Another perspective on Big Three bailout.

I live in Michigan. I do my best to support local/regional/and Michigan businesses first. That being said, when I recently went shopping for a used vehicle with 4-5 thousand dollar budget I did NOT consider American made vehicles for very long.
My limited budget means that I am going to be able to buy something 8-10 years old with at least 100,000 miles on the clock. I need something capable of handling snow/ice, because that is what forces me to keep my motorcycles in the garage. Research pointed out the vast difference between say Subaru and Toyota 4wd or AWD compared to Ford/GM. GM was the first to get eliminated in my search - small SUV's carried descriptions that read "120,000 miles on body, only 12,000 on rebuilt engine"; "transmission replaced 8k ago", etc etc. Very similar things were found as I searched craigslist for a vehicle.
On the other hand, the general impression I got about Toyota/Subaru was that they are just getting broken in with 100k miles. The type of things I read in descriptions about them was "replaced belts"; "new brakes and spark plugs"; about the most serious recent repair on any Subaru/Toyota that I recall was a water pump - and some of these vehicles had 130-194,000 miles on them. Online reviews/reports suggest that these vehicles are being driven for 250-300k miles all the time.
I know there are Toyota factories in the US, so that tells me Americans CAN build vehicles with reliable power trains that will last and last under daily use. I narrowed my search to a Subaru wagon or a Toyota 4Runner. They sold as fast as they were listed. You had better be the FIRST person to see an ad for a Subaru Outback wagon if you want to buy a used one! In fact the way I found the 1999 Toyota RAV4 that I just bought for $5k with 100,000 miles on it happened at a small used car dealer who had a 4Runner for $4k. By the time I got there to look at it, it had been sold. The salesman felt bad that I made the trip so he lowered the price on the RAV4 to tempt me. It worked.
Julie and I have a 2005 Mustang that we love. But Ford/GM/Chrysler need to make vehicles that are reliable with drive trains that last - why should American cars take a back seat to foreign ones? We INVENTED cars, so why are we having our lunch handed to us by designers and engineers from other countries who make products that are in for the long haul?
I do not want US automakers to fail, but I do not want them to be subsidized for building lousy vehicles either. It isn't like US cars are cheap!
If Congress bails them out, there had better be a real plan for changes in Detroit.

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