By on July 11, 2017

10 - 1992 Plymouth Sundance Down On the Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve all been burned at one time or another. As time passes, the chances of a rip-off, raw deal, or money-draining, hair-pulling lemon grow greater. Maybe you didn’t like the cut of the salesman’s jib. Maybe the dealership botched or sidestepped a necessary repair. There’s no limit to the number of ways a car, or a car company, can turn once-happy customers into sworn enemies.

In my family’s lineage, the only automaker that really fits this bill is Chrysler. Old Chrysler. Often Bad Old Chrysler. And yet, it wasn’t always that way, nor did it stay that way. But for a period of a few decades, Chrysler Corporation’s name was mud, despite the rosy, horsepower-clouded memories of a family member once seduced by Good Old Chrysler.

The first cut is the deepest, they say, and Chrysler came at the remaining members with a meat cleaver.

The relative who actually possessed good memories of the company was my grandmother on my mom’s side, rest her soul. In her opinion, the greatest purchase of her life, besides that satellite dish back in the 1980s, was a red 1969 Dodge Swinger 340. The hot Dart. Not the hottest, but hot nonetheless.

Stricken with Dodge Fever, my barely five-foot grandmother decided a little low-end Mopar muscle was just the thing to keep the Sixties alive. She was Dodge Material. So, after selecting the right color and options, including a 3-speed Torqueflite, grandma joined the Dodge Rebellion.

Because we’re talking about Good Old Chrysler, it was a match made in heaven. No mechanical issues. A long lifespan. Prodigious power. And don’t think for a second that she only drove it on Sundays and never once tried to “see what it could do.” Oh, she did.

Seven years later, her daughter, my mother, saved up nearly a whole year’s salary to buy her first and only brand new car. Just like her mother and the Swinger 340, this vehicle beckoned from both the showroom and the magazine ads. It looked even better on paper. It was new to the market. It was efficient. It was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. It was rushed to production. It was the final nail in the coffin of a company spiraling towards bankruptcy. It was…

…the 1976 Plymouth Volaré.

The Volaré’s Lean Burn-equipped Slant-Six stalled at every stoplight during warm-up, requiring the blowing of stop signs until the needle reached “hot.” A falling tear was enough to perforate the unprotected, corrosion-addicted front fenders. Eventually, an automated car wash brush punched a hole right through.

The inherent problems with that vehicle, while cleared up in subsequent model years, left such a bad impression that my mother swore off the company entirely. I recall a tan-colored, early-80s Plymouth Aries wagon in my youth, but that vehicle — bought by my father — proved the most short-lived vehicle of my youth. Like a gust of wind, it disappeared just as quickly as it came.

Fast forward to the turn of the new century. With little cash in his pocket, your author’s first hastily selected used car was — *drumroll* — a 1993 Plymouth Sundance. A base, manual-transmission two-door. With plenty going for it, mainly comfort, roominess, and a very low sticker, fuel flow issues soon provided a crash course in hitchhiking. In the space of one year, an intake valve seized, knocking a cylinder out of commission. The catalytic convertor melted. The fuel pump died. The hood latch gave out as I chivalrously ferried a carload of female friends home through a nighttime snowstorm. Suffice it to say, the Sundance was determined to make less than its factory 93 horsepower at any given time, and hell-bent on devouring every cent in my bank account.

I sold it to a co-worker.

While a Chrysler product hasn’t graced my driveway since, the company, now with an Italian flair, eventually won over my parents. It took decades, but the crazy deals available on the model which dare not speak its name (at least not here at TTAC) proved impossible to resist. Oh, and what’s my sister driving? A Dodge Journey, for exactly that same reason.

If you’re looking for the most possible room in a vehicle with zero miles on the odometer for the least amount of money, you too could be Dodge Material.

So tell us a story, Best and Brightest. No doubt there’s an automaker that earned your scorn, ire, and hatred. Are you willing to forgive, or will the two sides never again meet?

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139 Comments on “QOTD: Which Automaker Do You Hold a Grudge Against?...”

  • avatar

    For me, it was Honda. And it had nothing to do with the product – it had to do with the way Honda dealerships treated me when I bought my first new car (a Civic) in 1985.

    I’d recount the whole story, but suffice it to say that I got reamed so badly that my dad, who was there to co-sign the car loan if I needed it, was rumored to have physically threatened the guy who sold me my car. That explained why he tossed in pinstripes, floormats and a rear-speaker kit at the last minute.

    A few years later, it was time to trade in the Civic, and I gave Honda another shot at my business. The product was first rate, but the dealership experience was the same old nonsense. Even as late as the early Aughts, Honda dealers were still trying to recapture the “glory” days with things like “Denver market adjustments”.

    It’s only recently that Honda earned a real shot at my business, and that happened because their dealers have grown up and caught a whiff of the 21st century.

    But, yeah…Honda was on my s**t list for a good 20 years.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m right there with you, FreedMike. Honda boned me on a new ’98 Civic auto that lost reverse gear at the 10k mile point. Both the dealer and the Zone Manager from American Honda refused to honor the warranty – somehow using reverse to back the vehicle up was “owner abuse”. Cost me $3000 for a rebuilt tranny. “We can afford more lawyers than can you” was the phrase I remember from that American Honda drone. Not really a bad car per se but I refuse to deal with arrogant attitudes from miserable bastards. Honda lost seven prospective customers forever over this: myself and my adult children. My ex-wife, however, bought a new CR-V which is okay…

      • 0 avatar

        My ex-wife hasn’t bought s**t in the last seven years, which is even better.

        (Actually, take that back…she bought legal representation after she got tossed in jail for bouncing thousands of dollars worth of checks…and now she’s a convicted felon.)

        May she suffer endlessly. A pox on her.

        • 0 avatar

          (Giggle) .

          This is why I refuse to hate on my drama queen ex wife (TIP: don’t marry in your teens !) : she married stupid assed me, gave me a wonderful Son and also endless unnecessary heart aches then bailed out leaving me with an underwater house (who cares? I bought it to live in, not make money on) , a 12 year old boy child and all my old vehicles with no strings attached ~ few middle aged men get out as cleanly as I did .

          Be happy Mike ~ you’re in the cat bird seat now .


          • 0 avatar

            Oh, I’m definitely in a far better place, Nate. For sure. But this woman’s done things to me that can’t be forgiven, and more importantly, she hurt my kids emotionally, medically, and financially (long story, but suffice it to say my case book on her during my divorce was over 600 pages long…it was that bad). The harm she’s caused has been IMMENSE.

            She belongs in jail, but she’ll never do a day of time. She’s too good at convincing people she’s a victim.

            Alimony ends later this month, and my youngest daughter turns 18 in September, 2018. After that, I can cut the cord altogether. But I doubt I’ll ever be able to forgive her. Some wounds just go too deep.

        • 0 avatar

          Though I have no real reason, I join in your pox throwing.

    • 0 avatar
      Keith Tomas

      Team Hate Chrysler. It took two distinct models – Sundance and Neon – to turn me off of their cars. I recently got into it with someone on Facebook, who said that my expectations were too high, since they both were economy compacts. But I retorted if a car maker can’t but the same effort in to their least expensive models as they do their priciest ones, then we’ve got a problem. Both cars had abysmal build quality and seemed to fall apart after 20K miles.

  • avatar
    Land Ark


    13 years after trading it in on my first (and still only) new car I still haven’t convinced myself to ever seriously consider buying another European car.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Seconded. I had three of them, and all of them harmed my wallet.

      Also Mitsubishi. They let product wither on the vine, ignored the American market for quite some time, produced DSM cars, and focused too little on quality and innovation.

    • 0 avatar

      This. I wanted an Audi a lot, so I saved up and bought an A6 Avant. Credit where it’s due, it never left me stranded. But, the repair bills were just nightmarish. It felt like I was basically making a car payment to the repair shop. I made 200k miles on her, which is good for an Audi (I know, right?), but it was very expensive motoring. Replaced it with a Nissan and never looked back. I’ll give up some amenities to actually have a car that just, you know, works.

  • avatar

    I can’t say I have a grudge about any of them. I’ve been driving for about twenty-five years, had four used cars and three new cars during that time owning all but one past 100,000 miles. I guess I tend to keep them a long time and that’s really not very many cars (OTOH, I’ve rented too many to remember all of those).

