"......Toyota buyers tend to me (sic) more highly educated, higher
income, and more likely to follow the maintenance schedule....."
personal observations of one who is old enough to have been around when
imports really took off:
Datsun, Toyota et al took off because they were CHEAP......an average
American car would set you back about $4500+, but you could pick-up a
new Japanese car for less than $2000.
yes, I had friends who bought 510s, Mark IIs etc: they were mostly
buying their first new car, i.e. a new import vs a used American
car....and....they were graduating from $400 beaters. In those days, at
least, they weren't better educated surely not more affluent. In most
cases, new import owners were greatly satisfied with their new
car....because.....it was better than the 10 year old, 200,000 mile
Valiant or Fairlane it had replaced - big surprise!
but I'll agree that they tended to take better care of them: people
expected their Chebbies and Fords to go 200,000 miles without any
maintenance other than adding an occasional quart to the never-changed
oil. But the new import owners treated them like gold......don't know
why: was it better dealer service or because other shops wouldn't
(couldn't) work on unfamiliar imports......but people tended to to take
their imports back to the dealer for frequent maintenance. Maybe fear
that a little 4 cyl engine demanded better care than a 400 ci V8.
From experience, some of the maintenance required back then:
had a friend with a 60s Mercedes.....the suggested maintenance
included items like having the main bearings measured for wear once a
year. I'm thinking that ANY car treated to service like that would tend
to last. An extreme example, but people took better care of imports.
we were all impressed with the precision assembly of early Civics and
Accords. We didn't know much about those suspension struts: but the
Honda owners manuals said that all 4 should be replaced every 20,000
miles. (can you imagine Ford telling you to replace the suspension on
your Torino every year or two....but import owners didn't object).
then there's rubber timing belts: American car owners (other than a
few Pontiac 6 drivers) had never heard of such a thing....we had timing
chains that normally lasted forever. But import owners dutifully went
back to the dealer to have their belts changed, along with a plethora of
maintenance American cars never got.
andsoforth. Yes, American cars had a stretch of poor assembly - crooked
chrome, poor panel fit, etc. - that peaked in the mid-70s as makers
rushed to adapt big, heavy cars to safety, emissions and fuel efficiency
standards that hadn't existed when the cars were tooled. But cars were
cheap and disposable back then (memory fails, but seems that McNamara
even stated publicly that the Falcon was designed as a "throw-away" car
to be driven into the ground in 4 years and junked). If American cars
were such crap, why are collectors paying a fortune for restored 60s/70s
era specimens.....haven't seen any Datsuns on RM lately.....maybe there
aren't any left to restore.
Toyota owners more intelligent? I'm sure Prius owners would all agree -
just ask them. They're the same ones who are buying those new,
"miracle" electric heaters to lower their home gas bills.....or can't
figure to turn off the ignition when the poorly designed gas pedal
sticks to the floor.
But, I've owned 5 imports over the years: the Volvo was a fine,
reliable car. The other 4 were cheap, tinnie scrap that dissolved after
a couple winters.