Re: Hot Asian Cars, Designed In Detroit

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wrote:


Sounds like paid-for spin from Toyota Motor to me. The sales figures of the "old" Tundra are dismal, Nissan's Frontier even worse, and Honda's Ridgeline are non-existant. When Toyota started slapping "1 Ton" stickers on the back of their minitrucks in the '90s and the frames started breaking in half, they got a VERY bad reputation among big truck buyers, and that's likely to hang around for quite awhile, much like the Big 3 have been having big trouble trying to shake their reputation for crappy cars. Like the heavy equipment market that they tried to take over in the '90s, Japan Inc. will only get so much incursion into the Big 3's truck market, for a variety of reasons. Sloppy designs (a la Chevy) and bad reliability could change that over time, however.
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Alas, Toyota seems to be the teflonฎ auto company...any criticism just seems to slide right off. How many articles in the press do you see where they sound like they were written by Toyota's marketing dept? Agreed, their trucks are wimpy, but their cars are no great shakes either and look at the adulation they receive in the media.
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wrote:

Astute observation, and correct.

...and the "sheeple" fall for it every time. Although no one to my knowledge has compiled the total receipts paid by Toyota USA to ad agencies and the media, just a cursory glance at any TV outlet or newspaper for years tells me that they've been outspending Ford, GM and even DC probably by 3 to 1 or more, and have been giving lots of "under-the-table" graft to writers of such manufacturer's rags as "Motor Trend" and others.
The fact is Toyota's product a no better than the competition, but huge sums of money spent on "spin" and massive ad campaigns make for good sales. They're also quite adept at buying off pissed off buyers whose trucks break in half or engines blow up. I know a guy who had one of Toy's lousy "1 tons" do just that...break in half right behind the cab. He put the thing on a flatbed and paraded all around Los Angeles County, painted with "Toyota Quality...NOT!" and "Ohhh, what a FEELING!" after he got jacked around by Toyota after they skilfully outmaneuvered the state's "lemon law." After a week of that, Toyota USA offered him any new Toyota vehicle of his choice or $25K cash, if he'd just "go away." When's the last time you heard of any of the Big 3 doing that to buy off a wronged customer? Never.
Latest Toyota headache: exploding Lexus V8s in their "Tundra" trucks when towing loads. One up here scattered engine parts all over the road, similar to what Cadillac's first HT4100s did when new.
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DeserTBoB wrote:

In 2001, Jesse Jackson did his signature deep-pockets corporate "diversity and inclusion" blackmail routine to the tune of $7.8 billion on Toyota (http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res ๔0C10F93E5B0C738DDDA10894D9404482&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fJ%2fJackson%2c%20Jesse%20L%2e).
Perhaps that has had some "hidden hand" part in overly-favorable Toyota press?
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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Not such a bad thing. If GM would have fixed my heated seat, (2 years but over 36k miles) I'd be driving a Lucerne instead of a Sonata. That was the start of a downhill slide with things breaking so after at least 12 GM cars in a row, I went elsewhere.
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wrote:

I cannot speak to the Lucerne, but I got stuck with a '93 "Le Slobber," easily one of the worst built cars I've ever owned, and I dumped it post haste. Major gripes: crappy molded door panels whose cheap fasteners would break off in normal use, the usual self-destructing T60E transaxle, mediocre ride, handling, power and economy, general "cheesy" feel to the car. This sled, with a Buick 231 V6, got worse mileage than my old fave, the M-body with a 318, AND had about the same power...amazing, really, considering the Buick had a far superior ECM package, FWD and MPFI, while the dear old Chrysler 5th Avenue has RWD, the usual "computer in the air cleaner" and a Holley 2 bbl. carb.
I note Buick's really trying to "spin" the quality image with their Lucerne ad campaign, but I see precious few of them on the road, and the ones I do see are driven by oldsters who have probably been buying Buicks since their '56 Roadmaster.
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One reason Buick change the names of their cars was to attract new, younger buyers.
My first GM car was a '62 Corvair. I'd probably buy another if they still made them. It was a Monza with comfy bucket seats and was fun to drive with the larger sized tires I put on it. Got me home reliably, even in a blizzard. I later had two, yes, two, Pontiac Tempest with the half a V-8 and flex shaft transaxle.
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wrote:

Just don't spin any doughnuts with it.

Corvairs, like VWs in the same era, had it all over RWD/front engine cars for drive wheel traction.

