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Chrysler, Ford, GM cars: Are they really that bad?

 
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joela joela
User | Posts: 89 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 05/12/06
02:53 AM

Many readers rip apart Chrysler, Ford, and GM vehicles. Yet consumers are still buying them and even Consumer Reports--the main car bible for most non-enthusiasts--reluctantly admits the vehicles seem to be improving.  Thus I have to wonder if most people hate domestics because of experience with the cars; peer pressure; or bashing for the sake of bashing. And does your opinion apply to recent models or older ones?  

JMK JMK
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 05/06
Posted: 05/22/06
07:31 AM

My family has a ford Taurus, ford crown victoria, plymouth grand voyager, and a dodge dakota. We also have a toyota camry and an acura RL. The fords are both graet cars with wonderful features and very comfortable seats. The voyager and dakota are both very comfortable cars and will likely drive over 200,000 miles because they have been perfect for the first 150,000.

The toyota camry is a hunk of junk. The seats are very firm and it smells like nail polish (we got it a few weeks ago). The speakers are weak and muffled. It has a weak 4 cylinder engine and gets less than 20 miles per gallon. It has not features of any kind to make it an interestng car.

The Acura is wuite different than the toyota. It runs great and gets fair gas mileage for a V6 and a heavy car. The seats are nice but not yet broken in. The gps system is easy to control and it has nice features. Since the Acura is made by honda, it has a lot of plastic. The front bumper is plastic so it scratches very easily. The back bumper, also plastic, makes a screeching noise when pushed down gently. The plastic chrome can also be taken off veery easily, no tools needed.

I think most people just tear Ford, Chrysler, and gm apart because they are owners of japanese vehicles and have too much pride. They might have an american car that had a button fall of the radio so they think it is horrible quality and something from japan must be better.  

harryGib harryGib
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 05/06
Posted: 06/01/06
09:25 AM

I think the domestic have had poor fit and finish on some models ( mostly car model in my experience ) in the past but they do seem to be getting better. But i guess only time will tell how the current models hold up.  

joela joela
User | Posts: 89 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 06/19/06
09:00 AM

Icon QuoteJMK:
My family has a ford Taurus, ford crown victoria, plymouth grand voyager, and a dodge dakota. We also have a toyota camry and an acura RL. The fords are both graet cars with wonderful features and very comfortable seats. The voyager and dakota are both very comfortable cars and will likely drive over 200,000 miles because they have been perfect for the first 150,000.

The toyota camry is a hunk of junk. The seats are very firm and it smells like nail polish (we got it a few weeks ago). The speakers are weak and muffled. It has a weak 4 cylinder engine and gets less than 20 miles per gallon. It has not features of any kind to make it an interestng car.

The Acura is wuite different than the toyota. It runs great and gets fair gas mileage for a V6 and a heavy car. The seats are nice but not yet broken in. The gps system is easy to control and it has nice features. Since the Acura is made by honda, it has a lot of plastic. The front bumper is plastic so it scratches very easily. The back bumper, also plastic, makes a screeching noise when pushed down gently. The plastic chrome can also be taken off veery easily, no tools needed.

I think most people just tear Ford, Chrysler, and gm apart because they are owners of japanese vehicles and have too much pride. They might have an american car that had a button fall of the radio so they think it is horrible quality and something from japan must be better.


I don't know about that. I have a friend from the midwest who only bought domestics all his life and he constantly complains about his vehicles lack of quality. He's sworn off Ford and plans to purchase an import once his Plymouth Aurora is in the shop once again. Frown  

hesel hesel
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/04/06
04:54 AM

We have had (don't laugh) 4 new Hyundai cars after years of domestics. The big difference has been small reliability issues. The Hyundais have been essentially trouble free & very well built for their price point. We rent domestics 4-5 times a year for specific tasks and are usually disappointed with their designs or comfort more than specific quality issues. An example - brand new Buick Lacrosse - GM installs double glazed side glass then scrimps on door seals (one only). Our 2006 Accent was quieter at highway speed because of double & triple door seals, a smart design choice. The Buick had way too much wind noise around the door perimeter area. They just don't get it, sometimes. Those are the details Asian manufacturers pay attention to, as well as fit & finish in hidden areas.  

Hate GM Hate GM
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/18/06
08:56 AM

Yes they are that bad!  Great cars, but good luck getting anything for them when you choose to trade.  I own a 2000 Cavalier,paid $12,000 for it 3 years ago, took excellent care of it and now, the most I'm getting is $1,500!  Look up Toyota or Hondas of the same year and they're still going for over 10K!  GM is great only because it's affordable to repair (an buy of course) which is why people still buy them.  My friend just bought a 2006 Chev Cobalt for about 17K, her friend was the salesman she baught it from and told her upfront-as soon as you leave this lot, the value drops to aprox $10,000.  LOVELY!  

throopspeed throopspeed
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 10/20/06
11:44 AM

Well here is my experience based on my recent foray into the world of new cars for my wife. She liked the look of the Mercury Milan (yeah I know a 6 based car, which is why I said ok maybe...)I go the lot and there are 8 in row. I look them over and guess what? all eight in row have a rear fender wheel molding that escaped final assembly in Kansas or wherever. I pushed in the first 3 in the row and gave up. Then I notice that out of the eight, two were mislabled as "Premium" (ie with the 6 cyl and leather) by badges that were in fact 4 cyl w/ cloth. At least the Monroney was right. All this reminded me of my youth as lot boy when I saw cars come from the factory that were half Plymouth Valiant, half Dodge Dart (fun huh?). Needless to say, Fomoco was out and South Korea got in......based on quality and value. Ouch..  

