By on July 23, 2020

1977 Chrysler New Yorker in Denver junkyard, front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Yesterday’s attempt by Mitsubishi to generate excitement and anticipation among brand loyalists (are there any?) got your author thinking.

Thinking, as a movie character once said, is a thing a man should never do, but it happened just the same. These thoughts revolved around brands, loyalty, passion… and hate.

Yours truly is sometimes prone to irrational feelings, though, unlike some members of the Twitter community, he doesn’t try to pass these off as evidence of virtuousness. None of us are immune from harboring negative feelings towards companies, brands, people, places, and things. And sometimes with good reason.

It can be an act of corporate malfeasance. Maybe a product once burned you (literally or figuratively). Perhaps the lame fandom surrounding a certain entity turns you off more than the products it sells. A wholly unexplainable impulse might be the thing that keeps you away.

We’re not going to focus on that dodgy mail-order coleslaw maker today; instead, it’s automotive brands only, baby. Which brand will you absolutely never buy from, on principle — even if some of its products seem interesting and worthwhile?

Why the animosity?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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50 Comments on “QOTD: Hard Feelings?...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    VW – Will never forgive them for the execrable Mark IV I briefly owned.

    Tesla – Not interested in an EV, so can’t see myself in a brand that exclusively sells them.

    Honda – Not necessarily that I wouldn’t own one, I’d just never buy one new. Every Honda dealer I’ve been in has given off the vibe of “Our vehicles sell themselves, you should be happy to be given the opportunity to pay the price we tell you to pay, plus $500 for pinstriping”. GTFOH, this isn’t the 80s anymore.

    Volvo/GM/Others? – I won’t under any circumstances buy a car made in China.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      So you won’t buy the Envision. OK. There’s nothing wrong with the rest of GM’s line up.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Jack: Please, a Mark IV is a magnificent Lincoln, and the ultimate brougham PLC. Not some small German vehicle. :-(

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        @Arthur, yes if I say Mark IV without context, that great Lincoln is what I’m referring to.

        If you prefer, I’ll refer to my unfortunate vehicle as a 1998-2004 Golf/Jetta/Beetle.

        @Teddy, yep I know. Volvo doesn’t build all their cars in China either. And I have no problem buying something from Volvo or GM that’s built somewhere else. But those two are the only mainstream brands I know of selling Chinese built vehicles in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      @jack4x

      VW – Do you mean the Type 4 (411 and 412)? When I was a teenager, the neighbors across the street owned a 411 wagon. The thing I remember most about it was the lopey idle, courtesy of the Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection.

      Edit: Oh, you mean the Mk IV Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Duke: I too had a Type IV Squareback (shooting brake). The ‘pancake’ engines in those vehicles were the same as the ones used in the 914, and the 912e and later VW Type II’s.

        Which is a major reason why a Type IV is so hard to find as their engines have usually been taken and used on these more collectable vehicles.

        As I have posted (multiple times) the engineering and design of the Type IV was light years ahead of its domestic counterparts. It had features that domestic vehicles offered only as options or adopted years after manufacture of the Type IV ceased. However the Type IV demonstrated some of the electrical and assembly issues that eventually sullied VW’s reputation in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      People used to say they’d never buy a car made in Japan or Germany. I’m just sayin’.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        There was a time during my life when some older men would get *very* angry with you if you showed up in a Japanese car, many hated anything German too but the Japanese cars in the early 190’s were often vandalized .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    gasser

    NIssan. When it was Datsun, I bought a new 1973 240Z. However 1973 had a new, and poorly tested emissions control system for that year. The car wouldn’t run for 30 consecutive days. It would overheat even at 6:30 AM in cool weather and no traffic. After 7 months of late-to-work, I sold it at a loss and moved on. I had many friends who had ‘71 and ‘72 models with no problems, but I and two friends were badly burned by the ‘73 edition. I’ve had many Japanese and a Korean car, but I will never enter a Nissan showroom again.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Growing up Honda and VW fans were such massive jackwagons that I was really turned off from those brands. In more modern times owners of Volvo, Mazda, and Subaru have caused me to have similar feelings towards those brands.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Never said never… but the worse brand I’ve owned in terms of breakdowns, repairs and ridiculous unexpected costs was a Volvo! Based on my experience I would not purchase another Volvo.

    I survived owing a B5 VW Passat which the internet will tell you is a terrible vehicle. And yes it had plenty of issues but honestly nothing major and made it past 100K.

    My wife is more brand adverse then me. I however understand companies make both good and bad models so I don’t paint with such a broad brush. Plus things change. For example just look at the rise of Hyundai/Kia. I’ve experienced on again / off again relationships with Ford and GM – taking them off the list for crimes against me only to have them lure me back with other vehicles.