The 2 speed auto? Those 194s were torque monsters for a 4 banger! Too bad half its output was wasted in that horrible transmission.
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So true. I had a VW that went anywhere with summer tires, but stopped solid when deep snow piled up under it. That was always in my driveway. The Corvair interested me, but early quality problems delayed me buying one, then Nader killed it. The Corvair was just another example of GM not fully developing a car before putting it on the market. Perhaps they did the best they could, but I'm not one to buy a car that is obviously under developed.
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I never found anything that as under developed about it. Nader can kiss my ass because it handled better than anything else I drove at that time.
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...as IF they didn't have enough time! Hell, the pancake 6 engine was first developed in 1936! The problem with GM (even to this day) is a very long, drawnout administrative process to get a new model to market, with too much time being spent on real engineering and testing. Yes, Nader killed the Corvair for its handling faults (which were truly dangerous to the unskilled driver,) but the Corvair also had other problems that GM simply refused to address once the line was on the market.
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You hit the nail on one of GM's big problems. They put out new models with problems, then are far to slow to correct those problems, if they ever do. Chrysler smokes GM in that regard.
GM is just a big slow moving company. It must be very frustrating to be a creative designer there.
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Back in their heyday, whizbang stylist Harley Earle and wizzard engineer "Boss" Kettering could crank out new designs and styles whenever they wished. The Corvair "pancake" 6 was a Kettering idea, but it only took GM 26 years to get it to market!! It took them from 1938 to 1949 to get their first OHV V8s, two separate, competing projects to market...one by Bennett at Olds, one by Barr and Cole at Cadillac...although WW II can be blamed for about four years of that time lag. However, when GM wanted to move fast, they could. "Boss" Kettering got his EMD 567-series 2 stroke diesels and his smaller GM Diesel Division (later "Detroit Diesel" after the consent decree in the '60s) engines to market within 18 months, again with a big push by Al Sloan at the corporate offices. Both came to market in 1939.
In their consumer car lines, GM only took two years for them to get the original HydraMatic to market in the '38 Olds. Reason: Sloan picked the HydraMatic as a pet project to get through the GM central committees for his then-favorite division, Oldsmobile. Originally, the HydraMatic was going to go to Buick (where Sloan "grew up" in GM after being a ball bearing salesman for New Departure), but they refused, preferring instead to try to downsize the Allison bus transmission into the Dynaflow...which again took 10 years to get to market, in 1948! Little did they know that a young John DeLorean was doing the same thing over at Packard in only 18 months, which resulted in the Ultramatic, which copied the GM bus transmission right down to the torque converter clutch (first application of this anywhere, NOT the Torqueflite of '78) and the four element converter. DeLorean rushed the Ultramatic into production with one fatal design flaw...using a bushing with no seal to seal up the torque converter output shaft, which made the Ultramatic one of the most unreliable automatic transmissions ever sold. While many blame the demise of Packard on their continued use of obsolete straight 8 engines while Olds, Buick and Cadillac had modern, efficient OHV V8s, the Ultramatic was the last nail in the coffin that sealed their fate. By the time Packard ponied up their big V8s, it was far too late for them, and they were gobbled up by the Studebaker family. Meanwhile, DeLorean had abandoned Packard, and became part of the problem at GM.
Chrysler trivia: The original 318 "A" engine uses the exact same lifters as the '55-'56 Packard V8s, along with several other piece parts. Why? Chrysler bought the brand new Packard engine plant from Studebaker in late '56, complete with tooling. Why reinvent the wheel? Packard V8 fans routinely rebuild their engines with Chrysler lifters, wrist pins, valve guides and several other indentical small parts. Had Packard survived '56 and fixed the Ultramatic disaster, the Packard V8 would've been a real contender for GM to deal with.
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DeserTBoB wrote:

