By on November 28, 2012

The late Gore Vidal was fond of saying, “Gratitude can be a complicated thing.”

He was right. Whether you are a hater, or simply a chronic critic, the act of complimenting those who follow the beat of a different drummer is usually not within the tip of the human tongue.

We want things our way… and sometimes we’re just plain wrong.

Chrysler minivans may never be a hot rod’s dream and a Neon may have been a little bit too cheap for its own good. But they had beauty and brilliance if you chose to look at the right trim levels and generations.

The same can be said for Suburbans and Silverados. In good times it is the small cars that get the shove. In lean times it’s the opulent gas guzzler. These vehicles may not be the top picks for most city folk and media fashionistas. But they definitely make country life far better.

Toyotas have been labeled as boring for well over thirty years, and yet the company’s products continue to be a gold standard for those seeking fuel efficiency and reliability.

German cars are anointed with the schizophrenic paradozes of glitchiness and outstanding engineering. In much the same way as Korean cars are considered to be cheap, but loaded with great value.

Every manufacturer offers their own DNA and unique qualities to the buying public. Good and bad. Over the last few years, which one of them has garnered your respect? Even though you may not quite like what it is they do?

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80 Comments on “Question Of The Day: Which Car Companies Do You Not Like… But Respect?...”


  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Honda.

    Products bore me to death, but they certainly have their stuff together.

    Toyota too but that new little sports car with the boxer engine certainly breaks that mold.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      Honda was also the first name that jumped to my mind. Love their bikes, but the cars personify ‘appliance’. Can’t argue with their efficiency or reliability, but also can’t get excited about them either.
      Honda or Toyota would be the first brand I’d recommend for a non car person.

      • 0 avatar
        tatracitroensaab

        Hondas been slipping relative to the competition. Yes, I know that their sales are still great, but still. I agree with Toyota — people are say that theyre making a comeback, but they were never gone. Theyve been making the best cars for the most people for decades now, and I like that, even though I would never buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      My answer to your question is Jaguar. I respect them as a company, but do not like their current cars (as hard as I’ve tried). I love the way they look, but don’t have the patience (or a local independent mechanic) to deal with one. Now, a late Series 1 E Type is another story (but not a daily driver).

      To reverse the question, I like BMWs (and have been driving them for 30+ years), but do not respect the current direction the company is taking. No normally aspirated straight six engines? Vehicles that dilute the brand (X-this, X-that, 1-Series, etc.)? Now (horror of horrors), FRW?

      Just saying…

  • avatar
    Spartan

    BMW. I don’t like their cars and would NEVER buy one, but I can respect how they approach driving dynamics, despite the fact that the majority of their customers care more about the badge than the car.

    FWIW, I’ve test driven a few. Interiors are bland but they drive well. Love their drivetrains, just hate the snob baggage that comes with owning one.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Your respect for BMW may have to wane. Everything I’ve read suggests their focus on driving dynamics has been slipping badly over the past several years as they chase a wider demographic.

      • 0 avatar

        Or, at least, recognize that their demographic cares more about the badge than the dynamics and would rather have something that is more luxurious than lighter/sportier. Not defending this, just applying my own logic.

        Spartan: I agree with you, totally. I’d rather have a Volvo than a BMW (that I’m comparing them is, alone, signal of my bias), and its largely because of their ostentatious image and the type of driver that is most common to them.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “Everything I’ve read suggests their focus on driving dynamics has been slipping badly over the past several years as they chase a wider demographic.”

        Well yeah, they’re going to evil FWD for God’s sake!

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        30-mile fetch…..

        +1 and Amen.

        Please see my post on TTAC, 24 Nov 2012:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/why-bmw-needs-to-do-front-drive-cars/#postcomments

        I have a 2006 and 2007 325i and Z4, respectively. Glad I got in under the wire, because good handling performance is no longer a unique virtue of more modern BMW’s. And no, I did not snobbishly get either because of the roundel badge per se, but because of their heritage, quality, reliability, track reputation, and design. (Yes, I even liked Chris Bangle’s now disparaged creations!)

