By on January 13, 2009

One of our economy’s biggest engines is brand loyalty: both trying to keep it and trying to break it. If you’ve seen the first episode of the most excellent Mad Men, you’ll remember the scene where Don Draper is trying to figure out why his waiter smokes X brand of cigarettes, while simultaneously musing about what makes Lucky Strikes so damn special. I mention this not only because i’m a recent convert to Mad Men but because I’ve got to reattach the rear view mirror on my fiancee’s Focus. See, I grew up in a GM household. My dad’s dad was a Buick/Cadillac man and once my father got Renaults and Datsun Zs out of his system (i.e. my sister and I were born) it was Buicks, Chevys and Pontiacs to haul us around. Until he discovered Acura. But I digress. One of the big reasons we were GM-only, was because of my mom’s Ford Falcon. I can still see my dad’s eyes rolling back in his head while he says, “three valve jobs.” Never again. At least for my Mom. Me? I’d buy a Ford, despite this POS focus. But after how I was treated by Chrysler after my father died and I had to deal with his leased Jeep (nightmare), I can easily say never again. You?

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115 Comments on “Question of the Day: I’ll Never Buy [Blank Brand] Again...”


  • avatar
    dulcamara

    VW. We had a POS rabbit for 18 months in the late 70s. Car, dealers, service, were amazing.

    My Dad spent 4 years fighting world war II. Hitler and his minions took it out on me with this car.

    Schiesswagen!

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I know I’ll never buy an extended warranty from Dell. Horrible phone support.

    Every Olds my family ever owned (me included as I was driving a 98 in college) was a POS. Good thing I don’t have to be tempted by any more Aleros.

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    Although my 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage’s two bad axles before 36,000 comes close there is not an automotive brand that has completely lost me.

    I have refused to buy any Nintendo products since the NES due to lack of backwards compatibility when the Super Nintendo was released. They fixed that by the time the Gamecube came around but that was about a decade after I swore them off. Xbox currently has my video game dollar wrapped up.

  • avatar
    snafu

    I’ll Never Buy [a new car] Again! PERIOD

    Those clowns are using our tax money to bail out their ill business practices. They were loosing ground to begin with prior to the economy slide.
    And now they have retooled, reworked, and reconfiged their plan yet again.

    All these talk show guys talking and nothing getting done, we the people need to realize this will keep happening. And the 50 billion is going to walk! Wait till 2012. It will not even matter.

    No soup for you! NEXT

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    me thinks snafu has some larger issues…

  • avatar
    JG

    Snafu beat me to the punch. I bought my new car, Ford already tried to destroy it when I took it in for service… liking new cars is expensive and stressful. Used appliances for me in the future! Except that damn Aston Martin V8 Vantage…

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Pontiac, thanks to the 1999 Montana and the head gasket issues, among other things. It was nice in terms of seating for 8, ride and handling, but it stranded us too many times, and when the motor blew in 2005 @50k roughly, I added up the total cost of owning this thing and realized that I took one helluva bath.

    That thing put such automotive fear into me that I actually bought an extended warranty on a brand new Pilot!

  • avatar
    ajinsac

    I loved my Audi A4 (2.8 V6 30 valve manual tranny). It handled well and was fun to drive. The dealers though were the biggest pain in the ass. There are two here in my city that work specifically on Audi’s and both of them would keep my car for days on end when it just needed a service. They were apparently booked. The service jobs were never done properly and it was just a bunch of excuses when I questioned them about it. I phoned Audi USA to make a complaint and I was told that it would noted to those dealers. I asked if there was a dealer near by that had a good rating and was told NO! I loved my Audi, but I do not think I will ever get another one!

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    Volkswagen. Never again, under no circumstances, ever.

    Ford is a distant #2.

  • avatar
    gaycorvette

    I’ll never buy a SAAB again. They have some great features, great design, and the turbos really drive very well. BUT, I swear, it’s like they were built in Boliva by disaffected Yugo workers. Everything has gone wrong on this car, including having to have the transmission replaced at 23K miles (under warranty, thank God!). When I called the dealer to ask why it was taking so long to fix (three weeks at that point), he replied, “Oh, you’re fourth of seven!”

    I was briefly tempted by the new XWD models, until I read that GM was dialing back SAAB’s drivetrain warranty coverage from 100K miles to 50K miles – and only for SAAB. Couldn’t be a coincidence, could it? Seems like GM has as much faith in SAAB’s reliabilty as I do.

    My favorite failure is when the driver’s side window fell into the doorframe as I was driving in a rainstorm on the freeway in LA. This is a 2004 model, by the way. Not at all one of the older models.

    Nunca mas!

  • avatar
    snafu

    Come on JL, those are some larger issues, connected to and will be shaped by today’s planning forecasts for future production.

    If we were all happy that we could draw a line in the sand and call that start, then we can leave behind the notion that we have lost market value . . . m3thinks.

    Let’s see how many times I have had my 07 GMC in for warranty work, crap, I’ve only two hands.

  • avatar

    Ford.

    I’ve never had a good experience in one.

    An Escort I rented once burst into flames (literally) at a stop light in the 1980s.

    My wife had a POS Tempo when I met her. It was a vague collection of parts moving mostly in the same direction. Made her get rid of it before I’d marry her.

    I drove an Expedition once (another rental)… I swear that thing handled like a La-Z-Boy chair perched atop a shopping cart. I can’t believe they haven’t killed more people.

    Oddly enough, I’ve owned a half-dozen fantastically reliable VWs. If you service them yourself, they just keep running. NEVER have a VW dealer service a VW -that is like buying “protection” from the mafia – you always lose.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    snafu

    JG,

    The AM V8V, that is a horse of a different color.

    :)

  • avatar
    Trevor

    I’ll never buy another TOYOTA EVER AGAIN! Got a 2001 Solara, one year old, with a certified used warranty. Every dealer I’ve been too has treated me poorly, I had my car in to fix a window this summer, the dealer didn’t fix it for 3 months AND lost my car! Unfortunately I got it back, I will never EVER step foot back into a Toyota dealership.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    You didn’t specifically restrict this to car brands, so here is the one that I will go to great lengths to avoid: “Made in China”

    Lead paint in toys, formaldehyde in children’s clothing, melamine in the milk powder, and god knows what they have in other food. If/when they start selling us cars, I for one won’t be lining up to buy one.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I think it’s extremely stupid to swear off buying a car from a particular brand ever again. Things change

    Jonny, aren’t you Jewish? What do you think your feelings about VW would have been back in the 1940s (had you been alive back then)? But in the year 2007 (I think) you wrote a rave review about the RS4. Like I said, things change

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Pontiac.

    We had a Pontiac GrandAm, bought new in 1987 before my parents had me, and before I was 4, it literally didn’t work/start/move. I think the odometer was at 70k-80k? Also VW. Mom had a Rabbit a few years before.

    We got a really old Cressida that worked reliably after, even though my dad was adamant on getting us a Templo. I really liked the Toyota growing up because it was the first family car with a sunroof, and not breaking down at every stoplight wasn’t as embarrasing. :) It’s been Toyota ever since.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Chrysler. I enjoy having a valid warranty too much.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I said “never again” to Oldsmobile and front wheel drive after dealing with a used Delta 88 for a few months in college, but I’ve already gone back on the second one so I’m not sure my resolve would have held up if Olds had managed to produce a car for me.

    I’ve basically loved everything else I’ve owned, especially the cheap trucks.

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    Chrysler, for two reasons:

    1. It is rather disconcerting to have a vehicle’s instrument panel suddenly go completely dead while one is driving. The Maroon Beast (my 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager) did this with distressing frequency. As the saying goes: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Well, the Maroon Beast was showing signs of enemy action WRT the instrument panel. While I eventually found a way to reset things (stop the vehicle, pull the instrument panel fuse, wait a few minutes, reinstall the fuse and restart the vehicle), I shouldn’t have to go to such lengths to placate the electrical gremlins in a vehicle.

    2. More importantly, by the time I’m ready to replace my 2007 Suzuki SX4, I rather doubt that Chrysler will be in business. Even if Chrysler still is in business by that time (hey, the three-headed dog may learn to fly in the next few months), I’ll likely stick with Suzuki. So far, I’m pleased with both my SX4 and the service I’ve received at my local Suzuki dealer; why should I abandon Suzuki in the absence of vehicle or dealer issues?

  • avatar
    meanpants555

    VW and Subaru. Both are fun to drive and tight when new, but they slowly loosen up (body/parts) and become a creaking slack mess.

    I also won’t buy new again, except for a Lotus Evora for which I would sell most of my duplicate organs for.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I’ll never buy BMW again.

    I’ve owned five cars, and they’ve all been RWD with manual transmissions.

    There are a very limited number of RWD manual transmission cars for sale in the US (even less back in 2001 when I got the BMW), so I was tricked by the Germans.

