Saturday, August 08, 2009

What's in your parking lot?

Update - Mr S. points out to me that BMW's and Mercedes are not Asian made. Point well made. However - still not American made.

I was over in Cupertino today walking through a parking garage at the mall. I will say right away - the place has a very high Asian population.

Still, it took me by surprise just how few American cars there were in the garage. I turned to Mr S. and said "OMG Mr. S - look at this.

Every single car is Asian made. Look! Honda,BMW,Toyota,Nissan,Lexus. The population isn't 100% Asian, so it was pretty fascinating. And yes, I'm racist - so I think Asians only buy Asian made cars. Well, mostly I think random chance would have made it so there was at least one American made car in these rows.

Not a single one of these cars was an American brand.

Same exact thing on the opposite row.

Now, I'm going to have to start paying more attention to parking lots in general to see if this is more widespread.


  1. This looks like every parking lot in the US. American's don't like buying their own cars either. Where a car is made really makes no difference to me. It's who has the best quality at the best price and a great design.

  2. Keyser's sensibilities about cars were developed in the 1970s, when the US manufacturers were finally getting their come-uppance for their slovenly ways as a result of having a (virtual) monopoly since the end of the Second World War and finding it easier to give in to their union than keep costs and quality under control, so "US"=low quality has always been his general outlook. This seems to be confirmed by the refrain one hears that the US makers have "improved" quality. Why mess with that when you can go do makers that have always been good?

    Keyser's first car was a 1979 Corolla. Great cheap car. It was still running okay when in 1989 he bought Keyser Sr.'s 1986 Honda Accord. That car was still running strong in 2003 when Keyser finally junked it (only for legal reasons having to do with moving to Canada and not worth explaining - that car would probably still be running today!). Wanted a Honda Civic, but apparently they're so popular and Iglooland where Keyser lives is so far towards the edge of the world, that a Civic was very hard to get. So ef Honda, and go with - another Corolla! It was actually roomier than the Civic and had better "umph." Six years later, and there hasn't been any problem at all with that car. FWIW, Keyser also owned a Ford Windstar for a while. Wasn't a bad vehicle, but little things were always going wrong in its old age.

    Upshot? For cost and reliability, the Japanese makes are the way to go.

    And the present Corolla was put together in Cambridge Ontario, and if we'd gone with the Civc, it would have been put together in someplace in Ohio. What's foreign about that?

  3. Davis - I don't care where a car is made either. As long as it doesn't fall apart - has a big earth destroying motor, and provides good anti-lock breaks so I don't kill myself with the horsepower - I'm good to go. Although, I doubt I'll ever buy another American made car.

    It was just really amazing to see the market had shifted so starkly. Sure I knew most of the cars were starting to be foreign made. But, every single one was a shock.

    Keyser - when I first started my career I remember working with some guys who said they would never buy another American made vehicle. They were so bitter. I thought they were a little crazy at the time. But, they were bitter enough that I believed them. They'd lived through the poor quality stage.

    Aside from your house - cars are the things you spend the most money on, and when they suck - you notice it each and every day. Around here, some people probably spend more time in their cars than their houses. And Corollas are probably well made. They are sure gutless. Lately if there is a car causing a traffic backup - you can always count that it's a Corolla. They are somewhat comical. They are the people you are cussing at to get out of the fast lane on the way up the hill, then all of a sudden come screaming down the hill past you on the downside. It would always make me laugh until I figured out the just can't speed uphill.

  4. We don't drive up hills, so maybe so. But when Keyser was checking out cars, he took it out to a straight road and pushed down the accelerator. It seemed to respond a lot better than the Civic (which is a car for men with a midlife crisis - hence the whore-house red, as opposed to the almost purplish shade of the Corolla). It gets us where we want to go, has caused no problems in six years, and at $22.5k (in local $) was a great bargain. No doubt if you take out a second mortgage, you can get better performanc. But Keyser's got better things to spend his money on!