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Old 03-04-2011, 05:25 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Arragonis -

Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post

So did we - the Europeans. The Japanese advantage was that what they built was better engineered, better designed and up to date. I read a book written by a tech executive from the 1970s fuel squeeze when he parked his Cadillac and bought a Nissan (or Toyota or Subaru, can't recall exactly).

What amazed him was that the Nissan never failed, everything worked every time and apart from servicing he never had to visit the dealer for anything compared to the Caddy which rattled, smoked and would regularly go out of tune or wear some service part out very quickly and was requiring constant attention. He sold the Caddy and kept the Nissan.

Same over here - as soon as people got used to Honda, Nissan (Datsun) and Toyota reliability they never went back to British cars which by that time were so badly built that the rear windows would fall out when they were jacked up.

Mind you even Honda cock up sometimes. I was reading about the Civic Hondamatic last night - 2 speed MANUAL gearbox and torque converter. Or maybe it was a joke.
Those are excellent points. Reminds me of the Top Gear episode where they bought the used 1970's UK cars and filled them with water. VW beetles were pretty reliable back then too, but I still think that what got the Japan auto companies foot in the door was the MPG. I remember watching the American attempts at "small" fuel efficient cars like the FWD Chevy Citation and they were still bloated when compared to my (Dad's) VW Karmann Ghia.

I agree that there would be market erosion from superior Japanese quality, but at least US car companies would have been closer to Japan in terms of "small car engineering". My question is, if the USA had always had the equivalent of inflation-adjusted $5 gallon gas prices, would the USA car culture have evolved into the land-yachts of the pre-1970's oil-shock? I'm thinking no.


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