I've never owned a Lexus, but I own three cars right now, and have owned many over the years. As a serviceability and reliability engineer for GE Healthcare, it should not come as a shock to anyone I am passionate about both. With that in mind, the cars I own are a 1996 Honda, a 1997 Saturn and a 1989 Toyota pickup. Despite their ages, I have reasons for owning each of them.
After struggling with quality issues for years with GM, I swore I'd never own another GM product. But my wife had heard too many horror stories about Fords and Dodge had nothing I wanted.
I heard good things about Saturn (yes, I know it's a GM product), so I bought a used one because I wanted to "buy American."
For a year or so, it served me well — then it began to have problems. While they seemed minor, I was finding myself spending more and more time under the hood or broken down along the highway.
With every trip under the hood, I could see what seemed to be several weaknesses in the car's design. I finally contacted Saturn, gave them a list of the problems and asked if this car was a lemon. I also hoped to offer some customer feedback.
They denied my car was a lemon, which implied the problems I was experiencing were typical. This compelled me to feel the need to warn others, but my neighbor and sister already bought one.
My daughter called one day saying the engine overheated and she barely made it to a parking lot. Turns out, the head was warped and two cylinders were full of coolant. I milled the head and had the valves redone. I put it back together and it ran for another few months until my wife called about a problem.
She drove a couple of blocks from the house then it died. Turns out the #1 connecting rod bearing was seized.
Because the Saturn now sits apart in my garage and I have no time to work on it, I bought an older car, a Honda. It has more miles, but it runs well. The Honda had the starter go out, but it took about an hour to replace (no big deal). It's really easy to work on, and fortunately I seldom have to.
I have mixed emotions about getting rid of the Saturn. I look at all the fine features on it we miss, like the sun roof, tinted windows and leather seats, just sitting there, while I drive my older Honda with nearly twice the miles, because it just always works. I can't sell the Saturn. If I don't think it's any good it would be wrong of me to unload it on someone else. I was going to trade it in at a Saturn dealer that had Hondas in its used car lot, but I found a better deal. Right now, its main purpose in life is as an icon to the importance of quality (and it stores some things nicely too). It would be unfair of me not to mention that the Saturn organization is the best in the auto industry so far as I can tell. In every situation where I had to drive my Toyota pickup down to get parts, they have been very helpful, cordial and professional. If I were to pick an American automobile company as "our hope for the American auto industry" it would be Saturn, excepting the quality of course.
I don't believe we should have to "buy American" junk, just because it's American. I think we shouldn't have to choose between quality products and American products. My Honda was probably made by Americans in the Kentucky plant anyway.