I fully agree with the political side of things - and we discussed this very thing before deciding on what cars we would consider looking at purchasing. I look at this way.............. and perhaps I'm wrong or off my rocker, but it is what it is............ The economical mess of a few years ago was due in most part by inappropriate banking practices. I'll leave it at that. The rest of the economic breakdown was what came from the CRASH........... jobs lost, money stops moving. Car companies fell into the red with thousands of unsold cars sitting in stockyards! It happened............. the car industry didn't start it, they were a victim of it. Should they have had millions of dollars in reserve to get through a difficult financial mess that the world didn't see coming? That would have been the smart thing to do.............. but it didn't happen. We will probably never have a complete report of every single entity that received government bail-out money. Do we penalize only the ones who where out there in the public eye?
As far as reliability and such........... every car I have I ever owned had something break and it was never an easy fix. I had a Buick Regal, beautiful car - at about 80,000 miles it developed a very odd and troublesome issue. Every time you'd turn on the turn signal the engine would die! When the engine dies you lose power steering and power brakes! Can you picture trying to maneuver a full sized car going 40 miles an hour over to the side of the road with no power steering and no power brakes??? The Buick dealer had it for weeks, another local mechanic had it for weeks. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with it! We took it to a dealer in Portland and after a week they finally found the problem. It was a manufactures defect - a wire had been pinched under a clamp - and it finally wore through the plastic coating and turning on the turn signal caused a short and would kill the engine. Another time I had a brand new Honda Accord. It was the last year they made the Accord with a carburetor. The thing sputtered and spattered from the minute we drove it off the lot! After a year of trying to get the dealer to fix it we filled a complaint with the better business bureau. After driving it for 5 minutes the moderator said it was unacceptable and required Honda to replace the carburetor. They replaced it and we promptly sold it vowing to NEVER buy a Honda again! I've had Oldsmobiles, Fords, Chevys, Buicks, Pontiacs, Hondas, Renaults, Mitsubishis, and Internationals. I can't say any of them were that much more superior to the other. I had a Grand Am and absolutely loved it! The ex traded it off on a Corvette for himself. I adore my Pathfinder - but both the body shop and the tranny shop say its a money pit waiting to happen.
We figure talking to the people who are in the business of fixing cars is our best bet in deciding which way to go. At this point, the body shop and the tranny shop both say go with Jeep. So........... we'll do some soul searching and number crunching while we're at BILs in Seattle and by Friday we'll be ready to go find a different car. A new car will cost $2000-5000 more than a low mile used car....... but we'll have the safety net of the warranty. For every $1000 in cost it only slightly changes the monthly payment.