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DEATH OF THE AMERICAN LUXURY CAR

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I haven't started many threads here, although I've been lurking around for 18 months or so. But something happened two days ago that I have been stewing about since. I have been selling Chevrolet for 9 years. Shortly after I started at the store I am at now, we got a new (to us) New Car Manager. This man was nearing retirement age and had been in the buisness, started as a mechanic, then in sales at a Cadillac store, for 30 years. He emigrated from Scotland with nothing and by the time of his death about 2 years ago was worth a few milliion, to be sure. This sales manager was with us for about 5 years and was the best manager I have ever met. He was honest, hard working and had zero tolerance for BS - a rarity in the car business, indeed!

Anyway, the point to this thread is that his beautiful and elegant widow just came by Friday and dropped off their leased Alero GLS. It only has 22k (km) on it, is in great shape, etc. She was escorted by her 35 year old son, who showed up in his BMW 5 series, and then he was taking her over to the BMW dealership to pick up her new, factory ordered BMW 3 series.

I knew this was coming. I have been in touch with her and knew that she was looking to buy a BMW. I knew there was no point in arguing with her - she well knew my thoughts about sending $50k over seas, but the more I stew about this, the angrier I get.

General Motors put them where they are today. Her son's gold-plated education (he is now a top executive at one of the major banks in Canada) was paid for by his dad's hard work selling P-B-C for 20 some-odd years, yet he now owns (his 3rd, I hear) BMW. I realize his generation is lost in snobbery, but I am surprised that this 60 year old (but very active) woman did not even consider a Buick or Cadillac. I mean, seriously: the ride and handling of the 3 series can best be described as harsh. Why would a 60 year old woman want that? Why would she not rather appreciate the smooth, quiet ride of a Buick? It wasn't even considered because her son's snobbishness pushed her into it.

As I took the plates off her Alero, I couldn't help but remark that her (gorgeous) purple coat was matched by (equally gorgeous) purple leather gloves. (Okay, I am gay and that was a gay thing to notice, but she did look very smart!) She looked down at her gloves and sniffed that they were nothing, she had just found them in Italy. Now, normally I would have thought, "okay, you rich bitch, you are just bragging now," but I know this woman and she is very classy, so I am sure she didn't mean to brag. It is just a statement of fact: she bought her gloves in Italy. Imported is better, right?

So, I sit here on my Sunday morning, drinking my coffee and try to be optimistic about the future, but it is getting harder and harder. If General Motors has lost the good people whose fortunes were made on backs of the company, then there is no hope left. I live on the edge of the richest neighborhood in Canada (Rosedale) and I can tell you, 80% of the cars in their driveways are German or Japanese. The truly sad part is, the treed streets are just a see of gunmetal grey BMWs!

When did we, as nations, lose the ability to think for ourselves? When did the almighty grip of the "enthusiasts" become so tyrannical that 60 year old women, who would never see the high side of 50 mph, are bound to buy an imported car, simply because her neighbors have one? I am 45 years old. I grew up, covetting Imperials and Cadillacs. I am fairly hip and follow most trends, but I cannot see the point to spending (too much) money on a car that was designed on a skid pad when for several thousands less I can buy a much nicer car with a domestic name on it.

I guess these are the same people who will spend $5k on a Rolex when a $75 Timex will do.

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I haven't started many threads here, although I've been lurking around for 18 months or so. But something happened two days ago that I have been stewing about since. I have been selling Chevrolet for 9 years. Shortly after I started at the store I am at now, we got a new (to us) New Car Manager. This man was nearing retirement age and had been in the buisness, started as a mechanic, then in sales at a Cadillac store, for 30 years. He emigrated from Scotland with nothing and by the time of his death about 2 years ago was worth a few milliion, to be sure. This sales manager was with us for about 5 years and was the best manager I have ever met. He was honest, hard working and had zero tolerance for BS - a rarity in the car business, indeed!

Anyway, the point to this thread is that his beautiful and elegant widow just came by Friday and dropped off their leased Alero GLS. It only has 22k (km) on it, is in great shape, etc. She was escorted by her 35 year old son, who showed up in his BMW 5 series, and then he was taking her over to the BMW dealership to pick up her new, factory ordered BMW 3 series.

I knew this was coming. I have been in touch with her and knew that she was looking to buy a BMW. I knew there was no point in arguing with her - she well knew my thoughts about sending $50k over seas, but the more I stew about this, the angrier I get.

