If Chrysler falls in the forest ...

... does anyone care? My wife didn't even know they still made cars. Outside of a tiny swath of the rust belt, the third leg of the Big Three (Ha!) is finally getting its just deserts.

My parents drove a Dodge Caravan (and a Voyager before that). It was their answer to the soccer mom of the eighties: another friggin' mini-van. Just what the world needed. Not that I love the SUV (I hate it), but Ford and GM (the "other" Biggies, hehe) saw tax write-offs on the wall and adapted. That, and I threw up in the Voyager. And the Caravan smelled like my younger sister's vomit. Also, I smashed my fingers in the Voyager (Buicks never abused me thus.)

When my Ford Escort* ended its long run, I had to drive a Dodge Neon until I could acquire alternate transportation. The Neon was the shitiest automobile I've ever had the displeasure of sitting behind the wheels of. We had already had to fix the disk brakes on multiple occasions, and the paint peeled like a rotten banana. But the final insult was while I was on the way to the credit union to sign papers on a new-used car (one that would prove itself also troublesome as it dropped its coolant and radiator in the parking lot of said CU): the gas gauge of the Neon read something greater than zero, but the thing died of lack of dead-dinosaur fuel. That was embarrassing asking for help on the expressway to push my ugly car onto the shoulder, but I still needed petrol! Ugh. What a wretched march.

So now that Crystler is dying a deserved death, I am filled with nothing but shadenfreude. Good riddance. I know as a good American I'm supposed to love my auto industry, but if Ford and GM follow suit, I'll be fine. Germany and Japan make great cars (especially now that BMW bought Mini, Thank you!). The reason that the "Big Three" aren't on top anymore is plainly simple: they make shitier cars than everyone else.

Though my BMW was spendy, it ran well. The Prius is eco and maintenance and price have been very reasonable. And the Mini Cooper S is a dream. Ahhh. It's like driving concentrated bliss.

The US auto industry is behaving like spoiled children. Though I love Obama orders of magnitude above the prior resident of the White House, saving Chrysler is a lost cause. Let 'em go, man. They're just not as in to you as you are into them.

* I loved my Ford Escort. Manual transmission, manual steering. It was the best car ever. That thing was an efficient converter of gas to motion. Once, I fit my whole life into it (the contents of my dorm room). It drove me fast and far away from the trucker who pre-ruined for me the truck-stop humor in "There's something about Mary". The idiot who smashed it while I was heading out of the coffee shop on my way to work was driving an fucking SUV. I hated SUVs before that, but this guy cemented the enmity. SUV drivers think they are gods, but their insurance providers must have a special well of hatred for them, what with the they they crush everything in their path. Ford stopped making cars I'd buy a long time ago, but the Escort was pinnacle of driving in my formative years.



At 5/1/09, 2:46 AM, Anonymous Paolo said...

Fiat gets control of Chrysler and then all americans start to drive 500s...ah! ;)
I can agree on your view about quality, but if they survived so far, it means that people bought them. I mean GM has 24 (!!) plants - they are building what in them? Ford, BTW, in EU builds cars that are successful and, I am being told, of decent quality. Is Ford really building crap in US? well, it means that US people like to buy crap? I don't know, but the fact that they survived all this time means that somebody was still buying their cars...

At 5/1/09, 7:56 AM, Blogger Charles Céleste Hutchins said...

I have a soft spot in my heart for Fords. But not for the others.

I can't cheer the death of the big 3, though. People work(ed?) at those 24 plants. The US needs a manufacturing sector. If the companies can't stay afloat by themselves, we should nationalize them.

Make them the NASA of car companies! We will have some sort of sustainable uber-vehicle within the next 20 years! Or put them to work making trolley cars, busses and fast trains!

Or maybe they'd still suck, but they suck now. I'd rather my tax money go to union jobs and pension funds than bankers and god knows the economy needs propping up.

At 5/1/09, 10:56 AM, Blogger marshlady said...

It's so funny, when I was a teen ager my family had a dodge dart that had all kinds of problems, my Brother had a tshirt made that read "I hate my F-ing car" So it's so funny to see this all these years later.

At 5/1/09, 3:54 PM, Blogger jenny said...

my RV for the alaska adventure was built on a 2007 diesel dodge sprinter. that was a very nice ride :) but then it was brand new...

At 5/6/09, 5:57 PM, Blogger vj said...

I just watched video about the 2010 Prius. I needs. All electric mode with the touch of "real" button. No stupid climate control LCD panel.

I think Ford is a good car company. I loved me my Ford Escort (didn't much care for the Explorer). But I drive a Mini Cooper S right now. What do they have in their line up to appeals to people who think that driving a small car is a swell idea? To their credit, they've always seemed to do well selling to what people actually want, even if what they want is a bad idea.

But Toyota is doing something so cool. I don't just want their car, I've got to have it.


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