troll ! pretty pathetic one too...
he drives a 1978 Honda- what would he know about an American car ??
he's a RICER
he recently disassembled an entire 318 engine, when all it needed was a thermostat !
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It suits them. Not me I'm only 72! Column shift and soft suspension I left back in the 50s, when I went European, but never would have bought one of those ugly dumb port hole monsters anyway.
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Don't forget the purposely ineffecient DynaFlush tranmission, engineered to yield miserable gas mileage "to keep the oil companies happy," as stated by Buick Division's then president. When you look at the entire GM line for '55, Buick surely had the stodgiest styling of them all, especially when compared to the edgier Pontiac and Olds offerings. They knew who they were targeting....richer, upscale conservative men like bankers who were too "humble" to go for a Cadillac, a far better car mechanically.
I think the "fat cat" styling of the Buick had a large part in the decision by the California Highway Patrol to go with their 'Century in a Special body' in '55 over the more efficient and more powerful Olds Super 88. That, and the CHP had experienced bad oil sludging and stuck lifters in '54 with their previous Olds fleet, a problem cured by switching to Texaco Havoline in mid-'54. But the cost to the taxpayers was considerable, when you figure the Olds 88 got 20 MPG average in road patrol service, while the Buick barely got 10! I'm sure Standard Oil of California, who had the CHP fuel contract for decades (and a named co-conspirator in several anti-trust actions with GM), was most grateful for the Buicks.
After the Buicks, the CHP went with Dodge Division, and never went back to GM again until 1967, when Ronnie RayGun's graft-filled administration forced the CHP to buy a fleet of short-lived Olds Delmonts and then some '69 Merc Marquis 428s. Both were disasters in regular beat service and were quickly retired, replaced by more Dodges in mid-year orders. Both GM and Ford, it should be noted, were also huge Republican Party donors, while Chrysler was not. After an expos้ in the Sacramento Bee about RayGun's handlers "guiding" CHP fleet purchasing to Ford and GM, the graft stopped, and there were no more non-Chrysler patrol cars until the end of the M-bodies. The City of Los Angeles wouldn't even invite bids from GM and Ford, and never bought anything but Chrysler products for many years. The only thing that upset that long-lived relationship was AMC, who had pleaded with the LAPD to try their Matadors in LAPD beat service, where they were quite successful. The city also went to AMC after the '74 oil embargo for economy cars, and the fleet of LA City Hornets proved AMC could build a relaible, economical car.
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The last GM product I had was a long '71 Van. Basically solid, but several components I won't go into detail on were what I'd call a "Micky Mouse" design. I left GM after that and oh my how long it took for GM to start it's downward spiral.
Previous to the Van I had a '63 6 cyl Chev II. It also was basically solid, but had some quality & design weaknesses. -Valve rocker bearings failed many times before a permanent fix. I felt like I was part of the GM test group. -Leak in the body into the trunk. -front brakes seriously affected by water, pulled car abruptly to either side; dangerous to drive in wet weather.
I also had a '70 Datsun 510. It was well designed, but suffered from a dealer who was just learning it and a body that rusted in rain faster than bare steel.
Then switched to Chrysler in '79, much better design and quality than GM. Improved significantly from '79 to '01- our new car yrs. Also very responsive to THEIR problems, until DC took over. Now Chrysler have become very evasive and expensive for service and have given up building efficient easy to repair vehicles. The Caliper may be a return to Chrysler's better past, but just a bit too small for me.
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Those side doors were legendary for failure, as were the window locks.

The '62 Chevy II wasn't a a very good car in comparison to the Falcon, even though the Chevy II had a much larger but obsolete engine, the 235 "Blue Flame," usually saddled with PowerSlide. The Ford was a weak performer, with the 170 being the largest available and the equally bad two speed "FoMo" trans. Chrysler had the BEST idea, with the A-cars, most of which would outlast any Falcon or Chevy II.

The "box," as we called the 510, was well loved by its owners, despite the usual Japanese bad paint, bad interior and lousy amenities. What turned people on to it was the Ajin Precision OHC 4, many of which would turn 300K miles before having to have the head pulled.

I don't think "Dr. Z" knows what he's doing in the US market. Germans are genetically programmed to overcomplicate and undersimplify anything they build, although their technological abilities can be astounding. German car owners are fastideous about maintenance, while Americans are idiots who think a car is a "turn key" item that never needs service, and get riled when someone suggests they need to change their oil more than once every five years. It's not a good fit at all.
Chrysler needs to get rid of Daimler and return to what caused their glory days of the '60s, when superior ruggedness, dependability and serviceability carried the day. From what I read in here, DC is using overly complicated and fragile digital control systems similar to the awful ones used by VW-Audi and BMW, which need frequent troubleshooting and repair/replacement. Ask any honest Mercedes owner...those cars are shop queens, and have been for many years, and it's always niggly LITTLE things going wrong. I'm seeing that a lot with DC cars now. The troubles with TCMs alone have given DC cars a black eye with buyers, while the transmissions themselves seem pretty hardy overall. The "oil sludging" scare now, from what I've seen lately, is simply a byproduct of the usual American car owners' negligence, something for which Chrysler designed the K car to withstand...somewhat. Despite being beat to death, they'd just keep running!
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I disagree with regard to the 6 cyl Chev II I had vs the Falcon. I had two friends with the Falcon, a much less solid car with a weak engine. IMO the Falcon was a typical tin can from Ford. The Chev II gave good fuel mileage, equal to the Falcon. I pulled a 1,500 lb camping trailer coast to coast and in the western mountains. About 15,000 miles of towing, in the 95,000 miles I had it. Standard shift of course, had to double clutch to shift down to the non syncro low gear on the very steep (logging road class) hills when towing.
I forgot one ugly design build problem I had. Rubber bushings in the front suspension which wanted to remember where I was. I replaced them with Teflon ones. Also had to add a front sway bar as GM didn't install it in my6 cyl model. What a huge difference these two simple changes made to steering. So after I modified GM's partly completed car, it proved a good solid performer.
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The 170 was as big as they offered in the "Falcoon" in '62. Still, it was better than the 144 of 1960, especially with the 2 speed FoMo. The spring tower front ends of Falcons were notoriously weak, a problem that carried through on the derivative Mustang and even the Maverick.

Standard transmission was the saving grace on your car. '62 Chevy IIs with Powerglide were notoriously slow and fuel hungry. I believe you could also order a Chevy II with overdrive, as you could the Falcon after '61.
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