QOTD: Too Late for a First Impression?

We walk through life full of our own biases, veritable containers brimming with grudges and bad feelings and memories of being burned. You’ll never hurt me again, we think of certain corporations and companies and products. And countries of origin. And people. Like cold honey, these lingering resentments harden over time.

Sometimes we realize too late that our feelings were outdated, unwarranted, or misplaced.

It can happen with cars and automotive brands. I’ll never buy Plymouth again, I said back in 2000. That boycott didn’t last long, but not because I got right back on the horse.

For many, experience with a lackluster, poorly built product sends them running into the arms of a competing manufacturer. It’s what led to Detroit’s downfall in the ’70s and ’80s, and the feelings created in the wake of that era keeps customers coming back for their 7th Corolla. Stigma is also what keeps some people from considering a new Hyundai or Kia or Genesis, and it shouldn’t. Times change, and quality improves.

Like voting, no one entity should take your mark of approval for granted, nor should you hand over your loyalty for life.

A Twitter convo yesterday brought us to this point. In a back-and-forth about what else (an early ’80s Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight), one commenter described General Motors as an automaker that builds for the lowest common denominator; however, with a little prodding, this person did admit to being somewhat surprised by some products. The first-generation Cruze apparently served their family better than mine did. Also, this: Last year, while visiting L.A., they signed up for a full-size rental, hoping to get a Maxima or Charger. Instead, a Chevy Impala filled the role.

Disappointment soon turned to something else.

“After a week with the Impala, I thought GM just did not do enough to promote such a competent car,” this commenter said, adding, “GM is famous for perfecting models then discontinuing them.”

Indeed, the Impala nameplate was marching to the gallows at the time of this rental, soon to be vanished from this earth. Say what you will about the viability of large sedans in today’s market, but that realization that a product was not what it seemed is what we’re going for today. Sometimes we only learn how unsuspectingly good something is when it’s too late to capitalize on the knowledge.

Does this describe any vehicle you’ve come across?

Comments are closed.