General Motors put them where they are today. Her son's gold-plated education (he is now a top executive at one of the major banks in Canada) was paid for by his dad's hard work selling P-B-C for 20 some-odd years, yet he now owns (his 3rd, I hear) BMW. I realize his generation is lost in snobbery, but I am surprised that this 60 year old (but very active) woman did not even consider a Buick or Cadillac. I mean, seriously: the ride and handling of the 3 series can best be described as harsh. Why would a 60 year old woman want that? Why would she not rather appreciate the smooth, quiet ride of a Buick? It wasn't even considered because her son's snobbishness pushed her into it.

As I took the plates off her Alero, I couldn't help but remark that her (gorgeous) purple coat was matched by (equally gorgeous) purple leather gloves. (Okay, I am gay and that was a gay thing to notice, but she did look very smart!) She looked down at her gloves and sniffed that they were nothing, she had just found them in Italy. Now, normally I would have thought, "okay, you rich bitch, you are just bragging now," but I know this woman and she is very classy, so I am sure she didn't mean to brag. It is just a statement of fact: she bought her gloves in Italy. Imported is better, right?

So, I sit here on my Sunday morning, drinking my coffee and try to be optimistic about the future, but it is getting harder and harder. If General Motors has lost the good people whose fortunes were made on backs of the company, then there is no hope left. I live on the edge of the richest neighborhood in Canada (Rosedale) and I can tell you, 80% of the cars in their driveways are German or Japanese. The truly sad part is, the treed streets are just a see of gunmetal grey BMWs!

When did we, as nations, lose the ability to think for ourselves? When did the almighty grip of the "enthusiasts" become so tyrannical that 60 year old women, who would never see the high side of 50 mph, are bound to buy an imported car, simply because her neighbors have one? I am 45 years old. I grew up, covetting Imperials and Cadillacs. I am fairly hip and follow most trends, but I cannot see the point to spending (too much) money on a car that was designed on a skid pad when for several thousands less I can buy a much nicer car with a domestic name on it.

I guess these are the same people who will spend $5k on a Rolex when a $75 Timex will do.

I would agree that the Big 2.5 have a problem....unfortunately, the 'luxury' class was lost years ago when Caddy, Lincoln & Chrysler became mostly rebadges. Now the americans are playing catch up, which is almost impossible with perceived quality-type consumer product. Unfortunately, her husband probably knew the product well enough when it was awful to influence this decision.

The 2nd, bigger problem with your take on this is your assumption that she was 'forced' into a 3-series. Newsflash- She's rich, wants the best, and, if you're talking small sport sedans, you cannot top the 3 with ANY product, period. Stereotyping an older, wealthy woman is a fool's errand and somewhat surprising, given your personal experiences.

Also, if I had to drive an Alero for years, I, too, would need something like a 3 to make up for lost time! She's not getting any younger! :)

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A 3 Series is pretty much the Camry of the budget-lux world. I still can't fathom its appeal.

Anyway, this reminds me of something I'm going to miss soon - the fullsized American premium car. Something large, powerful, comfortable, yet reasonably priced. Everything is trying to chase BMW, be BMW, beat BMW. Its sad really.

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Well, you've stated nothing but facts as I see it. There is a generation based largely on snobbery, but it transends that- I've seen numerous retirees in g35s, for example- that is even more puzzling.

There is a subtle social undertone of self-loathing in America; nothing built here is ever the best- there's some sort of 'mystique' about foreign lands and their goods. Sure, sometimes the item is better, but more often it's just different and many times it's outright inferior. But it has that damned mystique ('I picked them up in Italy' - says nothing factually but everything image-wise.) To some.

This goes back way farther than the present era. I have a working theory (based on research) that it can be traced back to colonial days when we as a nation were peasant farmers from 'civilized' Europe. I've read accounts of discrimination and insult within the early automotive industry alone, where American-based manufacturers and individuals were 'not capable' of matching European standards/ practices/ innovation. Nevermind that it was the American industry that shaped the rest of the world's auto industries. Read accounts of Cadilac's '08 DeWar Trophy win for interchangable parts- the world's amazement was equally based on the feat as well as the origin of the feat. We have adopted the snobbery of other countries, and re-directed it back upon ourselves.

