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My last two cars have been Mazda and Subaru. Both companies have specific design and engineering philosophies. Both companies have championed very unique engineering (Subaru Boxer and Mazda Rotary engines, Subaru's unique AWD). German automakers have distinctive design and engineering philosophies as well. Why can't the same be said about American automakers? Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc are brands but there are no consistent engineering philosophies that guide them. Am I missing something or is there nothing engineering wise that really sets any US automaker apart?
 

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In America, bigger = better

That's why, for the longest time, the American car manufacturers (the big 3) seemed to mostly ignore their compact car offerings.

I feel that it wasn't until recently that I can genuinely say that the Americans do have something that isn't quite as bad as previous offerings.


As for general engineering philosophy, first thing I think of when I think of American cars are the large, torquey V8 engines and RWD. Surprisingly, one can have a big V8 and still get decent fuel-efficiency (such as the C6 Corvette Z06, no gas guzzler tax on that car).

For General Motors, I feel that their Delphi suspension systems that they offer in Cadillac vehicles and sell to Ferrari is quite the standard for advanced suspension systems.

Chrysler Corporation is well-known for the "HEMI", or hemispheric head.

Ford in general, I feel like they've been far ahead of their other two American competitors in terms of modern technology.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
AWDfreak said:
In America, bigger = better

That's why, for the longest time, the American car manufacturers (the big 3) seemed to mostly ignore their compact car offerings.

I feel that it wasn't until recently that I can genuinely say that the Americans do have something that isn't quite as bad as previous offerings.


As for general engineering philosophy, first thing I think of when I think of American cars are the large, torquey V8 engines and RWD. Surprisingly, one can have a big V8 and still get decent fuel-efficiency (such as the C6 Corvette Z06, no gas guzzler tax on that car).

For General Motors, I feel that their Delphi suspension systems that they offer in Cadillac vehicles and sell to Ferrari is quite the standard for advanced suspension systems.

Chrysler Corporation is well-known for the "HEMI", or hemispheric head.

Ford in general, I feel like they've been far ahead of their other two American competitors in terms of modern technology.
I get what you're saying but to me it feels like a bit of this and a bit of that. They don't have an all encompassing philosophy like Subaru or Mazda. Even Kia and Hyundai have at least have a consistent design language if not an engineering philosophy.
 

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I kinda follow you but the boxer engine was designed by a German in the 1800s and used in Mercedes, BMWs, VWs and even Chevrolets before Subaru ever jumped on the bandwagon. At least they are on the bandwagon though.

The Wankel, again invented by a German and abandoned by Mazda.

American motor companies invented such things as hydraulic brakes, pressurized oiling systems, automatic transmissions, electric starting, third brake lights, auto doors on vans, intermittent wipers ... I mean it's ongoing. Not sure how you consider clinging to someone else's invention makes a company known for engineering.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Twist2Stop said:
I kinda follow you but the boxer engine was designed by a German in the 1800s and used in Mercedes, BMWs, VWs and even Chevrolets before Subaru ever jumped on the bandwagon. At least they are on the bandwagon though.

The Wankel, again invented by a German and abandoned by Mazda.

American motor companies invented such things as hydraulic brakes, pressurized oiling systems, automatic transmissions, electric starting, third brake lights, auto doors on vans, intermittent wipers ... I mean it's ongoing. Not sure how you consider clinging to someone else's invention makes a company known for engineering.
Sure but for better or worse there's relatively consistent theory applied to their creations. Mazda and Subraru may not have invented their engines but they spent decades trying to perfect a consistent engineering approach. I'm not talking about engineering in general but an all encompassing philosophy that spans decades and can be seen in multiple vehicles.
 

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GM has always had some pretty innovative engines. The LSX engines are engineering marvels. For me, Chrysler has been a master at doing things no one else will do including turboing things when turboing things wasn't cool. Ford has always been a do more with less kind of company. They always used smaller engines to create more power.
 

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Twist2Stop said:
, electric starting, third brake lights, auto doors on vans, intermittent wipers ... I mean it's ongoing. Not sure how you consider clinging to someone else's invention makes a company known for engineering.
this one makes me sad. At least the fact that it's far more popular than manual anyway.
 

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I would never consider an American car because they've been known to lack reliability. Although they have changed since the years of bad reliability, the bad taste was left in my mouth and its never getting out.

I had a Ford Contour with less Han 55k miles and at one point the entire car shut down. The brakes, steering, EVERYTHING had gone out. God bless the e brake which probably saved my life. When we brought the car into Ford they said nothing was wrong with it. Needless to say we got rid of that car.
 

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As far as problems go, you walk into the shop and say;
GM. I think hubs and fuel pumps.
Ford. Ignition problems.
Chrysler. Electrical problems.
Mazda. Transmissions and engine mounts.
Subaru. Head gaskets and bearings.

Some things on that list are annoying. Some are devastating.
 

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Twist2Stop said:
GM has always had some pretty innovative engines. The LSX engines are engineering marvels. For me, Chrysler has been a master at doing things no one else will do including turboing things when turboing things wasn't cool. Ford has always been a do more with less kind of company. They always used smaller engines to create more power.
Chrysler is jumping in with both feet & being the first of the "Big 3" to offer a 1/2 ton diesel. I know that in Europe, diesel everything is common, but it'll be an interesting race to see who can bring out the best small(er) diesel trucks.

Maybe it'll get Toyota to bring over the diesel Tacoma/Hilux.
 

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HoustonXV said:
Twist2Stop said:
GM has always had some pretty innovative engines. The LSX engines are engineering marvels. For me, Chrysler has been a master at doing things no one else will do including turboing things when turboing things wasn't cool. Ford has always been a do more with less kind of company. They always used smaller engines to create more power.
Chrysler is jumping in with both feet & being the first of the "Big 3" to offer a 1/2 ton diesel. I know that in Europe, diesel everything is common, but it'll be an interesting race to see who can bring out the best small(er) diesel trucks.

Maybe it'll get Toyota to bring over the diesel Tacoma/Hilux.
Maybe it will tart a whole new trend!
 

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A turbo diesel trend would be a godsend to the USA! :eek:

Speaking of which, I think that's the sole reason General Motors purchased Isuzu (truck and passenger car division), for Isuzu's diesel engine technology...
 

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On the topic of diesel pickups, before I was considering the crosstrek I was looking at small pickups in hopes of finding one that gets decent mileage, but I found that all the ones that can be found in the states weren't much better than full size pickups. Overseas on the other hand, both Ford and Chevy have updated their Ranger and Colorado to be awesome midsized pickups that have diesel engines that produce great torque and over 40 mpgs, but they don't want to bring them to the states for some dumb reasons... It's too bad really.
 

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With all the emissions stuff on the new diesels the mileage is way down, add to that the additional cost of engineering systems to be EPA compliant it really makes it hard to bring a small diesel to market. I love my diesel truck but all the emissions stuff really hurts the mileage. I have to admit the 800 lb ft or torque is sure nice however.....
If they would have had a diesel Crosstrek out here we would have bought it over the gas version!
 

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Yeah, a friend explained it to me like this:
The US bases it's emissions standards off of the gallon (X amount of smog (or whatever) per gallon). In Europe on the other hand the emissions standards are based on distance driven (X amount of smog per Km). This allows for more efficient vehicles to pass emission standards and simply makes more sense to my understanding of it.
 
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