05 April 2009

How Do You Sink Detroit?

Hi there! Ok, so I know I said I was going to continue my New Orleans storyline but we are going down for Easter so I figured I would go "refresh my memory" and then write more...hope that's ok with all of my readers...all six of you, haha!

Sometimes I read an article that sparks my interest and I feel that I just have to share with everybody. This time I want to talk about the current situation with our Big Three automakers. Rick Newman with US News and World Report wrote an interesting article titled 10 Cars That Sank Detroit. I found this article to be right on target in taking the automakers to task.

Anyone over the age of 35 should remember the Ford Pinto; remember that little wonder of auto engineering? Ford developed it to compete with Volkswagen and it did ok for a while, until their gas tanks started exploding after the car was rear-ended...and Ford flat out denied they were responsible or that it was even a problem. We all know the Chevy Cavalier/Cadillac Cimarron debacle, don't we? Raise your hand if you remember GM's "ingenious" 4-6-8 system on their cars; the engine fires on all 8 cylinders to start then shuts down 2 cylinders at a time between intermediate and cruise speeds...it was supposed to be a huge fuel saver, except for the fact it kept breaking...most of the time while in 4 cylinder mode.

Yeah yeah, ok, I get it, you are all upset because I am talking LAST century...much like another really smart idiot who commented on Rick's article (read the comments under it if you want to see what I am talking about) So, let's look at the last decade, shall we? Gas prices were skyrocketing towards $5 a gallon, Toyota was developing the Prius, Honda was working on the Insight and GM was manufacturing the Hummer and the Yukon; Ford was making the Expedition and the Excursion and Chrysler was making the Jeep Commander and Ram Hemi. American manufacturers were also giving us the F150, 250, 350 Super Duty and the 450, Chevy had the Silverado and GM had the Sierra and Chrysler had...well Chrysler had the Ram.

So am I the only one scratching my head here? Are you going to tell me those really smart executives couldn't see the writing on the wall? They could not see that gas prices were going up so much so fast that people were running away from the big gas guzzlers? So now we are expected to pick up their slack because they were stupid?

I don't even want to get in to quality issues. My Ford Ranger is a 2002 model and it seems like every time I turn around it is costing me hundreds of dollars in repairs. I don't keep anything in the truck because I can't lock the doors because the locks are so bad I have to spend 5 minutes jiggling the key around to unlock the door...now that would not be a really big deal to me, but the exact same thing happened to my 1997 Ford Ranger. Before I had the Ranger I had a 1999 Dodge Ram; thing got about 13 miles to the gallon (on a good day) and I was paying hundreds of dollars in repairs on that thing every time I turned around as well. Meanwhile my wife's 2004 Honda Accord is humming along like it's brand new; I haven't had to do anything to it minus regular maintenance. That car is 5 years old and is getting 34 miles to the gallon on the highway. It does not take a rocket scientist to see which vehicle is superior there.

And still there are those out there who will make naive (and I would say downright stupid) comments like they would put up an American car against any Japanese car today. Yeah, you do that, smart guy; keep buying products that barely last five years. I will keep buying products that last twenty-five years...and I will have more money in the bank because of it...moron.

1 comment:

  1. I have wondered this same thing for years. The three P's. Piss, Poor, Planning. It seems many Americans have been practicing the three P's for a long time. I've only had 3 cars, and I'm 40. Had a 2-wheel drive Toyota P.U, over 200,000 miles on it. Sold it bought a Subaru, had over 200,000 miles on it. Now I have a 97 4-runner. It gets 21mpg/town 23 highway. Not great, but where I live it gets me home...though feet and feet of snow, mud season. Have never had it in the shop except for maintenance. Husband drives a 99 Toyota Tacoma, it's never been in the shop either.
    The whole downfall of the big three is the same as the economy. If you didn't see it coming, you weren't paying attention. Like your blog, I'll be coming back as time allows.