        ——–

      • 0 avatar
        rickyc

        As much as i hate to admit it you’re right, BMW’s 1 series is probably their best driving machine for now. All the others are driven toward luxury instead sport.

    • 0 avatar
      EAM3

      I don’t give a rat’s ass about other people’s perception of a brand. If I like how the car drives, I’ll buy it. My current DD is a 2006 BMW 330Ci ZHP. I have friends that ask me when I will trade it in on a new one and the truth is, I don’t plan to. After 78K miles it still consistently puts a smile on my face. I can see keeping this car for many more years. As for choosing Volvo over BMW, we just sold our 2002 S60 T5 (our 3rd Volvo) after 10 years of ownership. The quality and driving dynamics weren’t anywhere near BMW levels but it was still a wonderful car.

      To the original question: Toyota. Except for the new Scion/Subaru coupe, none of their cars remotely interest me but I respect their quality and reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        The problem with BMW is that close to 100K you’ll have to dump a bunch of money into it which is called “regular maintenance”. And keep dumping all the way up to 200K. The other problem with BMW is that one can buy a several cars that will be much faster for less money. Example – WRX. Sure it won’t be as fancy and will look a bit like it was riced at the factory but it will be faster, much more modifiable, more practical, have awd and be cheaper to buy and own.

        To the original question: there is a few. Hyundai would be one. Chevy and Ford would be others.

      • 0 avatar
        rickyc

        I used to have a 330 ZHP as well and boy what a machine!! The steering was the best i ever encountered and the ride was just right!! I currently drive a 135i M-sport and while it’s a great driving car the suspension and steering were better tuned on the 330 ZHP. BMW’s best driver’s cars are behind them unfortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Which begs the question “which comes first the snob or the brand?” IMO if a brand does its job right the snobs will appear regardless thus creating the snob brand stigma. I apply this to geographic locations as well, Aspen Colorado – cool place, snobs, definitely. I can’t blame a brand that takes advantage of this as a money making opportunity. As for BMW, they still at the core create performance cars at all levels, which I respect. Even the basic three series drives/performs better than most sedans. As for boring interiors it’s a matter of taste, the German approach to interior styling is usually always more subdued (Teutonic?) than brands form other cultures.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        dswilly..

        Agree with most everything you said. But Spartan (above) did have a point. Nowadays, many people will get a BMW for no other reason than it shows off their financial liquidity and moves them “upscale” with respect to their neighbors. That is in fact snobbery. And it happens even more in some other cultures, like Saudi Arabia and China.

        Yes, German interior styling is meant to be tasteful but subdued. But that does not mean it can’t also be elegant. I think recent Audi’s interiors, prove that nicely.

        ————

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      NGOM,

      But do you hate the brand because they attract people who we don’t like or buy for less desirable reasons? True most BMW drivers don’t ever pop the hood or care if its RWD but I thinks if you do something well you attract people with money which doesn’t always come with taste or appreciation for the core product. Personally I don’t blame the brand for this, it’s a byproduct of doing or having something desirable. If they can capitalize on it, good for them.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I will pass on buying a car if ot will make me look like an undesireable. Alas, BMW drivers’ behavior on the road means that, if i were to own one, I’d be lumped in with those jerks. It’s a shame, because the cars look nice, and most of the drivers are OK. But the jerks that BMW attracts ruin the brand for me, because I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for one.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        dswilly…

        You asked: “But do you hate the brand because they attract people who we don’t like or buy for less desirable reasons?”

        Ans: No, or I wouldn’t have gotten my two BMW’s in the first place.

        But you have maybe hit upon an unfortunate development in market psychology:
        1) At first, Car Maker A makes good cars, based on Trait X **;
        2) Car Maker gets big and grows in general reputation, R;
        3) Many flock to buy cars based on reputation R, not necessarily Trait X;
        4) Car Maker sees opportunity to use R for other types of cars not possessing Trait X;
        5) Percentage of cars with Trait X declines, and Trait X becomes lost or deemphasized;
        6) Car Maker A makes good cars based on Traits Y and Z;
        7) Car Maker A gets even bigger and grows in reputation RR;
        8) Original folks who bought from Maker A for Trait X leave and go to Maker B.