    But, as they say, never again.

    The Detroit companies have cheap, fast RWD manual transmission cars like the old F-bodies and the current Mustang. And also the Corvette, which, despite my disgust with its manufacturer, is amazing.

    The Japanese have incredibly well made, precise RWD manual transmission cars like the Miata, S2000, G35 and IS250.

    The Germans are more expensive than the Japanese with lower quality than the Detroit automakers. Their cars are filled with Achilles heels, and their dealers are horrible.

    Measuring quality not by the ride, or shakes and quivers, or the feeling of the interior plastics, but simply by the number of times something breaks and needs to be fixed by the dealer, the last generation F-bodies have higher quality than anything the Germans have made in the last fifteen years.

  • avatar
    autoemployeefornow

    I had an 89 Dodge Daytona that went to the dealer nine times in the first year. The repairs were all under warranty but what a horrible dealer experience. TWICE they said they repaired something and I had to bring it back to have them actually fix the problem. Maybe they thought I wouldn’t notice. Left a bad taste in my mouth and Chrysler never got my business again.

  • avatar
    starbird80

    I’ve already indicated my growing disdain for Saturn in the recent “Truth About” comments.

    After 3 Jeep products, unlikely to go for another even if the brand survives. Loved the ’78 Cherokee Chief (401 w/Quadratrack!). Liked the ’90 Cherokee Limited, once I put proper tires on – but lost that vehicle to a flood. The currently owned ’01 Grand Cherokee – not so much. Liked it on the test drive but various annoyances that turn up over longer periods are getting to me. Being upside-down on the loan doesn’t make the experience any better.

    Had good experiences with Subaru – would go for a recent Outback or LGT wagon without much hesitation. Loved my ’91 Nissan Sentra SE-R back in the day – but Nissan doesn’t build anything I’m interested in now.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Tthetopdog: So… Jews can’t buy German cars?

    Who are you, my mother?

  • avatar
    RayH

    Car related, I will never buy car parts from Autozone or Advance Auto again. Decent prices and a hassle-free lifetime warranty are great, unless you have to utilize the warranty all the time. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me 7 times…

  • avatar

    VWs and Audis for the crap they call engineering.

    Any Chevy product- the cheapness and penny counting, the rebates undercutting resale, the poor customer service. And for the Aveo, especially the Aveo.

    As much as I hate to say this, Porsche, for not owning up on the shaft failures of 986/996 cars and just sucking up the cost when hugely profitable. No I haven’t been bitten, but it is like waiting for an axe to drop.

    Chrysler, cause… well, I don’t have time to write enough about Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I suppose there are certain cars that I would never own simply out of principle, like any GM from the era of Roger Smith, but other than that I have no huge qualms with any particular marque.

  • avatar
    rkeep820

    no_slushbox … what BMW did you buy? I couldn’t be happier with my 135i RWD stick. The N54 twin turbo is astoundingly powerful, my rear tires break loose at will. It’s as fun as any Mustang I’ve had (and I’ve had 2 GT’s and a Cobra). And I’ve had not one warranty issue so far in a year.

    I would never buy another Ford after they discounted their cars with these stupid rebates which destroyed the value of the loyal customers who bought new before. Their residuals are the WORST the dealers are horrible. I can only imagine what they are like now in this economy.

  • avatar
    f1guyus

    Any GM car since the service manager at the local Caddy dealer started recognizing my voice on the phone. VW. Maybe Benz, mine is a disaster reliability wise but on the road it’s great. One of my friends just bought two newer ones and I’ll base my decision on his experience.

  • avatar
    derm81

    I cannot completely swear off a brand, but I can observe with caution. I had worked an ad agency a few years back and we had several VW company cars. All were new models and were adored by the typical adcrafter crowds. We had a Passat wagon and sedan. Ironically, both cars experienced transmission problems at around 40,000 miles. Both cars had consistent stalling at around 55,000 miles. You have to understand that these cars were maintained well with oil changes every three thousand miles and with generous tune ups.

    VW=fun to drive…not so fun to maintain

    Once I drove the owner’s Phaeton I was convinced that the so-called “German precision engineering” was overrated.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    rkeep820:

    I had a ’95 e36 318i. I replaced the engine mounts twice, replaced the rear lower control arms twice (using stronger aftermarket control arms the second time), replaced the front control arms twice (again with a stronger aftermarket product the second time), had the transmission rebuilt after a fork bent, and constantly stared at an airbag warning light. All while being hustled by various dealers and independent repair specialists. And nobody could align the damn thing because of weird ballast requirements. The car had some sentimental value (even in 318 trim the propeller logo closed the deal with a lot of fun women) so I didn’t give it up as soon as I should have.

    Compared to my previous, bullet-proof 1995 240sx (that unfortunately was totalled) it was a mess.

    If they did a minimalist, cloth, manual seat (I love power locks and doors, 6 airbags and ABS, but power seats just add complexity and annoyance – why get my seat into position in 5 seconds when I can use electric motors to do it in a minute), turbo-4 version of the 1-series I would be very tempted, but still have to say no.

    For my next car I don’t need much space and the current Miata is just way too good.

  • avatar
    crackers

    In 1990, my young family needed an inexpensive, reliable car. We believed all the “Quality is Job 1″ crap and wound up with a Mercury Topaz. Needless to say, it was neither inexpensive or reliable. Every quarter after the warranty expired, Ford put me in the position of having to decide whether to feed the kids, pay the mortgage or fix the car. The experience turned me into an anti-Ford evangelist – my goal was to turn as many people as possible away from Ford and I did so with a wild-eyed zeal that would rival the most rabid TV evangelist.

    No matter how good their candy is today, I will NEVER let them molest me or my family EVER again,

  • avatar
    willamettejd

    VW – never owned one, never will. MANY friends have, and I’ve never heard from A SINGLE ONE who had a good long-term experience. Always starts with a love-stricken 10K miles to begin the relationship (they look and drive GREAT off the line), and ends with endless trips to the shop followed by a “NEVER buy a VW.”

  • avatar
    RobertSD

    An ’89 Suburban ended any hope of GM getting my business again. Our ’01 Civic and the experience I’ve had with it are threatening to eliminate Honda from my list of potentials.

    VW is a brand that I’m very wary of. Everyone around here buys one and then says they never will again.

  • avatar
    Autopassion

    VW – Never, never, never again – even if they came out with a Microbus redesign.

  • avatar
    f1guyus

    Nice to see I’m not the only one with VW issues. Mine shed both front wheel bearings about 2000 miles off warranty. Loved the car but never again.

  • avatar
    heaven_on_mars

    I would not own a Chrysler or VW. Both are ranked among the worst on many lists and only about 20% of the people I meet who own them seem happy about it. I had a 1989 Nissan Maxima that was a total lemon, not sure I would go with them or not. If I do, it will be with their luxury spin off brand. I had owned 3 different Ford products from the 1980s and 1990s. The last one was good, but not great.

    Honda has been great for me. For my family Honda and Toyota have been great and the American brands have okay at best. I wish Toyota had more performance vehicle options in their line-up. If I bought a Toyota, it would most likely be a new Supra or Celica GT if they ever made a new version of those.

    Ford might get me to buy them again, but I do not care if Chrysler made a car as fast as the ZR-1 for that retailed for 30k, I wouldn’t want the headaches of owning a Chrysler.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    @chuckgoolsbee

    “NEVER have a VW dealer service a VW -that is like buying ‘protection’ from the mafia – you always lose.”

    That is truly brilliant, and it summarizes my VW dealer experiences.

    I recently wrote about this on another thread, but it applies here as well. My ’99 Jetta TDI was serviced at a VW dealer exclusively — religiously! They were the first ones to tell me to take a hike when the turbo needed to be replaced ($2,500) and the engine was just barely out-of-warranty (at 50K miles, not 100K).

    As I recall, you have had much better luck with VW diesels. I know other people who have, too, which makes my experience even more disappointing.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    I will never buy a FORD again. FAR to risky of a proposition.

    And that is too bad because I think the 2010 Taurus looks fantastic…it is very hard to believe that Ford NA designed it.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I love my Saab but it is nickel and dimeing (quarter and half dollaring?) me to death. Our Volvo bled us dry. My Audi was very finicky. The end choice was replace the fuel injection in the Bimmer or finish college. Etc.

    Meanwhile, the Toyotas, Isuzu, Nissan and Mazda have all been incredibly durable despite my best efforts.

    Never a GM or Chrysler. Ford….maybe. They’re moving in the right direction.

  • avatar
    Dangerous Dave

    Chrysler, Mercedes and Rolls Royce are off my list.

    My Ram 1500 spent half its life in the shop, sucked gas like it was free and of course the dash self-destructed. My LeBaron convertible’s rear power windows were replaced numerous times, a common problem with these cars throughout their production run. The transmission and head gasket failured within 1,000 miles of eachother,
    ouch!

