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Intrepidation

Time To Buy American

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Insideline

This semi-regular column is written (in his own blood) by an automotive sage and noted malcontent, known as The Mechanic. Mercilessly beaten as a child with rolled-up back issues of old car magazines, our free-spoken hero developed a unique "for your own good" take on cars and the auto industry, along with an unfortunate habit of setting himself ablaze. Later, after a distinguished career as an automotive journalist and magazine editor, he cast off the reins of his musty oppressors, carved out his superego with a plastic spork and became The Mechanic.

"A foolish consistency," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "is the hobgoblin of little minds." And so, after bashing America's homegrown carmakers here over the past few months, today I boldly reverse course and assert that it's your patriotic duty to once again buy American. I'm clearing out my hobgoblins in a full-on effort to save our domestic manufacturers, and so should you.

If you're even half-awake you know that Chrysler, GM and Ford are all on the brink of financial obliteration. Within the next six weeks it's conceivable that one or two of them could go bankrupt and it's likely that by the end of next year all three will have. That is, if nothing changes. And the thing that needs to change most is, well, us. And by us, I mean you.

It's pathetic to watch a once-mighty company like GM grovel for government cash, but expecting a change in federal policy to be the change that saves the car companies is flat stupid. Giving the car companies buckage for doing nothing more than pulling political strings doesn't change the underlying weakness of the industry. All it's going to do is postpone the reckoning, not avoid it.

The fundamental underlying weakness of the American car industry isn't labor cost (though that needs to change, too), but that Americans aren't buying American cars. Even the good ones.

And there are 40 years of good reasons for this, stretching back to your Uncle Ted's Pontiac Parisienne with the red velour interior, the wire wheel hubcaps and the ability to shed chrome trim at highway speed.

But today there are more competitive domestic models than ever before. GM, Ford and Chrysler each have their fare share of cars and trucks that pack high levels of build quality, driving dynamics and overall design. In other words, there's no reason not to do the patriotic thing and buy an American set of wheels.

And I'm not listening to any crap that says a Toyota Camry assembled in Kentucky is an American car. Forget it, Bud; that thing's as Japanese as whale hunting and ritual suicide.

Meanwhile, it's impossible to argue that cars like the Chevrolet Malibu, the Ford Fusion and the Saturn Aura aren't competitive with the Accord and Camry. Even if they are still a smidgen behind those Asian benchmarks, that smidgen should easily be overcome by patriotic duty.

Patriots know that one of the things that makes America great is that it has an auto industry. And patriots don't want Ford, Chrysler and GM to swirl down the same toilet bowl that flushed away British Leyland and the rest of the English car business.

This happened once before, you know. It was 30 years ago. Chrysler was done, bailed out by the government and revived by the buying public. The CEO of Chrysler at the time, Lee Iacocca, convinced Americans through a series of TV commercials he appeared in, that buying a K-car was the right thing to do at the time.

Buying American became fashionable and Chrysler thrived. Next thing you know, we have the minivan, the Viper and the Grand Cherokee. Things turned around, because Americans cared about America.

You do care about America, don't you?

Look, you may want a BMW 5 Series and you may even deserve a BMW 5 Series, but right now it's important to do the right thing and buy a Cadillac CTS. Even if you think the BMW is better in every conceivable way, you ought to also know that the world would be a much worse place if America didn't have General Motors in it. The mush in your skull knows damned well that GM is a linchpin in our economy and that its failure will lead to a cascade of failures including, most likely, your job, too.

Don't whine that you can't afford a new car. Of course you can. It's just a matter of manning up, gathering your wits and skipping the three six-buck lattes you drink every day. Because if the American auto industry is going to be saved, then damn it, it needs to be saved by Americans. And those lattes are making you fat anyhow.

Here's one American who's shopping for a new American car right now. What are you doing? -- The Mechanic, Inside Line Contributor

E-mail me at themechanic@edmunds.com

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New sig!

I'm not listening to any crap that says a Toyota Camry assembled in Kentucky is an American car. Forget it, Bud; that thing's as Japanese as whale hunting and ritual suicide.
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New sig!

Damnit! That was MY favorite line from the ariticle!!!

I only disagree about the point he made about the cars being a smidgen BEHIND the Camry and Accord...they are equal or BETTER than the Camry and Accord.

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+1

That one line was worth the whole article! And I totally agree that people should really look at these cars because we all KNOW that most of them are at the very least competitive with the rest of the market.

