Monday, March 06, 2006

Wringing Hands over American Auto Quality

The latest "everybody knows this" (meaning that it's about to be contradicted) is that foreign-made automobiles are simply better than US-made autos. Consumer Reports confirms this, so it MUST be true.


In the last 15 months, I've purchased two Ford Taurus automobiles--a 1991 and a 2000. Both had in excess of 75K on the clock when I bought them; now they are each slightly over 100K.

Both run exceptionally well. The older one is showing a little rust on the door-bottom edges and the rocker panel, and I mean "a LITTLE." The newer one has zero rust visible. Zero.

There's an odd noise when closing the right-rear door on the older one, but the newer one is tight. All the appliances work just fine, including the power seats, windows, locks, lights, etc. There are no rattles at all. Runs out to 100 MPH quickly, as one would expect from a V-6. Gets over 25 MPG even using the stupid CornAHole required in this area.

Both of them stop when you hit the brake and go when you hit the gas.

Both show some wear in the interior--exactly what one would expect from 5+ and 15+ years' of work. The older one has had some 'wear part' problems; water pump blew, and the a/c will have to be re-fitted for the new joy-juice because the original Freon disappeared (after only 15 years...)

What the Hell is the matter with this? Why is a Japanese car "superior" to these machines? For that matter, what makes a Benz "superior?" When you get right down to it, all one reasonably expects is 150K on the engine and transmission before 'stuff' happens, and maybe 20 years (at best) on the body before cosmetic surgery is required...

So what's up with this gloom-and-doom?

Yeah--I had to put a '91 Buick out of its misery at 190K. (Same-o for a '91 Dodge van; same mileage.) Divide original purchase price by miles driven, and compare to any other vehicle on the planet...

1 comment:

M.Z. Forrest said...

You are correct. My latest purchase was a Ford Windstar. I was giving consideration to the Honda Odyssey. Looking at 3-year-old models, there was a $10,000 price differential. I've heard of a few Honda motorcycle engines being bullet proof, but not one of their cars. It takes a lot of quality to make up a 2:1 price differential.