    My Mercedes SLK 230 had a headlight fail, so I went to NAPA, bought a replacement bulb and installed it. It didn’t work, so i took it to the dealer. The computer had to be reset to get the light to work, $80. Then traveling on the interstate the brakes locked up by themselves and wouldn’t release, leaving me in the center lane stopped with the emergency flashers on. I hauled ass to the curb and called a tow truck. Its amazing the car wasnt creamed by a semi.

    I bought an 94 Rolls and it was a great car when it ran. I was told buy a guy (after I bought it) that it would cost $1,000 a month to keep it running, and he was right. Lots of little electrical problems and small stuff failed. Two steering racks @ $3,600 each, and a $6,000 brake job later I decided the fun was over.

  • avatar
    dimitris

    I think that my single most important car-related I-won’t-ever-buy decision is this: I’ll never, ever buy a house that doesn’t have walking/mass transit access to a critical mass of relevant jobs.

    So I start by taking the “value” I assign to a car, any car, and adjusting it down a couple of notches.

    Next up, Chrysler and GM are dead to me due to them being brazen thieves.

    Other than that, I can’t say there’s any manufacturer I wouldn’t consider. However most of their models/trims/option packages I find anywhere from annoying to detestable, but that’s probably me being weird.

    (rant begins)
    For example WTF is up with xenon headlights? Why should I pay more for something that’s more likely to cause me (and oncoming traffic) glare, especially in bad visibility conditions like rain/snow? I’d take a halogen-powered, euro-spec-beam if possible, projector headlight over HID any day. Complete form (well, looks) over function. Yuckiness.
    (rant ends)

  • avatar
    NickR

    Mercedes Benz. Worst car ever. Worst dealers ever. Most expensive parts ever.

    I wish I could attach files here. I’d post the spreadsheet I used to keep track of everything that went wrong. Or the presentation I created when I took them to court. Or…oh, ***k it, thank God it’s gone.

  • avatar
    fabric

    I’ll jump on the “never VW again” bandwagon. I’ve ben pleased with my BMW experience, but that’s more a function of a fantastic dealer service experience.

    I’m not sure I’d ever buy a Peugot again, which I don’t have to worry about at the moment, but i migh.t My dad’s experience with an Alfa hasn’t scared me off of potentially getting one of those if the opportunity presents.

    Unfortunately, the more interesting cars to own usually cause more grief as well. One of the pitfals of being a car person. I’m looking forward to the posibility of owning a Fiat (500 Abarth) despite all I’ve heard.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Our late model, low mileage Acura RL is a very nice car, but it has not been problem-free. Acura customer care has been unhelpful. We will not buy another.

  • avatar
    cwp

    Let’s see. My first car was a 20-year-old Buick, which was cheap and functional. I’d buy another Buick, but only if it was cheap and 20 years old.

    1995 Saturn SL1. This was a sweetheart. If Saturn were still the Saturn it was then, I’d buy another one if I wanted cheap and reliable transportation. As it is, not a chance in the world.

    1997 Toyota Camry. Thoroughly boring in every way. I’d buy another Toyota, but I’d get a smaller one.

    1998 BMW Z3 2.8. Fun little car. Bankruptcy-inducing maintenance. Depreciated like mad. Wouldn’t buy another one unless someone else picked up the repair tab.

    2000 Nissan Maxima V6. More fun than a Camry, but plagued with electrical gremlins that required alternator replacement 3 years in a row. My wife swears by Nissans, so I’d consider another one, but I’d think long and hard about it.

    1927 Ford A400 Tudor Sedan. Yes, I’d buy a Ford, but only if it’s eligible for Social Security. (Insert bailout joke here.)

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I think it’s extremely stupid to swear off buying a car from a particular brand ever again. Things change.

    With so many automakers out there, why would you ever want to give more money to one that already screwed you?

    I’m fortunate that I haven’t had to swear off an automaker yet. The GMs and Mazdas I’ve cared for have been reliable.

  • avatar
    Scott Galiger

    I agree w. you no-slushbox. Leased a Z4 and that was the junkiest car I have ever had. The back of the seat literally fell off driving off the dealer’s lot; had it in for service about 5 times in 2 years and they never did fix it even though I constantly requested it. Rain sensing wipers: never worked. Various pieces of plastic in the cab and trunk would randomly fall out. Leather picked up grime like no tomorrow. Thank God I leased . . .

  • avatar
    menno

    No VWs for me. A 1971 VW 411 which I bought in 1976 blew up its auo transmission and I was making a car payment on a car in the junkyard for 6 months on pathetic Carter era 1-striper Airman “pay”. Needless to say,”see above” for plenty of other VW horror stories. Porsche are morons to want it.

    No more GM products for me. My first GM was a 68 Pontiac bought in 1974 – nylon gears on the crankshaft for the timing chain? Should have sworn off GM right then. Last GM straw for me? A new 1997 Cavalier. Windshield wipers that wouldn’t, wonky electronic automatic with Gremlins, brake rotors continually warping and a warrantee with less value than used TP.

    No more Chrysler products for me. Gave them way too many chances. Final straw was a 1999 Neon commuter car. Modern cars should not blow head gaskets. Multiple times.

    (Dis)honorable mention, Saab. Head gasket Failmobile – amateur effort all around – hope their planes are better for the sake of pilots and passengers. This was a pre-GM Saab no less.

    I avoid stuff made in China, as much as is possible. My wife (ex-Brit) loves electric kettles, but all we can get (suitable for her specs) are Proctor Silex. We’re on #3. The warrantee is 180 days and they “just make it” then expire. At least they haven’t burnt down the house (yet) but the last one was a close run thing, by the smell of it. Chinese cars? Um – lemmee think…NO.

    Microsoft sucks.

    rant mode now off.

    Wow, now I feel great! Thanks for the chance to vent.

  • avatar
    david42

    Audi. The info screen displayed gibberish, the suspension clanked, it ate O2 sensors like candy, the service department was staffed by morons and managed by psychopathic retards, and our loaners alternated among a rattling Malibu, a matte-black Caravan, and a crank-window Sentra. Not what what we expected when when we bought our A8.

    Best of all: The brake lines took a vacation. I guess they were tired of hanging out with the calipers. We could’ve died.

  • avatar
    TheMagicTiki

    I’m with the anti-Ford contigent on this one.

    10 years ago I went and bought an Explorer. Got a great discount (our company got a huge discount due to a fleet deal), and was really excited about the car.

    I’ll never forget what happened next. Three days later (a Saturday afternoon) it rained, and I had water streaming into the cabin. The sunroof had not been sealed properly, apparently. I drove it to the dealer that afternoon, and the service crew suggested that I tape a trash bag over the top and bring it back Monday…. on a three day old car.

    The story gets better. I demanded a loaner until the problem could be fixed. While they gave me a loaner Explorer, the service manager informed me that they would need three weeks to fix the problem and that they would only pay for the loaner on days that it rained. He told me that I would have to swap the car out on dry days, or pay for the rental. After much ranting and raving, they finally caved and let me keep the loaner until the fix was done at no charge.

    Even with all this, the breaking point for me was their customer service. I called Ford corporate, sent a certified letter to the manager of the dealership, e-mailed their customer service line… to this day I have yet to get any kind of response.

    Regardless of the quality of their cars, the whole customer experience is what killed Ford for me. To this day I will not look at anything associated with the brand.

  • avatar
    PG

    romanjetfighter : We got a really old Cressida that worked reliably after, even though my dad was adamant on getting us a Templo. I really liked the Toyota growing up because it was the first family car with a sunroof, and not breaking down at every stoplight wasn’t as embarrasing. :) It’s been Toyota ever since.

    Hell yeah. My family had an 83 Cressida wagon for about 12 years. Rear-wheel-drive, inline six, room for all the kids and their stuff. It was a fantastic car. When we got rid of it, we did so not because it stopped running, but because the A/C kept dying on us — a must have in south Texas. My family has owned a bunch of Toyotas and Lexuses ever since.

    I’ve never owned one, but I’ll never buy a VW. Whenever I have to drive my colleagues to work (in my Toyota!) it’s always because they have VW’s. Everyone in this thread can prove how much they suck. Which is a shame, because I’d love to own a GTI, but not if it breaks down all the time.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Jonny:

    That was my point, plenty of my Jewish friends have German cars in the family (although it would be totally understandable if they never even considered a German car), so I have little to no sympathy for somebody acting like GM/BMW/Toyota/Whoever selling them a lemon back in the 80s is the worst thing in the world. Everybody saying “I’d never buy a car from … again” needs to get over it

  • avatar
    thoots

    Detroit lost me in 1972. “My first car” was a used 1969 Toyota Corona — four-door, 4-speed manual, ugly as hell, but scooted right along. My father bought it for me for a thousand bucks, and I drove it through high school. I didn’t need it at college, but my brother was just hitting the job market, so it went to him for a few years. Eventually, it went to my younger sister, who drove it though the late 1990′s. Bottom line, we drove that thousand-dollar used Corona for 20 to 25 years — gosh knows how many miles it had on it when she finally pulled the plug on the thing.