Even though, I'm on of these people, I also liked the line about the lattes making society fat...ha ha

Then again the most unamerican vehicle I've ever owned is my current Grand Cherokee...because it was sold by DaimlerChrysler

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Damnit! That was MY favorite line from the ariticle!!!

hehe mine too, hits home, and borderline un PC!

quickly time to change facebook status! AWAY!

Edited by cletus8269
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If only the Cobalt SS Turbo was RWD, but it isn’t so I’m buying a BMW 135i.

So you can spend more to drive a BMW that loses to Chevys?

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And if the members of the automotive press actually voted with their dollars instead of writing with their hearts, they would all be driving something from Japan or Germany. Well, the smart ones would anyway. The ones who don't live in Detroit. -- The Mechanic, Inside Line Contributor

That statement right there tells me enough about this guy to know that he automatically values imported cars OVER domestics despite his claimed 'logic'. he looks down on Detroit cars and Detroit car buyers.

You do care about America, don't you?

Nope.

I am loyal to Detroit, my friends, my community and the soldiers that protect my life. Sadly, I don't give 2 sh*ts about this country because it sold me and my community and now my last bastion of americana (Detroit) out.

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Damnit! That was MY favorite line from the ariticle!!!

I only disagree about the point he made about the cars being a smidgen BEHIND the Camry and Accord...they are equal or BETTER than the Camry and Accord.

It's perception... People are to damn stupid to realize that the domestics are as good or better than the imports because the PERCEPTION and MYTH of Japanese superiority still lingers. And 1) this MYTH pervades EVERY aspect of our lives here in america and 2) the media continues to sell this outdated theory on a dily basis to reinforce BAD purchasing habits.

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So you can spend more to drive a BMW that loses to Chevys?

What Chevys? The only ones on the market now that can beat the 135 are the Vettes and they cost more.

I love GM. I race a Chevy. But there is nothing in the 135's size that is RWD and can touch it in performance for under 50 grand.

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Again, I found the remarks to the posting more illuminating than the article itself. The guy who remarked his kids will have a dim memory of American cars, like AMC, just makes me want to buy a gun.

Is this the level of ignorance and self-loathing that we have achieved? Wow. Judging by the majority of the posters remarks, I do believe it is time that China or India or the Taliban invade.

We don't deserve to command the world.

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What Chevys? The only ones on the market now that can beat the 135 are the Vettes and they cost more.

I love GM. I race a Chevy. But there is nothing in the 135's size that is RWD and can touch it in performance for under 50 grand.

Cobalt SS is faster around Nurburgring than an E92 coupe. The Cobalt SS can be purchased with Stage II kits.

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If only the Cobalt SS Turbo was RWD, but it isn’t so I’m buying a BMW 135i.

Nice to see a Camaro driven in anger during an autocross.

Chris

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What Chevys? The only ones on the market now that can beat the 135 are the Vettes and they cost more.

I love GM. I race a Chevy. But there is nothing in the 135's size that is RWD and can touch it in performance for under 50 grand.

Your car looks a whole lot like a 92 Camro that runs at our local SCCA events. Your not a member of the OVR region of the SCCA, are you?

Either your car or one jsut dead identical to it lost the E street prepared chamionship to a grabber orange Mustang in the last event of our season.

Chris

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If only the Cobalt SS Turbo was RWD, but it isn’t so I’m buying a BMW 135i.

And this would be the Quote of the Day.

I would call this the definition of irony: here is a man who clearly doesn't understand the point to the posting in Edmunds. GM, Ford and Chrysler must (and I can't be bothered to count them) build at least 100 different models of vehicle, available right here for purchase at a local dealer. But, no, that is clearly not enough for some people.

Is there no end to this madness? Must we walk into a liquor store and spent 45 minutes trying to pick out a bottle of wine because there are, like, 300 brands? Do we have to stand in line at a coffee shop to pay $5 for a coffee while some ingrate tries to choose between the 50 flavors, 12 sizes and 18 cups? It's friggin' coffee!!!!!

Nothing personal, Axoid, but every time some a-hole in a BMW tries to run me off the road while yakking on his/her cell, I pray that his/her job is the first one gone as our society circles the drain.

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Cobalt SS is faster around Nurburgring than an E92 coupe. The Cobalt SS can be purchased with Stage II kits.

I haven’t seen a time for the 135 on the ring, but I would guess that it would be faster than a 335 since it is lighter, smaller, runs bigger brakes and has the same engine as the 3 series.

In all the other metrics that I have seen, the 135 matches or beats the Cobalt SS. Specially at 0-60, by a full second.

