Jay Leno: "I Believe That, All Things Being Equal, Americans Will Buy American"

jay leno i believe that all things being equal americans will buy american

Jay Leno, NBC comedian and car fanatic, would like to offer Motown's maven some independent analysis. So he does, via msnbc.com. "The type of vehicles America makes best are, unfortunately, not the type of vehicles that people really want anymore… Where we seem to lose it is in the low-bucks econocar… I believe that, all things being equal, Americans will buy American. It just has to be as good as the competition; it doesn’t have to be better… If you look at the new line of G.M. cars, they are almost as good as what the Europeans are doing… America does technology well, and I think this is how the companies will bring those buyers back. I think cars like the Chevy Volt, which is entirely battery-powered, or hydrogen cars from Chrysler, Ford and G.M. will take off…. One last thing: No matter what happens, do not expect all American cars to go Eurosize. American buttocks are not getting any smaller." So, aside from Jay's belief that close enough for rock and roll is close enough for rock and roll, and setting aside the issue of what constitutes an American car (Aveo? Accord?), and the fact that the Volt is actually a hybrid and a whole bunch of other stuff, the funnyman nails it. What do you reckon: Bob Lutz Award nominee?

Comments
Join the conversation
4 of 46 comments
  • Thoots Thoots on May 26, 2008
    TriShield : What I don’t understand is why people who claim to prefer their Japanese but “American” as apple pie cars get all hot and bothered by examples like the current Camry, which pretty much suffers from every negative thing people have traditionally said about American cars from it’s cheap plastic interior to spotty workmanship to forgettable styling and uninspiring driving experience. Well, mainly, it's because your information is WRONG. Perhaps Camry/Toyota is held to a higher standard, and probably a lot of it is due to venomous hatred towards Camry/Totota by the "reviewers," but the Camry has received quite a bit of "bad press" that it really doesn't deserve. Let's look at the truth, from the perspective of people who actually BUY the current Camry: 1. Cheap plastic interior? It's not "cheap" at all. Materials are generally better than anything else on the market. Yes, there's "more plastic" and less "fake wood-looking plastic trim" than previous generations, but it's not cheap, crappy, econobox-type stuff. Take your eyes off of the dashboard, and you'll find seat leather and fabric that is best in the class, switchgear that is best in the class, and ergonomics that are best in the class. Also, there's far more sense of "design" to the interior as compared to the far-less-adventurous designs of a lot of other competing interiors. 2. Spotty workmanship? Yes, I suppose there have been a few more problems reported than in previous generations, but significant problems are very rare. I don't think the average Camry owner is reporting anything even remotely resembing "spotty workmanship." 3. Forgettable styling? Well, that's better than the Abominable Honda -- the really quite ugly new-generation Accord. Others in the segment, like the Sebring, have truly awkward proportions. I think you could say that the Camry has the most "cohesive" styling compared to anything in the segment. Many "new to Camry" buyers are buying Camry BECAUSE of the new-generation styling. 4. Uninspiring driving experience? True, some reviewers (there are some here on TTAC) will curse at anything that doesn't handle as well as a BMW 3-series, but that's not what most Camry buyers are actually looking for. You must be reading Car and Driver, which in its last comparison test reamed Camry big-time about handling, though it mentioned how Camry was easy to drive smoothly, was by far the quietest on the road, and was otherwise EXACTLY like the kind of driving experience that its buyers were looking for. Plus, of course, the anti-Camryites generally find some way to never bother testing the Camry SE, which actually HAS some actual handling prowess. Finally, these folks never seem to mention how the Camry's V6 engine provides plenty of power, if that's what floats your boat. And so on. Get in a room full of Camry owners, and you might find mentions of a few minor issues, but few reports of real problems, and probably something like a 99% satisfaction with their vehicles. Yes, there has been negative "press." Meanwhile, more people continue to buy them and are satisfied with their cars than any other car in the US. Along the same vein, there was the oft-repeated mention that "If you put a Cobalt on a Toyota lot, it'd sell as well as Corolla," or something close to that. BS. People don't buy Toyotas because they are STUPID and clueless. No, those people are buying Cobalts. People who buy Toyotas have had trouble-free experiences with previous Toyotas. They read information like Consumer Reports reliability records. They test-drive new vehicles before they buy them, and easily comprehend how the Cobalt pales compared to the much-more-refined Corolla. And so on. Bottom line, these viewpoints are essentially based upon opinions that the domestics are just as refined and reliable as the "import brands" are. All I can tell you is that the people who buy the import brands aren't buying it. And vehicle sales are easily showing that the public at large isn't buying the domestic equivalents to the import brand cars.

  • KixStart KixStart on May 26, 2008

    Bozoer Rebbe, The phrases "Jewish self-hate" and "American self-hate" are an invention of Jewish and American rightists and are used to describe Jews or Americans who don't agree with the rightists' politics. I don't hate America or Americans, although I certainly prefer Toyotas to GMs and I'm certainly unhappy with our current foreign policy. The reasons are simple, my Toyotas put money in my pocket (money which gets invested in the US, as it happens) and our foreign policy is clearly counter-productive. This isn't self-hate, it's just awareness of the world around you. --- thoots, I'm very much in agreement with you on the current state of the Camry. My b-i-l was happy and proud to loan me his last year and it (an LE) is an excellent car. The 4-cylinder moves it along nicely (five plus luggage), it gets great fuel economy and the interior was very nice. He bought it because his '01 Sienna treated him very well. Six years of abuse from his kids and it still looks new and hasn't been into the shop once. If I had to criticize something about it... well... the front end isn't all that attractive. But it's similar to many others, so it makes no difference. And the visiblity out the rear is a little restricted but that's also due to the current style of broadly arched roofline and high rear deck (the only midsize car that really looks a bit different to me is the new Accord - and the Fusion but that's an older design at this point). My four Toyotas, '99 through '01's, fairly high miles at this point, have also treated me very well. Comes time to look for a new car, I'll be checking Toyota first. They've put money in my pocket.

  • Jackc100 Jackc100 on May 27, 2008

    I really enjoy TTAC. Where else could I read defenders for, "All things being equal", (as if it can be between the Detroit 2.8 and the other major players from the Asian rim), that most Americans would rather defy belief, urban survival skills and experience, and would buy something from the 2.8. I may be an elitist, uninformed, perceptually wrong and some other things referenced here, but the chances of the 2.8 competing with Toyota, Honda and Nissan in my life time is not realistic. The 2.8 have had at least 25 years and I doubt they will turn it around in the next 25, plus I probably will not be around. Before I would buy another 2.8 product that is not a used PU truck, I want an explanation for the leaky water pumps, sprung door hinges, out of round Firestones, falling off body pieces, mystery squeaks and rattles, cracking windshields, chassis water leaks and a few more pages worth I could list on. And where else could I read a seriouis sounding report that Camry's are now a POS and owners are really unhappy. I sure do not hear that in my neighborhood. Must be a lot of elitists, uninformed and historically perceptively incorrect people in my part of the southeast USA.

  • Martin Albright Martin Albright on May 28, 2008

    One point needs to be made: The Harley-Davidson example simply won't work for cars. Harley-Davidson's are valued for a number of reasons that don't have anything to do with technology, but the real point is that in the US, a motorcycle is always an emotional purchase, not a logical one. Motorcycles in the US are toys, not essential needs of daily life and as such, different criteria for judging them will apply.

Next