'Advice Has Changed on What Car to Buy for a Young Driver'

I live in a huge city that does not yet have adequate public transportation

Here, if you do not have a car, many things are not a viable option

The money goes to the company first, then if they want to provide a dividend, some payment will go to the stockholders. Of course you can sell the stock and take a gain or loss whenever you want, but stock holders don’t get profit sharing per se. Like my chemistry teacher used to say when asked a question: “Look it up, it’s in the book”.

I know all this, but ultimate responsibility falls to the stockholders. They elect the board members who hire the managers. That’s where the buck stops. That’s who the managers and board members are accountable to.

The stockholders are the owners.

Well we’re really getting off track. You can’t have responsibility without equal authority. It’s in the book. The only authority stock holders have is to vote at an annual meeting. The reality though is that most of us have stock in mutual funds so we don’t vote at all. The fund votes their block. I’d venture to guess that most people don’t have 1000 shares of P&G to go to the annual meeting and vote for directors. Likewise for any other corporation. So it’s those with big blocks that put the pressure on.

Interesting though at the can plant stock purchases were matched by the company and you got actual stock. The company always paid for one guy from the plant who owned a lot of stock to go to the annual meeting in Philly. One of the reasons I suppose the plant was highly profitable compared to the other plants world-wide. I’m not sure what impact he had on corporate operations though-probably none but he got a trip out of it-clean behind your ears first before the meeting.

Bing, I’m replying to your comment but this isn’t really directed to you alone.

Please don’t pursue the Saudi angle in this discussion. It’s one thing to use cars as a proxy for a trade discussion, but the Saudi thing really isn’t on topic.

I buy local when economically possible. I have witnessed the decades old small businesses fail when the big box stores appeared. I bought my current and previous cars from local dealerships. I truthfully explained that mega dealers in the big city had attractive prices but I valued my money supporting local people. I told them I was aware that the volume dealers received discounts from the manufacturers and only asked for a price as close as possible to theirs. Both times the local dealers matched (previous car) or beat (current car) the volume dealers price. As far as vehicle safety systems, they of course have value, the most effective safety system, is still the driver.

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I always try to patronize local merchants, rather than mega-stores, and I have done very well with my last 3 car purchases from a dealership located ~7 miles from my house. Up until recently, it was a family-run business, and they always treated me both fairly and politely. Additionally, they always matched–or beat–the prices quoted by the mega-dealerships on the highway.

It was really nice to be able to walk into the dealership and be greeted–by name–by the guy at the parts counter, the service writer, and–of course–the saleswoman. And, when the only serious mechanical issue–breached head gaskets–arose with my first Outback, they presented me with a repair bill that was less than $400, so I had nothing but positive things to say about that small, local dealership.

A couple of years ago, the dealership was sold to a guy who also owns a Jeep dealership ~20 miles away. The cast of characters in every department–sales, service, parts–has changed, and because of that fact–plus an apparent big increase in sales–I am now essentially anonymous. :frowning_face:

I won’t be ready to buy my next car for 2-3 years, so I have no idea whether their prices will remain as good as they had been under the previous owners, but I will certainly give them a chance to earn my business.

Who said anything about deviousness? All Fiat had to do to wreck Chrysler was to do what Fiat has always done. Build cars that look great but have abysmal quality standards.

For some reason, the Italians put up with crappy cars that break all the time, but that’s no longer the case here.

All that aside, I never bought into the “buy American no matter what” attitude. I used to hear that a lot in the 80’s and 90’s. I’d actually get stopped in parking lots sometimes when people would see me getting out of my CRX. “Should’a bought American!”

I’d always reply “then America should build good cars.”

I believe in a level playing field. American companies should be the beneficiaries of an infrastructure that enables (but does not force) their success. It is then up to them to compete with what the rest of the world is doing. If you can build a better car than my Hondas/Toyotas, great! I’ll buy it. Otherwise, don’t try to guilt me into buying something inferior merely because it was made here.

Getting me to buy American is the American manufacturer’s responsibility, not mine.

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I worked in the service department of a GM (Buick) dealership in the mid 1970s. Describing the quality of their product as terrible would be far to kind.

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I dunno. I have duct tape over my mouth so I’m a little mute, but I had a 74 Cutlass that I bought new and it was a great car. Sold it at 240,000 miles. I have both GM and Acura and really there isn’t a dimes worth of difference in the quality.

I also dunno. I worked at the Buick dealership from early June 1975 to mid December 1976. 1974 GM cars may have been fine. Our 1975 and 1976 Buicks came with spare wheels. No tires! The dealership owner took pride in his business and valued his customers. He purchased tires and had them mounted. All cars needed a thorough inspection and corrections made prior to sale. A Skylark was rolled off the transporter and knocked very loudly when a dealer prep guy started it. Half a main bearing was missing!!! Sorry GM. No JD Powers awards for 1975/1976.