        Does it seem that BMW is becoming “Maker A”, and Porsche or Audi are “Maker B”?

        ** RWD, Manual Transmission; Superb Cornering; Good HP; Light Weight.

        ——————

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        NMGOM,

        Bad wording on my part, I wasn’t referring to you specifically and did notice your avatar had a BMW. As for your Car A brand analogy, I would agree that that’s the usual path but disagree BMW has left its roots to become the diluted boutique brand that many think it has. You can still find performance cars in the lineup that represent as well as anything anyone is making. Sure everyone says they sold out because they don’t make a 1988 M3 anymore, but today’s M3 will smoke the 1988 version in every way, and meets today’s demands for space, comfort and safety, that’s the engineering I want to see. I’m not sure but I think if someone wanted they can order a LW M3 that would represent the track rat enthusiast car. Yes Audi and Porsche represent challengers in the category but I don’t think they do anything different to represent core performance better, just another choice. Porsche maybe with their high performance 911’s but that’s Porsche niche stuff. Audi is an arm of VW weather people like it or not and that bugs me, platform sharing, 2T in the A4, 2T in the Passat, etc. It really doesn’t matter but the BMW heritage and still remaining the last independent performance car brand is attractive and something I respect, I think it also allows them to build “what they want” markets and critics be damned.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Having owned/driven extensively every 3-series chassis until the present, I’ve lamented the softening just like many other BMW owners/drivers. However, you have to compare them head to head with the competition, not with the prior generations of themselves. Early this year, I drove a CTS-V Coupe back to back with an E92 335i X-Drive. You would have thought the CTS-V would destroy the BMW. In fact, by far the better handling car (purely subjective) was the BMW, despite being AWD to the CTS-V RWD! I was so surprised that I jumped from one to the other for a follow up drive twice to make sure I was not crazy. Both transmissions were auto/paddle varieties, by the way – so don’t go thinking it was that.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        cognoscenti…

        I agree.

        But there are current cars that are now easily competitive with the 3-series or rapidly becoming so:
        1) Mercedes C-class;
        2) Audi A4/S4;
        3) Cadillac ATS
        4) Volvo S60 or S60R

        ————–

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    You pretty much summed it up for me, Steve. I appreciate cars for what they are, without much disdain for any. I have preferences, and those preferences sway wildly, sometimes not just year-by-year, as I grow older, but day-by-day, because I either bore easily, or just like so many cars.

    So I like pick-ups and Prius’s equally and hold no real disdain for any. This is an easy stance today, when cars are so reliable. 20 years ago, not so much.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Fiat!

    They took over Chrysler and are making a go of it, even though [I feel] they’re out of their depth. The Fiat-branded cars they make are tiny and not especially reliable. They drove Lancia into the ground, first making them hideous and then just making them Chryslers. The very Chryslers that America had already rejected. At the same time they control Alfa Romeo and Maserati, and make their beautiful [unreliable] creations.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Hyundai/Kia. Their rapid increase in quality, competitiveness, and reliability is very respectable. I can’t find anything to genuinely like about them, though. They drive with all the zest of a Toyota but without the refinement, the styling is often odd or promises a sporty nature that the car doesn’t deliver, and the pricing is getting ambitious on some models.

    • 0 avatar
      Stephen82

      I agree. Hyundai all the way. I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth ever since I was a kid in the 80′s being stuffed under the back hatch of some aweful Accent or whatever model it was with three of my friends so my buddy’s mom could take us to a hockey game. It was an aweful little car. The mid nineties model another friend had later wasn’t much better. My mom bought an ’02 Sonata and it has worked great for her. I drove it, and it was comfortable. Very reliable. I think they’ve turned their act around and now offer a pretty decent product.

      I would never choose to own one though. It’s irrational I know, but that’s just the way it is. Scarred from childhood. I respect them with my head, and loathe them with my heart. My soul flutters with joy every now and again for no reason, but deep inside I believe it’s because I’m sensing that another 80′s Hyundai is going to the crusher.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      +1
      Anyone who remembers how completely awful the Excel was should be amazed by the things Hyundai is doing today.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Agreed, buying a Hyundai is akin to buying designer clothing at an outlet mall but you have to respect Hyundai’s tenacity and business acumen.

