27th May 2009, 21:12


The claim was that this was "long ago" and that it was both Ford AND GM. I would have no problem with the claim that Ford has reached at least parity with Honda and Toyota recently. GM has some great cars, but taken as a total, their average is still sub-par. The change for Ford is also recent not "long ago". "Consumer Reports" documents some of these changes. JD Power does as well.

The Fusion is a VERY good car. It has proven to be at least equal or better in reliability than its Japanese rivals. But the statement can only be proven by a corporate average not by several good cars made by a certain manufacturer. I just think that a broad statement like "Not only that, but both GM and Ford long ago matched or surpassed the build quality of vehicles made by Japanese or German companies" deserves an accurate response. There is no one who rates these corporations' average reliability that agrees with it... at least none that has been quoted.

Do they build some superior vehicles? Absolutely. But the statement was general, inferring that American vehicles are better across the board and have been for a long time. This is simply insupportable hyperbole.

28th May 2009, 11:32

Personal experience trumps possibly biased general "surveys" (and definitely biased magazine writers) hands down. We are a multi-car family and generally own 3 to 5 cars at any given time. Over the past 37 years we have owned over 30 domestics from all three of the U.S. auto makers and 3 imports. Not a one of the domestics ever required a repair before 100,000 miles and a number of them were driven well beyond 200,000 miles. None, NOT ONE, ever had an engine or transmission replaced or had any major repairs.

On the flip side, our imports were poorly made, unreliable, much more expensive to repair and NOT ONE made it to 100,000 miles without major repairs (including the "god" of imports, Honda, which was scrapped at 99,000 miles). Sorry, but ad hype will never convince me that imports were EVER superior to domestics. 30+ good domestics and 3 totally unreliable imports is enough proof for me. Do the math. What are the odds of just randomly buying 30 domestic vehicles that ALL happened to be exemplary and above the norm, while all three imports just happened to be the "rare" unreliable ones?

31st May 2009, 12:00

I've done the math on all of your ownership and mileage claims here and elsewhere; they don't add up. However, if in fact you have had such good luck with your Domestics, that is the only compelling part of your commentary -- for those who know you. 30 good 0 bad is a good record. 3 bad imports? That isn't compelling. That COULD have been a fluke.

But lets say you are right for now; that 1 person's experience trumps that of the "biased" 1000 of a survey. That means that I should never buy another domestic because I've had more trouble with them than imports I've owned. I've maintained them well and exactly the same. Yet I think that my experience is too narrow and think that domestics can indeed be a good choice. Your approach is unreasonably myopic.

It's true; personal experience is the most compelling aspect of our own decision making. But you are trying to say that your experience is universal, more valuable than surveys, and convincing proof that even us strangers, who haven't likewise had such good luck as you, should heed. Why? We don't know you. So I'd much rather read a "possibly biased survey" than a definitely biased individual.

The truth is obvious. You are completely unable to support any of the claims you made in the first post I began responding to. For example:

"Not only that, but both GM and Ford long ago matched or surpassed the build quality of vehicles made by Japanese or German companies." Now we get to know that the authority behind this general statement is simply your experience. Why can't you confine your comments to your experiences with vehicles that you own or have owned? There's no need to tell everyone else what to buy. They can make up their own minds using theirs, yours, and others' experiences to help guide them.

Tell us about your Fusion. Tell us about your Mustang. Tell us about your Envoy. Etc. I don't, however, want to be told what to think about the info.

As for your claims about "subliminal messages"; No I don't remember those ads, nor for that matter, do I remember seeing any Tauruses on the side of the road (I'm sure I've seen a few considering how many were sold). But all the stuff purporting that "quality is job 1" didn't work? Ads are DESIGNED to be compelling, but YOUR claim is that the Japanese ads worked and the American ads didn't because the Japanese ones were were "subliminal". What about the seriously front-brained message shown when the Ford emblem is being polished? I liked it. I even thought it was compelling. But that MUST NOT have worked because the Japanese are selling so many cars. Hmmm. Backward logic.

Subliminal messages are of dubious value anyway according to everything I've heard or read of late. Relying on THAT for an explanation is much like explaining gold with alchemy.

1st Jun 2009, 12:55

NEGATIVE subliminal messages are VERY powerful. They play upon fear, which is one of the strongest emotions human beings have. The fact that you DON'T remember the Toyota ads using broken down Tauruses in the background further proves my point. The ADs are meant to be forgotten. The MESSAGE (a broken down Ford Taurus) IS meant to be remembered on a subconscious level. It worked all too well. These ads were run on TV and in still picture magazine ads. The car being towed showed no badging, but was clearly a Ford Taurus. Although not literally "subliminal" (which means not perceived at the conscious level) the ads instilled in viewers the idea that the Taurus was unreliable. Even people who didn't know what a Taurus looked like would later make the association when they saw one. "Job 1" and the polishing of the blue oval were fluff. They carried no message anyone would really associate with any other car, and certainly nothing negative about another brand of car.

As for surveys being accurate, NO WAY. People who are loath to admit they got taken will always report favorably on an expensive purchase to save face, and will even convince THEMSELVES the product is better in spite of direct evidence to the contrary. One of our friends paid a ludicrous price for an Italian sports car some years ago. It began falling apart at 40,000 miles and he was told BY THE DEALER at 63,000 miles that "These cars aren't designed to last long, it's just worn out". In the meantime his wife was driving to a university in a city 60 miles away EVERY WEEKDAY in a 1967 Plymouth with well over 200,000 miles on it. My friend would NEVER have admitted that the lowly slant-6 Plymouth was a better car, but it was.

My experience with imports goes well beyond simple driving impressions and mechanical problems. I'm a mechanic and actually WORKED on these cars. Just looking at the very under-engineered frame components, structural members and braking systems on our Honda and Mazda and on relatives Nissans and Toyotas was more than enough to PROVE to me that the Japanese use under-sized and under-engineered components. I didn't require a survey for that. The Mazda was built in Japan before Ford took over and upped the build quality dramatically. It was one of the most poorly built cars I've ever seen, with rattles from one end to the other. On the flip side, our Fusion, which is based on the Mazda 6 AFTER Ford took over is one of the most solid, well-built cars I've driven.

Myths are hard to lay to rest. Once the human mind has been indoctrinated with ANY myth it takes on a life of its own. The truly sad part of the "everything made by U.S. workers is crap" myth is that our citizens follow the myths to the extent that our very economy is in jeopardy as a result. We are cutting our own throats and being led to our own demise through ad hype.