11th May 2011, 08:56
You strike a cord with me, but then I think what's a manufacturer going to do? If you read Eric Taub: "Taurus, the making of the car that saved Ford" and Mary Walton: "Car: a drama of the American Workplace" you get a better insight of the playing field.
How long do you suppose a car should last? If they last too long, then the nation's fleet cannot react to changes in economy and society. If they last too long, it leads to extreme over supply. In my opinion that was adding to the crash in '08. Even in the rust belt, many 10 -15 year old cars are still good and safe.
On the other hand, if Ford spends 6 to 7 billion to make a car like the Contour, then I think they should have put a few of those billions into ensuring the lasting quality of the final products.
I still like Ford. I also like the Chevy Cruze; GM had no choice but making a great car.
11th May 2011, 13:53
I've driven Ford, GM and Chrysler vehicles since I got my first Ford in 1964. I have never found any of them to be anything but well-built and reliable. At present we own 2 Fords and one GM, and all three at totally flawless. The GM is now 8 years old and has 100,000 miles on it. It has not had a single repair yet. Not even brake pads. This has been our experience with all our domestics for 45 years. During this time we have also had a few imports, none of which was even remotely reliable. I think the myth that domestics were unreliable was generated by millions of dollars in import advertising money.
12th May 2011, 12:16
"How long do you suppose a car should last? If they last too long, then the nation's fleet cannot react to changes in economy and society"
This is generally not a problem. PR people make it a point to shame people into buying the latest model of everything. Virtually no one (myself included) ever trades a car because it is worn out. With proper maintenance, the average domestic vehicle will last for half a million miles. Within a mile of my home, there are several people driving 30+ year old Ford and GM vehicles. My neighbor's '79 Oldsmobile is in great shape. Of course society tells us we are out of step with the neighbors if we don't trade cars every 3 years, regardless of how good our cars are.
Now that we are retirement age, we plan to keep our current vehicles the rest of our lives. We own an 8-year-old GM, a 5-year old Ford and a 4-year-old Ford. There is no reason that any of these cars won't be perfectly serviceable for another 20 years. Our only conceivable reason for trading would be boredom or a desire for a new design, which is the only reason we have ever traded cars. We have never "worn out" a car.
12th May 2011, 14:25
I remember a time when family cars doing 20 mpg were considered fuel efficient, then 30 mpg, and now 40 mpg. At the same time, pollution has dropped dramatically. Passive safety has improved as well. You can't do that by keeping the old cars on the road forever. With millions of cars on the road, that matters.
Don't get me wrong, I love old cars for their history and memories.