Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Civic Hybrid - thoroughly impressed!

So, I'm out helping an older gentleman with our parking system, and he drives to the gate in his Hybrid Civic. I can't recall even hearing the thing start. No kidding, I'm standing no more than five feet away from the thing, and I can barely hear it... it's running on batteries, and it's no louder than a small fan!

I think this is actually my first close encounter with a hybrid. I've seen tons of them on the road, but have never really seen it in action, so to speak. I was impressed.

I honestly think that if Toyota put their Camery hybrid technology in the Matrix, (the car my wife and I have settled on as our next purchase) they might be able to sell me one... in a couple of years, when the technology is a little more mature. I'm still waiting to see what issues arise from the first generation Prius when they get towards the end of life.

But if you think about it, I'm guessing that there's not going to be as many problems as one might expect. I mean, these things are engineered in Japan, by high quality auto firms Honda and Toyota... these guys aren't known for their design flaws, like their North American counterparts.

Not that it's the Big Three's engineering departments fault... I'm sure they're often rushed into production before they've had the chance to work out all the bugs, by Boards that seem to be more interested in the bottom line than they are in product quality. It's going to take at least 10 solid years of stellar performance from automakers like Ford before I ever even CONSIDER taking a second look at their product lines!

It will also take a change in attitudes from the union folks that build them before I trust them either... sorry Buzz! I just have more faith in the non-union types at my local Toyota factory (soon to be "factories") than I do in your Oshawa, Oakville and Windsor boys. (and girls, of course) The guys and gals on the floors in Cambridge (Toyota) get a higher degree of confidence from me for a couple of reasons... one, the lack of major recalls we see from Toyota, and two, the fact that these workers DON'T have a union covering their butt. Here's how I look at it... if they consistantly screw up, there's no union to step in and protect them from getting taken off the line. Oh the horror stories I've heard out of GM, and the antics that go on in there! (and I took the inside tour of the Oshawa plant too) Protecting workers that should have been fired eons ago... I'm sorry, but if I know that guys like that are building the car I'm looking at, I'm more inclined to look elsewhere.

I'd personally prefer to buy a car made here in North America in order to help our economy, but when it comes right down to it, I want to protect my investment and make sure that I get the best quality, longest lasting vehicle that I can. Often, that "Made in Japan" (or "Made in Cambridge, with a Japanese-like ethic") label instills in me a higher degree of confidence in their product. The work ethic of the Japanese culture is inspiring, and I think our CAW workers could learn a thing or two from them.

Hey Buzz, here's an idea... not that I think you're actually going to take it, but here it is for what it's worth... work with the NA auto-makers, and try to implement programs to break the lazy union slob stereotype, (NOTE: NOT that I believe it... these days, I'd say it fairly represents no more than 10-20% of the CAW workforce) and instill a more Japanese-like work ethic here amongst your CAW workers. If it results in things like better quality control, then the consumer confidence in your product lines might start to come back up from the basement, where it currently resides. If you really want to protect Canadian jobs, then that's one place where I think you'd be prudent to start.

Okay, observations/ranting over. This thing started as a complement on Honda's product, and turned into a summary on some of my issues with the North American auto industry... boy, I do get sidetracked easily! Comments please! (and let's try to stay focused on cars and the auto-industry, shall we?)



  • At Thu. Jun. 07, 12:12:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    2 things of note: In Vancouver, most of the cab companies have changed over to buying Priuses (plural correct?) and the cabbie that drove me to the airport told me his friend bought one of the first, and Toyota bought him a new one after 2 years, to get his old one and see how it held up with all the driving around the city.

    Also, I'm very upset that Honda decided to stop putting their hybrid engines in the accord. They're not being bought, because people want the camrys and priuses,w but it makes me sad to know they're not even putting in the effort anymore. But I think you're right, a hybrid engine in the Matrix would be awesome. You should tell them that.


  • At Thu. Jun. 07, 04:51:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Clive said…

    Hybrids work well in small cars for city driving. They don't help so much in heavier, larger vehicles. Quiet is nice, except when a child steps out in front of one, of course :)

    A readily available and proven solution for light trucks and luxury cars is diesel. The Big 3 would do better to simply bring the diesels they already sell in Europe to NA rather than struggle to catch the Japanese on hybrids.

    BMW and Mercedes diesels are far superior now to their gasoline counterparts by every measure, not just economy. They're fast, quiet, refined and clean. In trucks and SUVs diesel just makes more sense, with about 50-60% more torque per cc than gasoline engines. Less fuel, with more payload. Should be a no-brainer.

  • At Sat. Jun. 09, 07:00:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger zolton said…

    When you go out and touch something you will obviously get a shock to the system.

    The rhetoric is as ignorant as they say.


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