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It is the lack of reliability on my last three vehicles that drove me away. The 1992 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer was, and continues to be, the absolute worst POS vehicle that I have ever owned. I realized just in time that I could not afford to keep the Oldsmobile Aurora once the warranty expired. GM lost their shirt keeping it on the road. The Chevy Blazer LT was decent but at 55K miles it was starting to fall apart. My confidence in the next 55K was very low when we headed to the Honda to purchase a Pilot but got sidetracked by the Ridgeline. It does seem like Detroit is starting to improve their quality and reliability but the have a long way to go to catch up with Honda. I think that it is the cost of domestic labor that keeps them from being competitive with Asian manufacturers. I would be willing to pay a reasonable percentage more to buy from a US based manufacturer if the reliability was reasonably close.
 

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The 'Big Three' will never be able to compete as long as they let the unions drive their business. Eventually one of them is going to have to take a gamble and reject a majority of the insanity that the unions are pushing. You shouldn't get paid if you aren't working, and if the business can't support a need for those workers they need to find a new job like the rest of us. The companies end up over producing vehicles in order to compensate and this causes quality to fall. They would be better off reducing production and producing quality rather than quantity but they can't afford to do this while they are paying so many idle workers.

That being said, my last two Fords were great vehicles. If they still produced Escorts, I would have to seriously think before excluding them. If they ever produced a Hybrid Escort it would have been in my driveway day one.
 

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I do not believe that domestic labor is the biggest issue for American car makers. The bulk of the current Chevrolet trucks are built in Mexico.

I have always felt the biggest downfall of the US products is the mindset of the corporations building them. When the US first realized that the Japanese were gaining a toe hold with there cars the US companies slapped P.O.S. together that looked sort of like the imports, but they took short cuts at every step. The Japanese would put in a nice five speed transmission, the US would make a four speed with no syncro in first. The Japenese would use four wheel independant suspension and disc brakes, the US gave us solid rear axels and drum brakes. The Japenese installed nice overhead cam engines, the US stuck in a sawed in half V8 pushrod engine and on and on.

The Japenese would spend there money on engineering so that it can not be assebled poorly. the US would spend their money on marketing and slap something together with there main focus on keeping the share holders happy.
They were selling to Wall Street not us.

Recently I have done some traveling and rented two new Chevrolets, the first was a Malibu, I was very impressed, it was quite a sophisticated car, it rode and handled well and had plenty of power. I do not know about its long term reliability but for the short term, I was impressed.

The following week I upgraded to an Impala, it was not an up grade it had less room in side than the smaller Malibue, it did not handle as well, the controls were anything but ergonomic, you could not figure out the symbols for half the things in the car and the HVAC fan was so noisy you could not enjoy the radio. It had a ton of faux wood if that blows your skirt up.

I will continue to buy American ( American Honda)
 

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Capt, My daughter had an Escort and yes, it was a good car. It was also more Mazda than Ford. The Mazda Engine and Transmission were trouble free until she sold it at well over 100K miles. The body was OK, aside from the battle scars that a young driver leaves behind...

Rather than drift too far off topic on this thread, I am going to start a thread in The Ridge about Foreign Vs Domestic Automakers.
 

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Steve, you are right on the money. Workers, Union or otherwise, only assemble what they are told to assemble. It isn't workmanship that really kill the big three (although it can be pretty miserable at time, particularly at the low end), it's the fact that they use the cheapest material they can get away with. I've never had a big three vehicle that looked as good as my son's 14 year old Accord, even after six months. Once had a Chevy that needed repainting after eight months and a new interior after three years. Garbage!
The top guys claim all the credit when things go well. They should step up to the plate and accept responsibility when they don't. I, quite frankly, get a little tired of people bad-mouthing American and especially Union workers (union workers are the easiest target, they actually make a living wage). Ever look at the difference between the pay Honda's top Execs get compared to the guys on the factory floor. It's about 45:1. Look at any of the big three, it's closer to 500:1 or more.
 

