jlgolden

New car in the family - We tried to buy American but...

28 posts in this topic

My biological father recently moved back to Houston, and promptly totalled a nice 2005 Corolla. In looking for a replacement vehicle, the criteria for the new car was simple: Must be new, automatic, ABS, no more than $16,500, and must be a 4 door sedan - no hatchbacks. His experience with GM and Chrysler products...in the the 1980s and 1990s..meant that those cars were NOT allowed on the shopping list. Dad's was at first fixated on looking at a 2009 Corolla or Yaris. After much pleading, I managed to get the Aveo, Cobalt, and Focus on the consideration list. But those cars are hard to find with ABS. The only Aveos with ABS had other features which jacked the price to nearly $18K...Ridiculous! Even with "Red Tag Event" pricing, these cars were waaayyy overpriced. And Cobalts and Focuses with ABS were virtually non-existent. I almost felt sick. I wanted soooo bad to get my dad into a domestic brand again. But, to make a long story short, Hyundai dealers in the Houston area have enough insight to stock about 50% of their 2009 Accents with the ABS package. The Accents are solid and stylish. Their reputation is respectable. Many others we know (including my ex) have had good experiences with Hyundai. SOLD! A brand new car with a tasteful (read: "Not Trendy") design, an awesome warranty, and purchased for a tick over $15,000. Sorry GM and Ford, but you lost out on another sale due to an options / equipment goof-up. Geez, this is 2009 we are living in...why isn't ABS just standard on everything now? I'm still a little sick that there's not a little Chevy in Dad's driveway now. When he's ready to replace the Accent in 6 or 7 years, maybe GM will be more aware and focused, and have a handle on product offerings, costs, and features.

Edited by jlgolden
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I don't understand. Did I just drop into a bad Rod Serling episode? ABS is standard on the LT Cobalt for '09, as are 16" wheels and a host of other features. Considering you can buy the car for under $15k in Canada, I find it hard to believe you can't do a lot better than that in the States. Am I missing something?

And the march toward THIRD WORLD status continues.................

Edited by CARBIZ
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I don't understand. Did I just drop into a bad Rod Serling episode? ABS is standard on the LT Cobalt for '09, as are 16" wheels and a host of other features. Considering you can buy the car for under $15k in Canada, I find it hard to believe you can't do a lot better than that in the States. Am I missing something?

And the march toward THIRD WORLD status continues.................

Not in USA. It is standard only on 2LT and SS (which comes with TC standard too), if I remember correctly.

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My 1LT '09 Cobalt does not have ABS, it's an option, but ABS is standard on the 2LT Cobalt. Too many Chevy dealers, imo, are not stocking 2LT Cobalts... I guess they think nobody wants a fully-optioned small car. They're wrong.

Not sure about Focus sedan and ABS availability.

Mr. Golden, if you can swing a photo of your dad's new car, please post. And good luck to him with it.

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While ABS is good, I hardly think it's a deal breaker. No safety equipment can replace good driving skills. None of our cars have ABS, and not once did I feel I needed it.

Still, I can see why you/your dad would be frustrated at not getting the options you WANT without paying an arm and a leg for 200 extra options you don't want or need. And with all that Said ABS should be standard, if only because it looks good on paper.

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While ABS is good, I hardly think it's a deal breaker. No safety equipment can replace good driving skills. None of our cars have ABS, and not once did I feel I needed it.

Still, I can see why you/your dad would be frustrated at not getting the options you WANT without paying an arm and a leg for 200 extra options you don't want or need. And with all that Said ABS should be standard, if only because it looks good on paper.

There is plenty of empirical proof that ABS improves stopping distances unless you are trying to stop on loose gravel, or another equally-not-dense type of surface.

Like many features you don't see the need for until you use it, ABS makes you wonder why you lived so long without it.

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Saw someone in a Fusion yesterday lock up their brakes because some idiot made a left turn in front of them but didn't realize traffic was backed up on the road they were trying to turn on to. That could have been ugly.

Edited by Satty
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There is plenty of empirical proof that ABS improves stopping distances unless you are trying to stop on loose gravel, or another equally-not-dense type of surface.

Like many features you don't see the need for until you use it, ABS makes you wonder why you lived so long without it.

I have driven cars with it, and I have nothing against it, I also know that it improved stopping. However, in all the accidents my family has been in, not one would have had a different outcome with ABS. Again, it's good to have but it'll never trump actual driving skills, that's all I'm saying.

Edited by Dodgefan
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+1 for driving skills and +1 for posting pics of the new ride, Mr Golden!

That being said, I can't imagine anything built by hyundai or Kia ever trumping a domestic or a Japanese vehicle, much less one from Europe.

