Accountants as engineers - Ppppfffftt''

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Leon wrote:
[snip]The Saturns were $3000 cheaper for the same equipment and trim

We did that with the Taurus. Bought the Toyota Camry.     j4
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<Sniped to make a point>

Leon, I too work in the automotive industry. Our company operates Honda, Acura, Chevrolet and Saturn dealerships.
Bad cars (and other products) are made by all companies. Hondas blew headgaskets like crazy, Saturns were noisy and ate alternators and batteries, Acura transmissions were junk and so on and so on. What matters to me is how the manufacturer handled the problems. Honda/Acura stepped up and fixed all of them - no questions. Saturn fixed their issues with a little pushing, Chevrolet relies on the dealer to decide if they should help and to what extent.
Bad companies are the ones that die. Good companies, step up and take care of issues and subsequently improve their products. That is until they are swallowed-up by larger companies.
Woodworkers are in somewhat a different class. They buy cheap crap all the time and justify it by saying "It works OK for me" or "I don't use one enough to warrant a quality one". I am a tool snob. Not because I love spending tons of money, but because I want my tools to work right when I need them. OTOH, I do own some Jet and some import Delta tools. However, I do buy professional quality when it counts.
My (long and windy) point is, Wal-mart, Harbor Freight, Grizzly and the like will continue to flourish because we do not want to pay for real quality and are willing to settle for less. Quality companies like Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen, Leigh, Snap-On, Miller Electric, Wilton and others will also have a market until they venture down the "cheaper is always better" road. Are you listening Robin?
Dave
Note to Robin, I looked high and low to replace a special crowbar (that was stolen) and now I see you have them. They are without a doubt, the best of the best. They have no peer. You call it the renovator's bar. I searched for the name on the bar, TOVE, and it did not show up on your site. You should add TOVE somewhere on the page so more people might find them on your site.
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<snipped>

The crowbar I have works all too well, with regard to purchasing Robin's products, thank you very much.
Patriarch
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Our sister conmanies sold Honda from the early years when you could also sell motorcycles in the same dealership, Buick, Mazda. GMC, Isuzu and Oldsmobile. Having been on the receiving end of customer complaints with 4 of thise product lines, I got the least complaints percentage wise from the Japanese car owners.

I am not familiar with Honds's blowing head gaskets but I bet it was not anymore often than the Oldsmobile Diesel engines and the Chevrolet Vega engines. :~)
What matters to me is how the manufacturer handled the problems.
True. I also had to deal with the Oldsmobile factory service reps. What an arrogent bunch they were. Our dealership won service awards from Oldsmobile and they would send us their problem customers after the other Olds dealers failed to properly repair the cars. We would do the warranty work on those cars and the rep would kick back the claims because we were replacing too many parts when compared to the other 4 delaerships. Maybe we were replacing too many parts but the cars were being properly repaired and the customers stayed with us.
Acura transmissions were junk and so on and so on. Honda/Acura stepped up and fixed all of them - no questions.
My wife and I had a 90 Integra automaticand put more miles on it than any other vehicle. We replaced it simply because my wife wanted an new car 10 years later.
Saturn fixed their issues with a

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1983.
I wish that somebody besides Nissan made a full size four door heavy-duty pickup. I'm stuck with Dodge, Ford or Chevy, and the way I abuse trucks, they don't last long. I'd buy the Nissan except that it's so gawdawful butt-ugly it makes me ill, and would be embarrassing to drive.
Jon E
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After checking with four mechanics I bought the Chevy 2500HD with the diesel engine and Allison transmission. 24,000 miles with not a single problem.
Bob
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My Nephew owns a landscape business and is very tough on his trucks. He hauls yards of material and tractors on goose necks, not lawn equipment, and now swears by GMC after going through 3 Dodges. IIRC the Toyota full size is suppose to actually become full size very soon.
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Toyota Tundra doesn't fit your needs?
Renata
On Thu, 30 Sep 2004 17:35:47 -0400, "Jon Endres, PE"

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Does it hold a 4x8 sheet flat with the tailgate closed? That's my standard of "A truck" versus "A family car"
I need it about once a month, but when I need it, I REALLY need it.
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My Chevy 2500HD, 8.1L Shortbed won't hold a 4x8sheet with the tailgate closed. It will pull a 33', 12,000 pound 5th wheel trailer with a 2,000 pound pin weight over a 10,000 ft mountain pass in 2nd or 3rd gear at 55 MPH. It also barely squats with topsoil heaped over the wheel wells.
It isn't a family car!
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RonB wrote:

My friends range rover can carry a full size 8x4 sheet inboard with the tailgate shut, and is used as a family car: http://www.rangie.com /
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Sounds like a nice truck except ~8 MPG yet can't haul plywood with the tailgate up or a 14 foot board.
Reminds me some men I've heard of. All bulk but come up SHORT on the business end. teehee
Gary
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    I was in the same situation about 8 months ago. I knew I would be needing a truck, to haul stuff, general working etc. Found a used (1986) F150 straight six with a good bed and liner - $700.00. Not the best in looks, but I really don't care what the snobs in the neighborhood think. I use mine all the time to haul stuff to the dump, bring lumber home, pull a trailer, etc. I tell the daughters that this is the best vehicle I own because it runs, works hard and is paid for.
JAW
U-CDK_CHARLES\Charles wrote:

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RonB wrote:

The same thing happened in the semiconductor equipment industry in the early 90s. The Japanese started to clobber us in their typical Japanese fashion, American (and European) companies woke up, made major changes, and won back market share. So it can be done.
Whether it will be done with home equipment is another question. Singer used to make the best sewing machines in the world, hands down. Then 'value engineering' set in and they ended up pushing crap made in Brazil. My wife, the expert, won't touch a new Singer, but she still dreams about finding one of the classic ones at a price she can afford.
One thing that will help is if the discerning customers (like the members of this newsgroup) make their opinions heard long and loud at the companies. It's not a cure but it's better than just taking it until we move to stuff from other companies.
--RC
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Well said.
Dave

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Interesting you should use that comparison. Volvos today are an excellent example of cost engineering (they're also overpriced crap). Volvo is living off the reputation they made 20+ years ago with the 240 series (and I wish I still had mine).
John
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Agreed. But I was talking about what happened in the industry 20 - 30 years ago. Our scorecard since that time frame is.
- '72 Vega GT - Spent 4 of its 18 months in the shop having engine parts and rear ends replaced. Developed bad habit of loosing power or dying when you pulled out from an intersection - bad with semi's approaching.
-'74 Cutlass Supreme - Started rusting three months after delivery. Two trips to the dealers body shop then we all threw up our hands. When traded three years later the trunk latch was held in place with bondo and rivets. (we do NOT live in a high salt area). Also replaced two water pumps and then rear wire harness so tail lights would go out.
- '74 Volvo 145 Wagon. Purchased with 40,000 miles and drove it to 170,000 miles. Replaced one fuel pump and odometer module. Experienced HEAVY impact from rear that destroyed our camping trailer and pushed part of it through rear window. Minimal body damage. Ranger that worked accident said "thank your stars you were in a Volvo."
- '80 Volvo 245. Purchased with about 45,000 miles. Drove four years with no repairs.
- '82 Volvo diesel - POS
- 86 Chevy Blazer - Bought new, drove 10 years/150,000 miles. Replaced steering sector, two radiators, two water pumps. Overall pretty good since it towed quite a bit.
- 87 Honda - Purchased at about 50,000 miles. Drove to 150,000 miles. One fuel pump, one alternator
- 97 Chevy Pickup - Bought new, drove 80,000 miles. Two ring and pinion sets, One complete rear axle, Removed environmental ducts to clean out manufacturing debris that disabled the system. Replaced heater inlet plumbing at head requiring removal of head on one side. One water pump.
- '02 Chevy 2500HD, 8.1L, Allison - 43,000 so far. Replaced drive shaft. Replaced rear transmission seal. When oil consumption dropped to 850 miles/qt Chevy finally owned up to a service bulletin that replaced head gaskets and bolts to fix (?) a known oil consumption problem. Experience "piston slap" noise on startup (brother in law thought it was a diesel) that GM refuses to recognize as a problem.
- '99 Toyota Camry, 95,000 miles so far, no repairs - just maintenance.
Sad to say, with the exception of the diesel volvo, off-shore products win.
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I agree in the 70's and part of the 80's, but I've had more recent experience otherwise. Aside from normal things like brakes, tires and oil changes.
86 Mercedes 135K Water pump, cooling fan, cruise control module ($450), alternator, fuel injectors, cruise control again, rear bumper fell off (honest, it is glued on), wheel bearing, radio.Cooling fan sensor, and probably more. IIRC, the air cleaner element was about $45. 91 Regal 135K Water pump. front struts (still use it, maybe 2 more years) 97 Le Sabre 90K NO repairs (traded for the 01) 01 Le Sabre 88K NO repairs (plan to keep it 6 or more years yet)
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An example is the Jayco line of RVs. founding family brought in a new management team about 8 years ago that lowered quality on which the company was built and prided itself, pissed off the work force andembarassed the dealers. The family resumed control and has spent 5 years or so trying to regain the company's reputation.
I fear that won't happen with Delta, a publicly traded company. What may very well happen is that the Chinese, who learn very fast and have modern production facilities and a motivated work force, will produce tools for an expanded marketplace. Chinese demand for cars is already partly responsible for the increase in gas prices worldwide. According to Paul Leinert, a very experienced auto writer in the latest Automobile magazine, "the market (in China) is expected to double by 2012, then double again before 2020, to 16 million cars a year, about the current size of the U.S. market." After that, China will be the largest market for cars in the world.
The implication is that growing affluence will satisfy a huge demand. That affluence will come in part from China's plan to become the world's machine shop. Watch for some very interesting competition.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) writes:

Let's take an example near and dear to our hearts. The Stanley Works.
Plane quality became lower and lower as Stanley pushed into the mass market. Many lines discontinued. Finally stopped domestic production entirely with only a limited product line continued from England.
Still a market for quality planes, so some time later a small start-up (L-N) began to fill the niche. Now there is competition in the niche with LV also producing quality planes (and undercutting the price of the L-N).
If Delta does go the way of Stanley, someone else will step up to fill the niche (Powermatic, General, HotdogSuperSawsLtdIncLLP.).
And there are the international alternatives[*] (clifton, ece, et. al.)
scott
[*] Yes, LV is also an 'international alternative'.
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