This Redneck Buys Toyota
Posted on 11.17.08 by Danny Glover @ 8:44 pm

The first car I ever bought, in 1989 midway through my senior year in college, has just been dubbed one of the “10 Cars That Sank Detroit” by U.S. News & World Report.

Chevrolet Cavalier. GM sold millions of Cavaliers in the 1980s — and decided the thrifty car was so successful the company didn’t need to update it for more than a decade. To milk the model, GM even added some lipstick and high heels and tried to peddle the upgrade as the Cadillac Cimarron — a legendary flop. Honda and Toyota, meanwhile, were updating their competing models every four or five years, and grabbing market share with each quality improvement. A new Cavalier came out in the mid 1990s — then languished for another decade, while GM put most of its money into big trucks and SUVs.

My Cavalier became a drain on the family budget by the time it hit 80,000 miles, and the engine was dead soon after it broke the 100,000-miles mark. We replaced it with a Dodge Caravan that had to have the transmission rebuilt at a relatively young age. We also had repeated mechanical problems and recalls on our Oldsmobile Silhouette before ditching it about two years ago.

Those experiences explain our family’s move toward Toyota. I’ve been driving Corollas to work since 2000 — I just bought a new one a few weeks ago — and the family car is now a Sienna.

I’d love to buy American cars again someday, in part because my father has been a loyal GM fan most of his life and because it’s the red-blooded, redneck, American thing to do. But I’ll definitely be a tough sell for Detroit going forward.

My goal is to buy cars that will last 7-10 years and 200,000 miles or more. I don’t see GM or any other U.S. automaker meeting those expectations reliably anytime soon.

Filed under: Business and Culture


  1. [...] I drive a Toyota, and I must admit that my first instinct as a father was to call my local dealer and ask whether my car is safe to drive. But my second instinct was to remember that LaHood is a bureaucrat who needs to justify his existence, and what better way to do that than a little fear-mongering. [...]

    Pingback by The Enlightened Redneck » Ray LaHood’s Toyota Fear-Mongering — February 21, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  2. [...] the company, and so far as I know, there is no fix yet for the potentially faulty gas pedal in my 2009 Corolla. I’m not happy about [...]

    Pingback by The Enlightened Redneck » Toyota vs. Government Motors — February 24, 2010 @ 8:55 am

  3. [...] the company, and so far as I know, there is no fix yet for the potentially faulty gas pedal in my 2009 Corolla. I’m not happy about [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » Toyota vs. Government Motors — February 24, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  4. [...] I just wanted you to know that while I appreciate the gesture, I’m gonna take a pass. I am a loyal Toyota owner (which you apparently knew already because you slapped the sales pitch “Toyota Owner Loyalty [...]

    Pingback by The Enlightened Redneck » Dear Toyota — March 15, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

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