Monday, January 5, 2009

Bail Out or Wash Out?

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.


Gary Wood said...

If the government takes control of the US auto industry, and people still do not buy them, the government will make it very difficult to buy any other brand.

Anonymous said...

By the way, did you know that "a man's home is a castle...until the queen arrives"? ;)


Anonymous said...

It can happen to foreign brands too. I loved my 85 VW Jetta, had it for 18 years, even though in the last 6 years of it's life I wouldn't have driven it on the highway. It has around 150,000 miles on it I think. I didn't drive far with it, which probably contributed to it's early demise. It should have been taken out more.
The 01 Jetta we bought has cost us I think around $5000., probably more actually. The brakes went at I think 15,000 miles, the coil pack has been replaced twice, the water pump impeller blew apart (plastic) and other things I cant recall. Plus it smells like melted crayons (and no, no one has ever melted crayons in the car, nor lost them in it) the alarm system is messed up, factory, not after market, it SUCKS in the snow, even though it's front wheel drive and my '85 was great in the snow. And I cant' find anyone with a VW Jetta who has had anything good to day about them. How sad is that? Other than it's a pretty car.
That's why I now own a Subaru Forester. I like it, it goes well. But honestly, my loyalty to brands is nil now. I'll just hope and pray that the next time I get a car, the car I get is not a lemon. Really sad.

Prikaza said...

ALL of the financial BS that the country is facing right now is just like this. Crappy brands, bad business practices, horrible products are all failing under the forces of the market, even in its propped-up state. And now, the government wants to take my tax dollars and pay these people even more for the mistakes and irresponsibility that got them here?

Sorry. FAIL.

For me? I'm so tired of cars. Someone get me a horse. =\

Michelle said...

I have never owned an import such as Subaru, Nissan etc, however, I have heard nothing but good things about them from friends that worship the ground their tires drive on!

I am a Chevy girl myself, and find that my Cavalier has been very good to me so far *knocks on wood*

However, being that I am not originally from this side of the pond, I have always been a fan of European made machines.

Note that some of the worlds most powerful, expensive and stunning vehicles are made in Europe...Give me a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a Maserati any day...leave the Aston Martin, the Land Rover, and the TVR tucked away in the garage unless incurring endless repair costs is a past time of yours.

My mum had a Volvo before we moved to Canada - the thing was built like a tank! My first car was a Fiat - also built like a tank with no sign of rust on its 20 year old paintwork. My dad STILL owns a BMW 8-series, which is in MINT conditon considering it's a 1990 model.

MY issue is with British made vehicles not the American brands. The British models stink, break down constantly, are always needing repairs...and seem to be an endless money pit. Cheap to buy, cheaply made....

...and no, I DONT include the UK as part of Europe - if you ask me why, that will start a whole new topic! =P