Don't get me wrong, but even without the ABS, I would have been all over a Cobalt or a Mazda 3...or for that matter an Astra, now that dealers are performing sexual acts if you test drive or buy. (not quite, but they are damn near giving them away.)

Chris

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My friend's wife's Elantra is actually a really nice ride. I'd definately put it ahead of the Cobalt when you take into consideration price vs. options. The Elantra is about $2,000 less until you take the Cobalt's endless discounts into account, then they're about even, and the Elantra is better looking.

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While ABS is good, I hardly think it's a deal breaker. No safety equipment can replace good driving skills. None of our cars have ABS, and not once did I feel I needed it.

Still, I can see why you/your dad would be frustrated at not getting the options you WANT without paying an arm and a leg for 200 extra options you don't want or need. And with all that Said ABS should be standard, if only because it looks good on paper.

Yup I agree, ABS is never a deal breaker.

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My friend's wife's Elantra is actually a really nice ride. I'd definately put it ahead of the Cobalt when you take into consideration price vs. options. The Elantra is about $2,000 less until you take the Cobalt's endless discounts into account, then they're about even, and the Elantra is better looking.

Say what?

The Cobalt is no looker but it at least looks nice in a bland sort of way; the Elantra looks like a squished LaCrosse. :yuck:

official-pictures-of-the-chevy-cobalt-ss

2009_hyundai_elantra_7.jpg

To each his own.

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of the Elantra either. It's an epitome of very bad styling cues taken from a host of indifferently designed cars. But, as Dodgefan said, to each his own.

If I were in the market for a compact car, either the Mazda 3 5-door or the Saturn Astra 3-door would be calling my name, in black and with a manual transmission of course. (The Cobalt SS Turbo would be on that list too, if the price is right.) I'm not really much for new cars, or front-drive cars, but I do appreciate a fun-to-drive small car and wouldn't totally write one off of my list, if I could buy it exactly the way I want it.

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The Elantra looks like it was designed by humans, the Cobalt looks like it was designed by Avis.

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Rational Car Buying Criteria or Unreasonable Expectations ?

Some people must have all-wheel drive, others must have leather seats, others will only drive a Pontiac because that's the right thing to do. Whatever. So we all have motives for our purchases.

ABS is valuable to my family. Period.

Cars like the Cobalt, Astra, and Focus are - in many ways - more appealing than an Accent. We knew this.

I scoured dealer inventories online, before we wasted any time driving around town.

Every Cobalt with ABS was all still about $1000 beyond the cost cap, even with "Red Tag Event" pricing.

I located ONE Focus that had the right equipment, but it was an unappealing color.

The hatchback body style of the Astra (plus the added uncertainty regarding future extinction of Saturn dealerships) ruled out the Astra from day one. And really, the Accent competes more so with an Aveo than a Cobalt. Putting Aveo and Accent side by side...well...it's really Daewoo vs. Hyundai. Who wins that competition...and on what terms? We can argue different angles all day.

I hope that I'm never restricted to shopping for cars in this $15K to $16K price range for ME to drive every day...but even within a "tight" budget, it's fair for a buyer to have certain criteria for his new car.

Why make unneccesary sacrificies when Hyundai offered the right look, the right feel, the right features, and the right price. The Hyundai dealer even had several colors to choose from. Wow...it's starting to make sense! You stop shopping around when the right car is readily available, directly in front of you.

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.... and you get to send a Korean worker's family to college! What a bonus! Hope your kids will be able to go to college one day, too. <_<

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Thing is, that while the American automakers really need a sale more than Hyundai, jlgolden has a very good point. I mean why would you have to "settle" You should be able to buy exactly what you want.

A t hought though: couldn't you have just ordered one the way you wanted it?

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There were a few factors pressing the need to make a purchase and get the financing worked out, etc. within a narrow time line. So ordering a car - or waiting a few days to locate one and have it transferred to a local dealer - was not going to work.

While Hyundai Motor Company (corporate) benefitted from the Accent purchase, the bigger picture is that Dad's purchase supported a local business and its operations. The Hyundai salesman got something out of it, so did the finance guy, so did the receptionist, so did the janitor. When Dad returns to the dealer for maintenance, the Hyundai technician gets additional labor hours on his time card. The American advertising agency that Hyundai pays - is able to pay its own U.S. employees - with funds generated from Hyundai sales.

P.S. I already ordered an Accent cargo net from a Hyundai accessories store, which operates out of Massachusetts.

It all boils down to car companies offering the right product at the right time in order to get the sale. In turn, the sale generates an immediate and future revenue stream right hear on U.S. soil.

However, Marketing and Engineering are my fields of study, not economics, so I'll stop here.

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Oh shoot, it's an Accent, not an Elantra? How could I have missed that?

