Is it because our main contact point with GM, Ford, and Chrysler are dealerships that for generations have lied, cheated, performed shoddy work in service departments and sold parts at prices that would be called highway robbery in any other industry? Is it because we've purchased new vehicles and warranties aren't honored if something goes wrong? Is it because the new vehicles we've purchased need so much of the warranty work? Maybe. Maybe the frustration is justified.
Maybe those who are getting pleasure from the headlines need to think what would happen if GM, Ford, and Chrysler went away. Maybe they need to think what would happen to the economies of the United States, Canada, and Mexico if these automakers were gone. Every person living in North America is impacted by what happens in the auto industry. If that industry went away, living conditions would deteriorate.
There are many who say that big foreign firms are also American automakers. Look at the foreign plants in the United States employing American workers. Yes, they are employing Americans, but they are not American automakers and the profits they generate here go to Japan, Korea, etc. That's not to say that they don't build great vehicles in these plants. Look how Toyota has passed Chrysler, Ford, and, by the time you read this, may have passed GM to become the world's largest automaker. It didn't do this by building garbage. Toyota vehicles have a reputation for quality that sells. While Toyota dealers are as good or bad as their North American marque counterparts, Toyotas are usually so reliable that we don't need to see if the dealership will honor the warranty. The same applies to Nissan, Honda, Subaru, and so on.
Those who love the imports (and the American-built imports) waste no time pointing this out to anyone who'll listen. What they and everyone else need to do is take a trip down to a GM, Ford, or Chrysler dealership, look at what's on the lots today and compare these vehicles with their import counterparts. I get a chance to evaluate many new vehicles and have been favorably impressed with the current crop of North American vehicles, especially when comparing them with the imports. And remember, I've always liked imports. The GM, Ford, and Chrysler offerings have comparable performance, and they always have better NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) values, simply meaning the North American vehicles are quieter. The quality of these vehicles has come a long way from a few decades ago when we used to make a long list of problems after we purchased a new American vehicle so the dealer could either fix what was on the list or make excuses why those defects weren't covered by the warranty. The new American vehicles exhibit the same close tolerances and tightness that the foreign vehicles do.
In closing, let's talk trucks - for years a market segment ruled by the Big Three. American trucks are big, brawny, and do what Americans ask them to do. Imports made inroads in places such as the mini-truck market but never really challenged in the fullsize segment. Nissan introduced the Titan with its superb V8 and upped the ante. The Titan is a great truck that still doesn't compete with, say, a Ford F-150 when it comes to doing hard work. The Ford has a 9.75-inch ring gear in the rearend and a beefy frame that's as strong as the Nissan's. The Ford also has styling that people in the heartland like. Toyota has introduced the new Tundra with a larger ring gear in the rearend than Ford's and more V8 horsepower than any fullsize pickup offers. The Tundra may actually challenge the Big Three where they live, but as I was looking over a Tundra 4x4 at a recent show, two guys were commenting that they'd NEVER buy a truck that was so ugly. While I don't agree that it's ugly, should Toyota have talked more with farmers, ranchers, and truck owners - traditional fullsize truck users - when designing a truck that's supposed to take on the Big Three? The Tundra is a great truck, and this is something you never would have heard us say a few years ago when talking about a foreign fullsize pickup. American trucks are still on top, though, and it would pay to take a close look and a drive in any of them. You can reflect on how great our North American vehicle offerings have become. Then, reflect on what would happen if we no longer had these vehicles.