    Meanwhile, I bought my second Toyota — a 1970 Corolla 1200 wagon. Two-door, 12-inch wheels. I drove that for 12 years, and probably changed the oil at least two or three times.

    Meanwhile, Detroit was showing up in Consumer Reports with page after page of black dots, which was confirmed by friends and co-workers who got stranded, replaced transmissions, replaced transmissions, replaced transmissions, walked out of the store to find their car on fire, and otherwise fought with problem after problem after problem.

    Meanwhile, most of my family stuck with Toyota, and every one was absolutely, utterly bulletproof. Even the occasional Nissan or Honda that wandered our way was 100 percent reliable.

    My attitude has always been, “Sorry, folks, but you deserve all of the problems you’re going to have.” Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on the least reliable car available, or might you consider spending a teensy amount of effort on some research, and get something that’ll run reliably for decades? To this day, I still can’t even begin to think in terms of buying a Mexican “Detroit” car. They can advertise about JD Power this and JD Power that all they want, but I just don’t believe it.

    Sorry, I just need to see “a track record.” A “reputation.” Let’s see what that Malibu looks like with 150,000 miles on the clock.

    As for “European” cars, well, all I can say is that “head examined” always comes to mind, in some manner. “Unreliable” and “expensive to fix” are the kind of attributes that have kept me runing in the opposite direction.

  • avatar
    rjones

    Audi. My 2002 A4 1.8T stranded me four times in the first 18 months. Gory details are here:

    http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/audi/a4/r98239/

    Oddly enough, I had good luck with my VWs, but the Audi spoiled it for me.

  • avatar

    hitman1970,

    The Game Boy Color is backwards compatible with OG Game Boy games, the Game Boy Advance is backwards compatible with Game Boy Color, and the DS and DS Lite are backwards compatible with Game Boy Advance games. However, the upcoming DSi removes the Game Boy Advance backwards compatibility…

    That, and the Wii is backwards compatible with GameCube games, controllers and memory cards.

  • avatar
    Rix

    I will never, ever buy a Chevrolet after the quality issues with my father’s Blazer in the late 90′s. Or the rental that I got in the early ’00′s that blew up with just a few thousand miles on the odometer.

  • avatar
    rottenbob

    Oldsmobile and Mitsubishi.

    I’ve only had two cars that caused me such hassle that I would avoid ever owning that brand again: my 1984 Olds Cutless Ciera and my 1984 Mitsubishi Montero. Ugh!

  • avatar
    gromit

    Chrysler – assuming they’re still in business – because of their rape and pillage of the Rootes Group. When Daimler did the same to them it was karma.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    @thetopdog

    The fact that a Jew drives a German car is a reason to discount “everybody” else’s negative car-related experiences?

    That line of argument is flawed and irrelevant.

    No more VWs for me, regardless of my ethicity/religion.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Honda. Yep Honda.

    My first new car was a ’78 Accord LX hatchback. Some people here probably know what a bad year ’78 was for Accords. It ate the valve train once, then the whole engine had to be replaced, then the valve train again – and all before 30,000 miles! The good news was Honda paid part of the cost; the bad was not having a car for about 1/3 of a year (I rode my moto a lot that year!), and it sunk my bank account quite a bit paying for my share of the repairs.

    Some of you will say, “ah that was a one time deal – you’re crazy to not look at Honda again.” I don’t find it any crazier than not looking at US cars after something similar happens.

    To follow on something romanjetfighter and PG mentioned, the last, best Toyota was the Cressida. RWD, easy to maintain, plenty of power, and a wagon variant available! I recently tried to buy a Cressida wagon locally, but the guy sold it before I got there. He had a lot of calls for it.

  • avatar
    AG

    I don’t trust Toyotas anymore. Not after the transmission on my 4Runner and Camry both sucked.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    …..Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on an overpriced car, or might you consider spending a teensy amount of effort on some research, and get something that’ll run reliably for decades? To this day, I still can’t even begin to think in terms of buying a Japanese car. They can advertise about Consumer Reports this and Consumer Reports that all they want, but I just don’t believe it.

    Just showing that it goes both ways, thoots.

    I will agree that 10-20 years ago, the Japanese were making more reliable cars. In Chrysler’s case, they’d make good designs, then it would run past the bean counters… And then we all know what happened. For GM, yeah I’m not going to defend a Cavalier. Ford? Just look at the number of 80′s and 90′s Fords you see on the road. Outside of Panthers, Explorers, and F-150′s, not a whole lot. Even then, it’s not like you couldn’t get said cars to last 200,000 miles, in fact a lot of people have. There just seemed to be a higher chance of lemons among the domestics.

    But while the domestics have been improving, the imports have stayed the same… I’m just thinking we all may be singing a different tune in another 5 or 10 years

    As for me, I’d avoid GM, and not because I’ve had a bad experience, but because I’ve had to deal with a lot of my friends crappy GM works of art. I hate driving them, I laugh at them when they get hit with repairs (from my Chrysler, no less), and while I’d give cars like the Malibu, CTS, Corvette, and G8/Camaro a chance, the rest of GM’s lineup I would never touch.

  • avatar

    Jeep (or any Chryco product). I drove a 93 Grand Cherokee for a while, it was my mother’s but I used it as a daily driver to go to high school and muck about. The paint came off in sheets (bad primer at the factory), the water pump blew up at 6 month intervals (6 months tops; we never did figure out why exactly. It nearly self-destructed on two occaisions, with a small fire on one), the electrics were wonky (don’t get me started on the stereo), the entire front suspension assembly damn near tore off (I came within seconds of a wheel coming off at 65 mph. No joke, I lost control, slowed down and pulled over, and a driver stopped behind me and told me that the front wheel was flopping back and forth like a top), and it was heroically scary to drive at more than 65 mph (70-75 was the end of days).

    Acura (or Honda). Mom’s car again. She bought a new 1.7EL (tarted up Civic to Americans), and before the warranty was through we went through two brake rotors (no fault of ours, the brake pads were changed regularly), all the bushings and front control arms (not properly greased or sealed at the factory), and an alternator (just conked out for no apparent reason). Plus it was crap to drive (that generation of Civics generally is) and felt cheap despite a (gulp) 20-25K price tag.

  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    “Sorry, I just need to see “a track record.” A “reputation.” Let’s see what that Malibu looks like with 150,000 miles on the clock.”

    I’m driving a 99 Grand Prix with over 250,000 on the clock, and it its still running like one.

    But my wife would kill me if I ever bought another Ford. Had a 89 SHO Taurus, it was an awsome car and a POS all rolled up in one.

  • avatar
    210delray

    No more VWs for me either. Had 2 Rabbits in the ’70s; enough said. Fool me once, etc.

    Interesting that in the 30 years since, people are STILL having the same troubles with their VWs that I had with mine.

  • avatar
    rj

    My driveway currently boasts cars that are considered among the best Detroit has to offer — a CTS and a Chrysler Town & Country. Both are very nice cars. Both have some serious quality issues. The CTS has been in for warranty work four times; the Town & Country has one power lock that doesn’t work and a significantly overzealous tire-pressure monitor.

    Of the 15 or so cars that have passed through my household, two stand out for their quality — my 1987 Mazda pickup (one non-maintenance shop visit in 85,000 miles) and my 2001 Oldsmobile Alero (one non-maintenance shop visit in 91,000 miles.) All the rest — a mix of GM, Chrysler and Nissan products, and (briefly) a VW Golf — had issues ranging from the annoying to the awful.

    I’ve shied away from buying Japanese-branded metal after repeatedly being mistreated by dealers. When I bought the CTS, I would have bought the Maxima instead had the Nissan dealer not treated me like crap. I had the same experience at the Honda dealer when we were shopping the Odyssey against the T&C.

    I’ve never owned a Ford product, despite (or perhaps as a result of) having grown up in a “Ford household.” I’m guessing the time will come soon to rethink my stance on that.

  • avatar

    Never say never. Things do change, sometimes fairly quickly. But for the reasons in my very recent editorial, The Truth About Saturn, I doubt I’ll ever own another Saturn.

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    One observation on all these posts. It seems for every brand out there that there is a bad experience/hater to go with it. Do not see a universal golden child out there.

    ferrarimanf355,

    Thanks for the info. I was pissed that even in the early 80s you could buy an Atari adapter for a Colecovision, but Super Nintendo was not backward compatible with NES. Good for the portables, but I did not own 40 plus Game Boy games. I owned 40 plus NES games.

