November 5, 2010

Forward Our Republic Driving

Justin Katz

Back when I was a teenager and thought vehicles an important means of branding, I was a GM guy, especially Pontiacs. Somehow, my group of friends seemed inclined to believe the hostile interpretation of Ford as an acronym for "Fix or Repair Daily." Since its government bailout, however, I've sworn off GM, despite the money toward a new car still lingering as an earned benefit on my GM Card.

For that reason, was thrilled to come across these two stories on the same day, not long ago. The un-bailed-out Ford is doing relatively well:

Ford is on a roll.

Its popular new cars and trucks are grabbing a bigger share of the U.S. market. It's about to erase a big chunk of its health care debt. And it's adding a significant number of jobs for the first time in five years.

On Tuesday, the automaker said it made $1.7 billion from July through September, a jump of nearly 70 percent from a year earlier and its sixth consecutive quarter in the black.

The second article notes that it isn't merely a quirk of the market:

The most problem-free cars and trucks are made by Honda and Toyota, but Ford is closing in fast and General Motors is making big quality improvements, according to Consumer Reports magazine's 2010 reliability rankings.

The first paragraph lumps the American companies together, but there's a substantial difference of degree. Ford is the number 10 make, while GM's highest is Chevy, at 17. Indeed, Ford has "several individual models that were better quality than Toyotas."

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I gotta think that these companies have done cost-benefit analysis of the cost of a better part vs. the cost of fixing it under warranty.

That's got to be a large part of what Hyundai did when in their early days, were known as junk, but now today, offer a 10 year bumper to bumper warranty for very little.

I liked my GM-made Saturns, but they did often have manufacturer defects early in my ownership.

Posted by: Patrick at November 5, 2010 9:56 AM

I can well remeber when Japanese cars were "junk". A Honda Accord couldn't go 3 years without the bottom rusting out.

Interestingly, for many years the Ford Crown Vicky was the "most reliable" car. I think that is probably because they built the same car for about 12 years. That was certainly time to "get it right".

I have trouble with the idea of buying an imported car. That they are assembled here doesn't impress me.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 5, 2010 11:17 AM

Similar to Warrington, I don't have a problem with buying a foreign car, but GREATLY prefer that it was manufactured here in the US, with as many US made parts as possible.

Very often, a car will claim to have been manufactured in the US, but if you dig deeper, they simply imported all the parts from lots of different countries and simply snapped it together in the US and claimed to to be "Made in the USA".

Posted by: Patrick at November 5, 2010 11:22 AM

For an in-depth dose of this, try

which used to have a local connection from the founder, an RI'er.

On domestic content and providing jobs in the US, IIRC, you'd be better off buying a Flat Rock made Mazda than a lot of not-so-big-3 'domestic' models.

The engineering talent is there, but save for the crew ex-Boeing's Alan Mullaly has put together at Ford, the marketing is still suspect, carrying on the same way after the bailout and the retooling 'loans'.

Quick show of hands - who here will invest in the GM IPO?

Posted by: chuckR at November 5, 2010 12:22 PM

Crazzy Right-Wing-Nut Hate group calls off its Ford boycott.

In the face of plummeting car sales, Ford Motor Company has taken steps to reduce its aggressive, pro-homosexual policies, prompting a family-rights group to call off its boycott of the carmaker.

The American Family Association says it's suspending its two-year boycott of Ford, noting the auto giant has met the conditions of the original agreement between AFA and Ford from 2005.

AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon said the original agreement between the family group and Ford contained four items:

Ford would not renew current promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual organizations .
Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations
Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to homosexual social activities such as 'gay'-pride parades.
Ford would cease all advertising on homosexual websites and through homosexual media outlets (magazines, television, radio) in the U.S.
Wildmon said a few minor issues remain, and AFA will continue to bring these to the attention of Ford.

According to AFA, during the 24 months the boycott was in effect, Ford sales dropped an average of 8 percent per month. The organization said its boycott was not entirely responsible for the drop in sales, but played a very significant role. A total of 780,365 individuals had signed AFA's Boycott Ford petition.

Posted by: Sammy at November 5, 2010 12:25 PM

My most recent car purchase had two objectives: 1. get a good deal under $10K 2. buy American. Boy did I mess up.

I bought a 2006 Chevy Impala. I hate the f$%^%ng thing. It has a billion little things wrong with it...enough to drive anyone insane, but not the kind of thing you want to spend 1/2 a day in the waiting room for. Comfort features are poorly thought out. Performance is crappy and the dealer's service department leaves way too much to be desired.

It's not my first Chevy, but I was much happier with my 1973 Vega and my '65 Chevelle. Most of my other Vehicles since the 80's have been Fords and all have been very good to me. I'll never buy another GM product again. In fact, Sammy has just given me added incentive to make my next vehicle a Ford. I might start a local Right Wing Nut Ford Owners Group for anyone interested. Cheers!

Posted by: George at November 5, 2010 12:50 PM

I've driven the same 'class' of Ford since I moved out of my parents' place. Back then I had days when I couldn't afford to eat, so the Escort made a lot of sense. It was handed down from my grandfather, to my dad, to me.

Eventually, I blew out the transmission at 160K miles. Pretty good for a 'free' car.

Then I was commuting 80-90 miles a day, so I bought a Focus (basically an Escort with a better chassis). That thing went to 160K too, until it died in Georgia on a road trip to Miami.

Seeing as how I was stranded at the Ford dealer 1,100 miles from home, and they were offering 'customer loyalty' trade-ins, I bought another Focus.