      An older neighbor recently traded in his cherry early 2000′s Grand Marquis for a big white whale of a Hyundai. I struggled to find a single word of praise for it when he showed it off to me.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    Subaru – I respect the fact that they travel their own path with 4wd and flat-fours, and I respect their achievements in world rallying with the WRX and so on. Tbhe BRZ seems to please a hell of a lot of people, as in its own way does the Outback.

    But I can’t like them – wilfully poor styling, bad interiors, and anti-social roadgoing WRX’s with fart cans and obnoxious owners.

    In some circles I’ve felt like half a car enthusiast for not liking the WRX (or Evo, for that matter), but now is the time to say that they are simply not my cup of tea, and never will be.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Subaru for sure. They actually have a tech. based identity and realistically offer the lowest entry point for AWD in most every segment they compete in. I’m mystified that my enthusiast friends like them in any condition other that snow or dirt and their interiors are utter crap to my eyes (at least this newer generation).

      I do like the WRX, but that’s more a function of wheelbase to power ratio…and in spite of the AWD.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    If you’re buying competent, reliable transportation, I don’t think it gets any better than Honda. I say that as the owner of a 4-year old Pilot which is approaching 70K miles not having required anything more than scheduled maintenance service. The materials in the interior are neither cheap-feeling nor posh, but they show no signs of wear after that period of ownership. This is not an exciting car to drive or to look at . . . but that’s not what Honda is selling.

    I also have to respect BMW, although I confess I have not driven its more recent products. Three years ago, when I was used car shopping with my then 24-year old daughter — hardly a throttle jockey — her immediate comment when driving a 3-series, just on city streets and at legal speeds: “Wow; this car really drives well!” If it’s true that those qualities have been sacrificed more recently, then that’s truly unfortunate . . . because driving qualities have been BMW’s distinction.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed on Honda, and it’s why I keep coming back to them. I’ve had a 90 Integra, 98 TL, and now a 12 Accord. Yeah, it may not be as thrilling as a new Fusion but it’s a very competent vehicle and drives very nicely. And it was one helluva deal ($22k OTD for an EXL).

      I do like our Subaru and it’s a great tool with carrying a load and getting through snow and mud, but it’s definitely a notch below Honda in terms of quality. Either a Pilot or Explorer (07-11 model) will replace it in a few years, as the boys get bigger and we start having more crap to haul around on the weekends.

      I have alot of respect and goodwill towards Ford, with the exception of a 90 Sable my family has always had good luck with them. My mom traded down from an E430 4matic back to a 12 Explorer (previously, she had a 98 Sable wagon). I had a deposit on a Fusion SE 2.0 but ended up with the Accord. Why? Mostly price and not getting a first year car.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I don’t like, or respect anything from Germany. I would drive Korean over a Euro vehicle. I feel slightly better towards the Japanese Without a doubt Honda, would be the one I respect. If I couldn’t buy domestic, GM, Ford, and Chrysler,in that order, it would be a 2dr Civic with a stick for me.