Regarding today, I am again forced to turn & point towards the media, where the tidal wave of imagery that wretched excess is an aspirational life goal is crushing & incessant. It's not common to find people immune to suggestion, capable to thinking for themselves.... couple this with the above 'foreign is automatically better' Pavlovian predisposition, and seeing a 75-yr old WWII veteran driving a rough-riding, 140-mph japanese sports sedan is best described as a sad wonder.

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I would agree that the Big 2.5 have a problem....unfortunately, the 'luxury' class was lost years ago when Caddy, Lincoln & Chrysler became mostly rebadges. Now the americans are playing catch up, which is almost impossible with perceived quality-type consumer product. Unfortunately, her husband probably knew the product well enough when it was awful to influence this decision.

The 2nd, bigger problem with your take on this is your assumption that she was 'forced' into a 3-series. Newsflash- She's rich, wants the best, and, if you're talking small sport sedans, you cannot top the 3 with ANY product, period. Stereotyping an older, wealthy woman is a fool's errand and somewhat surprising, given your personal experiences.

Also, if I had to drive an Alero for years, I, too, would need something like a 3 to make up for lost time! She's not getting any younger! :)

True enough...going from something that is rental car material (Alero) to something that is the best in it's class (3-series) is a huge jump. My mother is 75 and bought herself a Lincoln Navigator for her birthday... though I'm a BMW fan and owner, I didn't try steering her into one..

I see nothing wrong with an older person buying a modern sports sedan, though...why should older folks only drive stereotypical fogey cars like DTSes, Town Cars or Buicks? They can enjoy the good stuff also...

Speaking of her son's generation which is my generation (Gen X, mid to late 30s)----I can count on one hand the number of people I know in my age range and demographic that actually like domestic cars or own them....pretty much all of my peers drive Hondas, Toyotas, Acuras, BMWs, Audis, Lexuses and would never consider domestic... sad, but true. About the only domestics that I know people owning are SUVs and a few Mustangs.

Edited by moltar

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So you live on the edge of Rosedale...nice...that means you're a stone's throw from all that good Greek food on Danforth (better change the subject, I'm drooling).

Yes, it is sad that there's a "knee jerk" reaction to foreign cars being superior. You would not believe how many people at work give me the "eeehw, you want that...now why would you buy one of those...it doesn't fit your occupation's image" (or something like that)...as I show them a LaCrosse or Monte Carlo in the 360 views on the web.

So I proceed to tell them (1) I don't give a $h! what people think, this is what I like, (2) every GM car I have ever owned has been incredibly reliable, (3) I neither like the repair bills of a foreign/exotic car nor the fact that I have little familiarity with the components whereas everything under the typical GM hood I can identify. Seeing that I know more than they do about cars, they finally shut up.

I think the issue here is the abandonment of what has been good to them for the foreign car. Your situation is more troublesome because GM put them where they currently are.

I can only relay a similar story. Growing up in LA, our neighbors on one side were Jewish and on the other side were Cuban. (So very LA, a Cuban, an Italian and a Jew, right?) At any rate, the Cuban family next door's husband and wife were a sales team, selling jewelry and art objects to Hispanics in their homes. They were an exclusively Cutlass Supreme family. At any rate, while I wasn't old enough to drive, their gorgeous 1975 Olds Cutlass Supreme ("Inca Silver" exterior/ "cranberry" interior according to my brochure) was the beginning of my love affair with the automobile. Next year, my dad bought a 1976 Olds Cutlass Supreme to which they raised an eyebrow because ours now had the rectangular lamps and the waterfall grille. At any rate, they put on about 30,000 to 40,000 miles a year. Their Cutlasses served them well and their driving was abusive LA metropolitan area driving. They then bought a Mercedes sedan. It was ugly but I guess they caved in to what others expected of them. Their kids are all professionals and have American trophy wives (God forbid they would date a Cuban, you know, which I find offensive because I like my own race just fine) and all drive foreign metal. I guess you can't be a professional in LA and drive an American car.

I think that a lot of it has to do with the expectations people have of you. If, living in the northern and less populous part of the state, even I get chided for considering a domestic vehicle, imagine how "inappropriate" it would be of someone in a high position in a snooty area to drive a domestic car. Turning this around will be slow, but I will have to praise Cadillac for putting a lot of younger people behind the wheel of CTSs and Escalades. It's a hopeful beginning.