    None of the ownership, service, or sales experiences have been bad enough to bitterly drive me away from one brand or another. Discourage me from some brands, sure, but not with a grudge.

    Comments should be good!

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, I don’t nurse any grudges. A lifetime of buying used tends to set a lower bar on expectations.

      • 0 avatar

        Bumpy ii, is why after Toyota sudden acceleration fiasco that TTAC so excellently covered that owners still returning? Or is it they love to have their extrodinary number of recalls over the last decade feel like someone cares?

  • avatar

    My father maintained a serious grudge against the entire British car industry (yes, there was one once!). He bought a new 1966 (or thereabouts) Morris Oxford. He thought he would be saving a ton of dough on this beauty. I fondly recall going with my father every Saturday down to the dealer to get something else repaired. All it took was one Toronto winter to convince him that this vehicle represented all that was horrible about British cars. By Spring, there were many rust spots blossoming all over the car. It wouldn’t start most mornings, especially if a cloud went by. Although my parents didn’t have two nickels to rub together, they decided that this junk had to go and they traded it in on a new Chevy Biscayne. My dad never owned anything but a GM product thereafter.

  • avatar

    Definitely Chrysler. After an ’88 Voyager with a terrible 3-speed auto that would stall at every tenth intersection, the family got a ’98 Caravan with apparently the exact same transmission that made it to about 60k miles before needing replacing (we spent $1200 on a 100k warranty and it saved our bacon 5 or 6 times). Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, my ’00 Neon also had a 3 speed auto that crapped out far too early!

    I don’t care that most American cars in the 80s and 90s had major issues, I still hold a big grudge. Thankfully Chrysler isn’t putting anything out I remotely want anyway, so no harm done.

    • 0 avatar

      Rather surprised that there would be a beef with the 3 speed used in the Ks and the myriad derivatives. Based on the torqueflite A904, it was a very robust transmission. I never knew of a failure. My own went 254,000 miles on the orginal trans before the head gasket failed. Now the “Ultradrive” four speed…..

  • avatar

    Cadillac for not selling V8 cars anymore.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Time for the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you auto manufacturers and now you’re gonna hear about it.

  • avatar

    All of them.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Guess that I am flogging a dead horse. FCA. Nothing I would like better than to add a Value Package Grand Caravan to the driveway. But very little that I would trust less to get 8 years without having to worry about major repairs.

    Rather than adding technology, ‘luxury’ etc, why doesn’t FCA just add about $1k worth of better parts (water pump, wiring harness/insulation) to these products which are old enough in their run that all these ‘bugs’ should have been worked out.

    A Toyota/Honda perceived level of reliability in these would result in even more sales and possibly even greater profitability.

    Close second is currently Hyundai. Have nothing but praise for the Kia ownership experience. But multiple recalls from Hyundai and small issues (seatbelt buckle, gas tank release) and larger ones (ECM at 10 months, very thin paint) have led to a frustrating ownership experience.

    Third, going back nearly 40 years is VW. The Type IV ‘shooting brake/square back’ was nicely designed and badly executed. When a VW Service Manager tried to rip-off my mother he ended up quickly and permanently learning ‘the facts of life’ from The Old Man.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound


    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, the auto industry is an oligopoly. If you’re not down with the groupthink, and you’re unwilling to catch the communicable diseases passed around by the marketing/advertising divisions, shareholders will fry you like bacon.

      FCA must commit suicide with the rest of them. Even Jeep, which is founded on the principles of simplicity, field service (literally), and utility, must be sacrificed on the alter of technological progress. It’s killing people (literally). Just ask Anton Yelchin’s family.

    • 0 avatar

      Protip: The current Dodge Grand Caravan has lower per vehicle warranty costs than the average Toyota.

  • avatar

    None that I can think of. I’ve only owned vehicles from two, and neither have pissed me off yet.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    BMW..for that crappy 2011 X5. To their credit, it was pre-owned. But I think it was definitely a lemon, especially given the low mileage.

    I still might buy another Bimmer, but not anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar

      Our X5 just stranded my wife at home this morning. It won’t start. Battery is good, couldn’t be jumped.

      This is the 6th or 7th non-maintenance repair issue we’ve had in 2 years.

      Absolute junk.

    • 0 avatar

      Had an 04 545i. Never made it to 100k. I bought it used knowing it might need a little fixing. OMG I had no idea a car could be so needy. Stuff that I could not conceive of ever breaking broke on that thing. Radio: dead, HVAC electronics: desoldered, suspension spring: shattered, cooling system: overhauled 2x, battery terminal: has electronics in it to go bad?!, etc.
      What a massive pain in the a$$, file BMW under “never will I ever” for me.

      • 0 avatar

        “Stuff that I could not conceive of ever breaking broke on that thing.” Exactly!
        – Spring popping through the rear seat upholstery? Yep. Not worn-out fabric, mind you. A rogue spring popping through the front surface of an otherwise like-new seat cushion.
        – Driver’s door handle mechanism falling apart? Yep. Not the power lock, mind you. Not the door handle. The actual guts of the mechanism fell apart under normal use. And by normal, I mean skewing gentle.

        I have two friends who enjoy driving BMWs. One is a serial leaser budgeting well within his means, so the various problems he has haven’t been overly concerning. His dealer has a cafe-style waiting area, so he’ll end up using it as a remote office a few days a year. The second found a mostly solid used E90 M3. It has its foibles, but he’s willing to put up with them. I don’t begrudge them their choices, but I couldn’t do the same.

    • 0 avatar

      Thirded, Kyree and jkross22. My parents’ E28 was a lemon. In retrospect, the combination of new body style, new engine, and German provenance was like playing Russian roulette with at least three rounds in the cylinder.

      There actually was a lot about it that we liked, but for a family that hangs onto cars for a long time, you don’t get a second chance after selling us a car that problematic. Various Japanese and US makes have served us well in the ensuing years.

  • avatar

    General Motors – into the 1960s they were the greatest manufacturing firm in the history of the world, with the world’s strongest automotive brands by far. They were styling leaders, technology leader, low cost producers, and they blew it all up with 25+ years of bean-counting mismanagement.

    • 0 avatar

      YEP GM.

      We are now about 40 years from when their reputation fell apart and stories about their abysmal quality still are passed from father to son to grandson. Without fleet sales (rental, corporate and government) the car divisions would not exist.

      Never owned a GM car but got a 1982 rental citation in the middle of winter at O’hare. Less than 100 miles on the odometer and the drivers window fell down into the door at the toll booth when leaving the airport.

      • 0 avatar

        GM. I had owned 6 GM products from my first hand me down ’62 Tempest and ending with a car that still gets laughs of derision among my friends, our ’78 Pontiac Sunbird hatchback. We ordered ours from the factory and it arrived with 45 defects and errors not the least of which was we had ordered it in silver but it arrived in Desert Tan which was actually an off-yellow.

        Over the course of five years it continually overheated, broke two rear antisway bars, had two of the three steering column bearing races dump ball bearings on my wife’s feet as she was driving on the freeway (the Pontiac mechanic managed to break the third one when he reinstalled the column upside down), leaked rain into the interior through poorly designed door seals, and in its most dangerous event, had the rubber fuel line that crossed against the firewall split as we drove down a treaturous mountain road spilling fuel all over the engine and into the interior. Our frequent and nearly continuous complaints to the dealer, regional manager, and finally the head office all went unheeded and unanswered. But the fuel line incident was the last straw and we vowed to never own another GM product which led to our first Honda Accord, a 1983 we kept for over 225,000 mostly trouble-free miles since.

        And I’ve never owned nor will own a GM product since.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      This all day long. Talk about complete mismanagement. The good thing is it turned me (and millions of others) on to Japanese vehicles and I haven’t looked back.

      • 0 avatar

        For sure. I was a diehard GM loyalist thanks to all the rock-solid 70s era used Buicks and Oldsmobiles owned by myself, friends and family in the 80s. Then I graduated college and moved up to 80s and 90s GM products and got burned more often than I got a good one. It drove me straight to the arms of Honda and Toyota and the difference is night and day. I still can’t believe the crap I put up with from GM cars thinking it was a perfectly normal and acceptable part of car ownership. Just didn’t know any better.

