Interesting, Chuck, that the automakers with the best reliability records are those that are carrying over their previous designs. While we praise innovation, especially in these days where automakers are preparing for strict CAFE standards, there's a price to be paid for innovation. Apparently that price is reliability.
It seems that this is nothing new. All through the 80's, 90's, and beyond, the reliability of the Toyota and Honda is what drove them to compete with the BIG 3! Do not get me wrong, as my Avatar suggests, I love American cars (especially the older ones). But realistically, when I shop for a used car, I go straight to Toyota or Honda. Why? They still have good life left in them even after 100K or more. I have purchased many mid 80 and 90's American cars and all had issues after about the 100K mark. None of it really mechanical, but the plastic, the electronics, the paint, the interiors all turn to crap. Yet, a 1998 Corolla still looks good and everything works (250K)! The only other vehicle that got 250K for me was a Suburban. But at today's gas price, who can afford to drive (on a regular basis) anything that big?
I do think Ford and GM are designing with the CAFE in mind (though I think their cars are still too big to meet the standards). Charles is continually showing DN readers the innovations that are driving these designs and the Asians may find themselves behind. But for now, I like the if it ain't broke... approach.
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