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I would wait to buy a Solstice or any other new American made car and see if the quality has improved any. I have a Gran Prix and parts are wearing out. Three alternators in three years from the dealer ,front hub assembly $600.00, intake pleniment made of "plastic" $600.00 to replace,rotors $284.00,why can't they last more than one brake change? Why is every visit to the shop for routine maintenence more than car payments? This is why people buy foriegn cars! That Mecedes SLK 350 is looking better all the time.
 

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summersolstice said:
I would wait to buy a Solstice or any other new American made car and see if the quality has improved any. I have a Gran Prix and parts are wearing out. Three alternators in three years from the dealer ,front hub assembly $600.00, intake pleniment made of "plastic" $600.00 to replace,rotors $284.00,why can't they last more than one brake change? Why is every visit to the shop for routine maintenence more than car payments? This is why people buy foriegn cars! That Mecedes SLK 350 is looking better all the time.
Not sure this thread belongs in technical, but maybe if we keep on the exact parts.

I guess your concerns about quality of parts and construction reliability are up to you. I cannot prove to you that GM is better or worse than anyone else. They usually fall somewhere near industry average in the quality studies that have been done the last few years, and have been steadily improving in those studies. That shows to me they are getting their act together. Also, I am not sure it is fair to compare Pontiacs to Mercedes products. I would expect much higher quality for a car costing what a Merc SLK 350 does than a $20K Pontiac.

As for you problems. 3 Alternators? Sounds like they are using rebuilt/remanufactured replacements. Those are junk, and I have always had problems with rebuilds whether they were from a dealer or autozone.

Many companies use plastic intake plenums and other parts. They offer better sound deadening properties, are cheaper to manufacture, and are lighter. Check out that Merc, it has a plastic cover over its engine!

Rotors often will last multiple brake changes if they are turned. However, shops make a lot more money by replacing them. Sometimes they cannot be turned either, but that excuse gets overused by shops. Heck, I have used un-turned rotors again and had no problems in the past, as long as they were not warped. Its not GM's fault your shop is trying to make a profit on brake work. Nor is it necessarily a sign the part was of poor quality.

As for the cost of work done at a shop. Try getting that Mercedes fixed and your costs will really look high! In reality, those shops are there to make money. Most charge in the neighborhood of $70 per hours for work, often based on the flat rate and not actual clock hours. Also, they add a premium to parts for additional profit. So any work that is a few hours by the book, plus parts easily gets into the hundreds of dollars. Its just the nature of the car repair business, and again not a defect of GM quality.

What year is your Grand Prix? GM through the 90's did have some poor quality parts in their vehicles, and by all the surveys they have been steadily recovering from those problems.

Finally, not all imports are any better. The highly regarded Volkswagon has had tons of reliability problems recently, and yet they are considered better than GM. In reality they are worse. Toyota and Honda are good, but they are not as good as some people make them out to be.

Any car you buy will need maintenance and repair, and there is always a chance at getting a lemon. If you want to spend on an expensive luxury nameplate, you may have a better chance at getting a very reliable car. You may also be asking for more expensive repairs too (that even goes for Honda and Toyota, who have very expensive parts costs compared to GM).

Some people buy what they like. Thats us! Others buy perceived reliability, and they can have their appliances on wheels. I'll take a car I truly love to drive over perceived reliability in a car I do not like as much anyday.
 

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Your Grand Prix must be the older body style. Initial quality studies have indicated the 04+ Grand Prix is better in quality than the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Not by just a little either, the G.P. beat the Accord by 30%

Mercedes has quality problems of its own, its a well know fact. J.D. Power (which isn't necessarily the gospel truth) indicates a 3 yr old Pontiac had 297 problems per 100 vehicles. Mercedes had 327 problems per 100 vehicles.

The most 'reliable' make according to studies?? Lexus. The 2nd most reliable? BUICK!!
 

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If you want absolute reliability, IMO your only choices are Honda and Toyota. If you like their product offerings, then that is what you should get. These days GM products are better than they have been, but they are pretty much average with the rest of the world. You mention Mercedes, don't be swindled, German cars are not as reliable as Honda and Toyota (This includes Lexus and Acura) and are pretty much on par with American cars and other Japanese brands. The difference is, a Mercedes owner takes their car in for a very expensive "service" and American car owners will take theirs for a relitively cheap "repair" and are far more likely to bitch about it to others.