        I must admit I still love Buicks though…

    • 0 avatar

      Meh, GM’s a mixed bag for me. I’ve had some great GM products (like my ’03 Buick, which I passed down to my kids), and some awful ones (my dad’s ’75 and ’80 Caddies).

      But it’ll inspire more hate than other brands because of a) the bailout, b) the ’80s (enough said), and c) the fact that it was so big for so long means it made more enemies.

      Heavy lies the crown.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. I think all of us that lived through the malaise-era have these stories.

      My father, who had some great cars, hit a nasty streak. ’78 Aspen Wagon, ’81 Cutlass Wagon, then ’83 Century. He always traded at 50k miles, but even that was no longer helping.

      The Century barely crawled over the warranty limit, and suddenly stopped accelerating. The dealer took apart the little V6 to find the lobes rounded off the cam. They also promptly blamed my father for not changing the oil enough, rather than blaming the badly cast block.

      He said, as I recall “Just fix it enough to make it to <>”. One wonderfully reliable Accord LX later and he was converted.

    • 0 avatar

      No doubt GM has sewn the seeds of it’s own destruction, but the time it needed to realize it’s folly was swindled by regulators. Nothing killed Detroit like CAFE regulations, which were largely unnecessary by the mid-80s. CAFE also gave American manufacturers a huge competitive advantage in BoF SUVs, which was like giving the American automobile industry a competitive advantage in a dying programming language.

      Nothing has killed the US like regulators pretending we have a natural resource shortage ala Europe or Japan. There are much better ways to handle emissions and temporary supply shortages than to regulate automotive products.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a love/hate opinion of General Motors.

      Love? I loved my ’99 Suburban right up until the lower intake manifold gasket blew while I was towing a trailer through a construction zone with concrete barriers on both sides. $700 to fix it and the clock started ticking until the engine died for good. I mostly finished putting the replacement long block together last night.

      Hate? 1981 Camaro. It was every bit as long and wide as my mother’s minivan, but I could fit more stuff in my 1983 RX-7.

      Love? 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille and 1969 Cadillac Calais

      Hate? 199? Buick Century that I drove for a couple months before buying a Jeep.

      Hate? 1995 Chevy Lumina my wife drove when we married. At least the parts were cheap and readily available at Pull-A-Part. Eventually the transmission blew, and to replace it you have to pull the entire front subframe.

      Ugh. I think I’m going back to Japanese cars.

  • avatar

    GM, Chevrolet in particular. Easy to buy, horrible to get serviced no matter which dealership I picked. Lousy dealer service departments along with GM ignition switches (I had two fail) will forever keep me from coming back.

  • avatar


    “I bought a Mk IV Jetta 1.8T” roughly says all of it. It stalled every morning when it was cold, like an old carb’d engine with a bad choke. It had the Diverter Valve issue they all had (fix: Buy a good one from the aftermarket).

    The last straw was when the clearcoat started chipping off the paint when it was 18 months old. This was when VW had the 2/24k warranty nonsense and it happened at 25,000 miles. VW paid not a cent.

  • avatar

    Grudge against Manufacturer, No.

    Grudge against Dealers, most definitely!!!

    At one time I thought I’d be a Honda guy forever. But, 2 cars ago, they kept trying to screw me over on my trade-in. At least for one dealer, the one I purchased it from. So, I ended up going with a Mazda CX-5, and my latest lease is now a Nissan Rogue. So, in less than 4 years, that would have been 2 vehicles Honda would have had that I ended up going to a different brand because the Honda dealers pissed me off so much!!!

  • avatar

    Volvo. My first experience was an ’88 240DL wagon that continued its reliable service with upwards of 300k on the odometer. So simple, you could fix it with a hammer.
    I bought two more volvos after that: a ’92 240 sedan and a very low mileage ’97 850 sedan that both provided cheap, reliable service. My screen name became “volvoguy”. I thought I had the game figured out.
    Then I bought an ’01 V70 T5 wagon to serve as our family hauler. It was a beautiful machine until it wasn’t. Snapped shifter cables, fried ignition coils every other week, indecipherable and continuous warning messages. All of this was enough to make me run to the Japanese and buy a Nissan.
    I think it’ll be awhile before I take the dive on another Swede.

    • 0 avatar

      Volvo isn’t Swedish anymore (and SAAB is dead), so if by any chance you want to take the dive on another Swede at some point, you’ll have to buy an old Volvo or even older SAAB.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, Volvo. I bought my wife a used 850GLT based on Volvo’s reputation for reliability – and this one had low miles and receipts showing all the major stuff done. Turned out to be the most unreliable, nearly undriveable POS ever. Every single “system” from fuel to PCV, to HVAC, to lighting, suffered constant chronic failure. paid $3,000 for it, spent $1,400 on repairs, sold it 10-monthes later for $1,100, was glad to see it go.

  • avatar

    Nissan products.
    They have some of the poorest reliability ratings and somehow they are still pasted off to be more reliable over Ford, GM, or FCA.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, a few generations ago, they were rock solid, if a bit boring/plainly styled. Think 1980s-90s Maxima, the first two Altimas (ending in 2001), the Hard Body trucks, etc. Since then, they’ve let quality go and decided to bank on the reputation of Japanese cars to make it. Seems they are catering to the rental car market in the past decade or so. I mean, look at the first Rogue. It looked hip and stylish, *IF* it had been released in 1999.

  • avatar


    The dealerships are awful and Hyundai corporate does *not* stand behind their product.

    Never again.

    • 0 avatar

      There was a guy (living in Korea I guess) over on Autoblog commenting about how unethical Ford Motor Company is because some Korean dealers were caught selling used cars as new.

      So, Hyundai’s Theta II engine scandal is a better way to go? A global issue, not just a single region. They built defective engines (which they’re REALLY good at), only recall one model out of the many that use the engine and only when forced to, deny warranty claims, lie about it, cover it up, and fire the employee who blew the whistle. Yes, he sued for his job back got it, and they (of course) made it very difficult for him, so he quit.

      That’s some fine business ethics right there.

      Yes, all carmakers are here to make a profit, but none seem as less focused on long-term durability and reduced maintenance costs as the Koreans and more recently, the Europeans.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    My ’84 300zx Turbo was a nightmare to own, but in retrospect it turned me into the diy’er I am today. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I still have dreams about that car, 20 years on. Wonderful magical dreams where the car is resurrected like a phoenix from a rust heap. But to this day I avoid Nissan due to my untreatable phobia of rust.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Demonstrating just how long consumers can hold a grudge.

    1) To re-state another’s complaints. British Leyland/Rootes/Austin/Morris. The Old Man bough an original Mini new. Nothing but issues. The shifter eventually came off in his hand. Traded it for a VW Beetle after less than a year.
    2) VW. Thanks to the Beetle, had multiple VW’s in our driveway for over a dozen years. A Type IV squareback/shooting brake ended that. Recounted that story in a prior post.
    3) Ford. Bought a new late T-Bird that stalled/refused to start at the most inopportune times. Going to and/or starting on first dates, during blizzards, when farthest from home, prior to an early morning court date. Got rid of it after 12 months. It was written off shortly after. No mourning for it.

    Two of these examples are from the 70’s and one from the 60’s yet, each permanently tainted these brands for our family.

  • avatar

    VW and to a lesser extent Ford.

    VWs – random undiagnosable and frustrating gremlins. I’ve had 4 and I really wanted to love all of them, but they wore me out.

    Ford – warping manifolds, gaskets, weeping and leaking. etc.

    I don’t hold a grudge against Toyota, but the only head gasket that I’ve ever had blown was on a 94 4Runner v6, which was apparently a pretty regular issue for those- so anecdotes- but I don’t put toyotas on the pedestal a lot of people put them on. To their credit, Toyota was great to work with. It was out of warranty but they cut the labor hours to help out.

    Counter to others, FCA stuff has been great to me. I’ve had 3 trucks, 1 econo-box (which was actually mitsubishi innards) 1 caravan and a Challenger. I’ve never had any issues that weren’t regular wear items.

