I was initially extremely reluctant to buy a Fiat. Although I had never owned a Fiat before I did remember their reputation, at least in the US, and in combination with Chrysler, it almost sounded like some sort of automotive joke. It was as if a bunch of gazillionaires got together with nothing better to do and said "Let's make a car under the names of two of the most historically shaky car manufacturers, make it irresistibly good looking, and see if anyone will buy it. He he he."
When I went for a test drive I was fairly insulated about actually buying one. I knew I loved the appearance and the historical link, but with a dealership that was an hour away (which is a lot better than some of us have it) combined with the whole Fiat/Chrysler lovechild scenario, I was ready to, almost looking forward to, disliking the car in a big way. Well that didn't happen. Two blocks away on the test drive with the sales guy in the backseat, I was looking at my wife in a slight panic. My resistance was crumbling by the second. I was unable to recall any of my inner dialog about the whole Fiat/Chrysler thingy. I just wanted the car. Me want car. Grok love little car. Me take car home now. Jeez.
So here we all are, driving cars that we all know have questionable parents, and perhaps that is part of our sensitivity to things going wrong. To some extent we may expect things to go wrong, as if we are driving a kind of ticking time bomb of trips to an equally shaky service department, at least that is how I see it.
Whenever I have purchased a Honda, or Toyota, or Mazda, I had the expectation of their reliability and brand reputation. I never worried about how they would hold up, and if repairs were necessary, well, reputation is reputation. Looking objectively at my experience with these brands I admit that there were problems, like the time Honda performed a scheduled maintenance that resulted in what sounded like water sloshing side to side every time I went around a corner. A lot of water, like there was a 40 gallon aquarium in the backseat. It took five trips to the service department before they discovered the problem. It made some sort of entry into the annals of the Honda service manual, but it was a Honda, a HONDA, so it got a pass in my mind, as did all of the head and taillight lenses filling with water and the spare tire well filling with water. Note the word filling. I could have put guppies in the headlight cases. It would have looked cool, and maybe turtles in the spare tire well. Honda fixed the light and hatch gaskets instantly, so they got another pass.
Do we expect problems with a Fiat more than we might with another brand? Is there some sort of built in obligatory mistrust that we carry around just waiting to be fulfilled because we told ourselves so? Does it makes us hypercritical, or suspicious?
Nothing has gone wrong with my beloved mouse (credit for "mouse" goes to amacento). It is my little treasure on wheels, but honestly, I do worry a little, very little actually, about what might happen down the road more than I might have with new a Honda. I suppose this is a result of nothing more than perception, but it can be a nagging perception. I look forward to being proved wrong.