    • 0 avatar
      dswilly

      Seems common that German car haters love Honda. Even if they never owned one and got screwed on maintenance or whatever. I think it’s interesting how perceived car images sway peoples opinions. BMW=snob buy. Honda=smart (cheap) buy. Personally I have owned a bunch of worn out non-snob worthy BMW’s (still have a 2002 and 325iT) and loved every one of them, not because I felt I looked cool (I didn’t) but they drove great and never caused me any grief with money. I have owned one Honda. Good car, definitely not a great car but have absolutely no notable memory of the experience other than it was a non-experience. It also was not cheap to own, mostly because Honda steers you back to them via complexity or Honda proprietary parts/assembles, it was needing 2k plus in work at 110k before I dumped it.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        +1 – the “anything from Germany will self destruct at 70K” crowd have mostly never owned German cars. My 330Ci ran reliably for 140K before I sold it, my uncles 525d has 180,000 Km on the ODO with just routine maintenance. As with Japanese, Korean or domestic cars, some models fare better than others but sweeping generalizations are usually always wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I owned a VW that self destructed 5 times between 100k and 120k. Gearbox after gearbox. Scared me off of VW permenantly, and makes me leery of other German cars that are out of warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        As I’ve mentioned before, I once compared a Honda at 100K miles maintenance/repair records with an Audi at 100K miles record, and the Honda seemed to have cost more. A lot of the repairs were hidden under “60K service” and “90K service” but they were there if you read the invoice, and the owner of said Honda didn’t even realize. Also, the Audi also appeared on its face to need less maintenance because of the 10K service interval.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      How do you feel about the Buick Verano?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I was burned by a VW and a Honda, but I only apply a broad brush of badness to VW.

  • avatar

    Nissan.

    They have managed to rebuild their sales and image in the past decade, gained reliability reps that challenge Toyota and Honda, build great V6s, and continue to be very good at identifying big market trends (Murano, Rogue, CVTs) early on and taking advantage of them. I’ve even considered purchasing a Nissan in the past.

    But other than a few models, I just can’t like them. They come off as unrefined often, downright cheap in some instances, and unquestionably lacking in character often. Their styling, like so many Japanese makers, is a mixture of bland and unsuccessful attempts to differentiate (see the new Altima). Its a good company, that build good cars that appeal to many people. Just not me.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    British cars generally.

    I like their history and often their styling, I respect them, and yet I would not buy them.

    —————

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    Too loaded a question for a rustbelt refugee like me. Every imported car sale in America represents a defeat for a subset of mein Volk, autoworkers. So, I don’t *like* any foreign manufacturer.

    But I have hugely respected and admired the Japanese, principally Honda, since 1994 when I bought a used Civic wagon for a city scoot. Coming off maintaining a Reliant wagon, the consummate ingenuity and rationality of Japanese small-car design gave me an epiphany moment. It felt like an alien vehicle, but in a completely good way. I mean, Jesus, even working the switches and knobs gave me the tactile joy of a fine gun or camera.

  • avatar
    nikita

    GM. In spite of all the self-inflicted problems they are still #1 in the world. The respect comes from the sheer amount of collective engineering talent they still have and the ability to sell more cars and trucks than anyone else on the planet. If someone finds a statistic that Toyota or VW is actually #1 for one reporting period or another, so be it. GM is still, for all its problems, a sales powerhouse.

    What I dont like are the unappealing (to me) products offered in North America or the stigma of the bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Jeep. A Wrangler has been a Wrangler for about forever. There have been minor changes over the years; square/round headlights. I’m not meaning to disrespect Jeep experts/cognoscenti; Wranglers look about the same to me year after year. Jeep seems to have a take it or leave it attitude. It seems there’s been a lot of “takes”.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    Volkswagon. You’ve got to respect their recent success especially in the US in spite of their poor reliability. Their egomaniacal chairman does have some talent.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Subaru and Mazda.

    Both have a slavish devotion to a certain engine type, even though the benefits of the Subaru boxer and Mazda rotary are dubious at best.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Do you respect or dislike them for that?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Good question. I think the answer is “both”.

        The ‘low hood, low center of gravity’ arguments in favor of the Subaru boxer and Mazda rotary are lost on me. Neither brand is winning any races, and these engines do not excel at fuel economy, output (maybe the rotary has very high specific output), or even pleasing exhaust tone. A nice inline 4 would do wonders for their reliability (Subaru head gaskets, Mazda oil burning), serviceability (Subie spark plugs), but both companies refuse to change things.

        Someone will write to say these problems are now solved. But really, how many Subarus make it over 120k without serious engine work, and how many Mazda rotaries are still on the road at all?

        On the other hand, these engines provide some brand cache that helps market them, I suppose, and that’s what I respect about them. Nobody knows more about rotaries than Mazda, and nobody knows more about building affordable boxers than Subaru.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. All make roadgoing appliances which they have cultivated their customers into a conformed cultish state. Reputation exceeds reality in my mind.