No doubt there will now be all kinds of people posting saying "My Pontiac Grand Am went 200k and all I had to do was blow air in the tires!" and there will be people posting "A friend of mine has a Honda Civic and it burns oil and on it's second tranny at 30k". Both stories may be perfectly true, but on average, Toyota and then Honda reign supreme in this field.

Toyota dominates the third world market. Why? Because when you're poor, you can't afford lots of repairs and the harsh driving enviroment quickly seperates the wheat from the chaff. Buyers there don't give a rat's ass about HP and skip pad numbers, styling or antilock brakes, just how long will it last.

Personaly, I can't stand the offerings from either Honda (with the exception of the S2000) or Toyota, because to me styling is very important. I have had very good experiences with most American cars all my life (mostly Fords though) and firmly believe that you get out of them what you put in. I am not affraid to buy a Pontiac because I know I will take exceptional care of it and it will no doubt serve me well enough. But if you're the type that tosses your crap all over the inside, puts stickers and glued things on the dashboard, bumper stickers out back, has crap in the trunk you've completely forgotten about, washes it once a year and looks at the oil change reminder sticker on the windshield and then puts it off another 3 months, well then, you better get a Toyota.

Your complaint about the alternator is totaly valid IMO. There is something very fishy about GM alternator life spans. My 87 year old grandmother bought a 96 Oldsmobile 88 in '96 and still has it. It now has about 27k on it. It has spent it's entire life in her garage. The only thing about it to ever give her trouble was the alternator. It died just a couple of weeks short of the warrantee dying, so luckily it was covered. If there was ever a car where the alternator should have lasted, it was this one. On the other hand, my wife has a '97 Subaru Legacy and the alternator died on that on at 60k which I feel is also premature. Luckily, the alternator change on the Legacy is less then 10 minutes! Love working on that car!

Front brake rotors on all cars are an issue. They need to be torqued very carefully when you put them on, or they can warp just from that. They also tend to be kind of cheaply made on most all cars. I agree with you, they should be better, but I think even Honda and Toyota have disc problems.

Other considerations might be your driving style and your repair place. Do you use your brakes hard? Do you tend to wait to the last minute and then stomp on them when you come to a stop? Do you ride them down a hill rather than down shift? Could be you mechanic is just a butthole and is charging you for new rotors even though you may not really need them. This happens all the time. Good honest mechanics are hard to come by and is the reason I end up doing the work myself.

Anyhow, reliability is an issue, and you have to judge for your self the risks of the Solstice, but I would be thinking Lexus, not Mercedes if I were you.
 

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summersolstice said:
I would wait to buy a Solstice or any other new American made car and see if the quality has improved any. I have a Gran Prix and parts are wearing out. Three alternators in three years from the dealer ,front hub assembly $600.00, intake pleniment made of "plastic" $600.00 to replace,rotors $284.00,why can't they last more than one brake change? Why is every visit to the shop for routine maintenence more than car payments? This is why people buy foriegn cars! That Mecedes SLK 350 is looking better all the time.
Are you KIDDING me!? Take that SLK 350 in for one service appointment, and you'll change your tune about expensive visits to dealerships for American cars!

I will grant you that GM alternators are junk. 'Specially the rebuilt ones, Delco or not. Also look for the positive battery terminal to fall out of your Delco battery if it hasn't been replaced already.

As for the rotors not being what they used to, there are several factors that contribute to that... and it ain't just GM cars, or even American cars. Customers like brakes that don't produce alot of dust and muck up their front wheels. The solution is to use a harder compound in the brake pads so that they don't wear as quickly and grind themselves into dust. Usually that means semi-metallic or ceramic compound pads. But semi-metallic and ceramic compound pads have a tendancy to squeal. Customers don't really care for that, either. The solution is to make the rotors a little softer. You can see where this is going. Need I explain more?
 

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2KWK4U said:
I will grant you that GM alternators are junk. 'Specially the rebuilt ones, Delco or not. Also look for the positive battery terminal to fall out of your Delco battery if it hasn't been replaced already.
The Delco batteries still need some work that is true, but I work in a GM dealer parts dept and GM has made HUGE strides in it's parts quality. I don't know whether to brag or cry (I'm paid on commission).
 