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i agree with a lot of the things said here, and definitely agree that it is very sad that Generation X has become so "snooty" and they all prefer a BMW to any domestic product simply because the BMW is a BMW... however, to this sad thread i would like to offer some hope

last year was my senior year in high school. I went to an all boys private school in Bergen County, NJ which pretty much makes it chock full of children of late-era boomers and some Gen-X BMW driving snobs who look down upon domestic automakers, it was a pretty bleak outlook. However, amongst the slew of BMWs and Mercedes along with Audis and Lexuses, there were a few cars that were envied by most of the class. Not one of these cars, was made outside of the United States. Every single member of the class lusted after either one of the two 2006 mustang GTs, the 2005 Pontiac GTO or, as strange as this may sound to some of you, my Monte Carlo. I have a friend who drives a BMW 330i, and he loves his car, but after a ride in my car he said he wished he had asked for a Monte Carlo.

So there is hope after all, it seems Generation Y sees the value of an American made performance machine, GM is not doomed just yet.

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So I proceed to tell them (1) I don't give a $h! what people think, this is what I like, (2) every GM car I have ever owned has been incredibly reliable, (3) I neither like the repair bills of a foreign/exotic car nor the fact that I have little familiarity with the components whereas everything under the typical GM hood I can identify. Seeing that I know more than they do about cars, they finally shut up.

I've had to do that too. I can't believe the horror looks on people's faces when you ask them to consider a domestic. Its like i could have killed their spouse. I almost want to say f@#k OFF, idiots.

In any case, conversely, just about everyone who rides in my 500 who has never been in my car or knows what it is says, 'what is this'? IT'S A FORD? and they all universally like it, even in spite of the fact its a half baked effort. So i think the perception problem is branding. American brands have been so bread and butter for so long and people's concept of luxury has advanced faster than the domestics have put it into their cars.

Couple that with the notion that folks now, even if they are middle class, do not want anything that shows they are middle class. EVERYONE wants a 'luxury car'.

Case in point. I work with a really smoking hot redhead gal who is in the market for a car. Her Pontiac is her college car and because that is the case, she will not tolerate antying other than an aspirational brand now. Even though she has no budget. So, she is shopping for used Lexus and Saabs (VW is not 'good enough' for her). I would love to really show her some good cars for her (I think a new Altima coupe would be perfect for her) but she is fixated on status. She wants a 4 year old G35 but the new Altima would be a much better solution for her, considering warranty, cost of repair, service, etc.

I am befuddled by it all. I don't even pretend to get it anymore. But its that way with clothing too. So cars are just fashion and lfestyle accessories to 99% of the crowd. And I blame it on women mostly. They usually control our penises and pursestrings. How else would crap like Hyundias make inroads in our country. Soft and cuddly.

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I've had to do that too. I can't believe the horror looks on people's faces when you ask them to consider a domestic.

My coworkers, friends, managers etc have looked at me before like I'm insane for liking and owning American cars... my boss is always asking when I'm going to trade my Jeep on an X5 or ML...or telling me my BMW is old and I need a new one. Another coworker told me I made too much money to be driving American vehicles, like it was a blue-collar thing or something....such is life.

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Lots of superficial people in the U.S..

Only toyotas among my family & friends has been: my father-in-law had a corolla and my aunt has owned 2 camrys to date. Oh, and a friend who moved out west about 14 years ago currently has an old camry wagon. Most of my family & friends own domestic (a lot of trucks, tho), and I live in the wealthiest state in the nation. They are a well-grounded bunch overall, however; they seem less likely to fall prey to empty admonishments such as 'you make too much money to drive domestic' -- I would laugh out loud in the face of whomever said that to me.

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Speaking of her son's generation which is my generation (Gen X, mid to late 30s)----I can count on one hand the number of people I know in my age range and demographic that actually like domestic cars or own them....pretty much all of my peers drive Hondas, Toyotas, Acuras, BMWs, Audis, Lexuses and would never consider domestic... sad, but true. About the only domestics that I know people owning are SUVs and a few Mustangs.

That is a very true thought and that is reflected in that recent leaked GM memo the Detroit News just wrote about.

What amazes me is that GM is just waking up to that fact:

http://www.cheersandgears.com/forums/index...showtopic=14396

I have been saying for years now - if the Big 2.5 do not wake up they will become irrelevant.

