First American car, and I'm disappointed

zio

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#1
All my life, I've owned foreign cars- starting with a VW Scirrocco, then a Jetta, then a Toyota pickup ('89, 2wd base version and favorite to date), Acura Integra, Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti Q45. I've never been unconfident in their integrity, even the VW's. The build quality of all seemed at least average (the '80 Scirrocco being the oldest and worst). Aside from my dad's current Chevy Blazer, my parents have only owned VW's/Volvos/Porsches/Hondas.

We just traded in the Pathfinder for a '97 Mercury Villager. It's a sibling of the Nissan Quest, and I was under the impression that the entire vehicle was built by Nissan, and rebadged by Ford. Not so, I just found out. Only the engine is built by Nissan- it's their bulletproof 3.3 V6). The rest of the entire vehicle is built/assembled by Ford. No wonder I didn't recognize any of the parts when we first looked at it. (Thanks a lot, Consumer Reports. Idiots.) I wouldn't have bought it if I had known.

We bought the vehicle on 8/2. I just got a call from the service manager at the local dealer where the car is being fixed- it's going to cost over $1100 to fix the rear brakes, plug their computer in to tell me why the "check engine" light came on (by the way, it went off the morning we took the car in), and fix the dash lights that mysteriously quit working a few days after purchase. Also, we accidentaly discovered that the rear wiper is inoperative, as is the passenger side window switch. While I probably have recourse with the dealer for these items not working, who's to say they didn't work the day we drove off the lot.

You know how when you first get into a vehicle you've never seen before, it takes a while to get used to and familiarize yourself with it- well after a month I must say this is nothing like any of the other cars I've owned. What crappy engineering and craftsmanship. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of my mother-in-law's Taurus. Why on earth would anyone buy one of these American cars (unless they hadn't first driven a comparable Euro/Japanese vehicle) is beyond me. I just feel stupid for not realizing this before buying. :o

Thank God we bought a warranty. Let's just see how much of this it'll cover. I've had good luck with them in the past, so I'm optimistic.
 
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#2
I'm going to jump out on a limb here, and agree with you. American cars, though they are definately getting better, suffer from too little engineering, and too much " it looks cool ". I believe this is the blame of the consumers though, and not the designers. They only build what the herd will buy. America is leading the world in the aviation/aerospace industry, so obviously we are capable of top notch engineering and build quality.
 

zio

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#3
no kidding. We build the best fighter planes, the best bombers, the best cruise missiles, the best "everything that matters". So why not the best cars?

Seriously- I went to possibly the best engineering AND aviation school in the country- a small university in Texas called LeTourneau University. LeTourneau consistently turns out top-notch M.E.'s & E.E's, and their test scores continually beat out those of students at M.I.T., for example. The aviation was ranked ahead of the Airforce Academy when I was there. And you know where all these guys go after graduation? The aviation/aerospace industry. NASA. Lockheed. Cessna. General Dynamics.

Of course, I was a business major.:o I tried the aviation program, but dropped out after the first semester. Those courses regulated by the FAA are tough!
 

justql

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#4
Drive your foriegn car. I'll stick to American, if flawed they are at least OUR flaws.;)
 

nephron

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#5
What the hell is a Mercury Villager? :scream:

Just the NAME ought to be an obvious deterrent. :think

If you have a bad feeling about it, dump it. Your initial concerns are probably spot-on. Just get rid of it.

There's more here though, eh? What made you buy one? Price? Liked the look of a classroom on wheels? Favor to a friend in the business?

About the American vs. "other" stuff--I'm no longer as staunch about it, but still am a pretty dedicated GM man. Hmmm, on the other hand, my car is a 92 300E Mercedes with 130,000 miles on it AND LITERALLY RUNS AND RIDES LIKE IT'S BRAND NEW. You CANNOT get a car like that in America. However, Mercedes' are no longer made this way today either.

Japanese quality is obviously excellent. Go with it if that's what you like. If you want to go back to Germany, get an older Benz. One hell of a deal! :)
 

zio

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#6
Yeah, basically I like the "short-bus" look. Plus, it seems to have made me invisible to hotties which is always good for your soul.:silly:
 
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#8
I agree that a lot of American cars have their problems, but there are some good cars, they dont all suck. Im sure you could find a single type of car that was complete crap from just about any auto manufacturer.
 
