Things that piss me off

Why the Big Three Automakers Need a Bailout

March 29, 2009

Because they build sucky, ugly ass cars.

Except for my first car, which was a Ford, I have driven nothing but Chevrolets. I like to buy American, but the automakers don’t make it easy to support them. I spent the last several days researching vehicles online. I spent yesterday at a dealership test driving several cars. I hate car shopping.

I drove the Aveo, the Cobolt and the Equinox. I used to drive a Malibu Maxx. I didn’t even test drive the new Malibu since it is way out of my price range and the used ones are too.

The Aveo is just too small. It is also made of 90% Korean parts and it is assembled in Korea. How that makes it an American car I have no idea. The tires on it are about the size of the tires on my daughter’s bike, the training wheels. Even the salesman said that driving the vehicle on the freeway with a light breeze is challenging. There is no leg room. That is not hyperbole it is simply the fact. If I was driving around with people who had lost their legs in some horrible accident it would be a useful car but my children happen to have legs and so do their friends. There is no place for them to put them anywhere since the back seat smacks up to the front seat. I truly think the front seats were a mistake as they could take them out and one could just drive from the rear seat.

The Cobolt is a little bit bigger than than the Aveo and a bit smaller than my Malibu. I actually almost bought a Cobolt when I bought the Malibu. I didn’t because I needed to be able to fit a wheelchair in the trunk and the trunk of the Cobolt isn’t large enough. Since I don’t drive my mother around, we use a transportation service that the wheelchair can be wheeled into and secured, that isn’t a consideration anymore. I could probably get two or three bags of groceries in the trunk. If we went to cabin for the weekend we’d have to take two cars to get the children, luggage, dog and groceries up there. The car is just too small.

The Equinox has more space. I could get everyone, the dog and plenty of groceries and luggage in the car. The problem with the Equinox is that while it is an attractive vehicle on the outside on the inside it looks like something from the 80’s. And cars were not attractive in the 80’s. There was a tape deck in the vehicle I drove. Can you even buy tapes anymore? Not standard is power windows. I haven’t rolled up a window since the 80’s and I don’t intend to start now. How the hell am I supposed to talk on the phone, drink my coffee and apply mascara if I have to roll up the windows without pressing a button?

I haven’t even picked out the car yet and I am crabby. Ahead of me is making the deal. Waiting at the salesperson’s desk while he or she talks to the manager. It’s all bullshit and I know it is because I sold cars for a few months 7 or 8 years ago. I know I am going to get screwed.

What pisses me off more than anything is that I have already given these businesses lots of money, so have you all. We have also given the banks lots and lots of money and so have you. These people are going to pull my credit report, see I have had a few late payments and then they will make me jump through all sorts of flaming hoops. I will get a higher interest rate and I will feel lucky if they choose me to be able to purchase one of their sucky cars. I’m going to ask to see their credit report. I might have a few late payments but I haven’t defaulted, I have never filed bankruptcy and I have never had the tax payers bail me out. I have also never bought a luxury jet.

I’m still going to get screwed.

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  • Reply Mary@Holy Mackerel March 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

    It’s like we are in a prison, at the car industry’s whims and mercy, and no, it isn’t fair. Same goes for pharmacies, grocery stores, funeral homes, flower shops, insurance agencies…I hate them all.

  • Reply dizzblnd March 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Bad situation all around! I hope you DO ask to see their credit report.. it might make them think if only for a second.. she has a point.

    Good luck and thanks for the reviews. my daughter needs a car. now we know what to avoid

  • Reply Judy March 29, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I am glad you sold cars so that you know exactly what the dealership makes their money on and therefore what not to buy. We don’t need fabric protection nor rust proofing–nor those warranties the business manager insists you need. Good luck–I still think GM cars are the best, but then…I am prejudiced as I sold them for 8 years.

  • Reply Pricilla March 29, 2009 at 11:37 am

    It makes me glad that I don’t drive any longer…although I miss my Mustang. I loved my Mustang.Oops, I mean the publicist misses her Mustang…

  • Reply SpeakDog March 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    That “talking to the sales manager” bullshit drives me nuts.

    That’s why Spouse and I have purchased our last three cars from CarMax, and we plan to buy all of our future cars from them, too.

    The cars are still under manufacturer’s warranty, CarMax offers an extended warranty, and what’s on the windshield is what you pay.

    The transaction when we bought our Monte Carlo took two hours from start to finish. We test drove three different cars, decided on the Monte, sold them our old car, and financed the new one through CarMax.

    Two hours. The perfect car buying experience.

  • Reply Gina Alfani March 29, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    We are owned by big business . . . they should be allowed to fail if they can’t make it financially, just like we do.

