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Good ol' American incompetence

2007-10-12 13:46:30.448669+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but Slactivist: Break down is a little ramble on why our distrust of American built automobiles was deliberately created by the very industry which now decries the hole they have to dig themselves out of:

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have loudly insisted for years that they are technologically incompetent. They have spent millions of lobbying dollars to explain all the things they cannot do, all the improvements they are unable to make, all the ways their abilities, designs and engineering are inferior to those of their competitors. All of that money spent advertising their limits and incompetency has had an impact. American car buyers listened. We believed them.

Starting with, for instance, better fuel mileage.

[ related topics: Consumerism and advertising Automobiles ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-13 11:50:46.428424+00 by: meuon [edit history]

It's a factor, one of many. I popped onto the Ford lot looking at F-150's a few weeks ago, "Traveller" has many miles on it and I was wondering about a deisel, what new trucks were like, etc.. Ford makes a good truck and I was just wondering. .. Gawd the new ones are UGLY. Hummeresque wannabe nonfunctional ugly. Like the seats: Leather captains chairs with a big fixed center console are both uncomfortable and impractical. Ask for cloth and/or bench seats and they look at you funny, take you to F250''s, white, stripped down. Even the vents are fake pseudo-military round vents.

I thing "Traveller" is going to get a good going over, fix a few minor cosmetic things and go for many more long rides.

My point is, they are out of touch, I want my truck to be functional and comfy, the only reminder I need that the world is crazy is my .45.

As for quality, I've been impressed by the drivability and performance of the 1993 Saturn I'm using as an around town go-cart, now over 180k miles, but it sure ain't the little Subaru.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-13 17:58:32.339629+00 by: TheSHAD0W

If you want a diesel truck I recommend Dodge. They use engines made by Cummins and they're excellent. Note that you aren't going to get a 1/2 ton truck w/ a diesel engine from anybody; 3/4 ton is the minimum.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-13 21:59:56.622887+00 by: meuon

Daniel Cummins (son, heir.. ) is a local, met him a few times. Neat thing about the Cummins is they are very hackable, for both mileage and performance. A couple of quick part changes and you have a dashboard adjustable (manual crank knob) turbo wastegate control, and for just a few hundred bucks you can add a computer control that does amazing things.

You used to be able to get a Cummings in a (big) Ford, and some people offer refits, but that's just not practical for

But you just pegged a real issue: An F150 is a lot of truck, especially my SuperCrew (great idea, 4 door truck). Why can't I get a small diesel in it?

Clueless marketing and design folks driving what should probably be engineering decisions. I feel (no data) the foreign makers are a little more engineering driven.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-14 00:06:31.737514+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Because you need big front springs under that heavy diesel. The torsion bars under the front of the F150 just won't do it. And the front is the expensive part to beef up, once that's done you might as well put a few extra leaves on the rear and call it an F250.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-15 10:03:32.078452+00 by: meuon

They make small lightweight and powerful diesels as well, but you are right, I understand the economics.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-16 12:44:09.003833+00 by: JT

Over the weekend, I drove someone's Big Horn edition Dodge 2500 Diesel double cab. It was an incredible truck. The engine was smooth, the gearing made it feel powerful, and the handling was unbelievable. According to him, the mileage is about 20mpg on average, which doesn't seem too bad considering he's usually towing a boat around with it.

I've had a couple of Chryslers since Daimler took over, and they're quite impressive. I'm afraid when they offload the company to someone else, they'll lose the quality that's recently been put into the Chrysler lines.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-17 03:00:41.922616+00 by: TheSHAD0W [edit history]

There are basically two kinds of diesel engines. The cast-iron, high-compression monsters which deliver huge amounts of torque when you need it, with the smallest varieties found in pickup trucks; and engines like those found in Mercedes and Volkswagen cars, which are essentially hyped-up gasoline engines, and don't have the compression - and therefore the torque - of the "real" diesels, even if they're still more efficient than gasoline engines.

For the moment only the two car companies I mentioned above are selling diesel passenger cars in the US, and neither makes pickup trucks. The people who buy trucks want POWER - if they have the money for it. If they don't, they buy a 1/2 ton, and the manufacturer drops in a car engine. If the manufacturer doesn't have a diesel car engine then it don't get put in the cheap pickups either.