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''One of these days, Alice - Pow! Right in the kisser!"

Remember Jackie Gleason’s clenched fist and his threat to Audrey Meadows in “The Honeymooners” TV show?

Apparently some folks have had a “pow” in the kisser from their minivan airbag deploying all by itself in some 2011 and 2012 model-year Dodge Grand Caravans, leading to a recall.

I can’t think of a more unwelcome surprise while driving, outside of some fool plowing into me in another vehicle.

Not long ago, an auto manufacturer would have ignored this issue until many more people were injured. It’s good that they ar responding more quickly to problems and determining if they have a responsibility for the failure. Good for FCA.

I absolutely agree.
I have some less-than-sweet memories of my '72 Vega. Especially the memory of when the rear axle slid out of its housing. GM knew of the problem and had a recall that only consisted of checking the end play. It was a farce. I had mine checked twice. The problem was the retention system design, the retaining C-clamp would fall off of the end of the axle, but GM didn’t want to spend the money to fix it properly.

No wonder you can’t stand GM.

I know you will be rightfully skeptical, but CEO Mary Barra was quoted in a recent article saying that she wants GM to change into a customer driven company. She even acknowledged that they were not even close to that for literally scores of years. Still, she wants to sell cars on their merits and not as rental fleet queens. We’ll see if it works, but they have done a lot of things better than they used to. In the words of an investment ad, she wants to make money the old fashioned way - earn it.

In that case, they have their work cut out for them

Make vehicles that people actually WANT to buy, versus people buying something merely because they can afford it

Make vehicles that retain their value . . . this is going to be tough, imo

Get back in the minivan market, with a competitive product. Odyssey and Sienna should be the benchmark. Just saying. Not every family wants or needs an suv. Many people are still quite satisfied with minivans, and GM is missing out on that.

Even though the latest Colorado seems pretty nice, it seems to be directly competing with the Silverado 1500. There seems to be considerable overlap in size, capability, etc. This makes no sense to me. I feel there should be a clear distinction between the medium- and full-sized pickup trucks

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You’re statement that I can’t stand GM is 100% wrong, but there’s no sense arguing it.
I judge GM by its attributes and behaviors, both bad and good, as I do all other manufacturers. I had not one but two bad experiences with their vehicles, GM did not stand behind them, and I’d be a fool to go back. I’ve been “twice-burned”.

And all of us who pay taxes got screwed big-time by the GM bailout. But we’ve done that dance before. I recommend we not go into it yet again, but simply agree that we disagree.

I’m hope Mary Barra can bring GM back to being the world-class manufacturer it was prior to the '70s. She has a big job ahead of her. I wish her and GM well.

I think we should be more worried about Chrysler . . . or whatever they’re called nowadays

Were I in the market for a new domestic-brand vehicle, I’d be the most wary of a Chrysler product

I know reputation is kind of subjective, but I feel Chrysler products have a far higher hurdle to overcome, versus Ford or GM


Lee Iacocca said "if you can find a better built car, buy it!"
Unfortunately, many did.
I actually think (hope?) based on what I’ve seen that FCA will turn Chrysler around, but it’s a huge challenge and will take years. There was a time when Mo Par meant something to a lot of people. Hopefully it will again.


I’m curious why you think Fiat can turn Chrysler around . . . ?

Maybe I’m too cynical and not far-sighted enough

Perhaps it’s because I’ve heard others say they can turn Chrysler around . . .

On the subject of domestic quality vs Asian imports let me suggest considering the difference in the determination of domestic manufacturers to hang on to amortized production capacity vs Japan and Korea. My first observation of holding dear to ongoing processes using amortized equipment was the slant 4 engines from IH many years ago. The entire drive train was off the shelf generic pieces except the engine which was a 1/2 clone of the 2 IH V-8s that were in production. Then, on the other hand, look how quickly Toyota and Honda made totally redesigned drive trains to move from OHV to OHC and quickly moved from RWD to FWD while US makers played with modifying well worn components into their ‘new’ FWD offerings.

And who else remembers watching “The Honeymooners” before they were re-runs?

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I do. Very entertaining, and the stories seem to hold up well even today. Except for Ralph’s domestic violence threats of course. Although they were offered in good nature, they wouldn’t be acceptable now.

Speaking of domestic sedans, my favorite – just based on appearance – has always been the Ford Fiesta. Do they still make that one? If so, anybody have any experience with it reliability- and ride-wise?

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Yes, there is currently a Ford Fiesta in the US Ford lineup

But I woudn’t luse the word “still” as it’s not the Fiesta from the 1980s, and I suspect that’s the one you were thinking of . . . ?

@db4690. I agree that GM should not have abandoned the minivan market. I owned a Chevrolet Uplander which is now in possession of my son. It has almost 200,000 miles with no major repairs. On the other hand, my 2011 Toyota Sienna is in the shop having a new water pump at 90,000 miles. Replacement is a 13 hour job. To me, burying​ the water pump so the engine has to be lifted is a real design flaw. I am not certain that the Sienna is the benchmark of minivans.

Huh?? That is a confusing statement. People buy what they WANT but often more than they can afford - Their choice, not GM’s

GM builds the vehicles that it thinks customers want to buy like every other car maker. If they miss that mark, the customer goes to Ford or Fiat or whatever marque makes the vehicle they want to buy. Nobody is forcing buyers to spend their money on something they DON’T want.

Sure, you and a few others may want a small pickup truck, for example, but unless there are enough potential buyers AND GM can make money on it, it won’t happen. That is the force of the consumer market. Miss it and die!

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Just being optimistic I guess.
Chrysler/Dodge was a major player primarily for their aggressive cars and engines. I see in the new Chrysler vehicles being released a return to that pony-car aggressiveness. The new Demon, for example. While most buyers aren’t interesting is a car that can make itself disappear in a cloud of tire smoke, I believe there does I believe exist a market segment for this. It’s very old-school. Modern powertrains with large horsepower typically have sophisticated systems to get the power to the ground without burning up the tires, but those burnouts of memory still remain impressive to man older folks.

Fiat itself is also reviving old favorites, like the 124 Sport Spyder and the 500. They seem to me to be on a good track. Time will tell if my optimism is rewarded.

I’m with MB on this…I do NOT want to see GM fail. I’d LOVE to buy a GM product again. I’m in a wait and see mode. I hope the new CEO can turn it around. But it’s going to be tough to change a company attitude. There already is some resistance to the change.

Gee - don’t you think that should have been the goal all along.

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One concern I have is that Mary Barra is a GM insider. She built her career there, starting in 1980 at the age of 18. Hopefully she’ll be able to recognize and make the changes necessary.

Barrra said that should have been the goal all along. As I mentioned, she agrees with you that GM wa not customer oriented, and in many ways wanted the customers to conform to their desires. I’ve usually been able to find a GM product that I liked and I bought them at a significant savings. I will have to like them a lot more compared to the competition I found that huge savings is not part of the decision anymore.

Your 2011 Sienna . . .

2GR-FE 3.5 liter V6, I presume?

Yes, I can personally attest, doing a water pump on that engine is not a quick and easy repair.

By the way, initially Toyota said the engine must be REMOVED to replace the water pump, due to space constraints. They later revised that, and said the engine MERELY had to be raised, and raised CONSIDERABLY, to replace the water pump. I wonder which labor estimate your shop is using . . . the original one which quotes engine removal, or the updated one, which entails raising the engine sky high?