Nate Silver, Winning Elections and Planned Obsolescence – Part 2/2

Yes, it is true that cheap products are produced in China but quality products come from China too, and the level of quality, low or high, usually has to do with an American company—not China. If you hire someone to dig a hole in a field and you tell them to dig it two-feet deep when it should have been ten, is it the fault of the worker or the employer?

In fact, Americans invented the idea of planned obsolescence. The Economist says, “Planned obsolescence is a business strategy in which the obsolescence (the process of becoming obsolete—that is, unfashionable or no longer usable) of a product is planned and built into it from its conception.”

To have a better understanding of product quality from China, you may want to read this from Dan Harris at the China Law Blog. At the end of his post, he offers six points of advice on doing business with China, and one of them says, “Keep monitoring production quality, make sure to get written and signed records, and do not lower your standards for any reason (if possible).” This advice is offered to American companies wanting do do business in China.

Then I decided to see if I could come up with some stats and facts to compare the quality of US products with goods made by foreign companies.

I Googled, “poor quality products made in the United States of America”  and ran into a hoard of sites bashing China for making poor quality products.

I didn’t ask for China but that’s what I got. Any site that mentioned America only bragged about how great Made in the USA was—I suspect that reaction of the politically correct mob is just misguided patriotism on steroids.

It’s great to love your country, but what about honesty?

There had to be a way to compare products made by US companies with those made by foreign companies, so I decided to search for lists that compared the quality of products by brand name. For example: cars.

Why did I decide on cars?  Easy.  I owned a new Ford Taurus once and a part/bracket was installed backwards at the factory that caused the brakes and tires to wear out every three to five thousand miles. It took more than a year and many dealer visits to discover the problem and have it fixed. After that experience, I bought a Toyota and still drive one.

And mainstream Western brands (for example: GM and Ford) builds vehicles in China with Chinese partners, but only for sale to China’s emerging middle class, which has created the world’s largest auto market.

I guess what I did next makes me not only a statistcs junkie but a facts junkie. For example, the top 10 highest quality cars of 2011, according to Forbes using the Initial Quality Study from J. D. Power and Associates, were:

1. Lexus LS (Japanese)

2. Lexus ES 350 (Japanese)

3. Porsche 911(German)

4. Hyundai Equus (South Korea)

5. Mazda Miata (Japan)

6. Ford F-150 (America)

7. Acura TSX (Japan)

8. Lexus GS (Japan)

9. Honda Accord (Japan)

10. Lexus IS (Japan)

11. Porsche Panamera (German)

I’m old enough to remember when Americans complained about Japan stealing jobs from the US and producing poor quality products—that is until Japan started to beat America by building better cars.

Did you notice that only one on the best quality list was made by an American corporation? However, for J. D. Power’s list of worst quality cars, twenty-one American vehicles made those lists. Source: The Car

Small Sedans and hatchbacks:

1. Chevrolet Aveo

2. Chevrolet Cruze

3. Dodge Caliber

4. Ford Fiesta

Crossovers and SUVs:

4. Cadillac SRX

5. Dodge Journey

6. Dodge Nitro

7. Ford Edge

8. Ford Escape

9. Ford Expedition

10, Ford Explorer

12. Jeep Liberty

16. Lincoln MKT

17. Lincoln MKX

Minivans and Pickup Trucks:

1. Chevrolet Silverado HD

2. Dodge Ram 1500/2500

3. GMC Canon

Sedans and Luxury Sedans:

5. Buick La Crosse

6. Buick Regal

7. Chrysler 200

8. Dodge Charger

I suggest that anyone with an opinion about anything, on China for example, do some homework before jumping on any politically correct bandwagon probably being pulled by an ignorant, illiterate or functionally illiterate and/or lazy mob manipulated by American companies shifting the blame for poor products to China

After all, “Bashing China is an easy card to play,” says Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune Magazine.

Don’t forget Nate Silver’s advice: “It’s about looking for the right data, not necessarily the most obvious or easiest,” and after we looked at the data, we discover that American companies are selling a lot of poor-quality American cars and trucks to the Chinese.

Did you know that GM now sells more new cars in China than it does in the U.S? In 2011, GM sold 2,547,171 million vehicles in China, and Ford sold 519,390 (an increase of 7% over 2010).

In addition says, “Chinese consumers practically worship prestigious brand names, and Jeep still carries a certain swagger in the People’s Republic of China,” wrote Mike Dunne, president of the Dunne & Co. consultancy, in Automotive News.

Chrysler currently sells the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Compass and Patriot models in China. All are imported, which boosts the price considerably because of an import tax.

Return to Nate Silver, Winning Elections and Planned Obsolescence – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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3 responses to “Nate Silver, Winning Elections and Planned Obsolescence – Part 2/2”

  1. You write very well!

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