Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Would you buy an American car?

  1. Jul 16, 2006 #1
    Yes, I would buy an American car. What is wrong with american cars?

    Edit: This thread is strange, there is no initial post all of a sudden :S
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2006 #2
    If it satisfies my needs, then certainly. Chavs are good, and they're American. :-)

    By the way, how did you make a thread without initial post?
     
  4. Jul 16, 2006 #3

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Honestly, I wish I could say that I would buy another American car, but it won't happen.

    I've owned quite a few cars both American and foreign and the American cars were all cr@p, always breaking down, always in the dealership from day one. The only problem I've had with a foreign car was with a BMW that had an electrical problem, the engine fuse kept shorting out. I ended up keeping a box of fuses in the glove compartment.

    I have two cars right now, my American car is at the dealership right now, AGAIN, well it spends most of it's life being towed in with one problem after another. I'm thinking of sueing the dealership, long story. My foreign car has had zero problems. This is how it has Always been.
     
  5. Jul 16, 2006 #4
    Not unless it was made in Japan:biggrin:
     
  6. Jul 16, 2006 #5

    chroot

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My parents have always been loyalists, and have always had American cars. They have always sucked. Transmission rebuilds after 32k miles? Electrical problems that no one can solve?

    My girlfriend and I both have Hondas. I have an S2000, which is a little two-seat roadster. You'd think it would be likely to have a higher failure rate, seeing as it's designed for performance and speed and what not. However, 100k miles later, I've done nothing but change fluids and brakes (twice) and tires (four times!). The engine and drivetrain are top-notch. The body is getting slowly beaten up by rocks and road debris, but it feels like the mechanicals will outlast the body. My girlfriend's Civic has likewise been virtually maintenance-free.

    At this point in my life -- with the current trend of globalization meaning that "buying American" no longer means keeping the money in America -- I see absolutely no reason not to buy the best product on the market. The best cars on the market almost inarguably come from Japan.

    - Warren
     
  7. Jul 16, 2006 #6

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yep, Toyota and Honda. :approve: I've had SAABS & BMW's but they aren't as trouble free as Japanese cars.
     
  8. Jul 16, 2006 #7

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I own two American cars: a Ford Explorer and a '91 Jeep Cherokee. The only problem I've had on the Ford was an ABS sensor. The Jeep takes some maintenance, but it has at least 150,000 miles on it (the odometer doesn't work). At least the Jeep is easy to work on myself.

    In fact, I've only owned one foreign car: a Fiat 128 hatchback (the little rolling boxes). What a piece of junk. Of course, part of that is because I bought it used and the previous owner did his own electrical work. The radio didn't work. I installed my own 8-track, instead, so it was quite a while before I got around to looking at the wiring for the radio. The previous owner had wired the radio directly to the battery cable, which blew the 2.5 Amp fuse. Figuring maybe he misread it, he replaced the 2.5 Amp fuse with a 25 Amp fuse, which he blew. Wrapping the entire fuse in tin foil must have done the trick; but maybe not. The wire to the radio had eventually been disconnected and was sitting loose behind the dash. Hence dead batteries for no apparent reason and numerous other electrical failures whenever the wire wound up resting against something grounded.

    Actually it was fun little car to drive and probably would have wound up being a good car if I hadn't burnt up the clutch. With the battery constantly dead, I often had to pop the clutch to start it, plus the brakes didn't work very well, so I usually had to downshift to bring the car to a stop in time (there finally came a time where the combination of the brake pedal to the floor, downshifting, and the emergency brake just wasn't adequate anymore and I wound up coming to a stop with an outboard motor from the boat trailer in front of me about six inches from the front windshield - I figured that was time to finally replace the brake pads). And, of course, with new brakes and a new clutch, I finally blew the engine.
     
