31st Dec 2012, 17:37
I really don't understand the animosity import owners seem to have toward all things American. It is baffling. U.S. taxpayers pay out more each year to subsidize foreign car companies than all the loans (which have all been repaid) that GM and Chrysler received. The hundreds of billions our government gives Japanese and German auto makers are free gifts that are never repaid, yet people scream about a few billion in loans to an American corporation.
The Japanese auto industry has been so successful in brainwashing Americans that I think our military should study their mind control techniques. When a company can have over 30 million vehicles recalled, have three Grand Jury subpoenas for ignoring customer safety, be assessed four large fines for negligence and have a 1.1 billion dollar judgement for causing death, injury and other damages to its customers, and people still buy their products, that strikes me as irrational.
31st Dec 2012, 23:11
Back in the 1960s, Car and Driver ranked the big Cadillacs (which are in the same class as the big Lincolns) above Rolls-Royce, and second only to Mercedes in terms of luxury. What happened to both brands over the decades in terms of quality?
And yes, I have to agree when you say that the imports basically built their invincible reputations through sheer propaganda. Americans are quick to believe what they're told if you tell them the same story again and again. It would be a different story if the imports were actually better, but they're not.
1st Jan 2013, 10:26
Why don't you buy a new Corvette powered Cadillac with a manual 6 speed? What happened is a threat to the German sedans. It's not the 80s anymore.
1st Jan 2013, 13:56
As someone who buys, sells, and collects cars, I have to say the full size, rear wheel drive domestics are the best cars ever made. I have owned many cars, so I can compare.
In my opinion, full size rear wheel drive cars make for the most enjoyable driving experience, especially on the open highway or on long trips. The steering is smooth and effortless, and the suspension is cloud-like.
Let's take for example my 1985 Town Car. It is loaded with every luxury option imaginable, and more comfortable than a BMW and Benz.
The other advantage is a Town Car costs 1/3 of the price on the used market, and any parts/repairs/maintenance will cost you 1/3 of the same repair on a BMW/Benz. Personally I think the Town Car is more reliable as well.
Sometimes I buy imports to resell, but not often as I have had lots of problems with them compared to domestics. My mechanic will work on nearly any domestic car, but refuses outright to work on certain imported brands/models, especially VW/Audi.
My girlfriend's 2005 VW Jetta was absolutely the most unreliable, expensive to maintain lemon. It was also the worst automotive investment we ever made, losing countless $1000's of dollars that were impossible to recover by reselling at book value.
However, I have owned many Caprices, Crown Vics, and Town Cars, which I have bought for a few $1000, put 50000 k on them just with oil changes, and resold for a profit a few years later. Amazing cars that basically pay for themselves, as well they are cheap to insure and operate. Most of these cars can get 27 MPG highway if driven properly, which is really great; most new SUVs barely get that. My uncle has a 2012 Acura crossover that gets the same gas mileage as my Town Car on the highway... seriously???
I understand a lot of people are not huge fans of full size rear wheel drive domestics, but to each their own. I think a lot of people, especially younger ones, have never even driven in one, so they may be quick to pass judgement on something they know nothing about.
1st Jan 2013, 15:48
All the big American luxury barges from the 60's and 70's were unmatched in terms of luxurious ride and plush interiors, including the often overlooked Chrysler Imperial. My pick will always be the big slab-sided Lincolns from 1961, until they were replaced by the much less distinctive newer styling.
3rd Jan 2013, 13:56
I think a few things need to be settled here.
First of all, and I hope that some people claiming otherwise will finally understand what I am saying:
I in NO WAY have made ANY negative comments about my '55 Mercury. You want to know why I like it? Because I love the way it looks, and to me it's a work of art. Just because I also attach a few facts about it in general, such as the undeniable fact that it's in no way near as safe as most any modern car, or necessarily as reliable either, doesn't mean I hate the car. I bought it with the full understanding of the risks and shortcomings. I also fully understand that it's "not the car's fault" because after all, it's 60 years old, and a great deal of the many things that have been discovered and implemented in today's cars didn't exist back then. Where I take issue is when people come on here and make such inaccurate, broad, generalized claims that ALL old big American boats are better than anything new today. I see no difference between that and a statement claiming horse and buggies are better than cars.