  • Reply Da Old Man March 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Good luck finding an American car that doesn’t suck. The last few that I bought were so bad that I switched to Toyota.
    My wife now drives a Camry, and I have a Scion (cheap Toyota line.) The Scion is like riding in a toy, but the Camry is solid.

  • Reply Carl March 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I think this image I came across last night explained it all.

  • Reply Lola March 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    I drive a Honda Pilot, even though at the time I bought it I was a GM employee and could get the GM Employee Discount.

    So why did I go Honda? Because the dealerships don’t really want to sell to people who get the discount. They wanted me to ‘make an appointment’ to see them and wouldn’t give me actual prices on actual cars listed in their inventory that I found through GM’s employee website.

    I went without a car for over 9 months. No car! I took the bus, the el and taxi’s. I grocery shopped for 3 by bus. When I sold my other house and finished signing for my new house I wanted to go get a new car immediately! I am a car person, I have to have a car, you have no idea what I went through those 9 months without. I researched all those months and Honda was my top pick.

    The Pilot won because it has the capability to seat 8 and it’s not a mini van. The dealership even let me drive my new car to my bank 3 towns over to get the cashier’s check. I used my GM discount as a bargaining tool and the Honda dealer even matched it.

  • Reply moooooog35 March 30, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Shit like this is why I hitchhike.

    Sure, you get molested every so often…but action is action.

  • Reply Kim March 30, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I feel the same way. I have never had and probably never will have a “foreign” car. But it’s so hard to maintain composure when you’re getting screwed. It really is.

  • Reply Angry Max March 30, 2009 at 9:54 am

    If I had a car, I’d buy a big, fat Cadillac with furry seats.

  • Reply Jenn Thorson March 30, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I admit to being selfishly concerned about GM because I have a Saturn– and with Saturn gone, I would have to actually negotiate for a car for the first time ever. I find that sort of– terrifying. I can guarantee that I will overcompensate for the fear by being Ms. OverlyPreparedMarketingGal, determined not to be fleeced by pretending to be all tough and steely– which I am not good at.

    It would be an ugly, ugly thing. 🙂

  • Reply Kate Burton March 30, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I hear you but I have to agree with Jon Stewart. If the bank fails we have nothing. If the car companies fail at least we all HAVE CARS!. If this is the way it needs go to then so be it but then it’s time for Citi and AIG and Bank of America to get ready to crash as well.

  • Reply Stacie March 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    it is crazy…buying a new car SHOULD be fun, but I hear your distress and am thankful that I am not in the market as of yet…

    however, I hope to be buying a new home soon…so I feel my own sense of stress approaching.

  • Reply Sherri March 30, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    You know, anymore I’m not sure what’s an American car and what isn’t. Sure Ford, GM, and Chrysler have their corporate offices in the U.S. but a lot of the components are from overseas and a lot of assembly is done in Mexico. I think the big 3 were so arrogant they were oblivious that someone else could make better cars more efficiently.

    In Indiana we have lost so many automotive related jobs, but we still have a huge Toyota plant and a Honda plant that provides good jobs for Americans. My husband and I have had all American cars with all kinds of problems. My last car is a Honda Civic. It has about 115K miles and I’ve only had to change the oil, and replace the tires and brake pads. Now it’s paid off and I’m going to drive it as long as I can!

    Sorry for the long comment. I work for a logistics company that moves a lot of stuff for automotive manufacturers, so this is a big topic for me.

  • Reply SLColman March 31, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Oh how I feel your pain!! I really hope that you find a car that will work for you and in your price range!

  • Reply Dr. Lauren March 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I buy foreign. I am not about to help these companies. They dug their own ditch. I know it sounds un-American, but Big business is a complete sham in this country.

  • Reply Chaotically Calm April 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I guess I’m unAmerican b/c I drive a VW and I am going to drive it until it spits me out on the curb. The idea of buying a new car terrifies me…I’d consider an “American” made car if they weren’t ill crafted pieces of….I wish you the best of luck and definitely grab hold of the credit report so they don’t try to stick it to you.

  • Reply Jodi April 2, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Great post!

  • Reply Steve April 2, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I’m a lifelong GM fan myself, but I’m switching to Ford. At least they turned down the bailout money. What’s a guy to do?

  • Reply April 3, 2009 at 5:58 am

    I heard Scott Monty, who is the Social Media guy for Ford speak at a recent conference. He asked how many people knew that Ford wasn’t taking bailout money. Less than half the people knew it.

    He had some other great comments about Ford, and I’m taking another look at Ford. You might want to as well.

    As to Chrysler and GM, maybe it is time to let them fail.

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