  • avatar

    For my wife it is easy FORD, it was her second crappy ford a Granda , it was a used POS and went on fire the day of my brothers wedding so maybe she had a fair case but 25 years later when ever one of us is car shopping Ford is off the list, I had several Taurus as company cars and they were fine but she will not buy a ford. For me , for no real good reason FCA and really only the Chrysler part, I had fiats , they were issues but they have their charms, I have never owned a Chrysler / dodge/plymouth product but everyone I know who owned them had issues, new , used, cop did not matter. I have owned Saabs, Volvo, Audi, Fiat 124 and while they had their issues , they all had some soul.

  • avatar

    For me it would have to be Honda. I bought a shiny new ’13 Civic EX, to avoid the awful CVT the ’14s had. Six weeks later while vacationing in the mountains, the transmission lost third gear. A local dealer in Tennessee took care of it. Fast forward two years later, the warranty is about to expire, and the transmission does it again! I get it to the dealer, they fix it, I get it back. A week later, it does it again! I get it back after a week, it happens again! Finally I get the car back, and I’m thinking I have a lemon. The next day I take off for Indiana, I make it to Ohio, and guess what??? It happens again! I gave my dealer an earful, they had me take the car to a dealership in Ohio, where I was given a new ’16 Civic as a loaner (the thing may not be a looker but it drives great!) I called Honda corporate, told them the car was a lemon, they responded with a curt “we don’t buy cars back, contact your dealer”, so I did. I told the dealer I didn’t want the car anymore, would you please just give me fair market value for it and let me walk away, they agreed, and told me to come back next week and they’d cut me a check. I did just that, with title in hand, and the manager says to me, “I’m not buying this car from you, it’s broke!”

    That whole experience chased me into the arms of a Volkswagen dealer, that treats me like royalty, and the Golf they sold me is ten times the car that Civic was!

    Now if Honda would just apologize to me, I’d actually let it all go…

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like a very weird issue with that particular transmission. I can’t believe that after the second/third failure they didn’t just install a new/factory-reman transmission. Can’t say I’ve heard of many pattern failures on newer Honda 5spd automatics. The dealership experience sounds horrible regardless.

  • avatar


  • avatar

    GM, as a result of the ignition switch issue. Specifically, when it comes to the story about the woman who pleaded guilty to murdering her boyfriend after a car crash, even though GM knew the cause of the accident was the car.

    “In May 2007, five months before Ms. Anderson entered her guilty plea, G.M. had conducted an internal review of the crash and quietly ruled its car was to blame, but never let Ms. Anderson or local law enforcement officials know.”


    After having read this story 3 years (and 4 cars) ago, I swore myself off all GM brands.

  • avatar

    It’s hard to forget your first new car , your first ever car loan. Mine was a 1972 Grand Torino , white , formal roof, white vinyl top. 36 monthly payments to Ford Motor Credit and I would own it. By the time the 36th payment was due there was rust bubbling up under the vinyl roof along with rust coming thru on the trunklid and the inner door jams. Talks with Ford regarding the rust led to Ford paying a body shop to “fix” the rust. That turned out to mean patch and paint over. Then there’s the Three GM vehicles purchased new in the 80’s all were Oldsmobiles and all had problems with components primarily due to GM using untested or unproven parts. Haven’t (and never will) go back to Ford or GM since. I guess it’s odd , but I have owned a Dodge Dakota and many Nissan products and have no issues with them what so ever. I have had some issues with Audi’s and two Mercedes, but they seem to be more annoyances than anything else. My trust in GM and Ford is gone for good.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get it. A rusty car from 45 years ago means new ones are bad too? You do know lots of cars from that era rusted horribly. Had you bought a 1972 Datsun (Nissan) or Honda, I’m quite sure you would have had more than rust bubbles to deal with, more like gaping holes. But is your perception of Nissan (which marketed Datsun) and Honda the same as Ford’s?

      I was going to put Chryseler, given my hell with my Concorde (amongst others), but it was a 1996, and that’s not really a fair representative of what they build today.

      Although, I’d say Ford’s reputation for quality has improved a lot since 1972, where Chrysler’s hasn’t much changed since 1996, as in your chances of getting a terrible one are still decent with today’s FCA.

  • avatar

    Not a grudge but you’d have a hard time convincing me to buy a GM/Ford/FCA these days based solely on their lowest-bidder mentality when it comes to outsourcing various components/assemblies for their vehicles. The one exception to that would perhaps be an F150 based on the relatively high (70%) domestic content and the overall features/performance/value it offers.

  • avatar

    And for a number of reasons. Overall though, they seem overrated and their following is off-putting

    The marketing for them, at least in the US market, is just plain arrogant. “Why settle for a Honda wannabe?” or “Only a Honda is a Honda”. Sorry, this is more self-absorbed, head-up-you’re a** than GM was in the 70’s.

    Their dealers are typically obnoxious and it’s not uncommon in my area to see cars on their lots marked up by thousands of dollars. No budging, no negotiating. But if people buy them at those prices, then all the power to the dealers

    And then there are the buyers; which are split into primary two demographics. Either it’s the buyer who doesn’t know any about cars and buys an Accord or Civic because they know someone who has one and it’s decent. This buyer isn’t too far in descendence from the standard Camry/Corolla buyer at the Toyota dealer down the road who are buying their car for the same reasons. Or the other half of Honda owners are the ricers and street racers who think their Civic is a race car and has modded it up to look like Frankencar.

    The cars themselves I find unappealing. The styling on modern Hondas is bizarre. The Civic, and especially the new hatch, Fit, Odyssey, and Accord have tacky fake air vents, needless swoops and curves, and just weird lines. And the quality…….Granted, Honda’s heyday was the 80’s and 90’s and their cars were a benchmark for reliability and long term service. But I think those days are gone. Automatic transmission issues aren’t uncommon, and to the surprise of many, I bought a Fit in 2015 because of the promise of reliability and resale, along with the interior packaging. The reliability was beyond dreadful, riddled with quality defects, but at least the resale was good when it came time to rid of it

    Sorry, but overhyped, ugly cars relying on their decades-old reputation driven by douchebag racers just don’t appeal to me

    • 0 avatar

      I find your opinon of Honda buyers very outdated to say the least.

      My cousin bought a new Accord recently. It wasn’t because he always had a Honda. No, he never had before. He’s not a boy racer. He and his wife had an Altima a while back and hated it. He just wanted a good midsize 4 cylinder non-Turbo sedan, and the Honda Accord is a good choice, which is exactly what I told him. The interior is several steps above an Altima, for example. The overall refinement of the car is very good. It feels solid and well built. Its not horrible to drive, either.

      They have taken a couple of long trips in it, and said it was comfortable as not tiring to drive. He has a bad back. Not as bad as mine, but enough that he would prefer supportive seats and a decent ride, something the Honda provides.

      Not all buyers of Hondas are airheads or wanna-be racers. Some just want a good car that doesn’t belong on a rental lot (Altima, Camry, previous Malibus, etc).

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree about Honda dealers being obnoxious. Some behave as though they are doing you a favor by deigning to sell you one of their vehicles.

      Also turned off by their trim levels ever since I nearly bought a Civic years ago prior to ABS becoming standard. The only way I could get it was by moving up the trim level to the one with the sunroof which I didn’t want.
      It seems it’s still true today. If you want advanced safety features, you have to pay extra for them and for all the other options included in the higher trim model.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      You bought the cheapest car Honda sells and whine about it. Buy a sonic, fiesta, 320i, what ever entry level vehicle from any manufacturer and they will all leave you wanting more.

      Your ricer douchebag stereotype was over after like fast n furious #2-3. They are up to #7-8 now.

      I have worked for Chevrolet Cadillac and Ford over the years. The slimy practices Ford dealerships pull are way worse than any other brand to my knowledge. Most corrupt dealerships win the corporate diamond awards here in Ontario.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve typically bought the cheaper models from any brand and have been content with them. Currently I have your aforementioned Sonic now and love it. The refinement of it is leaps and bounds better than the Fit and I am 100% satisfied with it. Even my old Aveo and certainly Ford Focus and Hyundai Accent felt like more well sorted cars.

        And what you said is exactly what the Honda loyalists said; “it’s their cheapest car. What do you expect?”

