Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Cars

I have always driven a Ford when I could find one I could afford. Mostly, I could find one. I have had four new Fords: A Torino, A Pinto, A Maverick, An Escort. I bought them for various reasons, you know, the financing available to me at the time, the fuel issues and because I wanted a car made in America. After buying the Escort, I found the sticker on the door and found out it was made in Mexico.

In all fairness, it has been a good car. I've been to California and states in between there and Georgia, to Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina and other states on the way to those places. The Escort never let me down on the road.

My reason for writing this short article is to discuss the possible reasons why people are not 'American Made' loyal. One reason is the Escort. It is an American company but the product is made in a foreign country. That makes it difficult to be faithful to the brand. Another reason is the sales tactics. When I bought my cars, I felt like there were hidden things that I should not ask about. The things the salesman told me were discreetly changed when it came time to sign the contract. "Oh, we had to do this or that." How can you back out after going that far? After buying the car, it must be serviced to keep the warranty going. I have not had good experiences in the garage of these dealerships. For me, getting none warranty work done is like a family emergency of unexpected expenses. Mechanics are trained to find all the problems they can. What started out to be a leaking hose may turn out to be a leaking radiator. The price tag is much different. And they got you. Who wants to take a chance on a leaking radiator. "Yea, go ahead and fix it. The kids can skip food for a month."

It may not always be that way. My point is I always feel like it is that way and I do not like that feeling so I avoid service departments of new car dealerships. I also avoid in-person salesmen. They are like poker players who do not have the money to gamble. They must sell a car to make money and to keep their job. Their anxiety sheds off on me and I have enough of my own.

Take most 'American' companies advertising. They think everyone is in to acid rock music and halter top girls. I've nothing against girls but these commercials are blasted into living rooms without regard for who is watching or what program is playing. It is like they are trying to force-feed the commercial. They should learn that everyone who has money to spend is not 30 years old and macho. That is but a segment of the population and for an auto company to make it, they need a cross-section of the population. Look at some of the so-called foreign car commercials. (Actually I think Toyota makes their cars in this country. All of it.) But look at the difference in the commercials. A pleasant background music, a nice view of the vehicle, a good description of its qualities. You feel like you have been for a spin around the block in a nice neighborhood. Then comes the 'American' commercial and you fly across hills and over rocks and through loud crowds with a beer in each hand and people hanging onto each other. It is the difference between being shown a product and being assaulted by it.

Firing executives will not fix the problem. The culture of the American car makers and local establishments must be changed to be customer friendly. I do not have to spend my money at a particular dealership. They should know that.

I am not in a position to tell anyone to change anything. I write on a blog that probably is seen mostly by me. This, however, is my view of the subject and I am down here where the money is spent that either keeps the company going or causes it to sink. Changing management may be necessary at times but making sells and having a steady flow of money coming in and controlling cost is the simple key to being profitable.

Link to Computers.

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