  9. Jul 16, 2006 #8
    My parents have had nothing but American cars and trucks and never had problems with them. They don't have anything against foreign vehicles we just don't have any dealers in the area that sell them. I know quite a few people who have American made trucks with over 500 000 km's on them and they are still going strong.....one guy's chevy silverado just turned one million klicks and somehow it's still going. There are lemons in every bunch american made or foreign made, doesnt mean they dont make good vehicles. Someone I know just traded his old ford truck in for a Toyota and the thing has been in and out of the shop since he bought it, Toyota makes good trucks but every manufacturer will kick out a lemon once in a while.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  10. Jul 16, 2006 #9
    Probably not.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2006 #10

    FredGarvin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I have had and do have both. I have a Chevy Blazer and a Honda Accord. We used to have a Honda Civic. I must say that I have not had that many issues with American cars that were serious show stoppers. The knocks I have had on them were very specific, such as interior components that did not fit right and squeek and rattle issues out the wazoo. My American cars required basic maintenance like fluids, rotations, brakes, etc...nothing major.

    That being said, the Civic and the Accord opened my eyes as to what I was missing. Even though they are hardly considered sporty or even noteworthy, I am very impressed by them. The Civic, at 150k miles drove as well as it did when it was new. It's interior had no squuks or problems even after many cold-hot yearly cycles. From an engineering standpoint, I am very very impressed.

    I will also say that a lot of people that I know that have had really serious problems with a vehicle, broke the cardinal rule...never buy a first or second production year vehicle. I have seen what happens in assembly plants and there are tons of things that get pushed through to get the car out in time. 'We'll fix it at the dealer' is a battle cry of new launch vehicles.

    Will I buy American again? Yes. However, you have to do your homework before you buy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  12. Jul 16, 2006 #11

    ShawnD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    PF crashed when I was making this thread so I'll need to repost the initial

    Ford, Dodge, and GM are offering 0% interest rates on 6 year lease plans. On the other side of things you have Honda and Toyota keeping their interest rates at 5.9% for Honda and 3.9% for Toyota. Ford, Dodge, and GM are giving all sorts of discounts such as family pricing and cash allowances. Honda and Toyota give absolutely no slack on price. Ford, Dodge, and GM have a low base cost for their cars, so you can get something like a Ford Focus for around $7,000 less than a Honda Civic with similar features (power locks, power windows, AC, cruise, etc), which means the Focus is around 30% cheaper to drive off the lot if you pay cash.

    Despite all of these things, Honda and Toyota absolutely dominate the market of new cars. I can't say the same for used cars because people simply do not sell Honda or Toyota vehicles; a Honda Civic with 90,000 km on the odometer is only worth about $2000 less than a brand new Civic. If you buy something like a Ford Focus, it is worth $2000 less the second you drive it off the lot, and you'll have a hard time selling it.

    Ford and GM have had their bond ratings cut to "junk status" meaning it's a high risk to invest in them. While companies like GM continually lose market share and layoff thousands of people, companies like Toyota are building new factories in Canada and the US.


    It really seems like people no longer want American cars. Where do you stand?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  13. Jul 16, 2006 #12

    FredGarvin

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I don't think that people don't necessarily think that they never want to buy American again. I think most will. However, the recent developments are exactly what the American companys need as a kick in the ass to get rid of the old mentality they have had for doing business. They are realizing (painfully slowly) that they don't have a captive audience any longer.
     
  14. Jul 16, 2006 #13

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If an American car company wants to give me a free new car to drive for a couple of years to convince me they no longer suck, I might buy another one.
     
  15. Jul 16, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    If an American, meaning GM, Chrysler, Ford were built like a Honda, I'd but it. For now, I buy Honda. Next car will be a Civic of some kind - maybe hybrid - but a Civic 4 dr sedan.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2006 #15

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm happy with my Ford Focus. If I didn't live around mountains, I'd keep it until it died, and then get another of the same thing. Very dent resistant, runs well (I haven't had any problems at all with it), gets good gas mileage, and was the best price for that size and class of car when I bought it. I did a lot of comparison shopping at the time, and it came out the best for what I needed. However, I need to upgrade to something with all wheel drive or 4 WD (hopefully I'll have time to go car shopping before the bad weather hits again...I'm not in a hurry, just want to get it before winter hits hard), and there isn't anything the American manufacturers offer that suits what I'm looking for this time around. They also have a big gap in the mid-size car range...it seems you can get a decent compact car, or a decent monster SUV, but if you just want something in between, forget it.