        Well, a failed alternator within the first two weeks of being new, fuel gauge that would stop working, water filled tailights, leaky trunk, creaks and rattles in the cabin, sagging headliner, creaky clutch, sagging front bumper, and flimsy trunk lever that snapped twice within 5k miles of ownership would all be an embarrassment to even a Russian carmaker. Even my old Daewoo sourced Aveo in college never had this many issues over 30k miles

  • avatar

    For me, it’s Ford. I grew up in a Ford family, all of us kids when we got our first cars, were all Fords.

    I had a Torino, Maverick, Pinto, a couple of crappy Mercury Capris, a Grand Marquis and a Topaz that was built in Hades. The Capris were bought new, I received indifferent treatment from the dealers. The Maverick, Pinto, Torino, Grand Marquis and the Topaz were used, but the Topaz was my mother’s last Ford. All of them suffered from bad assembly, crappy materials and seemingly bad engineering. I even had two Yugos that were less trouble than some of these Ford products.

    Even my Pontiac from Hell, my 2004 Aztek Rally which really was a POS, was the worst GM car I’ve owned. All of my other GM cars have been slightly less than average in terms of problems. They’ve never approached the level of fix it again and again and again as some of those Fords listed.

    Every so often I think I might go for a new Mustang and then I begin to remember…

  • avatar

    Major Grudge (Will never buy): GM. My dad had a gift for buying the worst products possible in the 80’s. Our sears TVs always broke. Our GM cars were unreliable at best and dangerous at worst. Our 1st Chevette literally gave up while trying to drive up a hill at 55 mph in Northern Virginia in the summer. Our Olds Cutlass Ciera wagon tried to kill us with an igniting steering column. When that failed, it simply tried to get us run over at highway speeds because it could not get out of its own way. I had such a horrible experience with GM in the 80’s that I can never, ever, imagine buying another GM product.

    Minor Grudge (will buy if its what the Wife wants): Honda. Sales is fine, but I find the service people to be insufferable in the defense of their product. Never have I had a dealer work harder to convince me that there is nothing wrong with my car, because, you know, its a Honda. And then the A/C compressor imploded on my CR-V and I was faced with a $3500 bill in the middle of summer with an 8 month pregnant wife who needed it fixed ASAP. Both dealer and Honda corporate offered me nothing because I was about 5k miles above their limit for supporting this known defect. We even offered to buy another car off the lot if they would give us full trade in value for the car- they refused. We went and bought a highlander later that week, and while I hated that car, I could no longer reward Honda.

  • avatar

    Through the years, it depends:

    When a kid, Ford. Just because I like Chevy. Period.

    In my 20’s, I got to hate Chevy/GM because of abandoning the pillarless hardtop beginning with the 1973 mid-sizers, later, in the late 70’s for either their half-way down rear window mentality even on Cadillacs, then to fixed windows in four door sedans. I went to Chrysler for 20 years thereafter.

    Chrysler. Ultradrive, 2.7L, you name it. Never again. True, I did not suffer those issues, but after having the fuel rail recall done on the 1996 Intrepid 3.5L we bought used, and beginning having hard-starting problems, we got rid of it. Shame, we both loved that car. We bought a new 1999 Stratus as a stop-gap until something better in the guise of a 2002 Honda CR-V came along.

    I really don’t hold a grudge against any OEM – life’s too short, but am very wary of some, like Hyundai, FCA, Nissan & Mitsubishi.

    Now, I’m back to driving Chevy again since 2004. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar

      Zackman, old buddy… We seemed to have traveled the same paths. My hate for GM was the Saturn project; I found the whole “shopping the factory around” rather distasteful. It really p!ssed me off. In fact, it drove me to Chrysler for a number of years. But then Daimler bought Chrysler, I fell back into the arms of GM. I’ve never left, but I’ve largely had good experiences with GM since then.

      Most likely, my next car will be a Chevy unless the Fates intervene and deliver me a Mopar I can love into my dotage. Otherwise, Volts or Bolts for everyone!

      I’ve long told my kids, you can’t go wrong with a big Chevy.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    Audi. At 50k miles, my wife’s TT used a quart of oil every 3000 miles. Dealer said that that was normal. Every trip for a $90 oil change resulted in another $1000 plus repair.

    Also, Chrysler but that has been over 30 years and time has a way of making the pain seem not so bad.

    • 0 avatar

      Had a TT that was a pile as well as a Volkswagen CC (European Passat) that was irksome (not nearly as bad as total f*cking garbage General Motors scrap-cans, and the VWs drove way better with far better finish on exterior and interior).

      General Motors is the worst – an arrogant, totally incompetent, fart of a company that produces trash vehicles from an aesthetic, interior trim, exterior design, and deep a$$hole plumbing reliability/durability perspective, with resale values to match.

      General F*cking Disgraceful Motors is America’s British Leyland, now with 100% and near 100% assembled in China (Envision, CT6, etc.) of 100% Chinese parts and 100% and near 100% assembled in Mexico of 100% Mexican parts ‘Murican D3 Car Company!

      Ford is slightly better than Garbage Motors, also making absolute, unreliable, horsesh!t scrap cans.

  • avatar

    Nissan for foisting CVT’s on us en masse. Others have used them, sure, but if you don’t shift it yourself in most Nissans, you get a CVT. In the flatlands or on the highway, not terrible. If you live with hills and don’t use the pedals as switches, just no fun. My 2010 Altima served it’s purpose, but it wasn’t something I’d do again. And yes, I’ve driven newer CVT’s and I still don’t care for them.

    GM, for all of it’s alleged improvements, will get no more of my money. My Cruze has been acceptable, except for the “they all do that” thunk and clunk in the rear that they cannot fix (and they did try). It’s fine if you like no excitement in your drive or like to drive hard once in awhile. But I leased it to see if GM was worth of more of my money and the answer is no.

    I’d probably do an FCA product before GM and we’ve only had one Plymouth in my family (87 Horizon).

    • 0 avatar

      Nissan’s new CVT’s are excellent. I prefer to row my own, but their CVT’s are almost good enough to make me reconsider. By mating their CVT’s to a traditional two-speed automatic, Nissan have drastically reduced the engine rpm at highway speeds. It’s amazing to be cruising at 70mph in a Sentra with the 1.8L engine turning over at 2,000rpm. In the mountains, rather than abruptly upshifting, the CVT just sort of meanders around looking for the best ratio to pull you up a hill. Yeah, it’s a bit disconcerting a first, but it’s 100x times better than being jarred by a traditional automatic that is searching hopelessly for the right gear.

      Nissan is the company responsible for unleashing the scourge of the CVT, but they are also the only company that seems to use them correctly.

      • 0 avatar

        Are you kidding? Honda’s CVTs are far more refined. They’re so much less intrusive, you forget you’re driving one unless you floor it and hold it, then you realize it isn’t down/up shifting.

        • 0 avatar

          Honda CVT are designed to pretend they aren’t CVT’s. That’s not helping anyone other than people who hate CVT’s, but refuse to buy a manual. Rpm threshold in Honda’s is too high at 70+mph.

          Nissan utilizes CVT’s appropriately by suppressing engine noise and vibration. It’s a CVT. It’s never going to be responsive no matter how hard Honda works or how many fake gears Subaru creates.

  • avatar

    Nissan – I had a ’94 Nissan truck that got in a car accident (not my fault) that wiped out a bumper, hood, and quarter panel. I took it – at my insurance company’s direction – to get fixed at a local Nissan dealership.

    And I waited… and waited… several calls later, the body shop says they can’t locate some parts for the truck. And suggested I call Nissan USA to expedite the issue.

    So – against my better judgement – I call Nissan USA and talk to a few people, getting nowhere. Eventually I get passed to one gentleman, who hangs up on me. And no, I wasn’t flying off the handle or even getting angry. Instead I was doing what the body shop requested.

    That truck was never the same after the accident – window trim was loose and the electrical system was uh, buggy. The windshield wipers would randomly do their own thing. I sold it to a friend who needed some cheap wheels and she got a few more years out of it. But that customer service experience was enough to steer me clear of Nissan for the rest of my life, and I was a Nissan loyalist at the time.

  • avatar


    Not for being bad cars. Far from it. My half-million kilometer Corolla was a testament to perseverance. I beat that car like it owed me money on a daily basis. 25 years of Toyota being in my family, just doing Toyota things, and being Toyota reliable.