    I put Honda in the group from a historical perspective. Current Honda products (in all business segments) show what can happen when a company loses its focus. It’s coming back but not rapidly. They may have lost too much ground to the competition in motorsports and engines. Aside from three higher-volume models in the US, the auto business is pretty fragile, too.

  • avatar
    7402

    Honda. Our 2002 Odyssey is the minivan we love to hate and hate to love. Satisfies in every way, inspires in none.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    The GM bailout can be debated ad nauseam, and I’m not entirely sure if the current crop of products are a direct result, aside from their producer still being a going concern (as it were), but I really respect the newer products. To think that in 2010 dealers (and rental counters) were pushing the Cobalt and Aveo, and that only two years later one can buy a Cruze or Sonic, is shocking. The two have been recall queens of late, and some of the other new products are flops in my mind (the Equinox and Terrain are totally unimpressive to me but sell well; the Regal strikes me as a fantastic car that’s underappreciated in the market and is now being squeezed by the Verano), but overall I really respect what they’ve done with their product.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Toyota
    Honda
    Hyundai/Kia

    I “hate” all of the above, but respect them for what they are, for all the reasons stated previously. No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot wrap my arms around Hyundai/Kia…yet. I do have a softer spot for Honda, however, because we own one and wifey likes it. So…

    I WANT to like European cars, but they are simply beyond me.

    Ford? I do like a few of their products, but probably wouldn’t buy one.

    Chrysler? I USED to love them. Alas, no more – on any level. Got burned too often in the past. Sorry.

    That brings me back to GM/Chevy. My 2012 Impala LTZ is a far cry from my old 2004 Impala – so much more car. Perhaps it’s the LTZ trim, but it IS a much nicer set of wheels. For now, I’m very happy with them. Until they tick me off again…

    …THEN I’ll buy a Honda!

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Honda for me. Styling plays a big part in car buying for me and maybe with the exception of the Accord, most Honda’s to me are “goofy” looking…if that makes any sense. In my opinion one of the worse is the new CR-V, but I’ve already seen about a gazillion of them on the road, so they must be doing something right.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Most car companies that I respect, I also like, so this is tricky for me.

    I’d have to go with Hyundai though, I don’t really care for the company but I do respect their cars and efforts to build something decent rather than more of he usual Korean dribble, plus they have made a few cars that interest me like the new Genesis sedan.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Audi/VW Mercedes Benz. BMW

    I have to say, I’ll never own an Audi/VW but I can respect them even though I loathe the 1 sausage different size styling of them, MB.. maybe one day, BMW maybe one day.

    Both of them need to get a whole lot better in the long term reliability department, they are just too expensive to maintain for now.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    BMW/Porsche/Audi has to be respected for their ability to both rob their owners and satisfy them at the same time. They are definitely the “Apple” of the automotive world.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Ford is one of those manufacturers that I really would love to like more. I don’t “hate” Ford, I respect them for hanging in there & having good, relevant products. They have everything from the Fiesta ST to the best selling vehicle in the US, the F150.
    What I don’t care for is that “Fix or repair daily” thing and the “If it breaks I can fix it” attitude that most people seem to expect and even happily tolerate from Ford.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Lotus.

    Neat cars, but not my style at all.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Just because I personally don’t like or would not buy their cars is not a good enough reason to hate or dis-repect any car maker.

  • avatar
    MK

    GM.
    I honestly can’t believe the bland [sic] loyalty they have with the public after foisting off such schlock for so long.

    Sure there have been some truly great and iconic cars (57 chevy and Cadillac, gen 2/3 corvettes, gen 1 Camaro) but the bulk of their production has been such generic crap…..and yet!

    I know a lot of folks who are truly DIE-hard Bowtie fans, personally I don’t understand it at all. No brand ive ever owned has been so consistently craptacular as the GM offerings…and I’ve owned a couple along with my family back in the day.

    But here they are, still kicking and forthe most part churning out mediocrity to popular acclaim.

    I’ll never understand it but they’re clearly doing something right.

