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Thursday, November 03, 2011

The mom-mobile (and other cars)

Today is the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet.

In case you're new to this blog, I will let you know right up front that I am highly biased when it comes to Chevy cars and trucks.

I am from Detroit. My father and his siblings worked for Generous Motors, as we always called it.

I have only driven two cars that were not Chevrolets. One was a 1986 Plymouth Horizon that my grandma lent to me when I got a job at the local newspaper, which was five miles from my campus apartment. The Ho-ho, as it was called, got me around town, was easy to park and went like a BEAST in the snow. It was a good little car.

After graduation, I drove a Pontiac Sunfire for nine months, until it met its untimely demise at the hand of a lady who was apparently absent on "red means stop" day of driver's ed. I bought the Sunfire because the dealer where I bought it neglected to tell me they had no Chevy Cavaliers with automatic transmissions. It was pretty much the same car, anyhow.

I learned how to drive a Cavalier, and I pretty much drove Cavaliers until I bought my HHR in 2009. I love my HHR. It looks super cool (although the white is kind of hearse-like), it has tons of room. I can haul stuff, I can go camping, and I still get 26 miles to the gallon.

Everyone in my family has a Chevrolet. We're not big fans of biting the hand that feeds you, and dad's employee discount makes it hard to say no to GM. Our trucks are Silverados and our cars are Cobalts. And then there's me with my crossover vehicle. (Actually, Grandma wanted an HHR but settled for a Cobalt, and my Aunt Lil bought an HHR after riding in mine.)

Yesterday, when I drove by my local Chevy dealer, I noticed there were not nearly as many HHRs on the lot as there usually are. When I sat down in front of a computer, I read that GM has phased out the HHR after 2011. Apparently because the PT Cruiser has been phased out, they feel like there is less market for my little retro station wagon/SUV.

That makes me sad. The HHR is a great car. I actually had someone ask me about one yesterday and I recommended it wholeheartedly. In fact, the only real issue I've had with mine is that my salesman told a little fibbaroo about it having XM radio.

It's tempting to replace mine before they're all gone, especially when I think about the great deals they are sure to offer on the remaining inventory. But, at the same time, I know that there will be another great GM car that will come along and it will be waiting for me when I am ready for a new one (which I hope will be a long, long time from now).

When I bought my car in 2009, I worried that GM might go bankrupt and I wouldn't have anything to drive. If there were no General Motors products, what would I drive? A Ford, I guess, since I am committed to buying vehicles from American companies made by union workers. And I do catch myself looking at the Ford Fusion once in a while...

GM is stronger today than it has been in years. Gov. Jennifer Granholm tweeted yesterday that Michigan is second in the nation in economic recovery, in large part due to the automotive sector. Buying American (not just cars) helps. Yes, you can get foreign cars for less money, but I've seen Kias and Hyundais that don't last nearly as long and are built to be disposable. As someone who has been driving GM products for 20 years now, I don't see the quality lag that people always blame for buying Hondas and Toyotas instead. My Cavalier, which I sold at 6 years old to a friend, only needed a replaced fuel pump before it met its untimely demise at the hands of a Mini Cooper. And, even then, it was sold to someone who planned to fix it. My dad's 1989 Silverado, that he sold seven years ago for 500 bucks, is still on the road today.

Happy Birthday, Chevy. Here's to 100 more.

Song of the day: "Like A Rock" by Bob Seger.

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