    Ironically my current best vehicle experiences are from two brands most people list as cheap junk: Nissan and Dodge, so go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Agree. Loved our S70, but god it was a money pit. Runner-up was our 2010 Ford Edge, with its thrice replaced HD cooling system. Every time we step away from our Japan Inc. preference it seems we get burned.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    GM. Because:
    1)On-Star, tracking
    2)Birth of DRL’s
    3) Key locks in ignition if car battery dead
    4)Corvette door locks if battery dead, and you can not get out, killed some old man.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I doubt they changed it for the C7 and C8, but the C6 absolutely had manual door releases in the footwells (around where many cars have a fuel door or trunk release). I’m not sure of the benefits over a normal setup, but you’re not trapped unless you’re illiterate.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I believe they do this for packaging & design / aesthetics reasons. Similar to electronic handbrakes. They save space by not putting a physically handle on the door. It also eliminates the exterior handle which allows for a sleek, modern look. I guess an advantage there is the handle doesn’t freeze up in winter. Personally I feel its form over function.

        And yes the C7 has the same system and I assume the C8 too.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The Corvette has an emergency release handle. Other brands use similar electronic door locks with manual overrides as well. Feel free to continue to hate on GM, but the guy who died just didn’t read his owner manual.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I am all about owners reading the manual, but I don’t think one should have to do so to operate the freaking doors. Do my passengers need to read it as well? They too need to know how to get in and out of the vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          Its an oddity in the design of the Corvette. The manual release is only required if the battery can’t power the electronic lock. Also its not unique to just Corvettes.

          Info on various brands/models here: https://dashboardsymbols.com/video-help/getting-out/

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Volvo – I still cant figure out why people buy new Volvo vehicles. Overpriced, underpowered, and owned by a China conglomerate dont add up to value.

    VW – Nothing in their lineup is appealing, and after Dieselgate, their main advantage is now gone.

    Porsche – Ill never buy a new Porsche of any kind due to Porsche’s ridiculous upcharging for every option under the sun. Pearl tint coat for $3000? Sure, why not? A computer painted rendition of your fingerprint on the hood for $10000? What a deal! A precision clock in the dash for $5000, made in China? Throw it in! That said, Ill happily buy a used 911.

  • avatar
    13kRPM

    Ford – Let’s see non-fixable early fusion transmissions, cam phasers in 3 valve 5.4L motors, power shift transmissions. Engineering mistakes happen, but sloppy engineering is an injury and the near total refusal to make it right on these problems that can junk a vehicle before 100K miles is an insult. Ford while making some attractive products on paper is solidly on my do not recommend list to those buying a new car.

    VW is probably on a similar list for me, but some times I think those that want to buy that over hyped, over marketed, pretending to be sophisticated crap deserve what they get. This was and still is a die hard fan of most VW products prior to 1990.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Honda. My eldest daughter bought a new top-end Civic in ’98. Reverse gear in the tranny (one of those electrically shifted manual things they called an automatic) milled itself off at around 9k to 10k miles. “Owner abuse”, “our cars are perfect”, “forget about a lawyer because we have more than you can afford”. $3.2k for a remanufactured transmission out of my pocket for a car under “warranty”. Fast forward – same daughter purchases 2020 Honda Civic (I warned her!). At 1500 miles the aero shield under the engine compartment comes off and drags down I-675. Honda – “Owner abuse”, “our cars are perfect”, “forget about a lawyer because we have more than you can afford”. $250 out of her pocket for a car under “warranty”.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My 05 Odyssey was a lemon from day 1 – so bad that I had to keep a spreadsheet documenting every contact, repair, and agreement I had with them. After 20 months of horror, the lemon lawsuit settled and I traded the car within a week.

      You nailed it – besides the car issues, the arrogant dealer/corporate was just as bad – if not worse – and that *can’t* be fixed. Their eyes went wide when I told them I wished I had bought another Mopar van, which is exactly what I did afterwards.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    VW is at the top of my list. They have offered – and continue to offer – a number of vehicles that are appealing to behold and deliver a solid driving experience. But I know they’ll all become problematic at some point – usually too soon to be acceptable. I also know the company won’t stand behind its products. Others may disagree but I know what I’m talking about. Some leopards just can’t change their stripes.