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Spritegeezer said:
It isn't workmanship that really kill the big three it's the fact that they use the cheapest material they can get away with.
Sgeezer - very good point. With each recall for defective parts, this is more obvious. See today's Ford recall of Freestyle Crossovers, 500 sedans, and Mercury Montegos...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051116/ap_on_re_us/ford_recall

"The company's investigation found that the manufacturer of the strap changed to a weaker grade of steel in December 2004 that could not meet Ford's durability requirements."

At least they have some requirements, but this is just one example of "weak" suppliers.
 

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My last truck was a Ford Ranger, which is really a Mazda B series. It had a Ford iron block six and a Mitsubishi manual transmission. The truck was great overall, but the transmission failed once, and was failing when I traded it. For that I don't blame Mazda or Mitsubishi, I blame Ford Engineering for allowing that transmission to be ordered with the big six. It couldn't handle the stress. It's too bad, because otherwise, it was a well designed and built vehicle.
 

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Spritegeezer said:
Steve, you are right on the money. Workers, Union or otherwise, only assemble what they are told to assemble. It isn't workmanship that really kill the big three (although it can be pretty miserable at time, particularly at the low end), it's the fact that they use the cheapest material they can get away with. I've never had a big three vehicle that looked as good as my son's 14 year old Accord, even after six months. Once had a Chevy that needed repainting after eight months and a new interior after three years. Garbage!
The top guys claim all the credit when things go well. They should step up to the plate and accept responsibility when they don't. I, quite frankly, get a little tired of people bad-mouthing American and especially Union workers (union workers are the easiest target, they actually make a living wage). Ever look at the difference between the pay Honda's top Execs get compared to the guys on the factory floor. It's about 45:1. Look at any of the big three, it's closer to 500:1 or more.
I think you misunderstand me. I have no problem with the workers, I have a problem with the union itself. While I agree with you on the outrageous pay spread. Putting billions of dollars into keeping workers they don't need leave them with compromises that must be made. Which came first, the underbid selection process or the outrageous labor model? And does it really matter. The Big Three over produce for their market demands. They do this because it is either keep people working before they pay them, or pay them anyway. The reality is that unionization is an almost communist economic practice wrapped over the top of a free market model. And don't get me wrong, I actually think that a more communistic economic model would benefit everyone but that isn't the society we are in. There was a time when unions were a necessity, and they may still be, but there has to be a balance between the union and the business. If the union goes too far they potentially kill the business and thus they also lose out. So yes, there is greed on both sides of the table, and the Big Three are now reaping in what they sowed so long ago and it is hurting them. How do you escape the cycle? Well one, you need to bring the pay spread down, and two you need to lose just insane practices such as the benching of workers. You keep the workers you need and you lay off those you don't need. The fact is that they will probably never do this, the big wigs like their jets and their mansions too much, and the unions like the power they get by controlling so much. And at the end of the day, we will have all our vehicles made by Asian car makers because they get it.
 

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How do you escape the cycle? Do what American Airlines did. Cut the pilot's pay by 28%. Nobody at the Big Three has the guts to do that.
 

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shovelhd said:
My last truck was a Ford Ranger, which is really a Mazda B series. It had a Ford iron block six and a Mitsubishi manual transmission. The truck was great overall, but the transmission failed once, and was failing when I traded it. For that I don't blame Mazda or Mitsubishi, I blame Ford Engineering for allowing that transmission to be ordered with the big six. It couldn't handle the stress. It's too bad, because otherwise, it was a well designed and built vehicle.
Never had any problem with my 4-litre 5-speed Splash which I just sold Tuesday. Like everything else, there are good and bad ones. :p
 

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Congrats on selling your Ranger. Did you work it, tow with it, off road with it, or was it a commuter vehicle?
 

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Commuted, towed Waverunner, and autocrossed with it. :eek: Only scheduled maintenance ever and never had to add oil between changes. Did replace serpentine belt 7 years ago, battery 5 years ago and plastic radiator 2 years ago. Also spark plugs twice and wires once. The buyer got a solid truck for $3k.
 
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