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Has the quality of american made cars improved in the past 10 years?

 
 
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2018 03:50 am
Sounds a bit like an open door, but I'm looking for concrete information. I recently got into a near row with someone who claimed that american made cars are sh*te, always have been and always will be.

Well, he was slightly more nuanced than that, but it was the core of his message.

I argued that the crisis has forced the american car industry to reinvent itself, at least to an extent, but he was having none of that, and I didn't have the data to back my claim up: it just seemed logical to me.

So my question here is: has the overall quality of cars made by american manufacturers gone up over the past decade, and if so, in what aspects? (fuel consumption, overal safety, comfort, pollution, etc.)

Thanks in advance!
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2018 07:30 am
@najmelliw,
Consumer Reports monitors cars year in and year out. Their refrain over the last few years is that US car makers are making the best cars they ever although everyone is improving as well. That said, this most recent reports doesn't look great.

https://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability-owner-satisfaction/car-reliability-us-automakers-vs-the-world/
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2018 08:24 am
@najmelliw,
I can only answer anecdotally but I do read Automobile Magazine every month.

They are under the impression that American made cars (at least the ones they prefer to drive ... those on the sportier models) are being built with plenty of good innovations and solid built engineering.
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2018 09:06 am
@tsarstepan,
That's the traditional ding on US cars - they have all the latest innovations and new technology bugs and rather than fix the bugs, they focus on building something new. Honda for example is known for using the same engine year after year, but continuously improving it so that after a few years, it is extremely reliable.
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najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 01:06 am
Thanks for the answers.

So what I read into them, is that the overall quality hasn't improved all that much, especially the reliability, because rather than keep on developing what you already have in order to make it more dependable and sturdy, american manufacturers would much rather use new, flashy technology with each new model or version, am I correct?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 01:24 am
@najmelliw,
I don't agree, completely. American cars really have improved over the past decade or so. I just don't believe they have kept up with the improvements of many of the Asian cars. I had an '03 Ford Focus for 15 years and for the first 13, it was a total creampuff. In this case, I believe the model started going downhill around 2012.

In May, I bought a new car. It was a Toyota. My biggest complaint is the lack of clarity in the control markings and the owner's manual. It is also designed to make decisions that I think should be left to the driver. It does have an outstanding for reliability, and that is the most important point for me.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 06:18 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

American cars really have improved over the past decade or so. I just don't believe they have kept up with the improvements of many of the Asian cars.

I think that is the best overall statement.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 07:23 am
Toyota has taken over the number one spot in world-wide sales from General Motors within the last decade. I read an article several years ago comparing the two, and GM was paying tens of millions in contractually mandated bonuses to executives, while Toyota paid about (as I recall it) seven and a half million to all of their management employees, which were performance bonuses. The article pointed out that GM owned and maintained eight executive jets, along with aircrew paid full salaries and benefits, while Toyota had one jet. I wish I could remember where I read it, because there was much more about GM squandering money while Toyota was the "lean, mean" competitor.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Aug, 2018 07:41 am
I lost my internet connection for a while there--although this is not the article I read several years ago, this interesting article explains Toyota's corporate culture.
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