Likewise, it's also entirely feasible that a person who owns a classic American car can ALSO own a Toyota truck, or ANY other vehicle for that matter, and at the same time love classic cars.
But delving into this further, let me say that I've been a life-long car enthusiast all my life. As such, it's been an important point to my personal view that if a car manufacturer is to be successful in one area, they've got to do well in that area. I realize most people on this thread are going to totally disagree, but the sales numbers and the reviews don't lie: From the 70's - even the early 2000's, the American luxury car segment more or less lost its way. Instead of paying attention to what the competition was doing, they insisted on making the same cars for decades.
At one time the US luxury car market was the most advanced in the world. We had brands like Cord, Duesenberg, Packard, Pierce Arrow, and then of course the offerings from Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler. At one time these brands produced some of the most revolutionary, desirable, cutting edge automobiles money could buy. Why else do some of these - like Duesenbergs - sometimes sell for such HUGE prices? It's because they were the epitome of quality. It's the quality, innovation, and outright attention to details that makes these cars so fantastic.
But comparing that to say - the 90's, when for starters, most of those brands were long-gone and instead we had the likes of the Lincolns of the time.... big plasticy-looking, bulbous cars with equally plasticy, gooey interiors, there ISN'T a comparison. These days about the only positive thing to be said about those cars and their close cousins the Crown Victoria is that they're usually dirt-cheap, and since they basically made the same car for decades with little change - pretty reliable. In essence: cheap barges. But luxurious? Hardly.
As a car enthusiast I for one applaud the efforts of GM and their revitalization of the Cadillac brand. They completely turned that brand around from being yet another floaty, outdated brand into something closer to what the brand once stood for: luxury, design, and innovation. Would I buy a 90's Caddy? No way? Would I buy a new Caddy ATS? Absolutely. And so too are many others who might otherwise choose another current luxury brand. Ford recently re-launched Lincoln as a new brand, and with time, I suspect too we will see a revitalized lineup of truly competent, sexy, well-designed luxury cars. Are '63 Lincoln Continentals sexy? Absolutely. Are '93 Continentals sexy? Uh... not really. They are as mentioned, cushy barges.
So what is the takeaway here? I and many others WANT the US luxury car segment to be a success. We want cars that are right up there, and better than the competition. We want groundbreaking design and cutting edge technology - just like used to be produced. Luckily it appears that we're well on the way to that reality. If we had stuck with making big floaty barges... I'm not sure those divisions would still be in business.
Lastly, and since the topic also turned to "Imports" (which I assume actually means Toyota and Honda), perhaps it's worth looking into exactly why these two brands, along with Nissan and others became the gold standard of reliability. Look up the name Edward Deming. He was an American statistician, and consultant. His work included a form of quality and process control in the wartime production during WW2: in essence, a means to more efficiently produce more equipment with higher levels of quality.
After the war he later worked in Japan, teaching various Japanese companies the benefits of increased quality control, which thus decreased expenses. It was techniques such as these that ultimately led to companies like Toyota becoming world-renowned for their reliability. The Big Three today also use these same techniques, which has meant a dramatic increase in their overall quality as a result. Quality is a universally appreciated thing that transcends national boundaries.
But in any regards, I think it's fair to say that there are those of us who agree and disagree. That is perfectly fine. If we are at terms with that reality, then perhaps let this element of the conversation go. I can appreciate someone who might think a 90's Lincoln, or whatever other car or thing from whatever era is "Better" than XXX. But that also doesn't mean I am not able to express otherwise an opinion that differs. Can we at least agree on that?