They might be on that cusp at the moment.

And why...

Lincoln has not seriously updated their flagship Town Car in 25 years and Cadillac is still selling fwd Deville/DTSs on a 12 year old platform with a 7 year old design and still using a 4 speed transmission.

Personally I do not aspire to that sort of vehicle. Hell, all but a few domestic models appeal to me. I can understand why many buyers do not consider domestics.

That is one of the few reasons why GM is investing money into Saturn - because it is not associated in peoples minds with GM. And that gives GM a chance to grow the brand.

Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet have negatives associated with the brand name, especially with cars, it may take years to reposition the brand image in peoples minds.

I would not have a problem driving a Tahoe - but in many ways I could drive a Hyundai Sonata before even the new 08 Malibu.

Edited by evok

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It just seems that with CR yanking in one way (buy the Lexus, it is better quality) and C&D pulling the other (of course a BMW is what you should buy, don't we all need to go sideways on a skid pag pulling 1 G?), the luxury and near luxury buyer just gets caught up in the cross fire. If I had $60 grand to spend, I'd rather go to Barrett Jackson than buy ANYTHING on the market today in that price bracket; otherwise, I want a good stereo, a solid ride, I don't want to get raped when I need servicing and I want a car that looks good (whatever that means!)

I understand that GM screwed up royally in the late '80s with those totally CRAP Cadillacs they threw together, but that was 15 years ago already!

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I have been saying for years now - if the Big 2.5 do not wake up they will become irrelevant.

What do you think of this column by Jerry Flint where he seems to argue that Ford and GM should avoid competing with Honda and Toyota head on and work on trying to find their own niches?

http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/...11378.html?pg=1

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You didn't ask me but here's my take anyway. The article is far too vague & meandering to coherently respond to. Flint, as usual, throws disharmonious facts against the wall: some stick, some fall flat on the floor, and some are 'picked up' by readers in agreement, who then blanket-endorse the entire piece.

He damns GM & Ford (Chrysler, possibly because it's German, is conspicuously absent from his darts) for not having the same-speed transmissions and number of new product (and here he inflates toyota's count by mentioning vehicles not out in the immediate future), yet he states GM & Ford shouldn't try to match them, because they "can't".

>>"Poor GM and Ford still haven't figured out how to build a winning minivan."<<

And toyota still hasn't figured out how to build a winning truck... and they had the class leaders to ape all along.

Flint is as relevent & sensible as a '58 toyota. He's a revisionist and a factual cherry-picker. His drool cup runneth over and his diaper is loaded.

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This is sad but true. It will take time to turn the tide. I am just glad GM and Ford and waking up. They spent the last 20 years trying to make the perfect Toyota Camry or Honda Accord and lost ground doing it. That is part of the reason why that whole import Oldsmobile thing failed. Sadly, the luxury cars in this country lost touch with the buyers. We may have the quality, but perception is the biggest part of the battle. The Escalade has that luxury image(with status) the DTS does not have.

They lost ground to the Europeans first. This is ground they can recover because the Europeans are lacking in quality now and do not stand out like they once did. Now is the time to strike.

It is true as much as I like the Lincoln Town Car, it is outdated. Holden is helping GM because GM North America because it does not have any rear drive cars that handle well that are rear drive. They lost touch with the public. It is going to take a global GM to make that effort.

I have a friend that drives a Jetta. He is that buyer you are all talking about. He said this about GM:

He would not go near a Pontiac because they do not offer anything Chevrolet does not have plus the interiors are cheap and plastic looking. He does not see a use for Pontiac.

He said Buick is a old person's car even after seeing Lucerne and LaCrosse.

He said Saturn and SAAB are the only GM brands he would consider because they are the only thing close to what he expects in a car.

He said Cadillac is getting better but still have some work to do.

He said GM should not have dropped Oldsmobile. He said it had a slight stigma it could have over come.

I showed the American Buicks to a student. He said said those are old people cars.

I then showed the student the Chinese Buicks. He was like wow! I like those!! Why don't they build them like that here. Those are like Mercedes Benz.

GM knows this. This is why they merged Buick, Pontiac and GMC into one. This is why Pontiac is becoming all rear drive again to become relevant again. The Solstice is a start, but they need a mass market hit. Those divisions cannot survive alone any longer. They will not admit dropping Oldsmobile was a mistake.