    Mad props to the General fo dat, yo.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    OK, not a car company, but I would say Harley Davidson. I hate their cliche laden marketing and their appeal to the lowest denominator. I hate their a-hole owners (yes- I was one), I hate their one dimensional appeal. I hate their crude ‘engineering’. But I’ll be damned if they don’t stil manage to pack that old V-twin magic into a timeless looking package. I’ll be damned if these low horsepower anachronism with sht transmissions and no ground clearance, still manage to put a smile on anyone’s face.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’m going to have to say Porsche.

    As a product of the 60′s and about the same age of Tom Cruise’s character in Risky Business when the movie came out, the Porsche 928 was my dream car.

    I put myself into insane debt to get a 944S at a far too young of age – ahh to be young and dumb again and to be reduced to Kraft mac & cheese for dinner because of $800 brake jobs, in 1989 money!

    I see Porsche as a company that has seriously lost its way. There is no longer IMHO an “affordable” Porsche like the 944, which back in the 80′s and early 90′s was THE benchmark for every other car it seemed (faster than a 944, brakes better than a 944, handles better than a 944, every single ad out there made at least one of these claims it seemed). The Boxster engine problems, not as severe as the internets cry, but still, it’s a big problem. An SUV?!?! A hybrid SUV?!?!?! The son of the 911 now easily into six-digit land. *sigh*

    I have no desire to own one anymore. I wouldn’t recommend one to anyone anymore. But I still have respect for the company.

    BMW would be in second place for me – but my view on this is more biased. I live in the land of 3-series driving douches, who know nothing about cars, get arse raped by the local dealer, who has a horrific reputation for arse raping customers, and buy them because they sold their stock shares and have to keep up with their neighbors and nothing says “high-tech engineer with more money than sense” than a 3-series parked in Belltown.

    Damn it! I can’t believe I got broken into again. Dude don’t you know – BMW stands for, “break my windows.”

  • avatar

    My sister’s new FR-S (6 speed stick) is anything but boring.

    Good question. I don’t have an answer, although before the FR-S, I would have said Toyota.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Ferrari. They’ve always come across as prissy, delicate, and flimsy. I do admire their engineering. Their performance seems to defy the laws of science once they’re wound up – but hit anything at speed with them and they to detonate sending shrapnel everywhere.

    I’ve seen industrial equipment from Italy, and it was as good as anyone elses, so I’m not surprised when Italian equipment performs well. (Sorry Ferrari fans. I don’t mean it as a slight.)

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Land Rover.

    One must respect the fact that across the line-up, and through the years, one could cross the Sahara, ford the Amazon, climb over the Rubicon, and blaze the Congo in any one of them. Off the showroom floor, and shod with factory spec tires, a Land Rover/Range Rover was and is one of the most capable off-roaders one can buy.

    However, I dislike them. The snobby British tweediness. The stuffy overwrought interiors. And mostly, ghastly maintenance costs and spotty reliability. It’s as if, once it has been safely parked in the garage for the evening, the Land Rover lies awake all night, thinking of ways to break its owner’s heart in the morning.

    “Start! C’mon you (@&#$! I said start! Wait. What’s that dripping sound? Noooooooo!”

    And then, as the dealer flatbed arrives at your home to haul your eighty-thousand dollar box of prestige back for a transmission rebuild, and your neighbors assemble on the sidewalk to witness the proceedings with a wry grin, your heart sinks. The Range Rover has won. Beaten you.

    Oh well. At least it wasn’t in the Okavango Delta. What? Was that a hyena laughing? Oh, no. Never mind. Just one of the neighbors.

  • avatar
    rickyc

    I would have to say Nissan, nothing in their lineup grabs my attention until the GT-R came out. That is one hell of a machine, Nissan really impressed me and others with that car. I don’t like them but I have new respect for them.

  • avatar
    Angus McClure

    I think that the cars that I respect are also the cars that I like just about all the time. Whether it is a single cab pickup for the farm, the old vws that I used to own, or the grocery getters that I commuted in while raising a family. If a car is honest and reliable I tend to like it. If it’s flashy but unreliable I don’t. In other word, a car, van, or truck that does what it’s supposed to do and does it well.

