The Kiplinger Question: Should You Buy a Detroit Car?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the kiplinger question should you buy a detroit car

My first American girlfriend’s mother, a Manhattan slumlord, read the Kiplinger Letter. She drove a Ford. My American (former) mother-in-law (different person) read the Kiplinger Letter. She drove a Ford. Kiplinger’s paid circulation is a million; their website receives more unique visits than even TTAC, about 2m a month. When Kiplinger writes, America listens. And what’s on Kiplinger’s mind these days? “Should you buy a Detroit car?” Not a general question. They mean now, considering the dire circumstances. Kiplinger asks the question that is on the mind of the remaining 48.2 percent of Americans that still buy true blue American: “What are the risks of buying a vehicle from a carmaker that’s on the brink?”

The redlining banks think Detroit cars are a huge credit risk. Karesh just said buying American is a risk within itself, due to rampant customer carelessness on Detroit’s part. Studies and sales numbers show that the last remaining customers flee from brands that may no longer be there. What is the honest opinion of the all-American Kiplinger? After all, Kiplinger was named by Ethisphere as one of America’s most ethical companies of 2007 and 2006. Kiplinger says: Don’t do it. Here is their bottom line:

“I wish the U.S. carmakers, and the industrial Midwest, all the best. No one wants to see the pain associated with job losses. But although I’d love to play the patriot card and recommend that you support the American carmakers, why take the chance? You have enough problems with your retirement and college funds to risk another hit on your personal finances.

“If you need a car now, you’re going to get a sweet deal on any number of foreign makes. If you’d rather buy American, at least wait and see what happens before you commit. If the Detroit carmakers can raise enough cash to keep operating until 2010, when concessions on health care and labor contracts kick in, they have a good shot at surviving long term.”

If and when.

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  • Findude Findude on Nov 24, 2008

    I'll see Kiplinger's warning and raise him: I cannot recommend buying any new car now, domestic or foreign. Even if you are not affected by a personal credit crunch, lots of people are dumping young used cars and trying hard to get out of leases they cannot afford. Good used cars are ridiculously cheap for buyers who have the cash or credit to close a transaction. Avoid the dealers if you can and make a private party buy if you really need a car. Personally, I figure on waiting until at least 2012 before even thinking about buying any car. The market is changing so rapidly (both what consumers want and what technology can provide) that I prefer to wait out the shakeout with the well-maintained cars we have now. By 2012 we should have a no-illusions perspective on the true cost of fuel over the long run and some real-world feedback on what the alternative fuels can and cannot do. With any luck, the economy will be stable then as well.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Nov 24, 2008

    I'm with Findude on this one. The only reason to buy any car is because you need a car and don't already have one. Or if you suddenly need a truck for your job and you don't already have one. Otherwise, be patient and wait. I'm happy I paid off my Prius a few years ago, and I'm hoping not to have to take on new debt for a couple years (if ever).

  • Dave M. I think I last listened to AM after 9/11, but the talk radio cesspool took its toll on my mental health. Prior to that I last listened to AM in the '70s....I'm a 20-year XM subscriber; Apple Music also has me in its grip. For traffic conditions I use Waze, which I've found to be highly reliable.
  • Art Vandelay Install shortwave so I can get numbers stations
  • THX1136 Radio World has been talking about this for a few years now. The public perception of AM has done much to malign it. As some have pointed out, there are parts of the country that work well with AM, especially when considering range. Yes indeed, there are options. To me that's what this is more about. The circuitry for AM is probably all on one chip now - or close to it. It cannot be a matter of cost - even at the inflated manufacturer asking price. Making what appears to be an arbitrary decision and reducing choice seems unwise in the area of radio in vehicles.Some have commented that they never listen to AM 'so I'm not missing it'. I'm guessing that many folks don't use ALL the features their many devices offer. Yet, they are still there for those occasions when one wants to avail themselves. Bottom line for me is it should still be an available option for the folks out there that, for whatever reason, want to access AM radio. Side note: Top 40 radio on AM was where all the music I listened to as a youth (55 years ago) came from, there were few (if any) FM stations at that time that carried the format. FM was mostly classical and talk and wasn't ubiquitously available in a portable form - AM was. FYI, the last I knew all stations - AM & FM - still have to have an EAS system as part of their broadcast chain. It's tested by the FCC at least once a year and all stations must be able to pass along the alert messages or face action from the FCC to correct the situation.
  • Robert I don't know why they don't use a knob for the gear shifter on the console like in the Ford Fusion. Takes up a lot less space than a shifter on the console and looks a lot better than a stalk on the steering column.
  • David S. "Stellantis" a woke company showing off evil ICE trucks!?! Bernie Sanders is having a stroke!!