I have to admit, I was looking at the uplevel Accent 3-door before I bought my Cobalt. I still think it's a cheeky little monkey, and in Apple Green it stands out amainst the sea of gray small cars.

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And the point still stands: on the alter of Choice we are slaying our entire way of life, or are people not aware of the sudden, unerring slide into oblivion our way of life is going?

Service jobs are not going to make up the difference for the high paying, value added jobs that we have shipped over seas. No amount of spin is going to change that. I cannot believe that out of the 100+ models that Detroit builds, not one single vehicle would have sufficed.

But that's fine, those who won't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And if everyone who goes out and purchases a foreign nameplate thinks they are somehow not part of the problem, well, all I can say is whatever helps you sleep at night.

The whirlwind that is coming is all our fault and, frankly, we deserve it.

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Yeah, it sucks being on a tight budget - like my Dad - where the appealing, affordable new car choices are quite limited. Detroit's offerings for $15K failed to meet the criteria, and did not make the cut this time. If the car budget was just a tad higher, like $16500, we would have not considered an Accent. And if the budget was closer to $20K, then a Malibu or Fusion would work just fine.

Geez, if Chevy would just made ABS standard on the Cobalt, I think we could have worked a deal on a base model and ended up priced exactly where we needed to be.

If we could have located a properly-equipped Cobalt online - without having to mess around with a salesperson - we would have persued that route further. But why hassle with the Chevy guys who (order their inventory in a way such that they) don't want to compete with Hyundai, anyway?

I'm all about buying a domestic product...if it meets your needs. My Dad is 59 years old and now disabled. He has owned lots of great cars over the years, and he's pretty sharp. He feels that it's enough of a sacrifice having to drive a bottom-feeder car...so at least he should get it with the basic safety features he's accustomed to!

Looking around my nice middle-class neighborhood, where the average homeowner age is probably 35-ish years old, we mostly have full-size GM and Ford trucks & SUVs in the driveways. My household contributes to that landscape. But in the last 4 months, I see that 2 new Yaris', and a totally stripped down (but with ABS!!!) 2009 Corolla showed up in my view.

Why couldn't my neighbors have purchased domestic brand cars this time? Price? Features? Perceived quality? Bad experience with the 5 year old Sunfire or Taurus that they just replaced? Lord knows.

If the recession continues to squeeze people, how much increased demand for well-equipped $15K cars might we see? Detroit is more successful at serving those with bigger budgets. They grudgingly introduce cars such as the the adorable little Aveo (which would not hit its current price point if it were built in Kansas) and they put a nice marketing spin on it, and the media relations people fake a smile through the car's introduction and unveiling.

Meanwhile, KIA, Hyundai, and Toyota - who seem to have done their research - are in a pretty good place... maybe because they offer small cars with a tidy look, feel, and exceptional features for the money.

Detroit does bigger cars better than it does small cheapo cars. That legacy continues and is exemplified by the scenario surrounding my Dad's Hyundai purchase.

I like and crave mid-size and full size vehicles...and will continue to buy domestic...as long as it appeals to me and meets my needs. God... I hope my finances never force me into a new car smaller than a Malibu, but if it did...Whew! The competition is fierce.

Edited by jlgolden
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And buying an Aveo, G3, Epica, or Optra won't?

Can't say I'd argue that point, but under the category of 'If You Can't Beat'em, Join'em,' Detroit has had to fight back in the low-price field with their own made-in-Korea products. However, at least the DNA is GM and the profits (such as they are) can come back to us. OnStar, XM radio, the engine technology can come from America, not entirely Korea.

How much R&D does Hyundai do in the States? How many engineers, chemists, etc. do they employ here? That is the battle ground; not where 'final assembly' is: that only makes the accountants and taxman happy.

As a Canadian, I am further incensed by Hyundai and Kia because they employ ZERO people here, other than a couple parts warehouses and their few dozen or so dealers. Everything else they do is imported.

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...and they will have fewer people employed here once domestics go play dead....

Chris

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jlgolden, let me say this, you should not feel sorry for the decision your dad made to buy Hyundai. In fact, he shouldn't feel sorry either. His money, his decision.

In fact, I've toyed around with the idea of buying that very same car. I love the accent. They are good on gas, they look good, the interiors aren't bad. For the money, they give pretty good value.

I personally would never "settle" for whatever car, just because it's made in the US or assembled in Canada, or what have you. My money is simply that, and I would do with it whatever I want to. If GM, Ford and Chryco made cars worth my money, I would continue to purchase them. I've never owned foreign, and even though I plan to purchase a used Astra in a few years, that's not to say I won't replace my vue with something foreign when the time comes. Only time will tell.

But back to my original point, you and your dad don't have to feel sorry for anything. He's worked hard for his money, and he should be free to buy with it whatever he wants to, domestic or not.

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