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it's getting hard to tell what is an american car anymore. saab , gm and subaru share design and components- even whole platorms, as does ford and volvo. i'm sure the real car people in the forum can come up with more examples. I am a big fan of european cars, but my first new car .... a Fiat 128.... was so poorly constructed that it's rear light was stamped into the sheetmetal crooked, a trait i noticed on every other Fiat 128.
my ford f-150 is at 137,000 miles with no mechanical failures- only oil changes and body work when i bang into something (ouch).
engineering is engineering the whole world round.... it's not done better in europe than in the usa, and consumers have no patience for poorly constructed cars-there are too many well constructed alternatives and manufacturers know it. you can buy american with confidence.
 

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Right now, my daily driver is an Intrepid and it's not been all so very bad I suppose. But I do remember buying a Cadillac in 84 that was a nightmare. This car was so bad that two years later when I traded it in, it literally blew up in the dealer's parking lot. I am thinking surely GM's improved by now...
 

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GM's quality took a big dive in the 1990's. Although Fieros have a bad reputation for reliability, I have always found their accessory components to last a very long time. My Formula's original alternator lasted 15 years and 100K miles, and was actually still putting out some power when I replaced it. It would have held up, but it was a little weak. My father has an 85 Fiero with 85K miles on its original alternator. Starters, water pumps, fuel pumps, you name it and they last forever.

Then, any GM vehicle owned by a family member between 92 and probably 97 or so was riddled with little problems. I know its all anecdotal stories which are not necessarily indicitive of quality, but even GM has admitted to cutting parts prices and hence quality in the 90's. They are getting better, and I would not think twice about buying a GM vehicle.

In fact, the only mainstream company I probably would not buy a car from at this point in due to worries about reliability is Mitsubishi. With their economic problems, cutting parts costs is a sure fire way to save some money, and whenever an automaker does that quality generally nosedives. Plus there is some rumors they will pull out of N/A.
 

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eatoninside said:
Your Grand Prix must be the older body style. Initial quality studies have indicated the 04+ Grand Prix is better in quality than the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Not by just a little either, the G.P. beat the Accord by 30%

Mercedes has quality problems of its own, its a well know fact. J.D. Power (which isn't necessarily the gospel truth) indicates a 3 yr old Pontiac had 297 problems per 100 vehicles. Mercedes had 327 problems per 100 vehicles.

The most 'reliable' make according to studies?? Lexus. The 2nd most reliable? BUICK!!
I drive a 99 buick regal lse right now. and let me tell you, its got 85k+ on it, and the only thing ive had to do was oil changes and brake jobs. its just now finally starting to get other problems like the front right wheel hub, and a small rack leak. but its lasted me this long, long enough for me to buy american again :patriot , which i am when the solstice makes its debut.
 

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cdb said:
it's getting hard to tell what is an american car anymore. saab , gm and subaru share design and components- even whole platorms, as does ford and volvo. i'm sure the real car people in the forum can come up with more examples. I am a big fan of european cars, but my first new car .... a Fiat 128.... was so poorly constructed that it's rear light was stamped into the sheetmetal crooked, a trait i noticed on every other Fiat 128.
my ford f-150 is at 137,000 miles with no mechanical failures- only oil changes and body work when i bang into something (ouch).
engineering is engineering the whole world round.... it's not done better in europe than in the usa, and consumers have no patience for poorly constructed cars-there are too many well constructed alternatives and manufacturers know it. you can buy american with confidence.
GM dosent just share platforms, they OWN Saab and Subaru. Just like Mopar now OWNS Mitsubishi AND Mercedes. Toyota IS Lexus, Honda owns Accura, and VW makes Audi. Many of the big name car companies are owned by a different company.
 

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summersolstice said:
I would wait to buy a Solstice or any other new American made car and see if the quality has improved any. I have a Gran Prix and parts are wearing out. Three alternators in three years from the dealer ,front hub assembly $600.00, intake pleniment made of "plastic" $600.00 to replace,rotors $284.00,why can't they last more than one brake change? Why is every visit to the shop for routine maintenence more than car payments? This is why people buy foriegn cars! That Mecedes SLK 350 is looking better all the time.
Looking at the objective measures of quality (J. D. Power), GM is about third after Honda and Toyota, ahead of Nissan, VW, Subaru, Isuzu, Hyundai, Diamler Chrysler, etc. My ex-wife had a Honda Civic that began breaking down every month right after the warranty ran out.
 

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The question is which would you buy that is not built in North America?
Civic-Ontario
Accord- Ontario
Camery-Ontario
Corcolla-Ontario
That is just off the top of my head.
I know there is plants in the States for MB, BMW,
Mexico has VW plants
so tell which car you want and then we find out were the car is made.
I believe there is not that much difference in quailty of the cars made today.
You get good and bad in all models
 

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You want real confusion between what is an American car and what is an import? Look at where the parts come from.