Your car looks a whole lot like a 92 Camro that runs at our local SCCA events. Your not a member of the OVR region of the SCCA, are you?

Either your car or one jsut dead identical to it lost the E street prepared chamionship to a grabber orange Mustang in the last event of our season.

Chris

That is me running at OVR. I missed 3 events and lost the championship by one point. The mustang only actually beat me once. Over all it was a good year.

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And this would be the Quote of the Day.

I would call this the definition of irony: here is a man who clearly doesn't understand the point to the posting in Edmunds. GM, Ford and Chrysler must (and I can't be bothered to count them) build at least 100 different models of vehicle, available right here for purchase at a local dealer. But, no, that is clearly not enough for some people.

Is there no end to this madness? Must we walk into a liquor store and spent 45 minutes trying to pick out a bottle of wine because there are, like, 300 brands? Do we have to stand in line at a coffee shop to pay $5 for a coffee while some ingrate tries to choose between the 50 flavors, 12 sizes and 18 cups? It's friggin' coffee!!!!!

Nothing personal, Axoid, but every time some a-hole in a BMW tries to run me off the road while yakking on his/her cell, I pray that his/her job is the first one gone as our society circles the drain.

I get the point just fine. Every car or truck that I have owned in the last 20+ years has been American. All but one was GM. I would by American again, if they had a car that meet my requirements, a performance car that is small, fast, seats four and is rear wheel or all wheel drive. There are at least 6 on the market that meet that spec. Most are Japanese, none are American, and since I still won’t by Japanese, that leaves the Germans.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the average buyer looking for a consumer car. I had great hopes when Pontiac was supposed to become the rwd performance division, but that has come to nothing. I was also interested when Lutz was talking about the next Caddy BTS, but that is not here ether. If I was in the market for a mid-size family sedan, I would be the first in line at a Saturn dealer.

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funny how a lowly michigan built cobalt can keep up with der BMW.

I'm pretty sure the Cobalt is Ohio-built, just like the Accord.

Edited by moltar
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I get the point just fine. Every car or truck that I have owned in the last 20+ years has been American. All but one was GM. I would by American again, if they had a car that meet my requirements, a performance car that is small, fast, seats four and is rear wheel or all wheel drive. There are at least 6 on the market that meet that spec. Most are Japanese, none are American, and since I still won’t by Japanese, that leaves the Germans.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the average buyer looking for a consumer car. I had great hopes when Pontiac was supposed to become the rwd performance division, but that has come to nothing. I was also interested when Lutz was talking about the next Caddy BTS, but that is not here ether. If I was in the market for a mid-size family sedan, I would be the first in line at a Saturn dealer.

I'm scratching my head trying to come up with all of them:

1-series

Impreza

A3

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I'm scratching my head trying to come up with all of them:

1-series

Impreza

A3

Lancer Evo

RX-8

VW R32

G37

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Lancer Evo

RX-8

VW R32

G37

On is a sedan, one is a hatch, and the other is a sedan or coupe. Need I remind you that the Lancer Evo is AWD based on a FWD platform and the R32 is FWD. How do they meet your requirements? What the hell are your requirements?

Want a RWD car? How about a CTS, CTS-V, the upcoming Camaro? Wants something small and fast? Cobalt SS, Sky Redline or Solstice GXP

The G37 isn't all the small, a little bigger and you have the CTS/CTS-V.

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On is a sedan, one is a hatch, and the other is a sedan or coupe. Need I remind you that the Lancer Evo is AWD based on a FWD platform and the R32 is FWD. How do they meet your requirements? What the hell are your requirements?

Want a RWD car? How about a CTS, CTS-V, the upcoming Camaro? Wants something small and fast? Cobalt SS, Sky Redline or Solstice GXP

The G37 isn't all the small, a little bigger and you have the CTS/CTS-V.

..if they had a car that meet my requirements, a performance car that is small, fast, seats four and is rear wheel or all wheel drive. There are at least 6 on the market that meet that spec.

The VW R32 is all wheel drive. I agree the G37 is a little on the big size, but it is still more than a full foot shorter than a CTS.

Edited by axoid
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Axoid is the exact reason why GM must build Alpha!

The time is right for such a car.

I love the Zetas, and the CTS is impressive, and the Cobalt's abilities at its price point are flat out stunning - but Axoid is right.

None of those are suitable for his intent.

It is a hole that GM must fill ASAP, and not just in Caddy trim.

The natural home for Alpha is Pontiac!

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I would help, if the Solstice coupe wasn't that expensive. It's just too difficult to shell out money lately.

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