RallyFan RallyFan
New User | Posts: 6 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/26/06
05:16 AM

Well here's my 2 cents:
I will NEVER buy another Chrysler product.  My wife INSISTED on having a Grand Caravan when we were looking for a bigger vehicle (one that could haul more than 5 people).  It was an AWD Grand with the 3.8 liter engine.  At 18,000 miles, we had a wheel bearing replaced in the rear.  12,000 miles later, the same one went.  We were okay for about another 30,000 miles when our transmission went.  Thank God for extended warranties because the replacement would have cost us $2800.  Shortly thereafter, we learned that the lines to the rear heat and air conditioning were corroded and needed to be replaced.  Thankfully, the dealership got that covered under insurance when my wife was in a minor accident (don't know how they did that, don't care!).  

We now have a Buick Rendezvous and it is out of warranty too (with less than 40,000 miles on it).  I am very worried about it's future as well.  We bought this vehicle because you can't get the same size vehicle in a foreign brand for what we paid for the Buick.  I know, you get what you pay for.  Someone else is right about the value of domestic vehicles once they are purchased.  It NOSEDIVES big time.  We bought our 2004 Rendezvous with AWD, alluminum wheels, On-Star, and other goodies with 6,200 miles on the odometer (bought in '04).  We paid 17,500 for it.  A brand new one with all of the equipment we have (rear park assist, roofrack, computer for MPG, tire pressure, etc.) would have stickered for over $35,000.  We paid half price!  It would have cost us at least $30,000 for a similarly equipped Japanese vehicle.  So far so good, but we'll see in the long run.  

calvin400 calvin400
New User | Posts: 45 | Joined: 12/06
Posted: 12/04/06
03:39 AM

I had two Fords in the past. A problematic Probe GT that was fun when I wasn't paying to repair it.  The second Ford was a Focus.  The drone of the engine and lack of power made me get rid of it although the handling and quality was above average I think. Reading car magazines and seeing what brands were popular made me get my present car, a BMW M Coupe. The first car I really really like. By the looks of other drivers and pedestrians, not to mention staff at work and all my friends and acquaintances I've got the right car. I don't hate Ford or GM or Chrysler but I don't hold their cars in high regard because of other's opinions and my own experiences.

The enthusiasts car magazines should all take turns consulting with the American manufacturers and maybe something good will become of it.  

Shift Ctrl Shift Ctrl
User | Posts: 51 | Joined: 11/07
Posted: 12/04/06
10:55 AM

Well i think we want to see Ford, Gm, And Chrysler succeed, thats why we continue to buy them. We all know that some have problems and that theres a ton of rebadging with not the best quality but we want to see the big 3 suceed but there vision is not focused. To me they're just finding out about quality, where as they have been focused on the quantity of vehicles they are coming out with.  
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Its been a while, but I'm back....
every so often i leave for a good year then come back....

Intern Dave Intern Dave
User | Posts: 52 | Joined: 11/06
Posted: 12/04/06
01:00 PM

i want to see the big 3 succeed as well. however, i think they have been arrogant for a long time regarding the quality of the cars they have been building. the big 3 could build cars that were inferior to foreign competitors and still sell a ton of them.  what incentive did they have to make better cars?  now they're struggling and taking drastic measures to reverse the damage that has been done slowly over many years. i'm sure the turn around won't happen over night.  

bandit-#004 bandit-#004
New User | Posts: 12 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 12/24/06
12:55 PM

My first car was an 89 Buick Regal. That little bugger had 180k on it when stuff finally went wrong with it, and that was the body and guages (those stupid electronic green light digital things). My current car is a 95 Chev Beretta with a 3100 v6. I have not had a lick of problems with it and I put that thing through alot! (knock on wood) My little 'retta has 140k on it right now, and i have the satisfication of knowing that if something does go wrong parts will be cheap and i can do it myself! Long Live GM and Ford!!!!  

hammatime hammatime
Enthusiast | Posts: 303 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/04/07
09:08 PM

Mercury Lynx-ate timing belts and electrical parts.

Oldsmobile Delta 88-electrical problems

Ford LTD-electrical problems

Dodge Omni-ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS

Dodge Caravan-electrical problems and a non working ac system

See a common thread here?

I can't have my wife in a car that's going to leave her stranded on the highway.

But I leave the best for last.

My wife finally made the last payment on her Oldsmobile Acheiva s v-6- a car that we really loved to drive-I liked the syling-she loved the power.