    My just told me she played a Wii at a friends house. I am not planning to buy another game system until late 2010. I wonder if a 3rd generation Xbox will be out then.

  • avatar
    ISTundra

    In ’96 I bought a new Chrysler Sebring. I should have taken it as an omen when the windshield wipers and the power mirrors quit working the day I drove it off the lot. 24 months and 19 service trips later, I gladly allowed some dealer to steal it from me on a trade-in. I probably could have made a lemon law case, but I was thoroughly disgusted in my dealings with corporate and just wanted to throw in the towel. Fuck Chrysler, I hope they go down in flames.

    I’ve had nothing but Toyota or Lexus since then and have had very few problems, although I’m not really inspired by many of their latest offerings. They just look bloated and bland to me.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    I’m with chuckgoolsbee on the “do your own maintenance” for VW’s. I’ve owned 3 and they never gave me a lick of trouble as long as I adhered to that. I loved the way they drove and really enjoy doing my own maintenance so I was happy with the cars. I can’t dispute that their service people must hate VWs with a vengeance though.

    On the other hand, the only cars I’ve owned that really tried to kill me were a 1979 Dodge Magnum (electrical fire, blown rear end, blown motor AND the roof cracked badly where the T-Tops met the rear roof section) and a 1986 Plymouth Turismo (caught on fire 3 times, all door handles broken inside the doors, shift linkage held together with plastic “pop joints”).

    I can recall fond memories of my first car however. It was a 1973 Ford Pinto Squire wagon and never would die despite my best efforts. I sold it with 140000 miles.

  • avatar

    Volkswagen. I’ve never had one, but many friends and acquaintances have. It is the marque with the most horror stories of any I can think of, bar none.

    As a kid, my older brother was stranded countless times by his Beetle. He spent months of tinkering and anguish to repair it on a budget, providing me keen instruction on how to use foul language that serves me to this day. The engine finally blew to smithereens… he bit it and drove my folk’s old ’69 Chevy wagon which he could have had in the first place, but he just had to have that Beetle instead… how humiliating!

    My roomie wanted a van and was dead set on a Vanagon. Don’t do it, I said, no matter what he found or how many miles it had on it, he’d be buying an engine and/or transmission before a year was up, just sure as hell. He didn’t listen, and had to have the engine rebuilt within a matter of months. I tried really hard not to be smug. Now, I just arch my eyebrow at him and say “Hitler’s Revenge!!!”.

    Another friend, another Vanagon, another blown transmission.

    My ex-wife, who of course wouldn’t listen to my advice, bought a Vanagon Westfalia post-divorce, a true rolling mid-life crisis-mobile. Blown transmission. The schadenfreude was certainly sweet on that one.

    Another friend, this time a nasty little Rabbit that started out clean, shiny and happy and quickly degenerated into a nightmare. Glued-on wing windows and interior bits that popped off. Scary steering. Cracked glass. What a piece of crap!

    There are just too many people I know to list who suffered with VW transporters of various flavors. Bad transaxles. Engines that only lasted 40 or 50K at best. Spectacular magnesium-fueled engine fires. A fashion statement at best, an dangerously underpowered, inefficient and horribly polluting ride at worst, which amuses me no end as it is driven by many who consider themselves all earth-lovin’ and green.

    Damn shame, really, as I actually tend to like most VWs in concept and design. But the only one I could see myself in would be an old Cabriolet converted into an electric car.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    No more Northstar powered Cadillacs for me. Things that cost hundreds to fix on a normal car cost thousands on this thing, oil leaks (which will happen) cost over $3000 dollars to fix. Head gasket cost even more to fix, if you can find a mechanic willing to do it. Cadillac dealer will do it for 5k! Nearly impossible to work on. The $400 HVAC blower (that will slowly go insane because they failed to design it with a heat shield to protect the computer on it) calls for three hours to install because it involves dropping the engine to get to it. (a $400+$300 labor=$700 fan!) Evaperator requires dropping the engine and trans too. Oh, and the starter is in the “V” of thr engine, under the intake manifold. Real cute GM. Makes a nice, well taken care of 8 year old caddy a throw away car. One huge expense after another. I gave up at the head gasket, but what is scary about that is I could sell this car as if nothing is wrong. It runs smoothly but just uses coolant. If you ever consider buying a northstar car HAVE A COMPRESSION test!

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Chrysler came off our consideration list after having bought a new Town & Country which we eventually got a 100% refund for under the lemon law process.

    We had miserable experiences with the two new GM products we bought, and so far the data says to keep staying away from most GM products.

    The 1986 Ford we bought new was a pretty good car except for the vanishing clear coat. Luckily I had insisted on buying a manual transmission Taurus as those cars had all kinds of automatic transmission problems over the years. It took Ford a very long time to figure out how to make decent FWD transmissions. Come to think of it, GM and Chrysler took their good old time figuring that out as well!

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Let me add to the “Volkswagen” contigent.

    I have seen too many coworkers and friends buy, repeatedly repair, and ditch VW’s shitty cars, just in the short time my little Scion has kept on chugging.

    My store manager’s Jetta actually failed to outlast a coworker’s Aveo. That really sealed the deal for me.

  • avatar
    mr_min

    Well my Dad would never buy another Ford, after the debacle of the Australian Ford Falcon in the 90′s.

    He’d been a loyal Ford man, since the 60′s and survived the early Falcons poor adaptation to Australian conditions (failures such as Front corner detaching from Car & the spring seat failing and the spring punching its way through bonnet, but I digress)

    Then he bought a new EF Falcon.
    -30,000km new front brakes pad & rotors (hmm odd for a country mileage car). Door locks replaced
    - 60,000km new front brakes pad & rotors, new aircleaner and upper intake manifold due to backfires. Door locks replaced
    - 80,000km new front & rear brakes pad & rotors. New steering rack, outer bushes failed. Door locks replaced.

    He compared this to his Toyota Landcruiser which was of a similar vintage, but doing harder mileage (ie dirt road use only) and only required oil & filters, that the Ford was going to cost a fortune once warranty expired.

    Turns out that to save money Ford cast the front rotors out of Engine block material to save money, but the material was softer, so they used a soft pad material to stop rotor wear & warp.

    As for the door locks, bad design, once they got a little dirty the Body Computer could not tell if the car was locked or not & so the lock cycled open/closed for about 5mins before staying open. So you couldn’t lock the car in a carpark, brillant.

  • avatar
    2Goldens

    Let’s see…

    Volkswagen – a 1975 Super Beetle with fuel injection problems that were never resolved. Then a 1978 Scirocco (a blast to drive) that rusted apart because they forgot to insert one lousy grommet where the antenna cable came in. I got a recall notice after I sold the car. The dealers were always run by Germans who barely spoke English, but got pissed off if you questioned their repairs. Never again, VW.

    Toyota – a 1983 Celica GTS Hatch that had more problems then a Yugo – only to be capped off by a hatch that rusted out because of (again) a forgotten grommet for the antenna cable. The dealers overcharge for EVERYTHING. Never again, Toyota.

    GM – Three Blazers, 1987, 1991 and 1996. Premature rust, brakes that went out after 12,000 miles (’96) and was told by the service manager, “that happens all the time.” Transmission “issues,” recalls – terrible, terrible, quality. Never again, GM.

    I have a ’98 Isuzu Trooper with 187,000 miles. Best damn truck I ever owned. I also have a 2004 Kia Sorento. Best quality I’ve ever had (and best dealer experience) with a new car. Will probably replace both with Korean vehicles. Sorry GM, Toyota and VW – your vehicles suck and your dealers are arrogant, greedy a$$holes. Never again. The auto industry (unfortunately) is getting what they deserve.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Have been sticking with Hondas and Toyotas for quite a while now. Have had reliability issues with Subaru, Mitsu and Nissan. Am particularly disappointed in Subaru, because the engineering is relatively interesting for a lower-cost vehicle. Have long since sworn off American cars.

    Interesting how many people mention VW. This suggests a niche for an automaker that matches decent reliability with gearhead-inspiring design and engineering. Too bad Honda’s losing altitude.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    Well, one thing’s clear. There are no car manufacturers anywhere on the planet worth buying from. If the bad experiences of others feed your fear, avoid buying a car completely. That’s the lesson. And yet a few hundred million cars start every day and get their drivers where intended.

    I won’t likely again buy Philips electronics. The company could not supply a critical power supply part for a beautiful $5000 CRT HDTV a mere four years after manufacture, rendering it useless junk.

    Here’s what I will buy:

    Selected cars from Ford, Chevrolet and Cadillac. In more than 25 years of owning cars made by these brands, none have ever failed me nor presented me with danger, delay nor malfunction or unreasonable maintenance costs, with most driven well into six figures mileage. All had immaculate interiors and deep gloss paint at the end of their tenures with me. Nothing had fallen from them, inside or outside. All had 99%+ of their new cylinder compression at 100,000 miles or end of tenure with me. None burned or leaked oil or coolant. All were serviced by dealers in multiple cities who were prompt, efficient, responsive and cooperative.