    But, even though all my cars have been from the same manufacturer, most of that has been happenstance and that they just had what I wanted when I wanted it. I've comparison shopped with other manufacturers, and will continue to do so each time I'm looking for something different. If price wasn't a factor on my last purchase, I'd have chosen another manufacturer. And, by contrast, while I've had good experiences with Ford, I would never, ever, ever buy a Chevy. I just cannot stand the way they feel when I've driven any of them. They all feel so soft and squishy and unresponsive.
     
  17. Jul 17, 2006 #16

    NoTime

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I have a couple Dodge vans 300k and 150k.
    Err, its now a German Company.
    So far the 150k one has been brakes and an EGR valve, with a couple misc items while under warentee.

    I've had foreign cars.
    My big gripe with them is the cost of repair parts.
    For example, once I had to replace the exact same part for a foreign ($70.00) and american car($1.50). The parts were close enough in design that I tried to use the american part, but the screw holes didn't quite line up.
     
  18. Jul 17, 2006 #17

    Kurdt

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Being European perhaps my perspective is skewed slightly but I wouldn't buy american. In europe they do have quite the reputation for being expensive and prone to break downs.

    I did hear recently that GM and ford and other american car companies were really struggling to stay afloat so I presume all these deals they're offering are just a gimmick to try and get people to be loyal to them again in light of flagging sales.
     
  19. Jul 17, 2006 #18

    rcgldr

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    I have no brand or country of origin loyalty here. I've owned American and Japanese cars. I live in the USA, and don't like German cars because of the expensive parts and maintainance. Regarding motorcycles, I would never own a Harley. In the distance past, I owned a English made Norton 850 Commando, but now I ride a Japanese Suzuki Hayabusa.

    My wife drives an Infinity SUV, and I just got a 2006 Z06 Corvette, just because I've always wanted a 500+hp super car, and the Vette is the cheapest supercar around. I'm not too worried about maintainance, as I also got a 7 year, 0 deductibe warranty. In the past I've owned a Caterham SV, a Pontiac Trans-Am, a Ford Mustang, a Toyota Corolla, a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, ... (I'm 54 years old in case you're wondering). Typically I buy a new car once every 7 to 10 years (except the Caterham was only 3 years old when I sold it, since the only guy that could work on it's custom engine was now in San Francico, so I sold it to someone there).
     
  20. Jul 17, 2006 #19

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't know if that's the reason behind them. I think they messed up on their marketing strategies. Several years ago, when loan interest rates were up ridiculously high, people weren't buying ANY new cars...not just American, but were just plain avoiding car loans if they couldn't purchase outright. So, they started these promotions of 0% interest, or really low, like 0.2% interest to entice buyers back. It wasn't just the American manufacturers who did that. But, the American manufacturers kept it up a few more years as a promotion to get the leftover cars off the lot before the new model year came in (usually they arrive in August or September). They've now done it long enough that people won't buy a car any other time of year because they're waiting for the promotional deals with low or no interest loans. Even if you can afford to pay cash, why not sign up for a 0%, same as cash, loan and spread the payments out a bit while you earn interest on your money instead of paying interest on it?
     
  21. Jul 17, 2006 #20

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Holy crap, my Grand Prix (pontiac is american right? or am i not a guy) has like a ghost inside its electrical system. I think we've sent it into 3 people and the same problems keep coming up (and with the last "fix", i lost the ability to use cruise control :cry: ). What a bastard! But no 34k mile transmission problems at least...

    I gotta hand it to my dad though... i always made fun of his little Ford Ranger.... but I think that thing went like 120,000 miles without as much as a headlight going out.... or at least not requiring new transmissions or major things like that. Then it was smashed by a weed smoking kid. Bye bye truck.
     