    Other than that, there are a number of automakers that I most likely would never buy from (GM at the top of the list) – but I could be convinced with high-quality products that appeal to me. The problem for most automakers these days – at least for me – is that they are understandably chasing the market. And the market doesn’t want vehicles that I like anymore. As a result, my automotive enthusiasm has been all but completely snuffed out. A pity.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I owned a pair of early 2000’s Hyundai Accents, not by choice, but because of cheap car ubiquity. Considering they were cheap and unloved, I have no real complaints about reliability, but they were just unpleasant cars. Bad interiors, slow, not that great on gas, I’d even manage to overwhelm the power steering pump at times, which I don’t think I’ve had happen in any other car. Even worse, the second of the two had no AC, and as a two-door, terrible ventilation. Of course, this was also the car I had to spend all day driving as part of a job I equally hated. I was ready to burn the thing to the ground by the time I got rid of it.

    So, not completely rational, but I’ve yet to sit in a new Hyundai or Kia that didn’t have some minor touch point (door handles, radio knobs, little things) that takes me right back to those little torturewagons. Couple that with the limited selection of cars that are brilliant enough to make me push through my distaste, and it’ll probably be a long time before I own something Korean again.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Well, Hyundai is out because of my silly notion that a car should not need a motor at roughly 50,000 miles and GM is out because I think they were slimy in their efforts to claim “It wasn’t bankruptcy” but then attempt to slide product liability for everything they built prior to 2008 to “Old GM” just like, well, a bankruptcy. That and the only decent one I ever owned now falls under the “motors liquidation” banner (an Original Saturn S series). Those are my only “Won’t own new, used, or leased” cars.

    Plenty of lease only vehicles though.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As an aside, I have owned some mediocre cars and some outright stinkers. I have had an ownership experience that ended with the vehicle engulfed in flames. But Hyundai offered me my only ownership experience that ended with my enrollment in a class action lawsuit.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Rolls Royce. I’ll never be rich enough or ostentatious enough to buy such a hideous, overpriced hunk of metal. Just the thought of telling people in the normal course of conversation that you drive a Rolls Royce would be the height of pretension

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      ICON did a derelict one with a big power LS and a chassis swap to make it handle. I’d drive one of those, or one with the giant blower sticking out of the hood.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Tesla, because Musk is a jerk and the “douchebag” stigma that goes along with owning one.
    Note that I have no objection to electric cars. It’s HIM I can’t stand.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Anything from the VW Group. I don’t understand some people’s VW obsession. They blithely talk about their car being in the shop AGAIN as if that’s just a normal part of life. The check engine light is on, again, it’ this or that sensor, again. Now worries, I got a loaner. Are you kidding?? And for what? Ugly boxy cars with literally no unique selling features other than being German.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, Audi. I bought, new, a 1980 Audi 5000 diesel. No complaints about the tortise-like acceleration, or the observed 67 mph top speed (the 55 limit was vigorously enforced back then). I test drove the car and I knew what I was getting into in that respect. But the list of mechanical failures during the 5 years I owned it was staggering: steering rack lost all fluid — had to be replaced; clutch slave cylinder failed; cabin heater core failed, flooding the cabin with coolant; A/C fuse somehow failed every winter, had to be replaced every spring; head gasket failure, despite the car never overheating; transmission would pop out of reverse gear; rear tail/stop/backup light assembly used aluminum contacts that would oxidize, creating all kinds of weird electrical issues; trunk lid seal didn’t keep water out, which collected in spare tire well in center of trunk . . . which also held the vacuum pump that powered, among other things, the power door locks.

    Many of these were design issues: use of plastic for the heater core, the head gasket (because it was a “dieselized” gas engine, common for the era), the use of aluminum for electrical contacts in the tail light assembly.

    The sad thing is, for not much more money, I could have bought (new) the now legendary W123 Mercedes 240D. It would have been no slower than the Audi. Problem was, when we went car shopping in a cold January, the “MB Tex” vinyl seats were not as nice feeling as the cloth Audi seats.

    From what I read, Audi hasn’t changed its ways that much. It was unfair that the 5000 was pilloried by the fake “unintended acceleration” claims, but the company got what it deserved, albeit for the wrong reasons.

    By far the worst experience in my 45 years of vehicle ownership, which includes rotary Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Saab, and GMC truck.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    GM (Guadalajara-Guangzhou Motors) Just disgusting business practices. If they ever make anything worth buying, I’ll be it’s 3rd owner.

  • avatar
    happycamper

    Dodge.
    My first vehicle was a 90’s Dodge Dakota, which lived in the dealership service bay.

    The final straw was when the emergency brake jammed and wouldn’t release, rendering the vehicle immobile. The truck was in the underground parking at my apartment, and the ceiling was too low for a tow truck.

