Just a short story for today, as I'm still under the influence (of a cold).
This Wednesday morning I took a ride with a colleague from work to visit the Mulgrave branch of our department. The visit was really interesting and it was interesting to meet "real people", as in people who are somewhat less better off than the people I'm usually exposed to; it's always a revelation (as I witnessed through four years of army service and then some lots of reserve duty).
But for now I'll focus on the ride itself. The guy took me in his Ford Falcon, a two year old company car sporting 58,000 kms (at certain levels you get a company car as well as a parking space in our building).
This is a "made in Australia" car with a V6 engine, that's together with a very similar Holden (read: GM) make up the bulk of Australian fleet cars and the most dominant car manufacturers in Australia.
So I asked the guy what he thinks of the car and he said he likes it and that it's good and that it's much better than the matching Holden and that he's getting a new one soon and he asked for the same and all. He added that this particular one was a "bit of a lemon", but didn't go into details until way later - at which point he mentioned in a rather subtle way that the car had its differential and gearbox replaced (as well as some other stuff I managed to forget by now).
If that's "a bit of a lemon" then I don't know what a true lemon is. Thing is, I only talked to two other Ford Falcon owners, and their stories were remarkably similar: A friend of my brother had their door just fall off (yes, you read it right); a friend from work had constant oil leaks and lots of under warranty repairs that didn't manage to solve any of the problems.
Which sort of leaves me puzzled: Why would anyone bother buying these cars when with a car like a Toyota the word "differential" means "something you will never ever need to know anything about"?
I think it's just goes to show the marketing power of patriotism in Australia, where a company manages to convince so many people that their products are quite good when in fact they're selling them not so tasty lemons.