The new Toyota Tacoma is an import right? Maybe. Toyota did the design. Its built in the US. Its cooling and HVAC system is manufactured by Delphi Thermal Systems in Lockport NY, which was a part of General Motors until Delphi got spun off a few years back. So they have a GM supplier making parts in the US for a vehicle built in the US that has a Toyota name on it. Is it American? An Import?

Or what about the Saturn Vue. Its a GM Theta platform vehicle, but it is powered by a Honda 3.5L V6 DOHC engine. Is it a Honda? A GM?

Here is another one, the Chevy Equinox. Its built in the CAMI plant outside of London Ontario, but its engine arrives from China and transmission from Japan. What is it?

The Ion Redline is built in Spring Hill Tenessee. Its 2.0L S/C motor arrives from Germany, its transmission from Sweden. Is it an American, German, or Swedish?

Cars are no longer clearly imports or domestics these days, and a lot of parts that make up a particular companies cars now come from the same suppliers that supply rivals cars.
 

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American Car?

:rant
Forget it…there are no American cars. Most everything that goes into a car these days are made all over the world. You may get American final assembly but that is it. Americans don’t really want an American car because they are not willing to pay for it.

So, if you want to help American workers buy a car assembled in the US, that DOES NOT mean an American Brand. I would rather buy a Honda made by American workers then a Chevy made in Mexico. I don’t really care if the rich guys at top are American or not…I look at the 200 workers making the car.
 

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I don’t really care if the rich guys at top are American or not…I look at the 200 workers making the car.
How about shareholders? The general public owns GM, Mitsui (a large Japanese conglomerate corp) owns Toyota.

How about the engineers? Finance people? Marketing people? Most of this is being done here for GM (though some is being sent overseas recently). Most of final assembly for GM is done here also. Canada and Mexico have a couple plants (not sure how many) but most is US.

I agree that cars are hard to distinguish based on where they are assembled and where the parts are built, but Toyota is still giving profits overseas. Toyota also makes very boring cars to me. Cars that are supposed to appeal to me, like Scion, do not in the least.

By the way, I have seen a list somewhere that breaks down whether a car is an import or a domestic based on % of parts made in the US.

GM is also developing and now selling some cars that I think are WAY cooler than the imports. Solstice is a good example, so cheap, so cool. The Caddys are another. Chevy's SS Cobalt or Ion Redline is better than a Civic Si to me any day.

My 97 Lumina has been pretty good, though it needed an alt at 60k and a fuel pump at 50k. Anomalies? Sounds like the alt is normal and the fuel pump is unlucky. Other than that, it never lets me down...knock on wood.
 

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adickerson0,

Do you shop at Walmart? Over 80% of their merchandise either directly or indirectly comes from China. In an effort to get "the lowest price to the consumer" at all cost (no pun intended, but there it is :jester ) they have given away the future for the present...
 

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Even GM cars that are not assembled in the US, most still use a majority of US parts. I'd venture a guess that nearly every GM car built in North American somewhere has a parts content sticker showing at least 80% US/Canada parts.

Its just not the rich guys. GM's Tonawanda Powertrain plant, which is located in a Buffalo suburb, is the largest automotive engine plant in the world. We also have a major Delphi Thermal Systems plant which is our areas largest no-government employer, two American Axle plants, and a Ford stamping plant which pumps out car body panels for Freestar minivans, and one other vehicle (I forget which)

Tell the few thousand local workers in this area that buying an American nameplate is only making the rich even richer, and its not helping American workers.

PS, Tonawanda Powertrain is also where the majority of GM's ecotec 4 bangers are made. There is a good chance the Sol's 2.4L will be manufactured there too.
 

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I drive a 98 Honda Civic bought it brand new have had it for 7 years and have had no major problems. About 2 months ago I had to buy back brakes but that is the only thing I have had to fix on the car. The car has been very good to me. In all fairness I only drive about 6,000 miles a year because I live so close to work. I only have 47,000 on my car.
I think I'm going to wait to buy the solstice the second production year only because I don't know how to drive stick and I'm hopeing they will come out with an automatic.
Now my friends sister bought a brand new Nissan Sentra and she has had that thing in the shop more than she has driven it. You just never know if you are going to get a lemon.


Hey FFM88 what do you think about Audi's? Have you heard of any major problems with them?
 
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