Friday, September 16, 2005


Lesson #3: Don't be offended by people who don't buy 'merican cars.

The world is a lot bigger than the United States. We didn't invent the car, nor did we invent most of the modern luxurys and features which are currently afforded us.

Here's a little trivia, test your knowledge:

Who invented the first automobile? ... Daimler (1885)
Who invented the disc brake? ... Peugeot (1909)
Who invented Anti-Lock Brakes? ... Mercedes
Who invented Traction Control? ... Mercedes
Who invented Electronic Stability Control? ... Mercedes
Who invented the Diesel engine? ... Rudolf Diesel (German)
Who invented the 3 point seatbelt? ... A Volvo Engineer in Sweden and then for free shared it with the world because safety was more important than profits.

This isn't to say the Americans never invented anything... For one: The Airbag back in the 60's! (Yes, you can get an old Oldsmobile from the 70's with an Airbag).. , however they are also responsible for the hideousness of 'the chrome bumper'.. Can't win 'em all.

My point here is that we didn't invent much of anything. We've made poorly inefficient overweight gas guzzlers, unapologetically I might add while the rest of the world learned to produce safe, lightweight, well handling attractive vehicles which were also efficient and affordable.

This site is aimed at the majority of American drivers, so here's a bigger fact: GM designs and sells cars in Europe and elsewhere that we don't get in the United States, and on those few occassions which we did, they messed it up by putting in an inferior gas guzzling engine of a higher displacement which got worse fuel economy and lower performance.


Ford produced the Sierra Cosworth/RS500 in England. All wheel drive, nice powerful engine, etc. back in the 1980's. We got it as a Merkur, with a 2.3l Turbocharged 4cylinder Pinto motor.

Ford produced the original Escort in the 1970's. It was used for professional rallying and racing. It was front engine, and rear wheel drive.

Ford also produced what was at one time the fastest production car in history, the RS200. Big V8? nope.. 1.8l Four Cylinder with between 250 and 450bhp versions at that displacement.
Currently the new Focus ST over there (a 4cylinder) is looking at 240bhp and 250 lbs. ft of torque. What do we get? 170bhp in the short lived Focus SVT.

GM is sold as Opel in Germany, Vauxhall in Britain, Holden in Australia. You want a hot car, forget your Cobalt SS.. You want a Vauxhall VX220.

My point is this. People buy non-American vehicles because they offer what the American manufacturers don't (at least not in the United States). Quality, Performance, Efficiency and Cost.

What DO American companies give you? Trucks and SUV's that all but the professional contractors and delivery services out there DON'T need. Even then, Ford makes nice Panel vans in Europe which are four cylinder diesels and built on small-pickup chassis'. Sorry, you don't need a 280bhp V8 to deliver replacement windows. A 110bhp diesel with 200lbs of torque getting almost 30mpg will do much better thank you.

If you were still offended by this, get over it, you've bought the hype and get what you deserve, drive your Chevy's and Fords and what not but when you see other people driving cars in the same price range with better suspensions, lighting, features and comfort, don't go complaining about them foreigners putting 'mericans out of a job as it was American companies that did (and do) that. Aside from that, your American cars aren't all built here anyway.

The Camaro/Firebirds were built in Canada.
The Ford Focus, Contour (Mondeo in the rest of the world) etc were released in Europe about 4 years prior to coming to the US.
The Cadillac Catera? Look inside the door Jamb, built in Russelheim, Germany.
That new Pontiac GTO? Melbourne, Australia, it's a Holden.
How about that new Focus anyway, you reliase the most recent (best) version thus far is built off of the Volvo S40 platform? Its an improvement, but again, not one we came up with in the US.
Like your Corvette C5 & C6's silky transmission? Germany.. You can say "Danke" now.


Eric, your goal here is to antagonize American drivers and consumers. Is it in an attempt at "tough love?" Are you trying to "wake up" the American public?

You have some good points, I agree with much of what you have to say, not all. But your approach is hostile. You come off on the defensive/offensive right out of the box. The message is important, some of it, but will get lost because of the tone of your posts. You can't beat people over the head, just because you may be right about some points. And you're not 100% right (who is?) there are some factual errors in your description of the "US" affiliates overseas, and some major omissions. What about Chrysler's overseas operations? (Pre Damlier) Talbot and Simca in France. Simca is a story in itself, at one time part of Ford, then Chrysler, then I believe VW. Chrysler's inovative Australian products, like their "Hemi" 6 cylinder?

What about Chrysler's associations with VW, Mitsubishi and Hyundai over the years?

It's a shame, you've got some good points, but no tact or diplomacy. A message lost because of the messenger.
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