June 1, 2007
Letters from Quality magazine readers.
Tired of MaintenanceI
am compelled to write to you. I, too, share your story (“Move Over Apple Pie,”
Quality Magazine, April 2007, p. 6). I worked at Delphi and was able to obtain
the employee discount when I instead opted for a Honda Civic. I was so tired of
paying basically a car payment’s worth of maintenance on my 5-year-old Saturn
that I decided to make the break with Delphi/GM. The following year, I changed
jobs. I have now had my Civic for three years and have never had a problem. I
am a firm believer in the “foreign” car companies. However, I want to remind
you that my “foreign” car was built in Marysville, OH, with many local supplier
components. Those “American-made” cars are often assembled in Mexico with
Mexican parts. I think Americans are waking up to the fact that quality is what
matters over false pride in their “American” cars.
Quality Assurance Manager
don’t understand why everyone is having such trouble with their domestically
made cars (“Move Over Apple Pie,” Quality Magazine, April 2007, p. 6). I have
had nothing but American-made cars my whole life, and except for a junker I
bought in high school, I have had no major issues with quality. Currently I own
two Fords-a 2000 Focus and a 1997 Ranger. Both these vehicles have mileage in
the mid 100,000s and both are excellent performers. In fact, every car I’ve
owned has been traded near 200,000 miles. Of the two vehicles, the Focus has
the only maintenance record that includes something other than regular
maintenance, and this was only a thermostat that became stuck. It took me about
25 minutes to replace this. I have a coworker who has a Toyota Camry with far
fewer miles than mine and has had to replace an alternator.
My point is that people often hear what they want to hear and follow the
trends, and owning a foreign car is a popular thing at this time. They are
bombarded with bad press about American car companies with no rebuttal from the
communication is their big weakness. At the same time imports are constantly
praised for their quality and reliability while no one reminds folks that many
American-made cars on the road today are well over 200,000 miles. I would wager
that in a side-by-side comparison of like vehicles over time, the American
brands would stand up to anybody.
It is important for the country as a whole that domestic car manufacturers find
some way to turn popular opinion back to their side. Without this industry we
would lose a huge economic base affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
There is a propaganda war and we are losing.
William V. Goodman
the piece on your recent purchase of a “foreign” brand vehicle. (“Move Over
Apple Pie,” Quality Magazine, April 2007, p. 6)-I was the opposite of you
having bought foreign brands for more that 25 years until I switched back to
American in 2003.
I drove various Mercedes-Benz and Toyotas over that 25-year period and finally
had to give up on them. The repairs and downtime were extraordinary. Three
years ago, I purchased a new Ford F-150 Super Crew Pickup truck. I just went
past 50,000 miles on it, and aside from an oil change every 3,500 miles, the
only expense I’ve incurred on my truck is a new set of tires that I put on it
In 2005 my wife and I purchased a Chrysler Town & Country van (the Limited
model). To date, and over 30,000 miles later, we have not put one penny into
the car, other than regular oil service. This is a far cry from our MBZ and
Toyota days. I believe the quality of today’s American cars are as good as any
foreign brand out there. We love our American cars and definitely feel that we
got our money’s worth in both vehicles.
on you for buying anything foreign when an American-made, American-owned
product is available (“Move Over Apple Pie,” Quality Magazine, April 2007, p.
6). More than 75% of Americans are worried about the national debt, yet we
continue to buy foreign products. You tout quality as the issue, but you
are forgetting a key element of
quality-value. A large portion of the taxes Americans and American-based
companies pay goes toward interest on the national debt. That leaves less for
education, social and health programs, etc. Every time you add to that problem
your children and grandchildren become poorer.
Many people complain about the quality of American cars, yet GM has the highest
quality average over their entire range of cars, even over Toyota.
And then there is the argument that the car you bought was made in the United
States even though it is a transplant, foreign vehicle. Two problems with that
argument-the taxes on the profit went to Japan, and there isn’t a single
machine tool inside any transplant facility that was made in the United States,
only the workers in the plant are American.
My Oldsmobile Intrigue is 10-years-old, with more than 175,000 miles on it and
runs better than ever, with little repair expense.
Impco Machine Tools