Two different models from the same company, made in two different manufacturing plants, can have drastically different levels of quality. For example, I bought a beautiful '71 Charger SE, and the car was both flawless upon delivery and of perfect reliability during the 3 years that I owned it. If not for the gas shortages of that era, I would have kept it. Instead, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life by trading it in for a '74 Volvo. In the bargain, I got only ~3 mpg better gas mileage, and unfortunately I also wound-up with the absolute worst car that I ever owned in terms of both reliability and durability.

By contrast with my '71 Charger, my SIL bought a '71 or '72 Barracuda that was the worst-assembled car that I ever witnessed. The paint looked like it had been applied with a broom, there were lumps of some kind underneath the vinyl roof, and some interior and exterior panels were misaligned. The forced-air rear defogger was dangling from the bottom of the rear package shelf, with two bolts missing and one just… barely… attached. Additionally, that Barracuda drank oil like a drunken sailor, and the A/C compressor grenaded about 1 month after the bumper-to-bumper warranty expired.

Like I said before, when we studied the auto industry in school in the late 60’s, absenteeism was identified as a main culprit to quality. The Monday and Friday effect where the highly paid union workers would not show up for work and the less experienced fill-ins had to be put on the line in their place. I experienced the same phenomena in the can plant. As an example, one essential highly paid mechanic made so much that money was not a motivator anymore. He had plenty for his old truck and life style. So often would either close his tool box and go home or just not show up for work. Then the line would either have to slow down or shut down.

So you guys can diss the US automakers and find example after example of quality problems without ever really getting to one of the root causes of the labor culture in particular locations. These were issues that just didn’t exist in some of the foreign manufacturers. Yeah I’m cleaning out my office and came across my old box of TQM manuals and info. Even found Demings VCR. Most of it is going in the recycling tub but I might take a look at the video again. Process and design quality is one thing, but you have to have experienced motivated people too. Nothing against the people that worked hard all their lives but the unions focused on money when money no longer was a motivator.

Oh my gosh, put that duct tape back over my mouth and shut up Bing. People just want to talk about how bad their Chevy was and how good their Toyota is.

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Most of us talking about how bad the Chevy was are talking about how bad it was, not is. Yes, American cars are much better now, but they have a bad reputation to overcome. Much like Hyundai did. In the 90’s you only bought a Hyundai because you couldn’t find a Yugo. They were crap on wheels.

And even though they’re making pretty great cars now, the “Hyundai sucks” stigma is still there. People who got burned on the cheap piles of junk in the 90’s are reluctant to risk their money with Hyundai again.

Same for GM. They’d have a lot more customers right now if they hadn’t screwed people with cheap junk in the past.


Isn’t Fiat a French car company? Others have bashed the reliability of Italian cars. I noticed you answered with an anecdote of longevity in a discussion about quality. I don’t doubt your car lasted that long, it’s not like you had better options in the early or mid 1970s.

Nobody is bashing American car companies exclusively, especially considering the narrow margin of quality of today’s new cars, they’re talking of a bygone era when American car makers were outperformed by the Japanese.

No, FIAT has been an Italian entity since the 19th Century turned into the 20th Century.
Is it possible that you were thinking of the now-defunct French company, Simca, which began as an assembler of FIAT designs?

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Which, by coincidence, was involved with Chrysler.
These cars was sold as Chrysler 160, 160 GT, 180 and 2L(iter) in Europe


and Chrysler was involved with Hillman/Sunbeam as well. Here a Chrysler Sunbeam 1600 -78

Not exactly cars that I would brag about.

Edit: I actually used one of those 2 Liters in a stockcar race (not the US equivalent) and - for the time - it was a darned fast thing. Other than that, it fell apart at the first impact.

Simca had a long and… varied… history, from assembling FIAT designs, to building small versions of Ford Flathead V-8 sedans, to building their own designs, to Chrysler ownership-- which essentially put the final nail into their coffin.

I used to work with a woman who owned a number of true lemons during her driving years, but she reserved special vehemence for the Chrysler-Simca that she owned. She said that it was the worst POS that she ever owned, and her detailed woes made it sound like that Chrysler-Simca was even worse than my POS Volvo!

Compared to the quality of cars from Sunbeam and Simca of that era, You would kiss the hood of that Volvo every day, if You had owned one of those before.
They (Simca) rode really well, the comfort was excellent, had loads of space for the size, but - oh man - the quality. Sunbeam had neither nor that, except even worse quality.
The Simca Vedette (the V8) was a nice car in my eyes.

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We’re thinking about a replacement for the wife’s van. Chevrolet and Buick are on the list, as well as Honda. Even Chrysler is on the list, but only because the Pacifica Hybrid is such an intriguing design. I must admit I have concerns about reliability with the Chrysler.