    Other products in my life with a perfect track record: Martin, Fender USA, Gibson USA, G&L, Turner, Guild USA, Dell’Arte guitars. Add Mesa Engineering and Fender tube guitar amps. British/French Audion tube hifi amps. McIntosh amps. Zu speakers. Pioneer Elite plasma HDTVs. Jaeger-LeCoultre watches. Denon moving coil phono cartridges. Leitz/Leica cameras. Nikon cameras. Sony and Apple notebook computers. Punch cigars. Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon. Rittenhouse Rye. Amarula. The Atlantic Monthly. Fretboard Journal. Surfer’s Journal. The Economist. The Mazzuoli Manometro. Stoner’s Glass Cleaner. HP printers. Julie London on vinyl. The Bob Dylan SACD box set. Any disc with Arthur Rubinstein.

    The world is full of good stuff. It’s not that hard to find it. Things change. The consumer holding the permanent grudge loses.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Campisi

    The least-reliable brand of car I’ve ever owned was an Alfa Romeo, and I’d buy another one in a heartbeat if I could.

    Beyond that, I’ve owned a 1995 Toyota Corolla and a 1974 Chevrolet Nova. The Corolla was a reliability nightmare compared to the Chevy, surprisingly enough. I wouldn’t rule out a Toyota for the same reason I wouldn’t rule out any other company, however; it was reliable enough for me, and even an Alfa is reliable enough for the few miles a month I do drive.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    I’ll tell you what…I’ll never buy a NEW McLaren F1, DB7, Porsche 959, Viper, Lotus, or other supercar.

    Oh…sorry…you said AGAIN.

    Truth is, I’ll buy whatever my WIFE tells me to buy. Hell, I currently own a Peugeot!

    (Who would have thought I’d ever own a grumbleFrenchgrumblePOSgrumblegrumblegrumble…)

  • avatar
    inept123

    Mercedes Benz: 2002 C320 station wagon. Every electric window lift motor, every power seat motor, the electric motor on the sunroof, the ECU (twice) — and the transmission was next up. No MBUSA support.

    GM: 1979/80 Olds Cutlass wagon. “Diesel” engine and THM 200/400 transmission. No GM support.

    Both of these cars were designed and built with inherent points of failure. The manufacturers will never see me again because they failed to acknowledge their mistakes and make good on them.

  • avatar
    big_gms

    I’ll never buy anything made by Chrysler. Okay, I’ve never owned one, but I’ve seen what’s happened to those that have, and read plenty of horror stories. A real shame, too, since they’ve made some otherwise truly nice cars. The 1993-97 LH sedans (Intrepid, Concorde, etc.) were nice…I’d have purchased one if it weren’t for Chrysler’s less than stellar reliability.

    Volkswagen, same deal. Wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole. Come to think of it, anything European has a spot somewhere on my automotive shit list for one reason or another, no matter how nice the car might be.

    I give any GM car with a plastic intake manifolded V6 a wide berth. It’s one of the few reasons I didn’t replace my old ’91 LeSabre with a newer Buick.

    After a somewhat poor experience with a 1986 Pontiac Parisienne, I swore off GM rear wheel drive vehicles. I owned a ’90 FWD LeSabre at the same time I owned the Pontiac, and the Buick was so much better. I came to the conclusion that they’d mastered front wheel drive but forgotten how to make a decent rear wheel drive vehicle. Well, when it came time to buy a truck, I decided to give GM a second chance with RWD vehicles, and bought a ’95 Chevy C1500 (2WD). It’s turned out to be about average overall for reliability, not too bad. I’d still probably buy another one, so yeah, I changed my mind on the RWD GM’s. But I’m absolutely never changing my mind on the other ones!

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    I won’t say NEVER on any brand. Companies are not static, they change, some improve, some sink.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t some companies that have a lot of work to convince me otherwise.
    GM
    Cryslur
    VW

    Bunter

  • avatar
    John R

    No Chrysis-mobiles. Ever. Again. I’ve layed into Chrysis on here before, but I’ll keep it brief here:

    ’95 Dodge Intrepid & ’04(!) Dodge Intrepid (why Chrysis insists on putting that gutless 2.7 liter in a car this heavy is beyond me). Transmission seppuku @ 60k miles each. $2300 to $2500 fix each time.

    No more GMs. Ever. Again.

    Before I was born into this world my Dad had a Datsun 280Z. He loved every inch of it. Had to get rid of it when I was born. (Sorry, Pop!) Owned nothing but Generals up until last year when they finally gave up and got the Accord.

    Every single GM they had in between was a serious problem of differing quality and cost. Meanwhile my sister’s Tercel needed to run over a landmine in order to break and my uncle’s Galant kept running for 10 years straight with regular maintenance. Oh, and he’s still on his ’01 Acura.

    My girlfriend’s Focus seems okay after 8 years and 95k miles, but it’s had its share of “issues”. Ford is the only domestic I would consider, but then I would by a Mazda instead as I know its made here or Japan and not Mexico.

    Her parents drove it before they gave it to her. They weren’t impressed. They were more impressed by their Mitsu they had while she was in middle school. They own a Quest and an Altima now. They’re pretty satisfied.

    I’m pretty satisfied with my ’07 Sonata V6. Zero issues so far. It really scoots. Visibility is great and mileage made the ’04 Intrepid look like that louse Barney from the Simpsons.

    Oh, and the Germans terrify me. My sister’s Passat does not impress.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I know when I was driving just before college, we tossed the 1979 Mercury Monarch (this was in the early 90′s) after going through 4 starters in a year.

    So far I’ve only bought 3 vehicles:

    2000 Dodge neon with 124k, now at 166k with no major problems. We average $0.10/mile on maint. My wife wants another one, hah. It did have the tranny replaced at about 75k by the previous owner (not sure why…) but has been bulletproof since we bought it.

    2005 Subaru. Had a valve replacement under warranty, other than that just oil changes. Is working GREAT in heavy chicago snow this winter getting it out of the garage in the alley.

    2005 gsx-r 600. This has had the most problems, but still nothing I would consider major. The dealer did make an error on one of the maintenances which caused it not to start about 2 weeks later. After I had it towed to the dealer, the dealer inspected it, admitted it was their fault, replaced a part for free, paid for the tow in and I paid the tow out (it was december).

    I have also taken the bike in twice for it running “rough” at idle and they couldn’t find anything and suggested fuel injector cleaner — but they didn’t charge me anything either.

    I’m happy so far, but am under the impression that dealerships aren’t consistent acrosss the board.

    I now drive 40 miles to go to that dealership anytime I need something just because of the way I’ve been treated.

  • avatar
    minion444

    For me its any chyrsler product. We have an 03 Durango. No mechanical problems, but the truck is falling apart around us. It’s all trim and fit and finish issues. I figured that Dodge would have had all the leaks and other problems fixed by the last year of the body style run.

  • avatar
    shaker

    As the owner of an ’08 Elantra, it’s gratifying to see (to this point) not one mention of a Hyundai/Kia in this thread…

    I’ve owned a ton of cars in my life, but most were bought used, so poor prior maintenance may have been to blame for their “afflictions”.

    That said, a 1972 Fiat 128 was the worst car I’ve ever owned – they rusted to pieces in PA winters – not “asthetic” rust, but unibody control-arm-support-break-off-and-kill-you rust.
    The car was 4 years old with 70k on it.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I agree with Phil Ressler about not being so general and saying Never Again to any brand.

    Take VW for example. In the 80s, they were regraded pretty well. Remember the Fahrevrgnugen ads? Even the 90s Veedubs weren’t that bad.

    The last gen or two has been horrible in terms of complexity and fragility. I wouldn’t even consider an Audi/VW made in the last ten years for my daily commuter car.

    But, that doesn’t mean that Audi/VW will always have problems. Ten years from now, maybe they’ll get their electrical systems sorted out and I’ll consider buying one again. The cars look great inside and out…

    The same can be said for Benz and BMW. These cars are not the paragon of reliability and solidity that they were in the 80s and early 90s, and their resale values reflect this fact. Maybe they will be in the future.

    The trick is to go in knowing something about the car. For example, if you research the GM 3.4L or Chrysler 2.7L problems online and yet still buy a car with that motor, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your motor blows. Or you buy a V6 Accord or Odyssey and experience transmission problems. Yes, these companies should have spent more time developing these engines and transmissions – I’m not excusing them. But, there is a world of information on the internet to warn you before you buy.

    Every automaker makes a car with known problems. Some more than others for sure, but not one automaker out there makes a 100% indestructible lineup right now.