That is why they are putting that money into Saturn because they can grow that brand. They did not have an image.

That is why GM is going to rely on Buick China for help with American Buicks.

Only time can turn the tide and great designs and quality.

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What do you think of this column by Jerry Flint where he seems to argue that Ford and GM should avoid competing with Honda and Toyota head on and work on trying to find their own niches?

http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/...11378.html?pg=1

From the perspective of creating new niches or segment buster i.e. the next minivan, I am not sure what is left for them to fill. About the only thing left is a Chevy and Ford Ridgline and possibly bringing to the US some of the Euro product like the Meriva, Galaxy and Zaphira. So I am not sure where Flint was going with those statments.

Even the RWD market will be saturated really fast. The NG Impala should be very profitable but the volume will be a fraction of the current vehicle. And what happens when the rest of the OEMs follow suit. Just saw in the paper today 2007 Chrysler 300 sales for under $20K.

The secret to the Japanese success was consistency delivering good product that built a loyal following over many years. Let us see how GM follows up the NG CTS. Couple days now! Should be a first step in knowing if GM at least gets that.

Edited by evok

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I've gotten a similar reaction from dealership staff when I walked onto the lot of the local Mercedes dealership (I was just looking for giggles) in shorts, and a t-shirt. The guy kept suggesting that a MB wouldn't fit my tastes (based on how I looked at current time). I let him blather on for about ten minutes, then dismissed him with a firm "I'm just looking". I leave, go home, change into my 3-piece suit and tie and go back out there. Same sales guy comes up to me all grins and handshakes.....till I chew his ass up one wall and down the other for giving me &#036;h&#33;ty service twenty minutes ago. I HATE the snobbery involved with owning import vehicles. I'll gladly move my way up the GM hierarchy Chevy (till I'm middle-aged) Buick (till I'm ready to retire), then Cadillac (Becuase I want the best of everything). Damn the imports.

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I've gotten a similar reaction from dealership staff when I walked onto the lot of the local Mercedes dealership (I was just looking for giggles) in shorts, and a t-shirt. The guy kept suggesting that a MB wouldn't fit my tastes (based on how I looked at current time). I let him blather on for about ten minutes, then dismissed him with a firm "I'm just looking". I leave, go home, change into my 3-piece suit and tie and go back out there. Same sales guy comes up to me all grins and handshakes.....till I chew his ass up one wall and down the other for giving me &#036;h&#33;ty service twenty minutes ago. I HATE the snobbery involved with owning import vehicles. I'll gladly move my way up the GM hierarchy Chevy (till I'm middle-aged) Buick (till I'm ready to retire), then Cadillac (Becuase I want the best of everything). Damn the imports.

:rotflmao:

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There is a subtle social undertone of self-loathing in America;

Yes... well said. Sad but true.

Say what you will about BMW but at least they earned their reputaton

through engineering prowess & racing success... Saying the 3-series

is a luxurious Camry waaaaay too harsh IMO. First off you have to

respect the fact that the 3-series is one of the last cars available with

an inline-six and has ALWAYS stuck to the superiority and inherent

sportiness of RWD (& rear biased AWD).

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>>"About the only thing left is a Chevy and Ford Ridgline "<<

Posted Image

Hi.

Sport Trac and Avalanche came long before the Fridgeline

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Yes... well said. Sad but true.

Say what you will about BMW but at least they earned their reputaton

through engineering prowess & racing success... Saying the 3-series

is a luxurious Camry waaaaay too harsh IMO. First off you have to

respect the fact that the 3-series is one of the last cars available with

an inline-six and has ALWAYS stuck to the superiority and inherent

sportiness of RWD (& rear biased AWD).

Yes...the steering, balance, handling, RWD goodness and the straight sixes are some of the aspects of BMWs I love...I've always liked the fact that they take sportiness and driver enjoyment as seriously as luxury (or more so). I would never compare a 3-series to a pedestrian appliance like a Camry....

The only negative of BMWs in recent years I think is the iDrive.

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The 2nd, bigger problem with your take on this is your assumption that she was 'forced' into a 3-series. Newsflash- She's rich, wants the best, and, if you're talking small sport sedans, you cannot top the 3 with ANY product, period. Stereotyping an older, wealthy woman is a fool's errand and somewhat surprising, given your personal experiences.

If she's worth millions, a 3-series is "sluming" it at best.

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