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RideLust Asks: Are You A Brand Snob?

Posted in Car Buying, Politics, Pop Culture by Kurt Ernst | March 27th, 2011 | 3 Responses |

Please, Hyundai, build a 5.0 liter Genesis R Coupe. Image: Hyundai

I’ve owned a lot of different cars over the years, and the only thing consistent about them them is that I rarely purchase the same brand twice in a row, and almost never purchase the same car. I’ve owned domestic brands (Ford and Plymouth), German brands (VW and BMW) and Japanese brands (Acura, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru), and when I’m in the market I always shop for the best choice in my price range. If I had the income, I’d snap up a new Ford Mustang GT tomorrow, because it’s the best choice for performance and handling at its price point. If I were in the market for a sedan, I’d take a serious look at the Hyundai Sonata Turbo and the Kia Optima Turbo, because they represent the best bang for the buck. If I’ve learned one absolute in this job, it’s this: no one builds a bad car anymore.

In the early sixties, VW had a hard time moving cars in the United States. Their Beetle was under-powered and lacked the sheer mass that Americans associated with safety. I remember my dad saying that he’d never drive one of those “German deathtraps”, until the day when he got a once-in-a-lifetime deal on a crashed Bug. He snapped it up, restored it and used it as a second car and shuttlecraft for trips in the family motorhome. That Bug was in our family for years, and I learned to drive a stick in that very car. By the late sixties, VW was an established and respected brand, but the Japanese makers were facing the same biases. Americans associated Toyota and Datsun with “disposable cars”, the kind you’d only buy because they were cheap. The original gas crisis (of 1972, if I remember correctly) changed a lot of people’s perspective on the Toyota Corolla and Datsun B210; suddenly, these “disposable rustbuckets” became a sensible, mainstream choice for affordable transportation.

Fast forward to today, when Hyundai and Kia are still facing some of the same biases among US buyers who equate “made in Korea” with “cheap and disposable”. That’s no longer the case, and both Hyundai and Kia crank out top quality products. If I had a need for something they built, I’d shop them in a heartbeat. In fact, if they stuffed their new 429 horsepower V8 into the Genesis Coupe, I’d easily shop that against the Mustang.

So here’s my question: are you a brand snob, or do you shop for the best ride in your price category? Would have any reservations about buying a particular brand? Why or why not? What’s your take on the quality of cars being built today?

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3 Responses

  1. Shahroz says:

    i just have a top three… and i love what they make and dont feel the need to look at other car manufacturers
    so here they are Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep , Nissan/Infiniti, Audi

    and to add to the fact, in the last 10 years, my family hasn’t bought outside those three manufacturers

  2. inthebuff says:

    I’m not a brand snob…but…lately I’ve had a preference for Nissan products. And it’s more than likely because of the history we’ve had with the brand.

    In the 80s we were mostly Toyota buyers. They had lower end commuter cars that had the most bang for the buck. Then we went to Germany for a few years where we picked up 2 used cars – a BMW 316 (not available in the states) and a VW Golf.

    At the end of our 3 year tour, we wanted a vehicle that we could travel better with – including short weekend ski trips – so we bought a Pathfinder.

    When we got back to the states, we had a Honda Civic and then traded the Pathfinder for a Honda Accord, very nice cars. And then traded the Civic for Dodge Dakota.

    As soon as I could, I traded the Dakota for a Nissan Frontier, which has since been traded for another one. And then we purchased the T-bird featured here. And got another T-bird.

    A few years ago I traded the other T-bird for a Nissan XTerra, which I love.

    I think I like the familiarity of the vehicle that I am currently in (no matter which it is), and that’s the reason why I buy the same vehicle. And I really like the reliability of the Nissans. And the service department at the local dealership really takes care of the vehicles very well.

    Recently, my brother in law visited and he had rented a brand new Ford Explorer. I really enjoyed the integrated creature comfort system – all rolled into one head unit – temperature, stereo system, nav system, etc.

    But, I’m a few years away from getting another vehicle!

  3. SNAK3 says:

    are you a brand snob
    No, if it looks like a good product I don’t think about the brand too much
    do you shop for the best ride in your price category
    Yes, when I am looking I set a ceiling price and don’t go over. Also look at slightly used cars that might otherwise be out of my range
    Would have any reservations about buying a particular brand
    Anything from Europe, they are great cars, but if they break are an arm and a leg to fix, most of the time
    What’s your take on the quality of cars being built today
    In today’s economy, if a car manufacturer was really shitty, they wouldn’t still be around so they must be doing something right.