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A troubling report in the WSJ

I just saw recently in the Wall Street Journal that Japanese Subaru makers have discovered a problem with the steering columns in Foresters, Imprezas and Crosstreks. There has been no word on what they plan to do with the 10K cars already earmarked for the US. Apparently at these factories, there has also been death by overwork problems.
Well, I was planning to buy a Crosstrek this year, but this has me worried. Should I have confidence in the products of a company whose workers are dying from overwork?

Eleanor , you can’t find the color you want in a Crosstrek ( your other thread ) now you are concerned about a problem . Seems like it might be time to expand your list of vehicles.


I wouldn’t, but I live in the United States and I buy GM cars and mostly pre-owned GM cars.

I need a foreign car like I need tap-dance lessons.

What country are you in and what are you driving now?

Problem solved, after they sorted-out the Hitachi-sourced problem, Nervous Nellie…


Well, I am bringing questions here that are less than earth-shattering ones, understand. My question about color was meant as a way to ask if I had any choices about the matter. I like green: am I really stuck with what they offer?

My present question has to do with common sense wisdom-- is this a trend that should put me off what might turn out to be a lemon? My cars need to last ten years. It’s a big investment, and I am thinking hard about it-- I hope that is right to do, hm? Or is this a place where one gets mocked for bringing detail-type questions?

I do have other cars I am looking at. I am most interested in the Crosstrek Consumer Reports rates it most highly in its class. I need a high quality car for my money.

I live in Indiana, where it is wicked , wicked cold (I am originally from New England, can you tell?). I want a smaller, highly rated all wheel drive that is affordable. Right now I have a 2009 Honda CR-V, which has been very good but is a bit large and not as agile as I could wish. If you have ideas, I’m listening!

In 2009, the CR-V was the very definition of affordable all wheel drive! At this point, I’d say very nearly any car or SUV will last 10 years, and more, driven 15K miles a year. That doesn’t mean they won’t require repair during that time and we are all looking for low repair frequency. The ratings you read from any source are all based on the past.

Nobody can predict the future so the reliability of a 2019 model is a guess until it has been out in the market for a few years. You have to base your decision on the manufacturer’s track record. There are some hints, though. If the car was recently redesigned (All New for 2019!!!) you might be a bit wary of that model. New stuff is an unknown, especially for certain manufacturers (GM, cough, GM, cough).

I think the bast way to find your next car is to hit the used car lots. Big ones. CarMax and others of similar size. Test drive the models to find one that fits you. You may find a bargain in a 2 or 3 year old car still with a manufacturer’s warranty. Or you may find Model ABC fits you to a T and rush to the ABC dealer to order up a new one.


Is what a trend?
Do you mean manufacturers being more upfront and proactive regarding manufacturing problems and safety issues?

Would you prefer to live in “The Good Old Days”, when manufacturers ignored known problems, failed to notify both potential buyers–and those who had already bought their cars–of significant problems, and then refused to stand behind their products?

A classic example would be the 1953 Buick’s optional Power Brake system, whose design was defective from square one, and which resulted in many accidents and several deaths. GM never acknowledged this problem or paid for repairs to cars with those defective brakes, but by the end of the '53 model year, they quietly changed the design of the system.

Wow, what are you, like 90 years old? Your ignorance from this statement suggests it. Seriously, who uses language like “rice burner” anymore? I suppose to you, all of these cars are from “the Orient”, right?

Subaru has manufacturing plants in the U.S. - including Indiana, where the OP is from. Toyota, Honda, Nissan…all are built substantially in the U.S. of A.

I hope you don’t drink Budweiser, feed your dog Purina pet food, or buy gas at a 7-Eleven. All of those are technically “foreign” brands.

OP: For me, the concern about the steering column would not be enough to dissuade my purchase. You’ve just got to decide whether that negative outweighs all of the positive aspects about the car that you like.

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My Acura was built in Ohio, btw.

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I live in Lafayette, where the Subaru factory is. Unfortunately, they don’t make the Crosstrek here; it is made overseas.

A car isn’t an investment. It’s an expenditure. I can afford practically any brand new cars, but

I have come to buying pre-owned cars to reduce the amount of money wasted on car ownership. However, people say I’m lucky because I know a bit about cars and repairing them. It’s not luck. I’ve paid attention, taught myself, invested in tools & information, and am not afraid of using some elbow grease.

Trust me, Indiana is not cold, nor particularly snowy compared with the location of my home to your north, several hundred miles, and above the 45th parallel. In decades of daily driving through all kinds of winter conditions I never got stuck once, left the road, was involved in a collision, had a car not start, and they were all Chrysler or GM front-wheel drive passenger or mini-van vehicles. All vehicles have had regular all-season tires.

Hint: It’s more driving technique than the exact type of passenger car that makes the difference in winter driving.

The trend I am speaking of is the trend of forcing workers to do overtime until they are cross-eyed with fatigue and losing the will to live. From what I read Japan has some unique labor and work habit problems, ones that could quite likely affect the quality of manufacturing. If a company has a popular product-- like Subaru-, it stands to reason that they might do unwise things to maximise profit in factories that don’t have US labor laws. That isn’t a problem that is easily solved as finding a defective part.

[moderator removed rephrased quote]

The new Hyundai Kona has been getting a lot of praise in the automotive press. I would look at that one as well as the Crosstrek.

(I am having to think about a replacement for my most excellent 1999 Honda Civic EX 5 speed with almost 190,000 miles, and find myself at least considering small “SUV” designs like those two.)

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@Shadowfax wasn’t over the line. He was just correcting your statement. You purposely left out the FACT that many American brand cars are NOT made in this country, yet many Japanese and Korean brands ARE.

We’ve been buying American made Japanese Brand vehicles for over 20 years. Last American Brand (GM) vehicle we owned was a piece of crap. Every vehicle we’ve owned since that had fewer problems at 3 times the mileage that GM vehicle had.

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My very personal opinion: while I owned a number of Subarus, I grew tired of some their engineering oversights, but selecting between Hyundai and Subaru, I would not even consider Hyundai given their very patchy engineering errors history track

Why to limit search to Crosstrek? CR-V / RAV4 are ather good candidates in the same segment

Hi CSA, I tend to agree with shadowfax and others. I did remove the comment from your initial post. I think what shadowfax (and Mike and Bikeguy) have gotten at is that there’s another way to say what you said without using the term, for a variety of reasons. In fact, if you removed that comment altogether the meaning of your post is exactly the same. I don’t think anybody would have really mistaken shadowfax’s altered quote for your words, but people passing through might not get the context. I’ll remove the altered quote to eliminate any confusion that might arise.

Yes, I am considering those too. Honda’s website is not quite as easy to get info from as Subaru’s, so I called a dealership with them. As for the RAV4, it is a bit larger than I would like, but a good car all the same. I was looking for the slightly smaller crossovers.

add Mazda CX-3 / CX-5 to the list, they make quite good crossovers, CX-5 drives better than CR-V in my view

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