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Old 04-18-2011, 03:13 AM
42 posts, read 102,303 times
Reputation: 52


I've noticed a strange thing that hopefully some of you can delineate for me.

My father owns a garage and has for many years. There is no debate amongst those in his shop: generally, Japanese vehicles are superior to American vehicles in every way. American trucks in particular have been my father's bread and butter for decades. Always problems, always in the shops. Nine out of ten vehicles we see that are less than five years old requiring significant repairs are American trucks, and it's been this way for twenty years. Consider that foreign vehicles are popular in my area as well. It seems like this view is relatively uncontroversial knowledge in most automotive circles.

So why, I wonder, is it my experience that the American truck enjoys a kind of alpha male, "durability," "get rr dunn" crowd type of label? A truck in general makes sense, given it's obvious utility. But why American trucks, which are widely known to have terrible reputations across-the-board? Is it just a nationalism thing?
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:42 AM
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
2,206 posts, read 2,496,595 times
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There is no debate amongst those in his shop: generally, Japanese vehicles are superior to American vehicles in every way.
Cars are not equal to trucks. Trucks have other specifications and reasons to buy. While japanese cars like Lexus are quite good, their trucks like Tundra or Tacoma are not better than American trucs.

Is it just a nationalism thing?
Not "just", but widely. Look at commercials like this:
YouTube - Chevrolet Trucks "Like A Rock" Commercial
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:50 AM
Location: Columbia, California
6,662 posts, read 25,329,136 times
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Up to the last few years American trucks have been barely better than Japanese trucks, some years not so. Back in the 70's and 80's trucks were built to fail and quickly, American and Japanese trucks. I became so disgusted with American trucks I used Volvo station wagons as work trucks.
It is only in the past few years American trucks have stepped up their game and created trucks that will survive. The trucks do depend on the owners commitment to care thou.
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Old 04-18-2011, 04:26 AM
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 17,779,267 times
Reputation: 2290
This post is a joke, right? American trucks have no equal.. No question.. Toyota and Nissan have tried for years but they cannot make good full sized trucks. THey make good smal trucks byt the Americans have the large truck industry sewed up. The F150 is the top selling vehicle in the WORLD. Trucks are generally abused and used for work, that why you may see more needing work but America builds the best.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:09 AM
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,280,133 times
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That's ok I'm sure Japanese trucks were the bread and butter for many auto body shops...until the tin worms rendered them unstructurally sound before their 10 year mark...while the American trucks continued on by.

Not all American trucks are known to have terrible reps. Some maybe, but not all. Also because up until a decade ago, all the Japanese ever offered were the mini trucks. They're good for hauling 500 lbs at best and not much good for towing anything more than a lawnmower trailer or maybe a small aluminum boat. A farmer or construction worker most likely needs something more than that.

Now that the Japanese have finally decided to be like the Americans and try to build a competing full size truck, things may change. Even still today, go to any farm or any construction site....you'll most likely see more full size Ford trucks being used, Chevys a close 2nd and then if you need extra power or just like to burn fuel, a Dodge.
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:14 AM
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my 1997 Silverado Z-71 with 190k miles seems to do pretty well...can't hurt the truck, just change the oil and drive.

trucks are used differently than cars, most often people work their trucks...
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:06 AM
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,918,052 times
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This post is a joke right?

I grew up in Iowa, the heart of truck county and NOBODY and I mean NOBODY drove foreign trucks. Everyone either had a Chevy, Ford, GMC, or Dodge and they were proud of it. And as for reliability, my dad has owned Ford trucks for 50+ years and the most recent one we had was a diesel F-350 that we traded with over 200K+ on the odometer. Sure it had a few problems but not until it reached around 180K miles and even those were fairly cheap fixes.

I honestly have no idea where anyone can get the notion that American trucks aren't reliable or durable; they're likely the most reliable vehicles on the road especially when you get into the diesel trucks.

Ask ANYONE who uses trucks for the purposes they were meant for (farming, ranching, construction, etc etc) WHAT brand of truck they drive and 9/10 they'll say an American-made truck because of the dependability. Foreign manufacturers don't even make anything bigger than a 1/2 ton because they KNOW it wouldn't sell.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:20 AM
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I've owned and/or driven pickups since I was 16--over four decades worth. First, the Japanese. They don't make a 3/4 ton or larger pickup for sale in the United States. So, if you need anything bigger than a 1/2 ton truck--and most people who use trucks for work do--then you're going to be buying an American truck. My experience is that the small Japanese trucks have been, overall, quite reliable. The record on the Japanese "full-size" half-ton trucks has not been as good. Since most compact pickups are now sold with larger optional V6 engines that don't get much better fuel economy than full-size 1/2 ton trucks, a lot of people figure that they might as well own a more versatile full-size pickup.