    But Toyota gets nailed to the cross for being BORING. For a car company with a fantastic heritage, it has come down to them constructing the perfect vanilla cars.

    I swear to god (if I could do this without any consequences), I’d absolutely destroy my Dad’s trusty Venza. It summarizes my point entirely. It is, to me, BY FAR, the least offensive, yet least exciting, most middle-of-the-road vehicle I think ever constructed. Looking at it just puzzles me. It’s not a wagon. It’s not a crossover. It’s not an SUV. It’s the answer to a question that nobody asked, and it’s infuriating.

    The worst part is that if anything befell that car, he’d buy another one. (They’re still available here… somehow…)

  • avatar

    Subaru. Three different vehicles from 3 different decades and all 3 were/are money pits.

    The 1993 Subaru was the worst experience. My wife brought it to the dealer multiple times for brake issues. The dealer finally told her the problem was, “because she is a woman and how she drives.” She was furious and I had to hear her wrath. A few months later the car was recalled…for brakes. At 44K miles it started hemorrhaging oil when parked in the garage. Done.

    I was challenged on the woes with the 2006 Forester, and provided pictures of the unacceptable interior wear, and mountains of work we have had to do. That dealer likes us.

    The 2011 Impreza has only been marginally better and loves to eat power steering pumps.

    No more.

    • 0 avatar

      Seconded. I made the mistake of buying brand new 2012 Forester. The quality of the materials was just awful and by the 50,000 mile mark, it was using a QUART of 0w-20 synthetic between FILL-UPs. Never again.

  • avatar

    Found On Road Dead!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m kind of amazed there isn’t more noise about them. Owned a Focus and now daughters Mustang, and while the drivetrains seemed to work, the body parts were made of the cheapest possible materials. The Mustang leaks like a screened in porch. It’s flooded its computer completely, and until I replaced every weatherstrip on the car plus all the TSB’s (heat-shrink plugs in place of foam originals – who puts FOAM weatherstrip plugs in the cowl? ) it usually carried a half-inch of water in the footwells.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford/Lincoln vehicles are horrible enough in terms of horrid fit/finish, sh!tty a$$ reliability and subpar, garbage components, yet their even worse dealerships and customer service manage to level the playing field and put them in a two way tie with General Garbage Can Motors for worst of the worst mass-volume automakers.

        I know of someone who works in the auto snake-oil marketing industry who was naive enough to spend 44k on a econobox Ford Focus with AWD and 300 HP in an awful shade of girly blue, so there’s no helping some people, and PT Barnum’s edict on human naivety remains true to this day.

  • avatar

    Tesla, for the simple reason that their offerings fail at the most basic level, with a disastrous combination of long charging time, short range and exorbitant price, all the while being seen as the next big thing by greenie commies posing as auto enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Usually, a grudge is based upon personal experience.

      • 0 avatar

        You’d think that that the carbon fiber Italian thing that shares the garage with my Leaf that was paid for with money I make from selling crude oil would cause my commie greenie card to be immediately revoked. But, because I like Tesla apparently that’s not the case.

  • avatar

    I should add some dishonorable mentions that I’ve encountered in my motoring life. These are all dealership issues; starting with the crooks at the Honda dealer that wanted to rip off my elderly mother. I was living about six hours from home, my brother who was helping her with these kinds of things was rather mechanically reclined; mentioned to me that she’d incurred some kind of huge bill at the Honda dealer.

    I called to find out that she’d taken the car there alone for an oil change, while there, they asked her about oil additives and timing belt services, etc… The total bill was well over $1k by the time they were done. Now one could argue that maybe these things were needed, but between my brothers and I we took care of her and knew when things needed done. None of this stuff was necessary at the time, with her driving habits it could have waited a bit longer. Since there was little I could legally do, I had a nice convo with the service manager browbeating him for taking advantage of a little old lady. We then found an indy shop to take care of her car…

    I worked for a Toyota dealer in the early 90’s, I was more than amazed to walk into the service department one day to hear a service advisor telling a woman that she was driving her car the wrong way. Was she sitting on her head and steering with her feet? What does that even mean? As I spent more time there, I overheard more conversations like this, inferring that the car was not at fault, but the owner was somehow abusing the car, like it was a newborn kitten or something. 25+ years later and I’m still nonplussed by those conversations.

    Back in the 80’s, I bought several new Mercurys in a row. During that time, I moved from one job to the next like many folks in their 20’s. This included moving far away from where I purchased my new Mercury. However, Ford’s policy at the time was to leave it to the dealer’s discretion whether or not to do warranty work on a car not sold by the same dealership. I found out about this when my POS 1985 Capri started falling apart about halfway through the warranty period; I had just moved 40 miles away from where I bought the car, the local LM dealer would not perform the warranty work on the car. I had to get the car to the selling dealer, which was one of the many reasons why I eventually came to dislike Ford products. I understand that has since changed, but it left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    For as many stories about bad Mopar dealerships, I’ve had generally very good encounters with them. I bought a turbo Lancer back in the day that needed some warranty work done. The original dealership was awful, in every way, so I gave up on them and went to a neighboring Dodge dealership. These folks “got it”. They took care of all of the issues with my car no matter how big or small; the car always came out of the service bay freshly washed. I started taking my Fords there, too. Sadly, when it came time for me to replace the Lancer, I had moved four states away. Last I heard, that dealer had been bought up by a larger dealership group and was shuttered. Too bad.

  • avatar

    VW for me. I was actually a fan boy in my youth (owning three different MkI). I then went to work at a VW dealer during the MK4 era and “seeing how the sausage is made” fixed all that. Knowing the utter contempt that VW feels for its customers and dealers, I smile every time I see a Dieselgate story or hear of a VW exec. getting indicted.

  • avatar


    For a company that ostensibly builds cars “for the people,” and even literally calls themselves the “People’s Car,” their products have stunned me with poor reliability caused by spectacularly poor design. A car that costs well over US$10,000 to maintain over ten years is NOT a car “for the people.” It’s financially devastating to a family that would rely on it to work and put food on the table, a roof over their heads.

    Granted, people always tell me VW has improved from the B5 days, but then the diesel scandal came and any goodwill they had built until then suddenly evaporated. Again.

  • avatar

    To this day Im still pissed at GM for buying, then gutting and eventually killing SAAB.

    I grew up with SAAB in the late 70’s and 80’s. The around the early 90’s everyone was buying everyone and GM bought SAAB. The next 9-3 wasnt a bad car but it just wasnt a real SAAB.

    When GM shuttered SAAB it was close to being a good brand again. The 9-5 was a sweet car and the concept of the 9-3 looked awesome. Yes, the Olds 9-7 was a joke as well as the SAABura 9-2.

    SAAB was on it way back…. SCREW YOU GM!!

    • 0 avatar

      SAAB was doomed, period. GM just gave them a ~10 year stay of execution. SAAB would never have survived by producing a handful of “quirky” cars to sell to weirdos who care where the ignition switch is.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe, maybe not. There is always going to be those niche markets that attract “weirdos” with money who want a car that is visibly different and somehow “better” (makes them feel smarter). A small core group of people bought the original Honda Insight, Smart cars, the Prius before it became mainstream.

        Part of why SAAB faded away was because their cars weren’t all that unique anymore- front wheel drive, safe, fast.

        • 0 avatar

          No, I’m pretty confident they were doomed. To survive in this industry, you either need volume or premium pricing. SAAB could never achieve the former nor command the latter.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. GM saved SAAB for about a decade or so. By the time they let go of SAAB, the time was right. I hated to see SAAB go, but like Oldsmobile and Pontiac, it was the right time…

  • avatar

    Both of these I’ve mentioned on TTAC and specific forums, but perhaps to warn others about these specific events…

    1st place, Nissan:
    For failing to honor the recall on my particular car, out of 746,999 others. Mine was the vaunted 4DSC (’91 Maxima SE) bought used in ’99. My 6 year old son proclaimed one day “my seatbelt doesn’t work”. Sure enough the rear drivers side belt spool had detached from the rear wheel well it had been bolted to. In researching, I found out about the recall mandated on 747,000 Maxima’s for model years ’89-’93 (3rd gen). It had been issued due to insufficient clearance between the fuel filler tube and the wheel well. This design flaw allowed snow/ice to become trapped along with road salt so liberally used here in SW Pa. Nissan dealer/corporate never explicitly said why they denied the claim, only stating “yours is not involved”. A filed complaint to NHTSA too fell on deaf ears and they would not enforce compliance. I loved the car otherwise, but vowed to never deal with their company again. Which is truly a shame, as they pissed away my contributions to their future earnings.