60K miles in and I couldn't be happier. All I've ever needed was oil, wiper blades, and brake pads. There was a transmission issue, but Ford covered the replacement.

Now I'm in an economic position where I should be buying something like a used BMW 3xx or a new Honda to keep up with the Joneses', but I'm addicted to reliability, good mileage, and being able to slip into parking spaces nobody else can. I'm going to wait a bit and buy a Fiesta.

I wish Ford would bring over their European turbodiesel engines. If I could get a Focus, Fusion, or Fiesta with a 1.4 or 1.6L ECOnetic that got 60MPG, I'd be 'stimulating the economy' right now.

Posted by: mangeek at November 5, 2010 1:49 PM

It is good to see Ford has a ssembled a group of engineers and "car people" to build their cars. Like almost everything else, great cars are built by "car people", not committees.

"A moose is a deer, designed by a committee" T. Roosevelt

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 5, 2010 2:00 PM

Ford's problem with AFA highlights the inadvisability of a business targeting various demographic/lifestyle groups. They can do plenty of good - and get decent publicity for it - with donations to worthy organizations that have no agenda other than helping those in need.

But, as Ford did follow this strategy, there is a part of me that believes they should tell AFA to go piss up a rope. I doubt that Ford lost many actual sales from this cause rather than the general car sales implosion.

According to AFA, during the 24 months the boycott was in effect, Ford sales dropped an average of 8 percent per month. Yah sure. (1.0-0.08)^^24 = 13.5% of starting sales. I think they mean 8% in any given month or maybe they are too stupid to know the difference.

Posted by: chuckR at November 5, 2010 2:06 PM

The funny thing about AFA gay boycott is that, probably a large percentage of Ford Dealers, and Ford Employees are Right-Wing-Nuts, so they were.... "eating their own"

But now that the boycott has ended, folks like Justin can buy a Ford, without buyers remorse

Be Well All
And thanks for letting me post here
with love Sammy

Posted by: Sammy at November 5, 2010 2:49 PM

"Since its government bailout, however, I've sworn off GM, despite the money toward a new car still lingering as an earned benefit on my GM Card."

Well, let it never be said that our host does not live his values.

Posted by: Scott at November 5, 2010 4:19 PM

I wonder what has more impact, the afa boycott on ford or the gays boycotting target? It would mare for an interesting study.

Posted by: Swazool at November 5, 2010 5:38 PM

I couldn't get far with your link

I assume it delves into rules about "content" in order to be an American car.

I know that many "American" cars (Camaro, Chrysler minivans, etc)are built in Canada. That is OK, my idea of "diversity" is dating Canadians.

Not criticism, but I noted Justin's use of "branding". I am amazed at the recent resurgance of the word "brand". It went out of use for years (not as long as the word "rap", many of the characters in Fu Manchu novels "rapped". I think people were also known to "rap" in the 60's), I always associate it with cigarettes. When I was really a kid, if someone asked for cigarettes, the response was "What brand?" I never heard "brand" associated with any other product, except cows. Recently I was handed a business card announcing that the holder was a "Brand Manager". For a moment, I wondered if he worked for American Tobacco.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 5, 2010 8:44 PM

The folks at the right-wing-nut hate group AFA also boycotted the mostly privately franchisee owned MacDonald's restaurants, even knowing that many of the owners were conservative, anti-gay wing-nuts (eating their own)

MacDonald's "crime" ? ...the corporation joined the Gay Chamber of Commerce

Be Well All
With Love Sammy

Posted by: Sammy at November 5, 2010 8:55 PM

My "imported" Toyota was made in Lexington,Kentucky by employed Americans making good money.
My problem is with imported produce from Central America picked at slave wages in filthy conditions.Another few thousand cases of salmonella and e.coli brought to you by NAFTA/CAFTA.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 6, 2010 7:18 AM

"Quick show of hands - who here will invest in the GM IPO?"

Is that the company which loses $2,000 for every unit that comes off the production line?

H'mmm, I'll have to cogitate on that one ...

Posted by: Monique at November 6, 2010 8:10 AM

Love Fords. Driven 'em my whole life. You can't kill those engines.

Posted by: Tim at November 6, 2010 9:18 AM

Warrington Faust

TTAC blog discusses social and political issues regarding the car industry. They do review cars, pretty irreverently, but that isn't the main focus. I don't think there is a specific post concerning domestic content and sourcing. Rather these are addressed in passing many of the posts and comments. I like it because it looks at global markets with co-bloggers in China, Brazil, the UK and the US. Trivia for you - did you know that 3-4 times as many Buicks are sold in China as in the US? The new Buick is an Opel, made here, with at least one engine block sourced from a German foundry.
If I were to only go to one source about cars, it would be this one.

Posted by: chuckR at November 6, 2010 4:10 PM

שלום חשבתי להציע לכולם אינפורמציה על קידום אתרים בגוגל או פרסום בגוגל?

Posted by: פרסום בגוג at June 20, 2011 6:15 PM

you are really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is amazing. It seems that you're doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you have done a wonderful job on this topic!

Posted by: inchristian louboutin at July 5, 2011 6:00 PM

Thanks for the thoughts you write about through this blog. In addition, a lot of young women who become pregnant don't even attempt to get medical health insurance because they are concerned they would not qualify. Although a few states at this moment require that insurers provide coverage despite the pre-existing conditions. Prices on most of these guaranteed programs are usually greater, but when taking into consideration the high cost of medical care it may be some sort of a safer strategy to use to protect your own financial potential.

Posted by: Lakendra Turinetti at May 18, 2012 7:36 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.