Two weeks later it started eating alternators-I talked to other owners of this platform GM wide they all told me they had the same problem.

The GM trained mechanic said he could'nt find the problem-I should taker it back to GM and tell them the wiring harness was bad.

GM was'nt there to see the heartbroken look on my wifes face when this car let her down after $16,000 of her hard earned money went down the drain on this piece of junk.

I was and I swore I'd never see it again.

We've bought a Nissan, 2 Hondas and a Toyota since and not had the mysterious electical problems that American cars bankrupt their owners with.

And my wife has never had 'that look' on her face since.

And don't blame it on the UAW either,these cars were built just fine,they were DESIGNED TO FAIL.

I blame American upper management for this problem.  

proftomda proftomda
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/07
Posted: 12/19/07
12:41 PM

The vehicles are improving and in a couple unique cases, are just as good as the Hondas and Toyotas.  For instance, the new GM large suvs Acadia, Enclave and Outlook compare just as well as their large toyota and Honda rivals.  I see GM definately trying to transmit that DNA to the new Malibu etc.
The real problem here is twofold I think.  1. The domestics do not seem to be able to bring a competetive product to the market at the appropriate time when it is desired.  The above mentioned large GM suv's may be great cars but what amount of people are really looking at these mosters when gas is $3 a gallon? 2. Resale value.  Any logical new car purchase should factor in resale value.  In this area, the domestics are lost and it will take many years for their percieved newfound quality to transmit down to resale value.  Look at used car values for a 2000 Taurus and 2000 Camry.  The Camry is worth three times what the Taurus is.  We are looking at new 2008 4 door cars to replace our monster Expedition. We have driven the Camry, Accord and all new Malibu.  All cars very good.  Malibu night and day best domestic in this price segment but its just as expensive as the Camry and Accord.  In 6 years when we sell the car it will be worth a fraction of the Accord's value.  Percieved quality, durability and resale value dont change just because you come out with a winning design.  It is developed over years and years of producing quality machines that better the competition in all areas and thats where the big 3 are in a perillous situation.  

jbalmos jbalmos
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/07
Posted: 12/19/07
07:56 PM

I personally don't hate domestic cars. I would love to purchase one. However, I have a few set requirements that I look for in a vehicle:

1. Safety
2. Reliability
3. Overall performance (fuel economy, acceleration, technology, etc)
4. Depreciation

After safety, my number one concern is reliability. My time is valuable and I cannot have a car that has to go in for repairs. It needs to just work.  Even if its one issue and its covered under warranty, it still takes time out of my day that needs to be spent on more productive activities.  My wife has had domestic and import products, and I have had all imports - first Hondas and now Toyotas. The worst car my wife has had is a Plymouth Breeze. It had a 100,000 mile extended warranty, and during this time it had gone through at least 4 head gaskets, 1 transmission, and had the ABS system caused brake failure (locking the brake pedal in place with no ability to stop) - the last problem was completely random which was unable to be consistently reproduced and subsequently could not be diagnosed or repaired by CERTIFIED Chrysler technicians in at least 2 dealers.  I don't care who you are as a manufacturer, how can you reasonably expect a person to have confidence in your products when as a consumer you buy and and it has issues that are undiagnosable and downright dangerous? I hear more stories like this from domestic owners than I do from import owners, and I have to make judgments based on the information available to me. Given the average cost of vehicles these days, I am not willing to give Chrysler another chance based on past experience - not when I know I can go buy another brand's product that is known to be virtually trouble free.  If Chrysler was able to sustain a Toyota-like reputation for several years consistently, then the equation might change. But not right now.

Of all the cars I have had personally, I have done nothing to any of my cars aside from scheduled routine maintenance.  I have had a Honda sit in storage for 5 years which I put back on the road. After only replacing the battery the car started immediately and ran perfectly and required no additional work. That is impressive to me. I doubt I would see that type of result with a domestic product.

One last point I would make about domestics is that they tend to not invest in technology for their products - at least not until lately (sure they throw in tons of convenience features, but that is not what I am referring to here).  I remember when Honda came out with VTec, then Toyota with VVTi and their Prius hybrid system, and Nissan with perfecting the CVT.  Each one of these manufacturers appears to heavily invest in their engine technology seeking the balance of performance and fuel economy. I consider import manufacturers to have been consistently head and shoulders above domestic manufacturers in this regard.  By engineering and producing most of a vehicle lineup with cutting edge technology it shows me that each model is treated as equally as another. I have always felt on the domestic side that a vehicle such as a Cobalt is pushed through as cheaply as possible, while something like a Suburban receives much more attention in the design and engineering of that product.  I also would not consider a product such as a Kia or Hyundai which are imports of a sort for this same reason.  I feel they are several years behind in their engine technology compared to Honda and Toyota for most of their line up.

In the end I really do want to consider domestic products. If Toyota or Honda ran into the same problems as the Plymouth we once had I would drop them like a hot potato so its not blind bashing for me. If the domestics keep improving as I believe happening now perhaps one day I might even buy one. For right now though, I need a great deal of convincing to even consider taking that step.  

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