Second, American-made trucks don't walk on water. Their reliability has waxed and waned over the years, but--generally--they have been less reliable than many cars. No manufacturer has been without serious reliability problems with one model or another over the years. For many years, quality was haphazard--two vehicles could come off of the same assembly line, and one would be wonderful and the other complete junk. As an example, I had two Chevy pickups built within a couple of years of each other in the early 1970's. One was terribly unreliable and I sold it at 48,000 miles after putting huge money in innumerable repairs. The other--used for the same duty, driven and maintained the same way--was in the family for 27 years and was still running pretty well when it was sold. I had a similar experience with a couple of Fords. Every manufacturer has built some real turkeys at one time or another, and the folks that are "brand loyal," no matter what, are, quite frankly, chumps.

Overall, the reliability of American trucks has improved in the last 10-20 years, but there have been some big reliability gaffes by all the manufacturers. Just a couple of examples are the disastrous 6.0 and 6.4 Ford Powerstroke diesels, and some of the automatic transmissions in heavy duty Dodges. What none of the manufacturers have done is to produce 1/2 and 3/4 ton pickups with small, fuel-efficient diesels for those of us who would like a very fuel economical full-size pickup, but don't need a huge diesel to tow a large trailer. GM has one on the shelf, the 4.5 diesel V8, that they won't build. Go figure.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:29 AM
14,777 posts, read 34,490,118 times
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Well, just to jump on the dogpile...

First off, the Japanese did not even build an actual 1/2 ton truck until the Titan premiered in 2004. Toyota didn't join the game until 2007. So, previous to that if you wanted a truck to actually do "truck things", you had to buy American.

Second, even though they now build 1/2 tons, none of them build anything larger. So again, if you need to do serious "truck things" you have to buy American. This also applies to diesel engines which the Japanese makers simply don't offer.

Third, American trucks come in far more configurations running the gamut from completely stripped V6 to luxury appointed trims with large V8's. The Japanese manufacturers only occupy a handful of trim segments.

Fourth, American trucks are backed by the most extensive dealer networks available. There are more Chevy or Ford dealers in America than Toyota and Nissan combined. This may sound pointless until you realize that means there are areas of the country where the Japanese brands don't exist. It can also complicate getting parts for those trucks since they aren't very popular, parts can be hard to come by without a local dealer.

The fifth point embodies parts of three and four. American businesses rely heavily upon American trucks because they can get them configured anyway they want and they have extensive dealer and manufacturer backing. The trucks building highways and repairing power and gas lines are not Toyotas and Nissans.

The final point would be that despite what your dad sees in his shop, the aggragate data would point to the fact that even when the Japanese started building full size trucks, the American brands were still tops in the market in terms of reliability and the F150 and Silverado have consistently traded top place in every review.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:40 AM
861 posts, read 2,292,772 times
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In all honesty it's a national pride thing mostly. While I will admit I wouldn't beat on a Tundra as badly as I would an F250/350 I certainly would expect it to out last an F150 which they easily do.

I don't think well ever see a true HD truck out of the Japanese. It really doesn't make good business sense due to the whole national pride "American trucks are better" attitude.

When it comes to small trucks. That's a different story. Having owned several different brands both American and Japanese I can honestly say that the Tacoma is the most reliable and capable small truck out there. The Ranger and S10/Colorado are some of the worse trucks on the market with the Frontier a very close 3rd. At 240K my Tacoma has not needed anything other than routine maintenance to keep it on the road. Compare that to a 2001 Ranger I purchased new. I owned the first truck for 8 months and put only 3700 miles on it due to repair issues. I put over 10000 miles on various rentals while that truck was in and out of the shop. Ford eventually offered to take the truck back and I got a new 02 model. The 2nd truck lasted 5900 miles before the transmission quit. After that repair there were numerous other problems until I filed for lemon law which ford did not contest and took the truck back.

Sorry guys. You can stand in the back of you trucks and beat you chest with your American pride all you want. I fix car and trucks for a living and the truth is pretty obvious. American car and truck manufactures are still years behind the Japanese but Ford and GM are starting to catch up. The new Mustang, Fusion and Taurus are proving to be pretty good cars. The New Camaro and the small SUV are also pretty good. It will be a few years before we know just how well they hold up.
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