    I crawled underneath and found a bracket that could be removed to create enough slack in the cable to release the brakes.

    I brought it to the dealership to be repaired under warranty, and told the service advisor about the bracket I removed. He said that I would have to pay to have the bracket reinstalled. I told him that Dodge refused to pay for the tow truck, so we’ll call it even. The decided not to charge for the bracket.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Here in the salty midwest it isn’t uncommon for a seldom used parking brake to stick after a few winters but it shouldn’t be that bad under warranty. Unless it was one of those 100k mile warranties.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        RE: park brake cables freezing, older Mechanics living in the rust belt know to remove them and soak in a shallow pan of undiluted anti-freeze, blot dry and re install, they’ll never stick again .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I don’t have any vehicle/brand that is on a “never buy” list. I’m reluctant to consider any FCA product due to a history of reliability issues. I’ve also had the most negative encounters with sales staff at their dealerships. I’m not a fan of Nissan due to reported reliability issues and the fact that they currently don’t make anything I’d want to buy.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    Ford.
    First and worst car ever owned, a 1980 Mustang. I’ve mentioned it before but wow, what a POS. Rarely started, leaky T-tops, water pump went 5 minutes after I drove off the lot. And the worst and most dangerous was when the front rotor actually sheared off the main section causing me to plow into a van in front of me. If I was older and wiser I would have sued Ford for that death trap.
    I have never, nor will I ever, buy a Ford product.
    People have said they can’t all be bad and maybe give a Ford another chance. I say with so many car companies to choose from, why would I bother giving them any business at all.
    Brand loyalty is something car companies need to focus on more. It really does make a difference. If that original Mustang had been a fun and safe car… who knows I might be on my tenth or eleventh Mustang by now…

  • avatar
    Garak

    I’ve got the 4 and 7 letter rule: avoid Audi, Alfa, Fiat, Opel, Lada, Saab, Seat, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen. VW and Skoda get a special “never buy under any circumstance” -mention.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    *Nissan – the time that Nissan Customer Service hung up the phone up on me when I was requesting parts for my truck that was in the body shop. And yes I was being polite. I was, at the time, a Nissan fanatic with a hardbody truck and a 1997 Altima. I so wanted a Maxima and a 300ZXTT.

    *note I do currently own a 2008 Infiniti M35x which is our beater car.

    Honda – I’ve owned a few used Accords. The 2001 with the V6/automatic was good looking but I hated driving it. The 200hp felt more like 120, especially with a transmission that may nor may not slip depending on what mood it was. I’ve actually had more trouble with Honda than my Ford products which is unexpected given the public’s love of the H. And the base 2005 Element I owned was so base it was shocking – no arm rests, no cruise control, and no ABS! Highly annoying for winter or highway driving.

    Kia/Hyundai – not fair given their rapid improvements over the years.

    Dodge – The Challenger/Charger twins are everything I should love. But FCA, given the experience of my co-workers, still scares me reliability-wise.

    Audi/VW – bad memories of an abused Rabbit GTI that my GF had. Bushing, struts, bad engine mounts, the hood that popped open on the highway!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    GM except maybe Corvette. My early rides were GM Malaise era stuff. But they were ancient when I got them ( an 81 in 1995 for example), so they weren’t recent experiences.

    In 2009, I was given the use of a leased 2008 Pontiac G6 to run out the lease. I drove it for a year and a half and it reminded me of why I didn’t like GM cars. Granted, it was a base 2.4 sedan, but it didn’t have cruise, keyless entry and some other things even a basic comparable Hyundai sedan would have had. The interior was, as always, awful and I was happy to be rid of that car, even though I had a car payment again!

    Fast forward to late 2015 and I needed a cheap third car. I didn’t want to spend cash for something around 6k upfront, but I did see an ad for a local Chevy dealer for a 99/mo, 24 month lease on a 2016 Cruze. I put around $1800 down and wound up with a LT level Cruze with the 1.4T for 115/month including tax. In short, I drove a brand new car for about $5500 including insurance, and the return fee. With it, I was able to put more money away for more of a cushion and not have to worry about much of anything going wrong with it.

    But I digress. I didn’t love the Cruze when I got it and while it served its purpose, it had no soul to it. It didn’t like to be driven hard, the powertrain was gritty and coarse and boomy above 4k. But with the low end torque, it was fine around town and you didn’t have to rev it much. Interior was better than the G6 and it didn’t leave me stranded ever. It had some quirks, including a body creak that no one could figure out.