    A close second, Toyota:
    For their shoddy head gasket material choice on their 3.0L V-6 installed in my ’94 T100. Also, reportedly, dimpling on either head/block/or both when new, further leading to HG failure. In their favor the did authorize a 1 time replacement, free of charge (unlimited length of time/unlimited miles!) Sadly, I discovered when I applied for this repair on my used truck at 118,000 miles in ’09 the once-a-lifetime repair had been done at 60k/in ’99.

    And Toyota again for their 2nd gen Prius my future wife bought new in ’05. She had purchased an extended 3rd party warranty that I thought a waste of $, but I learned otherwise. This car is was always dealer serviced. A/C failure at year 4 requiring >$3k worth of dash disassembly, high rate HID failure, with sporadic dealership goodwill splitting of costs for replacement, $300 rear leveler sensor for aiming the same factory HID’s, and finally the TSB to seal up the plastic wiper cowl cover. This last one if not done can allow water to enter the engine compartment. Which granted, was to only happen during heavy rain or when covered by an airborne wave of road spray. Of course, this happened to my wife. The drenching allows water to flow downwards and accumulate onto a plug coil. The resulting rough running and subsequent no start was repaired by dealer coil replacement (out of pocket) but a rod windowed the block less the 200 miles and 2 weeks after this repair. This happened in 2010, with 84,000 miles. 3rd party warranty covered this when Toyota denied.

    • 0 avatar

      On the Nissan I omitted the recall was for rear wheel tub corrosion/perforation where the spool bolted.

      On the Prius I omitted I suspect the (Atkinson cycle?) engine design was intolerant to misfires, resulting in the frag event.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Honda and Volkswagen; I’ve told the tales here before.

    I dumped my 05 Odyssey after settling a lemon suit. The car, the dealer, and the mfr were all atrocious. Honda power sliding doors = bad, but who needs the turn signals to work in a new car?

    02 Passat B5.5: It had an unscheduled visit to the dealer every 3 months for 3 years. End of the warranty = end of my ownership. It left me stranded once when it was 4 months old. Electrical failure, A/C cutout, brakes, oil burning, no throttle response = “German Engineering”.

    Honda = Fix It Again Tony
    VW = Found On Road Dead

  • avatar

    Ford. Owned a ’77 T-Bird with the ‘styled wheels’. The styled wheels were steel wheels that had a plastic face glued to the top to make them look like alloy wheels. The glue would ooze out of the wheels and literally cement the wheel to the hub. Had a tire with a slow leak, lugs nuts were removed but there was no way to get get the wheel off. Took the car to the dealer… was out of warranty…..and was told the wheel would have to be torched off! The estimate was astronomical. I called Ford’s customer service line and was told that since the car was out of warranty, ‘It really must suck to be you.” I finally got the wheel off, with no damage, by renting the biggest gear puller I could find from the local tool rental place.

  • avatar

    Personally burned, VW. I had a B5. The degree of personal F-U to the customer engineered into those cars would have made malaise era GM proud.

    Not directly burned, GM. I missed out on the worst of malaise era GM by virtue of not being born in time. But I was born in time to have rose colored memories of America as the greatest country in the world and GM as its greatest company. GM was Americana like a Super Bowl, a Saturn V and Bock’s Car all at once. They turned that heritage into a punchline and a bankruptcy and they can go to hell for that.

    Honorable mention, Tesla. The green movement is a rent seeking scam in my book and Musk has shaken the taxpayer money tree for close to 5 billion dollars. To build virtue signalling jewelry for millionaires. If you can listen to this guy talk without wanting to punch him in the face you’re doing better than I am.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Bock’s Car = great reference.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Mild defense of Tesla:

      I know what you mean about Musk, but no car company was built by easy-going people. I do not share his green agenda for Tesla’s existence.

      The EV subsidy helps mfrs by helping consumers, as you know. It’s not a check written to the mfrs. Nissan, Ford, GM, BMW, FCA, and others are all at the well, and GM may beat Tesla to the expiration date. As for tax breaks for Fremont and the Gigafactory – show me a mfr that doesn’t receive tax breaks, and show me a politician who refuses to offer them.

      As for ‘millionaires’, the stated goal of Tesla has always been the Model 3, priced like a Toyota Avalon. Starting with high-priced cars is much easier since you can learn your lessons without cost as a major design constraint.

      Nissan cushioned its losses on the Leaf by producing ICEs with good margins, and benefited from the same EV economy as Tesla has, yet it receives virtually zero criticism from TTAC/B&B.

      • 0 avatar

        I can’t argue with any of your logic.

        I still can’t stand the guy.

        • 0 avatar

          I can’t either, but he’s not out of the ordinary for the Type-A personality which tends to do well at the C-level. Even though he wasn’t a founder, Tesla wouldn’t be where it is today without him. and SpaceX is legitimately turning that industry on its head.

          His fans, however, are a bunch of gloating, know-nothing, sycophantic tw*ts who act like Tesla and SpaceX are their own personal accomplishments.

          They’ve literally out-done Apple fans, and that took some doing.

  • avatar

    VW – my first car purchase w/ my own money and to say it was a disappointment would be a large understatement.

    To me Fahrvergnügen means crapfest.

  • avatar

    Studebaker, for so many missteps and wasted opportunities.

    They squandered the momentum they could have built up during the postwar seller’s market by spending money way too early on a new design — then gave away their profits in dividends and the highest labor costs in the industry rather than investing the money in product. Then they pulled defeat from victory with poor build quality on the stunning 1953 coupe and a poorly-executed attempt to use the same styling on their sedans, which customers rejected in droves. They also failed to follow through on their early 1950s work with Porsche on a new compact car. By the time Packard bought them out in 1954 Studebaker was dead company walking.

    The Lark did give them a temporary reprieve, the profits from which Studebaker used to diversify into a mini-conglomerate and ultimately get out of the car business while pursuing other interests.

  • avatar

    Citroen. Self destructing piece of junk.

  • avatar

    Used to be MB when they shat all over Mopar but now I’m not particularly angry at any brand. Dealers yeah. I did business with one for 3 car purchased and let myself get bamboozled on the last one.

    Now hold a grudge against a transmission yeah. My first Mustang had an DOA A4 and I,replaced it 3 times and ever since that experience I’ve sworn off any vehicle purchase with a. Autotragic transmission.

  • avatar

    My grudge started off against Volkswagen for the incorrigible scrap they sold during the Mk III and Mk IV era; however, this grudge quickly expanded to encompass all German cars. The Germans have American yuppies so tightly wrapped around their Teutonic fingers that they can sell scrap materials for 100x their market value. Sure, the coach-building is second to none, and the powertrain is usually bulletproof in the luxury marques, but the electronics and auxiliary systems are practically Italian. German cars tend to have ceaseless electrical gremlins and failures of mundane parts like bushings, mounts, pumps, boosters, batteries, etc. The minute you drive a German car into the service bay, expect at least a $1,000 dent in your bank account, no matter how small the problem seems to be.

    There is a good reason German cars are basically thrown away at car auctions after 7-8 years of service. There is no economic case for their existence after that time, which is sad considering the legendary performance of Mercedes prior to the Chrysler merger.

  • avatar

    Easy ! For me it’s Ford products…

    1) 1977 Grand Marquis – $6K in 4 fours and 10K miles over those years. New engine, transmission, Multiple sets of Motor & Trans mounts,radiators, multiple mufflers (backfires blew them apart). Electrical issues, AC Issues.

    2) 1993 Ford F-150xl (300 ci). Fuel tank pump issues, front suspension issues, tire issues (finally fixed with upgraded Michelin tires). Bed and tailgate issues

    3) 1996 Lincoln Town Car. Exploding plastic intake, electrical issues with dash, air suspension issues, Front suspension issues (excessive tire wear in front even when aligned). A/C Issues, Electrical issues.

