Some people insist that American cars are mechanically inferior to Japanese cars. Others have told me that this used to be the case, but is no longer so. Who's right?

By: wires
Date: Tue-Dec-22-2015-
Response
0
I would agree that is generally no longer the case but there are some exceptions to this rule noted at the end of this answer. This theory came about in a time when American cars were still being built as huge gas guzzling machines, before the early 1970's. In effect our cars were so large that everything on them was made proportionally bigger than it really needed to be - to a point. Space was not really an issue, thus everything could be designed and built to "overkill", making a vehicle that would tend to last longer than they do today. It is still common to find very old american cars that require very little repair other than to replace rubber components to make them driveable once again.
After the oil crisis of the 1970's there was a major push to make cars more efficient on gas. Notwithstanding pollution issues, cars had to become smaller to use less fuel. This was a general trend evident after that time in most American cars. Simply put, our engineers had little experience making things lighter and smaller. Foreign cars had already been doing it for years and had a technological advantage to making well built small cars, thus for a time their cars were mechanically superior in a lot of ways. One thing learned from Japan has been in material science. Making any system perform reliably when downsizing it means increasing the strength of the materials used in its manufacture.
[d] By: tidiest
Date: Tue-Dec-22-2015
Response
0
The word "inferior" is probably a little too strong, but there is no denying that Japanese vehicles are of higher quality than American cars.

Japanese cars last longer and retain higher resale value than American cars. After the first 100,000 miles, Japanese engines show very little wear and have lost less compression than American engines.

A key element is attitude toward "manufacturing tolerances." The Japanese demand much closer tolerances and better fit than Detroit, which results in higher quality mechanisms. American manufacturers are content to have a "looser" fit for easier (and lower cost) construction.

It is also no secret that Japanese cars cost more than American. This really is, in part, due to the fact that it does cost more to design and build a Japanese car, but the car does last longer. So, if it should need repair, it is worth it to invest the money to fix it, because the repair would still be less than the depreciated value of the car.

By keeping their products lower priced, American firms create a dilemna when the car needs major repair. After factoring in depreciation, the owner often determines that he may as well spend the same amount of money on a new car. This pushes more sales, which is all American manufacturers are concerned with anyway.
[d] By: diarrhoeal
Date: Tue-Dec-22-2015
Response
What is 1 + 100



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