When I got into the driver's seat of my Nissan Maxima today, it marked the 5,000th time I had done so.
OK, that's probably not true. It's not like I have been keeping a count. What is true is that this is the fifteenth year that I have been driving Nissan Maximas. If I got into my car each day roughly 333 days out of 365 over the last 15 years, that would mark 5,000 times I did so.
No doubt those figures are wildly inaccurate, but the first line did make for a decent hook to keep you reading.
What is less subjective is the conversation, or rather, the rant that Math Guy and I had in Yahoo Instant Messenger this morning about American cars. We're both persuaded that the American auto industry is a disaster that probably should have ceased to exist ten years ago. Bail out? Are you joking?
We blame the unions. We blame arrogant upper management who, for decades, had their heads so firmly inserted into their backsides that they really honestly thought they could manufacture crap and force us to buy it and keep us coming back for more.
It's insulting. I was a die hard buy American sort of guy for years. Even before I owned my first car, I had bought into the large American-made automobile mantra of "baseball, hot dogs, apple-pie, and Chevrolet". It only took owning a couple to change my mind.
I'm on my fourth Nissan Maxima now. The 1992 I first owned was picked out by my mom, and I'd probably still be driving it if she hadn't "taken it away" from me. Her Lincoln (yes, big American car) had just died and I was driving her to a dealership to shop for a used car.
"Do you know what you want to get, Mom?"
"Yes. I'm getting this car."
"Oh, I ... um... what? How is that going to happen?"
"You're going to trade this car in and buy another one. Then I'm going to buy this car back from them. You get a newer car and I get a car I know and trust, cleaned and with a warranty."
That's when I bought the 1994. I'd still be driving it today if Janet hadn't introduced herself and my front end into the rear end of that one-ton pickup. We also owned a 2003 Maxima. I drove that for a few years and then decided to get another. I'm convinced that this 2007 Nissan Maxima is the greatest car ever made. My boss drives one too. You need one as well. Go get one.
In four Nissan Maximas, I've never broken down once. Apart from regular maintenance and such, I haven't spent more than $1,200 for all repairs total. That's in fifteen years. (For those of you not named "Math Guy", that's less than $100 a year in repairs.)
Contrariwise, I've owned two Fords in my life. I've come to realize that an illuminated "Check Engine Light" comes standard on all Fords.
So screw 'em. Let Detroit go under. I wouldn't drive an American car if you gave it to me.