by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

July 15, 2010


Categories: Family, The Green Life

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Living in Portland is kind of like living in the land of foreign cars. We have lots of Japanese models to choose from: Subaru, Toyota, Honda. And, then there’s the European branch of Volvos, VWs, Saabs. And of course the other Asian market of Hyundai with their Kias and Souls. My husband is convinced that Subarus outrank American (made?) cars 3 to 1. An old boyfriend claimed the West Coast just had more variety.

So, all car companies have their problems. My theory is that the younger the car company the less likely you are to hear about problems because they haven’t been around long enough for any to really make news. GM has been around, what? 75  years? Toyota has been around for 50 years. Just now Toyota makes the news with all their recalls, cars not stopping, and whatnot. Anyway, all cars have to be maintained, and if they aren’t, they’ll break.

We happen to be an American-kind-of-Car company. Some of it has to do with growing up in Michigan and your choices were one of the Big Three lest you be chastised from your family that worked for the Big 3. As it stand, my husband’s father (my father-in-law) was a GM Engineer. Now, we happen to own GM cars because my husband knows them inside and out (he’s the house mechanic like I’m the house chef). But, he’ll be the first to complain about GM engineering and explain why they are in the shit hole they are today.

Okay, that all said, this post is really about ridiculous marketing. So, Toyota’s image has been tarnished with all their recalls, right? So, they have been employing what looks like a massive ad campaign to keep the positive spin on their image going strong. I enjoy watching the Boob Tube at night to wind down my mind. While watching The Mentalist a Toyota commercial came on. They have these actors pretend their families who’ve owned their cars for 200,000 to 400,000 miles, and express how they’d never trade it in for anything except an appropriate upgrade. So, this one family in this one commercial talks about how the car went through the parents for a few years then the girls each drove it for a really long time. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear that they bought the car new in 1997 (I was in my first year at Michigan State University). The first girl explains she got it when she was 16 and drove it for 9 years. So, if the parents drove the car for a year, that means she had from 1998 to 2007. Then, the next girl got it when she was 16, and the family upgraded to a hybrid Camry. Yea family, now the boy wants the Hybrid when he turns 16.

We have three cars. One was purchased as a project car, and it will liekly be turned into my commuter with my new job (yea!). The newest car is the Bravada (Olds) 1999. The other two are white, Pontiac Grand Ams, 1994. Both have around 150,000 or 130,000 miles on them. We are fortunate enough to live in Rust-Free land, so we expect these cars to get at least another 5-10 years out of them so we can give them to Levi has his first car. Beat that Toyota ad campaign.

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