We used to joke that GM stood for generous motors. Today it is no joke that GM stands for government motors. It was too big to fail but the general succumbed anyway.

We hear lots of ads about GM. Chevrolet, for instance, is very proud of their new Impala. They say it looks a lot like a Camry. We currently own a 1995 Camry with nearly 200k miles on it. An LE, four cylinder yet plenty of power. It sips gas at a rate of 32 miles per gallon. Probably closer to 29 in town. We bought it used for $10k when it was two years old. It has gone through two brake jobs, one power steering rebuild, one timing belt replacement, and two CV joint jobs. Total maintenance cost over 14 years comes to $4k. Currently it needs another CV join job, new brake shoes, timing belt replacement, new struts and shocks, and a minor oil leak fixed.

It still runs fairly well. Comfortably seats four adults even on long trips. Plenty of truck space. Can easily accommodate car seats for kids and the original air conditioning (which has never been serviced) can still put frost on a pumpkin.

Should we consider a replacement we would first look at a new Camry LE.

We did and it comes in at just under $20k.

That is a little more than we would want to pay so maybe we should consider a lease instead? But first lets look at the impala.

We did and we are still trying to recover from sticker shock. The 2010 impala comes in three flavors, expensive, more expensive, and rediculous. It starts at $24k and goes to $30k. link

It does not look so much like a Camry now, does it? ( I can use that $10k difference to more than pay for my medical insurance. We prefer medical insurance over so-called health care insurance because we care for our own health.)

Not sure about the impala’s reliability or resale value, but I am inclined to believe it cannot be better (or even equal) to the Camry. Sort of like its gas mileage record. Chevy claims high teens city and high twenties highway for the impala. I find it hard to believe that there could be almost 10 miles per gallon difference between highway and city mileage. I also found it interesting that the more expensive model of Impala gets the worst gas mileage. (I guess they figure if you can waste your money like that, you won’t mind wasting it on gasoline either.) My Camry gets an average of 30 mpg, city and highway combined.

I can still get $5k for my current Camry even after 14 years. Even though the Camry has not been a model performer when it comes to maintenance, considering the use it gets a $4k cost for maintenance over a 14 year period is entirely acceptable. Future maintenance will be of the do-it-yourself kind since I can now get quality parts at discount prices delivered to my front door. link

For instance, replacing both front axles and CV joints now costs $180 instead of $500. (Of course it is going take me the better part of a day to do both axles but it is worth $320 to me). Yes, I have the tools and I know what a bolt looks like.

Since I consider the impala seriously overpriced, there is no point in investigating its possible purchase any further. Why even the new, basic, Volvo station wagon is only $22k! If I lost my mind, had my brain fall out, or became a Liveral, I would still opt for a mini-cooper convertible over an impala!

Sorry, GM. You need to take a second look at your pricing structure.

It used to be said that as GM goes, so goes the nation. I wonder if maybe the reverse is true. The national economy certainly looks like it is on a slide to hell. Apparently it is going to be taking GM with it.

Too big to fail? No, the truth is that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cars, Fuel, and Money, consumer

2 Comments on “GM”

  1. admin Says:

    I just checked prices on the Ford Taurus. It starts at $25k and goes to $38k! Guess maybe it has more cup holders than the Impala.

    After seeing the pricing on the Impala I suspected we were on a slide into hell. After seeing the Ford pricing I am not so sure that we have arrived in hell already.

    Maybe I am the only person who thinks $40k is a little over the top for a domestic car. Hey, maybe only the brands are domestic. Maybe manufacturing is off shore in North Korea or Iran.

    Well, if I had $40k to waste on a car it would be something a little more exotic than a chevy, ford, or even toyota. If $40k could not get me into a new car I would settle for used in good condition as long as it had plenty of class.

  2. admin Says:

    Out of curiosity I checked resale value of all three models being considered. I allowed an age of 5 years, 50k miles, and excellent condition.

    The results from Kelly Blue book were as follows:

    Impala with a purchase price of $24k had a resale of $8k.

    Taurus with a purchase price of $25k had a resale of $9k

    Toyota with a purchase price of $20k had a resale of $13k.

    It appears that if you do business with Ford or GM you get screwed when you buy and also when you sell.

    Maybe that is why Ford and GM are in trouble.

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