    4) 1994 Lincoln Town Car (Parents) Countless electrical gremlins, Air suspension issues, seat issues,

    5) 1988 Grand Marquis Colony Park (parents). Rear axle issues, air suspension issues, electrical issues LOTS of rusting issues

    6) 1982 Grand Marquis Colony Park. (parents) PO$ Venturi carburetor. Built to rust!

    7) 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis. Transmission issues, AC Issues, minor other issues. More electrical issues. Probably the most dependable Ford I’ve owned.

    All were drivers,very little hard work I worked my ’07 Magnum harder.

    Give me a Mopar any day of the week. Rarely give me issues. Very dependable !

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Ahh, the infamous Variable Venturi.

      My 82 full-size LTD had that, and I replaced it with a solid 2-bbl Holley (with great difficulty). It ran great after that, but it was my last Ford product since 1996.

    • 0 avatar

      what I don’t understand is why the VV carburetor was such a piece of junk; wasn’t it basically the same concept as the constant-velocity carbs widely used on motorcycles?

  • avatar

    British Leyland. My first new car was a 1978 Triumph Spitfire. Absolute garbage. Parts began failing and falling off within months. At 22,000 miles it caught fire while my girlfreind ( became wife then ex ) was driving on the freeway. The cause was in the emmission system which should have been under warranty. Triumph’s response was they were going out of business so too bad. Argh!

  • avatar

    GM and VW are on our NEVER AGAIN list due to past crimes against us. My wife takes it personally, but I’m more flexible as I realize certain models can be terrible while others in the brands portfolio are just fine. I do find GM cuts corners so much very few of products (regardless of how “good”) deserve my hard earned money. Crying to the government for bail out dollars adds to my disappointment with how they run things.

    We had B5 Passat and while it made it to 100K miles I lost track of things that broke. Stuff like the antenna and the glove box handle? A headlight literally fell off the car at one point. I swear the power window regulators were made of straw and held in place with toothpicks. I bet my just typing that another one broke somewhere. The controls for the sunroof snapped off the day we traded it in. That car had Yugo levels of poor quality.

    We also had a Volvo that was a lemon because they can go like a 3 million miles right? Well ours chewed thru repairs like a duck takes to water. The car was paid off and still costing us like $300 a month (on average) to fix various things. Our local wrench actually apologized every time we appeared at his door step. It had a clutch problem he just threw parts at because he had never experienced anything so odd. He felt bad taking our money because we become monthly visitors. Thankfully he was super honest and refunded half the parts when he finally found the combination that worked. This wasn’t some old brick (maybe that was the problem) it was an ’08 C30 which in theory was just a S40 with a hatchback grafted on. This car was built from mostly Ford and Mazda bits so it wasn’t like some random Swedish parts bin.

    My father hates all things Dodge and told me to run away but I got a Dakota in ’02 and haven’t regretted it one bit. In the meantime my father went thru 2 Chevys and 1 Ford truck so go figure.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have owned 3 of them, 2 TDI and a Rabbit. Had no problems with them really, the Rabbit was 15 years old when I acquired it so repairs were needed, but who cares about that.
    For me it is the diesel scandal. The arrogance with which they handled themselves during this mess is startling and appalling. I am fairly certain that I will be unable to give them any of my money ever again.

    Morgan for runner up: Beautiful cars and I can’t say a grudge is the correct description perhaps disappointment, the Brits just suck at building cars and I am not certain that you can’t hold them accountable for it anymore; they don’t know any better. They just suck at it.

  • avatar


    For letting the public work out the bugs in their vehicles.

  • avatar

    Ford, for the sheer degree of failure engineered and built into my ’89 Taurus SHO. The thing had so many subsystems fail that it should have been a BMW. Accessories from a 5000 rpm Vulcan V6 haphazardly thrown onto the 7100-rpm screamer of an engine, failing like clockwork as a result. Manual transmission sh4t the bed at 80,000 miles. Interior fell apart (yes, all of it). Clearcoat chipped off the basketweave wheels, despite careful care. I made it to 160,000 miles but could probably have bought a new Taurus GL with what I spent on repairs.

    Of course, in 2016 I took another bite at the apple with a leased C-Max. I have just enough confidence in it to think I won’t have any trouble in the 3 years and probably about 18,000 miles I’ll have it.

  • avatar

    For me, Mercedes. Between my family and I, we have owned at least 12. Many were excellent cars that were impeccably reliable. The modern ones, not so much. I had an E320 Bluetec that nickle and dimed me to death (more like Grant and Franklin’ed). $2700 oil cooler and inlet port motor at 53000 miles (bought it at 47000. Air leaks galore that took many, many visits to find. Busted sunroof, diesel leaks, oil leaks, pulley disintegration (plastic pulleys, REALLY???)… and on and on and on. Got a Tesla and ditched it at 130000 mi. My wife’s ML, shockingly expensive to fix even basic stuff like shocks and struts, more inlet port motor failure, and also pulley disintegration (more plastic fantastic). Electrical gremlins galore (stereo once refused to turn off or respond – had to pull a fuse to shut it up). The worst is Mercedes’ crazy prices on parts and their “replace the whole thing” rather than to actually fix a problem. Ugh.

  • avatar

    Citroen and Peugeot for not selling their really cool cars in this country.

  • avatar

    My own would be GM, The best two vehicles I’ve ever had were GM, but I had a couple of stinkers along the way, and the dealer’s attitudes across the board just sucked. People have stories about Chrysler dealers, but I’ve had good experiences across the board with them, but the GM stores, from the sales guy ditching me (I was minutes from buying a truck from him) to the arrogant as hell F&I guy almost making us walk on the whole deal, to the service manager and techs making fun of my complaints to my face, “What do you expect, it’s a Camaro!” when I complained of a groaning noise in my new car. The FCA dealers I’ve dealt with over the last 14 years have been uniformly pleasant and more importantly, not dicks.

    A friend of mine had two VW Group vehicles, a Passat that was never long out of the shop. He finally gave up and traded it, and in a brilliant move, leased for his wife to drive, what she wanted, an Audi A4, and it made the Passat look good. Any trip over 50 miles was an adventure, and usually resulted in a tow truck being involved. A couple of times, it didn’t make it home after being “fixed”. Somehow, it never got to lemon status. I don’t see how, but it didn’t. They finally parked it the last couple of weeks before the lease was ended, as they didn’t want to have to fix it again. When it was given back, it was on the used lot almost instantly, and we always wondered who the poor bastard was who bought it a week later. My friend never got a call from the new owner. I’ve been called by almost ever person who ever got one of my past vehicles asking why I got rid of it. The tales he could have told the new owner. Yikes.

  • avatar

    Tesla. Beta testing software while paying THEM $100K.

  • avatar

    For me It is Toyota,
    specifically the v6 in the 2000 Avalon. I purchased this vehicle used from a toyota dealer in 2001, with 30,000 miles on the clock. At first, everything started out fine, other than the crappy job they did cleaning the interior. After I cleaned it properly everything was fine, until it wasn’t. Huge plumes of smoke began emanating from the tailpipe on cold start about 6 months into my ownership. A trip to the dealer resulted in a new set of valve seals being installed and they sent me on my way. flash forward a few months and I was driving home from work on the interstate and there was a huge BANG noise from the engine compartment, followed by a hole in the hood and a windshield covered in motor oil. After being towed to the dealer, I was told my engine failed, and would not be covered under warranty due to insufficient maintenance on the engine oil, had resulted in “sludge”, a term I had never heard prior to this. It was at this point I told the service manager he might want to check his records, as the vehicle had an oil change done at this very dealer precisely every 3,000 miles since I had purchased it from them. With a sufficient amount of egg on his face they proceeded to repair the car by replacing the engine. This resulted in 4 quarts of engine oil on the floor of my garage the very next morning. This resulted in me insisting the service manager come and clean the oil off my garage floor and take the car back to fix it properly this time. 1 year later and about another 30,000 miles resulted in the exact same engine failure. same exact reason, same exact solution . replaced engine a second time.

    Mind you, this vehicle was my very first and only engine failure EVER…..
    never again will I own a toyota. They don’t deserve the name they carry.

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