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#9
:p You bought the WORST looking (is there such a thing?) Mini-van.. LOL

But don't compare a Mercury Villiager to any GM product....

How bad did the salesman sell the minivan to you???

I have a 95 Pontiac Grand Prix with 140k on it and it still runs great :think
 

KelvinKDX

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#10
Your '97 Villager/Quest (program VX54) was designed by Nissan/Ford together (mostly Nissan). You are correct that it is built by Ford - at the Avion Lake Plant near Clevland, OH. Most of the original tooling for the facility was done in Japan. At the same plant where they made Zero's for WWII in Zama-City.
 

zio

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#11
Kyron- no, the salesman didn't "sell me"- I've gotten so good at dealing with salesmen and their crap. No, we picked it out ourselves- we were looking for Quests/Villagers. They were the only older model Japanese minivans we could afford that still had enough room inside, except for the Toyota Previa- that's the ugliest ov the minivans. My dad has a Chevy Blazer with the 4.3 v6 with 190k miles on it, and it still runs fine (albeit very smokey). The motor has been great- it's everything else that's fallen apart over and over again.

Kelvin- Yeah, I know but what was Kawasaki building during WWII? :p Hey, no one's more upset than me for having to buy Japanese. I have an uncle on the U.S.S. Arizona, and one other that survived the great march and the internment camps. But come on, I'm not going to pay for sub-par work. If you ask me, the big three could make better vehicles if they wanted (read: had) to. America is just too set in it's ways. Like Yellowdog Democrats.
 

zio

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#12
And, it doesn't resemble any Nissan I've ever owned (Pathfinder, or Infiniti Q45)- not parts or performance- except for the engine. I did, however, notice that the $300 "part" (don't know what int he heck it was) that was replaced for the dash lights had two diff/ part #'s on it- one moarked for Ford, one for Nissan.
 

nephron

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#13
Yeah, I know but what was Kawasaki building during WWII
What the.........DID Kawasaki make during WWII? :scream:
 
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#14
Originally posted by Kyron :
":p You bought the WORST looking (is there such a thing?) Mini-van.. LOL"

Not minivans, but there have been much MUCH worse.
The infamous Pontiac Aztec for instance. One of the ugliest on the planet.
And how about that new Chevy Z-71 (??) 4 door truck? Y U C K !!
Whoever desined those piles of scrap need to be taken out and whipped.
(although after the poor sales figures came in, i'm sure that probably already happened.)
And how about Ford's new "cutting edge" wedgeomatic styling?
uhhhhhhhh, B A R F !! Heck, even the Mustang's ugly now.
(whatever happened to the functional charm of the '79 to '90 models?)


"I have a 95 Pontiac Grand Prix with 140k on it and it still runs great :think "

True, with a little t.l.c. good old American iron can last ages.
Some that i've owned:
1988 Bronco2 -w- 145,000
1980 Thunderbird GT -w- 175,000 + (best car i ever owned)
1990 Bronco2 -w- 130,000 (and climbing. only replaced the starter, battery, brakes, and LH front hub.)
1977 Thunderbird -w- over 200,000.
1975 Chevy Monza V-8 -w- 150,000.

PS; the only reason i sold ANY of the above (and several others) was either due to accident, lifestyle change, or inclement weather. None of them had terminal problems.
PPS: There wasnt a eastern car built (at the time) that could smoke the '80 'Bird by the way. :p :p
 
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#15
Originally posted by nephron
[Hmmm, on the other hand, my car is a 92 300E Mercedes with 130,000 miles on it AND LITERALLY RUNS AND RIDES LIKE IT'S BRAND NEW. You CANNOT get a car like that in America. However, Mercedes' are no longer made this way today either.

Japanese quality is obviously excellent. Go with it if that's what you like. If you want to go back to Germany, get an older Benz. One hell of a deal! :) [/B]
my 1996 C280, almost has 100,000 miles and still rides like new too.
Mercedes can still make solid cars.

only thing i'll buy american are trucks, gotta get my F250 crew cab 4x4 powerstroke diesel
hopefully in november:)

those japanese trucks are nice but too small.