    Does that make me an appliance lover? Well I guess it may but I found out the hard way that the same standards apply to people. Just like cars there are types that I have nothing to do with. That method of selection has served me well for about seven decades and it’s not likely that it will change.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Chrysler. I respect them for making a huge financial comeback, but I would never own one of their vehicles.

    I feel like no matter how good it looks on paper, a Chrysler is still a Chrysler and that means problems and poor quality.

    Maybe GM cars and crossovers (Not Trucks, SUVs and exclude Corvette) they seem below par with their competitors to me, but with the amount I see them in traffic, someone has to be buying them.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    Probably Subaru. They’re a very well managed company, and I respect their engineering, but I just can’t quite get past the total lack of passion that they bring to their aesthetics.

    Aside from the BRZ, everything they build could have been introduced in the 1990s without raising an eyebrow – I guess you could call their design language timeless, but really it’s just bland. I don’t know how the same company that once made the SVX could become so staid and risk averse.

    Their marketing leaves me cold too, with the touchy feely imagery and obvious pandering to the granola munching crowd. It’s all just a bit much to stomach.

    The other would be Toyota, for much the same reasons. This was a company that had no shortage of interesting and exciting cars in the 70s and 80s, yet, the better the competition has become, the blander and more conservative Toyota has chosen to be – which seems like it should be counter productive, but they’ve somehow remained successful. I know their cars are very well made and very reliable, and the company is run like a well oiled machine, but so many other cars are also well made these days, it doesn’t seem like enough. Akio Toyoda seems to be trying to bring some passion back, but it’s slow going.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      The 1990s were a golden age for the USA. Seinfeld was on TV (still is as re-runs), all the new Disney Movies were great (still are the best), there was an economic surplus, gas was cheap.

      It will be hard to move away from that era, the designs will still look similar. And besides, I bet you a 2007 Outback will age better than a 2012 Hyundai Sonata.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Suzuki.

    A compact 4-banger SUV with a semi-full frame that can take a beating off-road, and do some semi-serious towing on-road, doesn’t come along very often. And probably never will again.

    It makes me feel semi-guilty that I never owned one.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Firstly, Honda. They haven’t built anything interesting whatsoever in at least 15 years, but they make excellent engines (mechanically at least) and as a previous poster said, they really know how to put stuff together.

    Volkswagen is another one. When I think of where they came from, their history, and the products they’ve made that have left such a mark on the world, I gotta give them respect for becoming such a huge company.

    Even still, I can’t think of a single VW past maybe the early 90′s that I find interesting or attractive.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Toyota

    The car that I recommend the most to non-car people who ask but can’t imagine actually owning one of the things. They have the excitement of a toaster oven and cost about the same to maintain over the long haul. The driving experience of the average Toyota is the automotive equivalent of heating up an Eggo waffle.

    Even with their recalls they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt over the last 40+ years by mostly delivering solid, reliable transportation that give their customers good value for their money.

    But the thought of having to drive one for 100,000 miles+ just depresses me.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Toyota. Any segment where they compete head to head with Honda, I’d take the Honda. Were I buying a truck, I’d get a Toyota in a heartbeat. Had the new GS been on sale when my company leased an A6, I’d have moved heaven and earth to get the Lexus. I don’t really respect a third brand. The other ones that are growing their market shares are doing so by taking advantage of an ignorant public. The young woman that was riding with me in the Audi today commented on one feature. She was impressed by the power folding mirrors. Their proximity warning function has already been the source of a dealer visit and I’m just hoping they keep unfolding through the last 27 months of the lease. I’m not holding my breath. The Audi’s 310 hp engine did humble the 429 hp Hyundai that we tested the same day. I’m not a fan of performance that only exists on paper, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that care more about inflated MPG claims and horsepower numbers than they care about their actual operating costs or ability to merge with traffic. It’s a grifter’s market.

  • avatar

    Tesla.

    At least they aren’t making vaporwares these days. I’ll like to see Toyota ICE underneath their hood to power those battery packs.


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