12th Jul 2016, 21:28

Too bad for you on those 80s GM models you mentioned. Those were the cars they knew how to build at that time. We had a few models built on those platforms, and none of them ever had problems, with a couple of them hitting 200,000 miles.

13th Jul 2016, 08:28

What is going to happen to these complex electric hybrid cars as they age? You could economically replace a Impala drivetrain. I would rather just pay 2.19 a gallon gas and buy a 89.00 12 volt single car battery in 48 months.

13th Jul 2016, 15:09

"You likely missed it and view things differently."

Actually I have the unique perspective of having seen things... "both ways", so to speak. I grew up in the rural South, my mom was a school teacher and dad was self-employed. We had a gravel driveway and a primer-gray Ford tractor. We were not at all rich or well-off. I worked my way up through retail jobs where I sold a lot of items that even in the 90s were still made in the US, which are now almost all entirely made in China.

I married, and me and my wife were still working in those kinds of jobs at first, but 14 years later we both work in fairly high paying jobs, bought a house in Coastal California and have no debt, have savings, and are comfortable. We're probably along the lines of being upper middle class. Had I not had the experiences of working for minimum wage and seen how difficult life could be to live off of that, maybe I wouldn't have striven to climb the ladder. I firmly and dearly believe that anyone in this country can still do well for themselves, but it won't come from merely accepting their current status-quo. You have to really work for it and it's not like it was different in the past either.

What happened with manufacturing here was that the American consumer decided that the single most important thing was all about price and how cheap they could have stuff. The results are drastic. A catalog I own from the 80s shows that a color TV was something like $600. That's 1980's dollars. Today? You can buy a 40" LED TV for $350.

Did it have to be that way? Not really. Take a look at Germany. They're a first world and rather expensive country to do business in. And yet they still are one of the leading manufacturers in the world. Why? Because there is a different attitude there. Many of their companies are required to have an equal number of rank and file factory floor workers on the board as their investors. And so unlike in the US where all decisions are made mainly by investors looking out strictly for financial gain, over there the decisions are split between profit and the best interests of the actual employee.

Trust me - I get it. As someone whom collects vintage electronics where my home sound system was built in the 50s, as is much of the other stuff in my house, ALL of it was made in the US by 1000s of different companies, all of whom were at one time giants of industry and as of now of which almost all of them are either gone or now simply a badge placed on yet another cheap Chinese TV.

The US auto industry is one of the last of the major industrial manufacturing bases for consumer products. It is the most visual expressions of what we once did. Ironically we actually manufacture MORE per capita than we did 30 years ago, but now it's almost entirely in the form of things like medical equipment, jet engines, communications equipment, and so on. But the car is what we all see on our daily commute.

But delving back to where we were before, if the car in question is actually made in the US by American workers in an American factory and thus provides an income to innumerable American families, then what is the problem? Everyone needs to have a job, and regardless of whether it's an American, German, Japanese, or Korean company, if at the end of the day the people whom benefit from that are people who you know, who might live next door, isn't that really what it's all about?

13th Jul 2016, 18:56

A TV and high quality stereo components were a significant form of entertainment. We bought televisions that were actually furniture. They were called consoles. They also incorporated a turntable underneath the lid. And yes they were expensive. We had stereo separates and even reel to reel. Speakers were expensive. We had a family member that sold records and TVs. They gave away 2 sets to local bars in the 50s. Then with exposure everyone wanted one. And then later color. People were willing to spend. I remember 2 vacuum cleaners were in stores. Hoover and Eureka. They had aluminum bases, not light plastic. And metal handles. Small appliances were repairable. Another big seller was sewing machines. Our first refrigerator lasted easily 30 years. It was built like a tank. With a heavy door and latch. Now it's planned obsolescence. You throw them away. It's not worth fixing most small appliances. So it isn't that the quality is the same. Overseas labor costs is why you can buy a real cheap TV.

My neighborhood has changed. We had a GM plant and a Chrysler plant go out of business. They were our neighbors. Now it's service trucks of all kinds in our neighborhood. From heating and air conditioning to termite control. Others have state jobs, banking etc. Many of us worked extremely hard, but were herded into downsizing and layoffs. Even pharmaceutical has had layoffs. Some work 2 or 3 jobs or have 2 earners in the household. We could be middle class on one income. Buy a home, have a new car and raise a family. You can go cheap and skimp and save. To me that is lowering your quality of life. My children have very high educational expenses. One is in the medical field and does well. You need it to have doors open for you. If you don't have kids yet, it may change what you perceive as well off. Day care to colleges. Then cars and seeing your car insurance rise significantly. I feel extremely fortunate bring born in the 50s. It was absolutely great. Most of the moms were there for us after school and we had less divorce and absentee parents. We rode Chicago built Schwinns that are still desired today. I even bought Fastbacks and Krates as a collector. As far as cars they were built of better steel and not full of plastics. If you had a garage, they simply lasted. You could buy cars with power options. There were also less cars on the road. I do see current day with some pretty impressive cars. But many have far too many recalls vs the slower production lines. My best imports were made in Japan. I don't know if it's the quality of materials or the workforce. But it seems the older the better. I have gone back and forth. At the moment I am not impressed.