    My Cruze had the same window sticker as my 2017 Golf Wolfsburg that would replace it, around 23k. For that, the only real difference in equipment is that my VW is a 5 speed manual but it does have a giant moonroof and heated seats, which the Chevy didn’t. My VW feels every bit more than what it costs, while the Chevy felt cheaper. After nearly 3 years, I still like my VW. I couldn’t wait for the Cruze lease to expire.

    GM has some interesting stuff, but I just don’t love any of their vehicles enough to spend money on them. To me, GM is (mostly) great performance wrapped in a mediocre car.

  • avatar

    I should be unhappy with Volkswagon because of my TDI experience however the car was bought back and I ended up breaking even or slightly better. My other Volkswagons have been generally pretty good contrary to many comments here The one car I will never buy again is there anything from General Motors because while my second generation CTS was a nice design and the engineering and handling was first rate the assembly and quality of parts rendered things painful. This cured any Corvette fever I ever had permanently. The one thing that I will not buy from any manufacturer is a CVT transmission because everyone I’ve ever driven is just horrible

  • avatar
    snorlax

    No strong aversion to a particular brand, but I also wouldn’t buy anything made in China, and I’m averse to buying anything made in other low-wage countries.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Never again Nissan. Third time being burned was the charm.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I have mentioned this several times, but we overpaid for the Rogue that was given to us. The only good thing is the fan control. Our first road trip with it we had to buy pillows to make the seats livable. For 30 minutes they are OK. Beyond that though they are shaped wrong for every member of our family. The CVT also gets hot (since new and several trips to the dealer form the PO) even in the hills of Kansas. KANSAS! It was originally given to us by my MiL for our daughter, but the daughter prefers the 2000 Durango even though it is pushing 200k miles. My wife drove the Rogue a while but then we bought a Pacifica so now it mostly sits unloved.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    This is a hard question these days, because I feel like every manufacturer out there has vehicles that they make that are better than others, whether because they’ve been making them long enough to work out the bugs or because they’re assembled in a particularly good plant. It also feels like a reliability question, and that’s something I’m strongly attracted to the older I get.

    I got seriously burned by a Lincoln MKZ, yet I have an F150 that has been trouble free for 6 years. I also drove a Mercury Grand Marquis for 10 years and it was very reliable. I would buy another Ford or Lincoln, but not just any model.

    Generally speaking, I’ll buy most any vehicle that’s made in significant quantity with minor changes year to year. In my experience, that leads to long term reliability and cheap parts access. I know Dodge doesn’t have a great reputation for quality, but I’m getting more and more comfortable with the idea of buying a Charger because they’ve been making them for so long now and there are lots and lots of them around.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Subscribed for later reading .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Volvo and Ford because of the myriad of issues we had with our bought-new S70 and Edge. GM because of their bullshit bankruptcy, stripping liability for pre-2009 owners and shredding value for common shareholders. As always, the execs did just fine.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I don’t necessarily have a brand per se, but I have a dealer that I will never buy from again.

    A couple years ago I had a 300S, which for most practical intents and purposes was a great car. It was quiet, reasonably powerful, reasonably fuel efficient for such a large car, and had a road presence I’d never had in a car. I realize these are all subjective assessments of the car, but you get my point.

    The one sore spot was the infotainment system; I know small niggle. I couldn’t get it to operate correctly for more than a few days at a time. When on the freeway it would start buzzing at the top of its volume range for miles, especially fun during rush hour when you’re not moving fast and everybody could hear it.

    Knowing this was small potatoes compared to any major mechanical issues, I addressed it with the dealer when I had gone in for an oil change. The first time I mentioned it I received the stock “could not replicate, did you try changing your cable”; it primarily acted up using Android Auto; again small potatoes, but you expect the things to work on a new car. I kept it under my hat and kept monitoring it and it kept acting up.

    I brought it in for another oil change and they managed to replicate, but the tech who works on that system was “out for the week”; there’s nobody else who knows about UConnect? I received a loaner and told them to figure out what was wrong. The dealer never initiated contact with me and I had to call them every single time for any updates. Each update was something along the lines of “the tech is still out,” or “we’ve ordered parts,” or “we need to do nsome calibrations.” In my attempt to retain patience I went along because I had wheels and my main aggravation was not knowing what was happening with this vehicle that I was paying good money for.

    When I finally got it back most of the menu items in the system were gone. I turned around and went back to the advisor and he said it needed some over the air updates and to just drive the car around so it could get its over the air updates. A week later most things were still missing.

    I threw in the towel and went to Mazda, never to look back. Now it’s not the brand/company that I specifically hate; I still want a Challenger after all; but I flat refuse to go back to that dealer even though they continue to send their beggy letters.

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