My first vehicle was a ’95 Chevrolet Beretta. It was white, had a spoiler on the back, and was maybe one of the coolest cars I had ever seen — although I was 18 and it was my first car. I bought it from a small local used car dealership for about $3,000.
I drove that car for roughly a year and a half. Within that period of time it needed an entirely new engine, although in my case I was lucky, my dad had spent a little more money to buy a warranty and it was covered.
I ended up having to get rid of my Beretta because it needed so much work it would have cost me three times as much as I had originally paid for it.
My dad took me to the Toyota dealership where he had recently bought his Camry in Rochester, for they seemed to have some good deals on used cars. After test driving a Toyota Yaris I fell in love with it, only to find that my insurance payments would be astronomical with a brand new car.
After test driving another older Toyota, I finally found a tan colored ’97 Camry with a very low amount of miles for its age. I thought it was so nice — leather seats and everything, and it just so happened to be the same color as my dad’s Toyota Camry. I thought that was cool.
I was very excited about what good shape the car was in, and I had heard that Toyotas lasted quite a while.
Another aspect that excited me was that I took out my first loan for the car and was going to have to pay for it on my own — it felt like more of a grown up kind of thing, and that was important to me. I felt as though my Beretta was my teenage car, and gaining the responsibility of paying for something all on my own was me becoming more established as anadult.
So as proud as I am to have this beautiful new car that I’ve earned and am going to have to work very hard to keep, imagine the offense I take to constantly seeing “Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign” bumper stickers, or even the much more offensive “F*** you and your foreign vehicle” sticker on the back of a half broken down truck driving down Van Dyke.
The fact is, I’ve now had my Camry for two and one-half years. I’ve only had minimal, regular repairs that any older car would eventually need, and of course the self-inflicted front end repair after my small rear end accident.
I’m not here to bash American- made vehicles. The funny thing is, a lot of Toyota parts are now made in America.
My car actually says “American Edition” on the sides next to the front tires and I don’t feel that others should constantly be shooting down “foreign” vehicles, without knowing more about where the cars are actually made.
According to www.toyota.com, the Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing is headquartered in Erlanger, Kentucky. They are responsible for the engineering design and development, research and development and manufacturing activities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The Toyota Technical Center is a division of TEMA, and is located right here in Ann Arbor. According to the site, there has been a recent expansion in York Township which has added an additional investment of $187 million and will offer 400 more jobs in the state of Michigan in 2010.
I also spent time on www.ford.com, looking for the same information that Toyota offered regarding where their cars are made. I was unable to find anything. I’ve heard that much of American cars are also made in Mexico, yet I was unable to find any reliable information regarding that.
Once again, I really have nothing against people driving American-based vehicles. My boyfriend is now in his second Buick, this time a ’90 Le Sabre. Granted, he doesn’t have to drive nearly as much as I do, but that car still rocks it down the road and is incredibly reliable. I have also heard that these American companies are making now better cars, and that’s great.
All I know for sure is that I love my Toyota Camry. I’m proud of it and I rest easy knowing that I could very realistically be driving that car for another ten years, and I might not ever drive another brand of vehicle.