  • avatar
    durangodoug

    For me its any Chrysler. My sister talked my dad into getting a 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee while she was in high school.At the time we bought it, it had over 100k miles(way too much for a domestic) a new tranny and a replaced engine(?). I hated the thing from the get go. Fast forward a few years and I somehow get the keys for this Jeep. The months that followed were hell, the thing would cut off in parking lots, stop lights, and going 80mph on I85 and GA400. I’m studying to be a computer engineer, and it pisses me off that 1 computer can override EVERYTHING in the car,thats bad design in my opinion.Yea companies do change, but I’ve still heard plenty of horror stories on these cars. Whats even worse is that driving to work I’ll see a graveyard of mid 90s Jeeps on the side of the highway. Chrysler tried to kill me, so I have no problem with their current situation.

    Oh yea, now I drive an Infiniti QX4, and it works everytime I crank it up. And if we can talk about brands in general, I hate microsoft, the xbox 360 to be specific. How they have so many loyal customers after so many broken consoles is beyond me. Once again the engineer in me is talking, microsoft has the money to fix their issues, but doesn’t. Sucks for the customer(I bought a playstation).

  • avatar
    menno

    You are right, highrpm, in that every marque has “some” issues on one car or the other.

    Even my first “after throwing in the towel on detroit” car, a 2002 Hyundai Sonata, which I regarded as “better than average” (and light years ahead of anything detroit built) had a few issues. The rear disc brakes would overheat, despite which the rotors never did warp – just had to replace the pads when 1/2 worn down. Had a no-start issue; it ended up to be the ECU and it was (thankfully) replaced on warrantee. That was infuriating, and left us temporarily sitting before the car “decided” to start, thankfully not in a Michigan winter situation. Oh, and the 2.7 Hyundai (and Kia) V6 has toothed belt camshaft drives so at about 70,000 miles, you’re out $600. And on some 2.7 applications, the intake manifold must be removed to change the back spark plugs.

    Pretty minor stuff compared to the catastrophic, continuous, money-burning problems I’d had with Detroit’s “finest” since 1973 through 2002 when I finally gave them up for good. I guess I’m just a slow learner.

    So, yes, things do change. But even so, I won’t be back to Detroit for any cars – ever. I simply can’t do it, after giving them “just one more try” “just one more ***** brand – I’ll chance it” and listening to their high paid executives and dealers exclaim fancy versions of this: “yes, our cars WERE crap, but NOW they’re great… come on down and buy” – liars.

    As for VW, I actually was somewhat tempted by their huge 0 down low priced lease deal since my wife’s 2007 Hyundai Sonata lease is up soon (this car has been PERFECT – FAULT FREE – WONDERFUL – BEST CAR WE’VE EVER OWNED BAR NONE) – and then when I stopped to consider what I was thinking, I realized I must have had a mini-stroke, or some damn thing. 99% sure we’ll get a 2009 Sonata four cylinder on lease for two years and then a 2011 Sonata…. (have you seen the 2010 Sonata spy pics? Gorgeous). http://www.hyundai-blog.com/index.php/2008/12/15/next-generation-hyundai-sonata-yf-renderings/

    If you have any doubts about VW and Audi “reliability” (that IS an oxymoron), please go back and look at many of the above threads.

    As I said before, Porsche are NUCKING FUTS to want to buy that company.

    I DO look at Consumer Reports before shelling out monthly payments on a lease car OR tens of thousands of dollars on buying cars.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I won’t say “never again” but I’d give Ford a wide berth before considering one again. My 2006 (it’s funny to review the responses above with cars that were built 30 years ago!) Fusion already is plagued by very shoddy build quality…door panel on the driver’s door buzzes with loose assembly screws/crappy fit and finish (the “chrome” on the door pull is bubbling up)…the steering wheel delaminated on me already and there is a loose dash mount that rattles like a can full of pennies. It may be incidental, but my son’s 1997 Toyota Tercel with nearly 200k on it is holding up much, much better. Our 2003 Jeep Liberty seems to be doing pretty well so far…and as for VW…well, after the experience I had with my 2000 Golf, I’m not so sure I’d wander back into their showroom anytime soon again. Almost to the second that the warranty expired, so did alot of other things on the car. Loved the design and the ride quality, hated having to worry about every little electrical item on the car.

    And I’ll never buy a brand new car again, anyway. Too much depreciation and I abhor huge car payments. Give me a nice three to five year old used car…too bad there aren’t many decent small trucks around. Maybe my next vehicle will be a base standard cab two-wheel drive Tacoma with manual tranny and crank-em-up windows.

  • avatar
    SpeedJebus

    Never had a bad car:

    1983 Volvo 240DL: Carb needed constant attention (would suck gas otherwise). But only ever stranded me once (clutch cable), and lasted over 500k.

    1983 Dodge Ram 150: Slant Six, 4-speed. ‘Nuff said.

    1990 Toyota Cressida: This would be exhibit “A” of how to do an anonymous RWD luxury car right.

    1990 Toyota Corolla: Still driving around this city, 400k on it at least. Aside from wear & tear, only ever needed a fuel pump from me.

    1996 Mazda MX-6: Built at Flat Rock, MI. Wasn’t even bad.

    2007 Honda Civic: Had a tiny annoying squeak from the clutch pedal, but the dealer fixed that up nice at my maintenance appointment. No issues, and averaging over 40mpg, and I’m over 42000kms (I’m Canadian.. so south of the border needs to convert).

    Parents have had just about every model of Toyota made (save Supra & Tacoma), and we’ve never had any problems. I think in the 9 years that we owned our ’92 Camry, a window switch broke once. That was it, other than routine maintenance. It’s a pity that Toyota doesn’t build the new Camry’s like the oldies anymore.

  • avatar
    Jared

    For me, it is VW. I bought a 2000 GTI GLX new and sold it after 40,000 miles. I can’t remember the full litany of things that went wrong on the car, but they include:

    - rear struts and shock top mounts twice (and needed them again when I sold the car)
    - starter motor
    - plugs and wires
    - coil pack
    - thermostat
    - a/c condenser
    - turn signal stalk
    - rear brakes at 20,000 miles
    - a dozen bulbs for running lights

    And they never did solve the 2nd gear grind.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    I’m with snafu, no more new cars. It amazes me that more people, maybe even a majority in terms of those who would consider vehicles from at least the 1.8 out of the 2.8, aren’t saying the same thing. Why? Because a majority in most polls were against giving taxpayer bailout money to them, certainly so if it was given without requiring a pre-packaged bankruptcy. We were ignored.

    Now what has changed? Why should anyone feel any different about this, and indeed why shouldn’t people be more negative than they were rather than forgetting about it? Why aren’t people who voted against this taking ownership of their vote, and refusing to support them? There is NO realistic scenario whereby the bailout funds will ever be repaid, so the only way to stop the further flow of taxpayer’s bailout $ is to make sure one or more of the 2.8 are so obviously insolvent that politicians won’t be able to justify giving away more taxpayer $ without a complete revolt.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Pile on with VW – had an 07 GTI, only kept it for a year. Speedometer was at least 10% off at any given speed (Tom Tom mph worked in the rental cars but was way off in my car, and VW service verified with their own GPS), which VW said was within acceptable tolerances. Sirius would occasionally not be recognized, in-car computer would occasionally default back to German, and master cylinder from trans replaced at 3000 miles. Whither the reliable, fun, attractive hatch? Has it really come down to just the Fit?

  • avatar
    slowrideR

    A lot of people won’t buy a certain brand again because of dealer experience. Bad business model for the manufacturer.

    As for me, I figure if you leave a guys 65 year old father stuck 250 miles from home in a 2 year old car with 30,000 miles and bad transmission you’ve lost my business…I’m looking at you Buick.

    (I orginally wrote “bad tranny” and I will now spend the rest of the day trying to get the image of my dad and a “tranny” stuck alongside a rural Oklahoma highway out of my head…sounds like a Mamet play.)

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    It’s more of what I’d consider over what I would not consider…and it comes down to overall ownership cost and driving pleasure, as well the total efficiency of packaging and drivetrain. So that pretty much leaves out the Euros (I still like my Volvos though), GM, and Chrysler. Nothing against the Koreans, but the Hyundai models I’ve rented aren’t very enjoyable to drive.

    So really that leaves me with the Japanese and even Ford. Had great luck with an old Integra, a few Mazdas, and the family has always been lucky with FoMoCo products!

  • avatar
    tedward

    Damn, I was going to hop on here and defend my VW nazi-sled, but then I remembered that I’m the only one who knows how to operate three out of the four doors from the outside, the turbo isn’t getting full boost above 2/3 throttle and too many plastic bits to list have snapped off since I bought it about two years ago. Then again, the car is a 96 with well over 150k on it and, aside from the boost issue, the mechanicals run like clockwork.

