rochester products is being phased out by the french company that
bought them. Major hits on the local workforce.
FWIW I make a point of not buying imported products that are sold by
US major manufacturers whenever possible. I would much rather have my
Hyundai with it's 100,000 mile warranty than any Korean import GM or
Ford try to foist off as theirs. Somehow I think the oney should go to
honest management. ;-) Chrysler is now an example of bad German
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