  22. Jul 17, 2006 #21

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I have bought only Japanese vehicles for decades. I bought my Datsun 4x4 pickup the same year they were introduced. The same with my first Pathfinder, and my 240 SX. I would NEVER advise anyone to buy an American vehicle in the first model year, but I trust Nissan. My Pathfinder lasted 17 years with not a single mechanical problem, just routine maintenance. I finally sold it because the winter road-salt had eaten a good percentage of the frame and my mechanic told me that he felt that it might be unsafe to keep driving it. I went out and bought a 6-year old Nissan 4x4 (2400 cc 4-cylinder) with about 70,000 miles on it and hope to get at least a 200,000 to 250,000 out of it.

    My only American vehicle is a H-D Softail.

    My wife's car is a 2002 Subaru Legacy. It is remarkably stable in all situations - better than my 4x4 in snow or dicey ice/rain conditions. It's an AWD with traction control and anti-lock brakes. The power-to-weight ratio is very good, yet you cannot make it slip a tire under heavy acceleration. Not a squeak. It just throws you back in the seat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  23. Jul 17, 2006 #22

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I'm on my third Toyota:
    1978 Celica (bought used in 1984- ran till junked in 1989 at 120,000 miles; totally my fault, I never changed the oil)
    1993 Tercel (bought used in 1997, sold it Last March for $1000 with 160,000 miles, still running like new)
    2004 Sienna (bought used last January).
     
  24. Jul 17, 2006 #23

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't know about Nissan. My aunt and uncle had a Pathfinder, and it was nothing but trouble. I guess everyone has a chance of getting a vehicle with defective parts, and we tend to decide it's a problem endemic to the manufacturer of that vehicle than just that we got the one bad vehicle.

    LOL, Penguino, about the Ranger. My step-dad had gotten one of those flare-sides the year they came back out (nostalgia of what pick-ups used to look like) in hot pink ("Iris" he would correct me..."mid-life crisis" I would correct him). I never stopped making fun of that truck, even got him the Matchbox truck of the same style and color to remind him it was just a big toy. But, geez, that thing just ran and ran! He eventually had to sell it because they got a boat and needed a bigger truck to tow it, so he lost the battle of which vehicle to get rid of for the new truck.

    turbo, yep, Subaru's have a great reputation. That's what I'm looking into most seriously for my next car. I prefer the Impreza over the Legacy, but need to find more people who have owned one to find out if it handles the snowy roads as well as the Legacy. I know people are very happy with the Legacy, but that's so NOT my style...but, if that's the thing that'll safely get me back and forth to the farm on snowy nights, then I'll have to live with it, because function is more important than appearances when it comes to cars. My buying decisions are shaped quite differently when I have to think about snowy mountain roads than when it was mostly flat city streets (the Focus is an excellent commuter vehicle if you just need to get from suburbs to city, but it lacks the weight and power for mountains).
     
  25. Jul 17, 2006 #24

    ShawnD

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    GM vehicles are notorious for bad electrical systems. My friend's GM Safari (minivan) has one tiny wire connecting the battery to the power windows, so if you try to close 2 windows at once they both slow to a crawl and you can smell burning plastic inside the vehicle.
    My parents last cars were GM. Mechanically they were great reliable cars, but the electrical system would do things like mysteriously kill the battery, burn out the alternator, burn out the rear power windows, and burn out a few of the dash gauges.
     
  26. Jul 18, 2006 #25

    J77

    User Avatar

    Ford make good cars.

    The pick-up is the biggest selling motor vehicle in the world. However, I believe it's classified as a van (or something...). Therefore, it doen't have to comply to the car regulations regarding safety, ie. it's a bit rubbish. And, nearly all of them are sold in NA :biggrin: (ref: some old show on last season's Top Gear :smile: )

    The focus is nice - especially the RS version :cool:

    (Do they sell that in the states?)

    Check ths: http://[MEDIA=youtube [Broken]

    And the focus RS!!!: http://[MEDIA=youtube [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook