American Cars are not Worse (on average)!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by carbonmotion, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #1
    Just getting out of a corporate /research stratagem class last week, I was shown extensive research that the American family Chevy Impala from 2002 on average do not have significant worse gas mileage than the same model Toyota Camry. In fact, the ladder has more mechanical problems than the former. My dads a VP of r&d for a firm in the auto industry and he's been saying that for years, I guess i never believed him. but as it turns out, after seeing the statistical data, I guess its true.

    Where the American car companies fail at is that their SUVs are of poor quality and during the mid-late ninties their car qualities sucked, thus they have no credit in the minds of the American consumers. Also suprising is among entry level luxury cars; Mercedes, Audi/Volkswagen are among the poorest in quality and BMW, Lexus are among the best. Cadillac is somewhere right behind Lexus.

    Man, What a shock.
     
  2. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #2
    You have to keep in mind that Toyota and Lexus are also famed for their customer service, not just vehicle reliability.
     
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #3
    It goes in a cycle. Every 15 years or so, the top car brands switch from American to Japanese, and vice versa. American Cars in the 80's were pretty horrible, then the 90's came and they were back on top. now the time is rolling around again for the Japanesse to come on top.
     
  4. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #4
    Give me classic British sport cars please :) or German saloons.
     
  5. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #5
    Also, Japanese and European cars tend to "feel" better, there's less use of cheap, hard plastics in the interiors. Sure, Cadillac might have some really nice interiors, but that means nothing if I want a small car. I'd be buying a Yaris in that case.
     
  6. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Well, my aunt and uncles neighbors own our Suburban from 1996. We saw them at Christmas time and it has 216,000 miles on it and the only things that have ever gone wrong (in our ownership and theirs) was a $200 sensor, 4WD activator part ($300), fuel pump, Freon for A/C and an alternator. Maintaining an american car costs nothing. Not bad for an 11 year old car with a ton of miles on it.

    Reliability wise, I think american cars are pretty good, excluding some chrysler products (A/C systems and transmissions). Interior quality wise- they are pretty awful but they are improving. At least in american car you can change a headlight or change the key fob battery without having to take it to the dealer. And at least they're not like my mom's car, where unless you have a lift you cannot change the oil because some massive part has to be removed to get to the oil drain. Thus they force you to go to the dealer and pay $72 for an oil change.


    I've driven a toyota corolla- I absolutely hated it. It felt like I was driving a... toy. Then again I am used to driving SUVs and the only other sedans I have driven are a cadillac deville, mercedes E320 diesel, VW Passat 1.8t, BMW 530xi, and a Nissan Altima.

    My sister has an 01 Grand Cherokee Limited. The interior build quality is not that bad. The fake wood is a little tacky but if you got a model without it, its not worse than a toyota.

    I think the problem with many japanese cars that I have noticed is that the floor is not low enough. I guess they are made for shorter people (not to be stereotypical of asians). I am 5'11" and I just don't seem to feel right.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    A lot of these comments stem from the fact that you've driven big cars and SUVs most of your life.

    If I was used to driving those cars, I guess a Corolla would feel like a toy to me as well. :eek:


    If the interior of a Grand Cherokee isn't bad, then you have rather low standards. It looks bad. It feels bad. The only thing I don't mind is the placement of the controls and knobs on the central console.

    Again, you drive SUVs and larger cars. I don't think the car floors are lower on average (and if they are, they're not shorter by much). I'm your height, and we're not tall guys, even in Japan. ;)

    Oh, and most cars in Japan look like boxes.....small boxes, or sometimes BIG boxes. A lot of Japanese cars we see in Canada, America, Europe, Australia, etc, aren't seen as frequently in Japan. The cars they have their are different.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    I believe your father's stats, but I guess it depends on what stats you get. I've read that all German cars like Mercedes, Audi, VW, and BMW aren't reliable, while Lexus is the most reliable. Again, it depends on your sources, I think.

    It does say a lot that on every list, regardless of source, Lexus/Toyota tops the list. Which company does your father work for?
     
  9. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

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    #9
    I drive a Mercury Mountaineer SUV most of the time, but also regularly drive my fiancée's Corolla. I really like both cars...they're obviously very different vehicles, but they're both fun to drive and have both been extremely reliable. I find the build quality and interior finishes solid on both cars.

    The American car manufacturers have made great strides in recent years when it comes to quality, but it takes a long time for that to propagate through when it comes to consumer perception. I think perception is starting to come around, but in reality their quality has been pretty good for a number of years now. The '90s were really a low time as American quality failed to keep up as the Japanese manufacturers thoroughly nailed assembly line quality control.
     
  10. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Well I have driven a 2002 4Runner and a Murano and a 2001 Pathfinder and it just seems the floors are too low (they need to be deeper) and there isn't a ton of headroom.

    Jeep compared to most american cars (back then in 2002) I think is a lot better than any other SUVs. Up until 2005, the tahoe/yukon/esclade/etc interior was complete garbage. Jeep compared to European SUVs, it makes the jeep look like a power wheels. I think the Touareg (Cayenne is blah and Q7 is decent but I still think the touareg looks better) and Range Rover (non Sport) have the best interiors of all SUVs. Aside from the 7-Series, I am not impressed with BMW interiors at all- X5 is blah, X3 is even more blah.
     
  11. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

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    #11
    the one thing that turns me off on american cars is instrumentation. the colors and the layout just don't sit well with me. it isn't very pleasing to the eye, and american cars don't seem as ergonomic as their japanese counterparts. i'll take my honda any day.
     
  12. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #12
    He works for the largest non-American tier-one automotive supplier. they do alot of quality control testing for j.d. powers and asso. i can't say the company's name b/c i dunno if my dad would want me to.

    ... i'd love to own a '08 CTS and am thinking about aquiring one when they come out
     
  13. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #13
    i think you can change the color now on some of the cars
     
  14. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #14
    There are a lot of things about the U.S. carmakers that don't make sense to me but occasionally, they have decent vehicles.

    The Chevy Impala looked pretty nice before this latest revision cheapened the looks. GM always seems to have a way with cheap. Pontiac took the Toyota Matrix and cheapened it in ever aspect and charged more for it.

    It's only when the cars hit $30,000 that they actually seem to have quality. On the other hand, my 1999 VW Golf seems better in every way but the maintenance costs are nigh on horrific.
     
  15. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #15
    OP: Latter -- not ladder.

    Confusing that you say that US cars are not worse on average, then cite - not the average, but a model to model comparison of one particular year... and then say that on average, American Cars in the 90's sucked and the SUV's are bad.

    Other problem with the comparison is... the 2002 Camry is an American built car... made in Georgetown, Kentucky.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #16
    My 2000 "poor quality" American SUV has about 198,000 miles on it. I'll probably replace it when it gets to about 250,000.
     
  17. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #17
    I was trying to cite a example as well as list an entire general trend... American quality has generally improved. People's personal perception of quality (i.e. precieved reputation) does not necessarily indicate quality according to statistics.

    Where a car is built isn't as much of a inference on its quality as the technique of the actual process and the actual design. how many sigmas will you design your error checking to withstand, for example. so im not sure what point you're trying to make

    yeah personal testimonials without backup by hard data are not very useful in evaluating the quality of a car
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #18
    I will say American cars have improved. They are about par with everyone else. American cars before 1995 are pretty much crap. Used car guides I was reading a few years ago stated that if you are looking for a older car pre 1995 only look to at the foreign makes. Around 1995 is when American cars shape and and where about as good as there foreign counter parts.

    The American auto industry is still paying for the crap that they made before 1995 and still dealing with how much damage it dealt there rep and that damage is going to last for a while longer. They can hope for maybe 5 years of changing if they are lucky but they have a long hard road ahead of them. I thinking that it going to be oh another 10-20 years for them to get out of the hole they dug themselves into back in the 80's and 90's because lets fast it the people born in mid 80's still remember how crappy those cars where and it going to effect them for their life time.
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Improve? They had to. Another issue on the list of people's worries is reliability. This factor is why it takes years to change the public's opinion. You can't produce reliable cars for 2 years and then claim that your car will last people for 10 years, no problem. People need to see it, and if GM and Ford are starting to make reliable cars, people won't see that for 10 years, not until they see that their neighbour, brother, sister, co-worker, friend of a friend's car lasted for as long as Civics did in the 1990s, when US rep started going down.

    I expect the "Bad American car" rep to last until at least 2010-2012. Car magazine readers may know better before then, but these people don't make up a majority of the public.

    This is why I take the "American cars are built better now" comments with a grain of salt. I want to see these cars after the 7 year mark. My mum's Ford Taurus made it to 6 years before it was essentially unusable, and we didn't have a lot of money to buy another car, and yet we had to.
     
  20. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #20
    My poor quality 1996 Chevy Suburban had no major problems

    My poor quality 2002 Chevy Suburban has no major problems

    My poor quality 2006 Chevy Equinox has no major problems

    So far my poor quality 2007 Saturn Aura XR has no major problems.

    My dads BMW 330xi only had a blown waterpump at 45K. Then needed a new pulley at 72K.

    So far the GM vehicles have been the most reliable vehicles in our families garage. Chrysler has been the worst. My dad had a 80's Corolla. Turned out to be a lemon, but I don't label Toyota as crap because one bad car unlike many Americans do( they do it to all products, not just cars)
     
  21. fuzzwud macrumors regular

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    #21
    I think it's true that American cars have improved considerably since the 80s in order to compete with Japanese and European cars. Yet now, with the bar set pretty high, car companies are working on the soft things such as tactile feel of the A/C dial or the interior feel. That's harder to measure and probably goes into what materials were used and how it was used by the company's designers, engineers, and manufacturing. The other side of the issue is reputation. I think American cars stank in the 70s and 80s (ie, bad craftmanship, bad design, ugly cars). Bad reputation lingers for a long time like putting the tea back in the tea bag. As for European cars, I think they've outdone themselves with electronic features that have become so complicated. Mercedes had to offer versions of their cars without the gadgets/features. Something about it crashing, etc. Cars are basically computers nowadays.
     
  22. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #22
    my family never owned an american car, mostly due to the stigma of them being unreliable, etc.. but what i can say from experience, is that Japanese cars really are that much more reliable than any of the other cars we have owned. myself and my parents have owned, amongst others, 4 Jaguars, 3 Mercedes, 3 Volvo's, a Mitsubishi, a Honda, a Toyota, an Infiniti, an Audi, a Volkswagen, and as of last week my dad just bought his 4th Lexus - and his first hybrid (a brand new GS 450h.) (i am probably forgetting a few in there too.)

    by far, by very very very far, the Japanese cars just work more often with the fewest problems. The Jaqs were by far the worst. i have a 2003 Jetta 1.8t and i love it in every way except for the electrics; German cars just cannot seem to get the electrics quite right (same issues on the benz's as well, and i do not recall if the Audi had issues)

    i should also mention that having grown up with luxury cars in the family was certainly nice, but i really think that spending more than maybe $25K on a car tends to be excessive. i would rather spend my money elsewhere. my jetta was $18K at only 2% financing :)
     
  23. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

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    #23
    Speaking purely statistically, Ford trucks (2000 - 2004 data) tend to be alot more reliable than GM trucks. Both Navigators and Escalades (2002-2004 data) are one of the most poorly built SUVs around, while X5s are the best mechanically. Ford trucks (2000 - 2004 data). If you're in to automotive quality control beyond the realm of personal anecdotes, you can buy a few good texts with some pretty well backed stats. I owned a 1994 Honda Accord which I bought at 200k miles. All I did was change the oil and it died at 320k. I don't think that experience has made me want to buy another honda accord of the 07 flavor. in fact industry experts say that Honda's quality control has gone to crap since 02/03. Anyways, my two cents.
     
  24. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #24
    Note that Consumer Reports publishes information based on hard data every spring. U.S. carmakers are still behind the Japanese in reliability.
     
  25. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #25
    well the jag make sence why it is the worse. Ford I believe owns Jaguar.

    From my family we own some Chevy, Honda, a Dodge, Crystal and Nissan.

    Of that list the only one we have had any real issues with was the Dodge and the Crystal that have had any major issues at all. And Crystal we still think are pretty poorly made cars. The rest of them the only issues they had are all minor and very acceptable things. Any of the more major work and problem all related to the miles on the cars which where clutch replacements and the trannies have issues but that was all on the cars pushing or over 100k. So pretty understandable why they where having issues.
     

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