    Someone suggested servicing VW’s yourself, I heartily agree, but I’d like to point out that this requires, for my late 90′s passat at least, more than a few specialized tools and a friendly VW specialist to figure out how to get at anything.

  • avatar
    TRL

    Any Nissan. Funny how a POS Chrysler convinces everyone that Ford and GM still bild crap but inspite of Nissan, Toyota and Honda don’t get abused.

    A Maxima may drive like a 9/10′s 3 Series but they should have skipped copying the BMW cost of ownership thing. Not only will you visit the dealer often but you get to be abused everytime you do, just like BMW.

    I guess I should admit I would never buy a BMW again either.

  • avatar
    pobaoill

    Any Cadillac. I was tempted into buying two Devilles, one 4.9 and one 4.6 Northstar. BOTH blew headgaskets and oil pumps before 80k miles. Nightmare cars that require engine pulls for work that would be deemed “routine” on a car not designed by retards. At least they have the sense to give the customer the ability to shut off all the warning lights through the climate control.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    There are two classes of cars, in terms of reliability:

    1. Toyota/Lexus/Scion/Honda/Acura/Subaru

    2. Everybody else

    Now, in terms of dealer experience, how fun they are to drive, price, styling, etc., other brands might beat some or all of the products in group one. But in terms of having a car go from point A to point B without breaking down at point C in between, the first group can’t be beat.

    Now, there are gradations in group #2. For example, most of the Germans (VW in particular) are near the bottom of the group. Ford seems to be trying to claw it’s way into group #1, although it’s not there yet, and it used to be fairly low in the group.

    I think the individual stories here bear out my thinking. Now, personally, I always buy Toyota products, and they haven’t let me down yet. I will continue to do so (every ten years or so) unless this changes.

  • avatar
    pharmer

    I like my 2006 VW. It’s a great car to drive, gets good mileage, and has been a very reliable car so far. That said, at 70K I have this sense of dread about what might be coming.

    I’d buy a VW again, but not from a VW dealer. chuckgoolsbee said it very well. It’s also been difficult to find an honest independent VW shop.

    GM and Chrysler are on my avoid list. I can’t deal with the “save us or else” mentality. We’ll see what the future holds, I guess.

  • avatar

    1. Ford cars — never again
    2. Oldmobile — never again
    3. Chryslur — never once

  • avatar
    200k-min

    No VeeDubs for me either.

    My mother had a rabbit in the 80′s which was a terrible POS. Left us stranded several times. Then by the late 90′s when the new Passat design came out I was just about ready to give them a second look when a mechanic friend said “don’t do it.”

    Since then I’ve given many friends drives in my Accord so they could pick up their Passats at the shop.

    I’ve never owne a Chrysco product but my father absolutely hated Iacoca and boycotted their product because of the bailout they got in the early 80′s. Guess I picked that up from him. (FYI – He has just boycotted GM as well.) My brother drives a Caravan as a company car and experiencing the absolute shit box build quality of that hasn’t changed my mind.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Any car can be good, any car can turn out bad. These are complex machines. Just don’t buy anything that is new on the market. Wait for good or bad news from the forums, the experts, from Karesh, before you buy.

    The thing is: branding is not a promise anymore. It should be, but it isn’t. You can assume a Toyota will be great and a VW will be crap, but you are better off if you look at the reputation of individual models. On a brand level, there is not enough reliability for me.

    I like the new C-class Benz but I won’t buy for another 2-3 years; by then I’ll have information on whether bad things happen often or seldomly. If the news is good, I’ll buy, but I’ll keep in mind that even if bad things happen, I have my good mechanic who knows how to fix things economically and reliably. (I consider the relationship to my mechanic an essential: more of a promise than any brand can deliver on).

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    I’ll never buy a Ford again after a Probe that went through 3 transmissions and had the interior quality of a gulag.

  • avatar
    RX

    @jonny

    Volkswagens are even named from Hitler’s ideology; that’s what sets them apart in my mind, anyway. Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Ford, lots of companies have blood on their hands, but naming your car “The People’s Car” after some weird Nazi notion of fascistic equality and then not changing it later is weird.

    And for brands I would never touch, Audi. I never bought one, but watching my female friend’s A4 disintegrate while her friends look on, helpless, is too much. She takes shit care of it, but a Honda put through the same neglect wouldn’t stutter, threaten to stall, have little acceleration surges when idling and about to stall, and wobble like that on the freeway. 2004!

    She bought it from a friend who bought it new, so it isn’t even accident related. Total POS. Horrible, overpriced service who never go the extra mile for her.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    1. GM in general. Saab specifically. (With the brand under “strategic review,” my decision to “never-ever-again” is soon-to-be purely academic).

    2. Chrysler in total. Other than maybe Jeep Wrangler, what’s left? I guess that’s for its new owners to decide circa summer 2009.

    3. Toyota. How many new parents, in the middle of midnight desperation, put their screaming babies in a carseat, loaded them in the back seat, and drove around the neighborhood till the tiny one fell asleep? Well, same thing happens to me every time I get in a Toyota. Which is disconcerting when I happen to be the driver.

    4. Volkswagen, and I’m not even Jewish, Jonny. Too many quality horror stories and crummy dealer experiences from current and past owners to ignore.

    5. Kia.

    6. Kia.

    7. USA Ford. I’ll revisit and revise this entry if and when the EuroFocus and Mondeo hit our shores. But of all my current do-not-buy brands, this is where my heart is most likely to overrule my head. Grew up in Fords. From my first ride (66 Mustang), the car I first learned to drive in (Grandma’s 64 Comet), our family backwoods traveler (67 Bronco), and ol’ faithful herself (72 F-250). Please make it, Ford. Restore my faith. I’ll be back if you do your part.

  • avatar

    no brainer.

    VW

    Three water pumps, peeling upholstery, electrical nightmares – what a piece of crap. I followed this up with an Audi, which was an equally craptastic vehicle.

    So I would say VW/Audi products in general – I will never touch them.

    Good thing all they make these days is FWD JAPmobiles and Bimbo Boxes and obsolutely 0 products worth a damn on track or at the autocross (don’t you dare say GTI or TT – those things flop around like dead fish once you push them).

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    While I’ve heard and read numerous horror stories, I have yet to experience one firsthand. Cars I’ve owned or still own:
    * (used) 1979 Chevy Malibu: It got me through college with little more than the occasional new tire, brake pad and power steering fluid top-off (there was a leak that I never bothered to fix).
    * (used) 1987 Honda Accord: Replaced alternator at about 110K miles.
    * (used) 1990 VW Jetta: No problems with it that I can recall.
    * (new) 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra: The only problem I ever had with it was some paint de-lamination from the rocker panel after a year or so. Repainted under warranty.
    * (used) 1995 Ford Probe GT: No problems here either, but the discontinuation of the model didn’t help the resale value any!
    * (used) 1997 Saab 9000CSE: No problems.
    * (new) 1999 Mazda Miata: No problems.
    * (new) 2001 Audi TT quattro: No problems.
    * (new) 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5XT: Developed a hole in the radiator around 30K miles; cause uncertain.
    * (used) 2005 Porsche Boxster: No problems.

    Sounds like my experiences with VWs and Audis in particular may be luckier than most!

  • avatar
    minion444

    Wow! Alfa is only mentioned twice. Memories are short.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I would purchase any of the marques that I’ve owned again and I’ve owned Chevys, Fords, VWs, Various ChryCo products, Olds (well I wouldn’t buy one again…perhaps a Buick? why not), Datsun (and Infiniti), Toyota (don’t like anything in the lineup either, Lexus included). Now driving a Volvo. Will likely buy/lease another.

    In the late 80s my sister gave me a 280z that her husband put a fresh engine in. Someone rearended me in my Mustang GT and it was in the body shop being repaired. I drove it for a bit until the crossmember that the engine bolts to rusted and rested on top of the suspension. After that, it was officially named Rotsun. Today, I have an Infiniti G35x alongside my XC90, son of Rotsun I call it. My 86 GTI had plastic shift rods and they broke at the worst possible time; on my way to a charter boat fishing trip in the Great South Bay. I loved that GTI though, and would consider a new one to commute in.

    JeremyR our car histories are similar. I won’t list them all but I had an ’80 Malibu, the aforementioned ’86 GTI, an ’87 Mustang GT, a ’96 Probe GT. I would liken my 2005 Mazda 6 SportWagon to the Outback too!

  • avatar
    gpzkat

    Had two Ford Taurus (Tauri?) 88 and 92. I liked both to drive and in general was happy with them. I got them very cheap (er…. gotta love depreciation on US cars…), but it irked me that the clearcoat peeled, brake rotors warped, and the transmissions were lunch before 100K due to a bad design. Transmission shops loved the Taurus. The fact that they wouldn’t issue for a recall for these known issues will make me forever steer clear of a company that doesn’t stand behind its products.


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