Need good answers to some simple questions

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Please note that first and foremost, absolutely NO threadjacking/unrelated questions and comments/flirting or taunting or just plain being a dumbf_ck in this thead. I ask the moderators to delete any posts in this thread that fall under the above category.

I also ask that you read this thread in its entirety before you post. Please no impulsive posts, think before you post!

Now, for my questions/rant. In recent days i see that more and more people (especially young drivers) feel that cars from brands like Ford, Chrysler, and Chevy are 'inferior' to cars from brands like Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. This is true of both older cars (beginning with the previous decade) and new cars being produced today. Inferior in build quality, longevity, engine "efficiency", gas mileage, looks, you-name-it. I see comments about V8s like this: "inefficient piece of shit, so much displacement and yet the same hp as a 4-banger" and similar.

Question 1: Do you really think the common thought of most youngsters is correct with/proportional to reality?

Question 2: Why are companies like Toyota so profitable while GM and Ford are not doing as well? Are there huge differences in their products? Are Toyota's products really that superior to products made by Ford and GM? Please note that im talking about old products and new.(Don't give me a lame ass reason, explain briefly)

Question 3: I've examined and test driven many cars from Mazda. Their products are exciting and IMO competitive; i've spoken to many friends and relatives and they all have good things to say of Mazda's products. The return of the RX-8 with a much improved rotary, new Miata, Mazda3, 6, new mini mini van, upcoming mazdaspeed models, etc. are all exciting. If Mazda is right in the game why is Ford so far behind?

posted by  importluva

As an 18 y/o kid with a Camaro I feel I must respond to this thread. As far as the newer V8s being ineffecient compared to the 4-bangers, that is bull. I'm getting 17-18 MPG with a 320 HP car, and that is no highway, and VERY spirited driving. With a regular driver I hear they get 20 MPG easily. That's probably around the some as an STi or any non-hybrid import as far as the HP to MPG ratio. However, it does seem that there are more 35+MPG imports than domestics,

I too notice that kids my age tend to steer towards imports. Ford, GM, Mopar, etc. are seen as old fashioned. Detroit is still building big cars with big engines. If you have noticed, the import crowd (mostly kids) really only has a few American cars in it (Neons, Cavaliers, Cobalt) which are the smaller cars in their lineup. Most kids want smaller cars with high revving engines. They seem to like exhausts that sound like weed-whackers, rather that the V8 rumble.

To answer your questions:
1) Imports are better then domestics in some ways. In general, their engines last longer. That's not to say that all domestics are crap, because many of their engines often go well over 200K. As far as the looks, it's just opinion. Personally, I don't like the "boy racer" look of most of the imports.
From what I hear about imports, their build quality is much better in general. I bought a 5-year GM extended warranty for $2000 when I bought my Camaro used. I've had the car for two years now, and I've only put 10K miles on it, and I bet I'm pretty close to making my money back on the warranty. Just off of the top of my head my repairs have been: Driveshaft, U-joint, AC clutch, Drivers side window mirror, passengers side window regulator, 3rd brake light. I know there have been more, but I don't feel like digging out the receipts. To top it off, the car doesn't even have 40K miles on it yet.
2) I believe that this import thing is a phase. Detroit probably doesn't want to put to much stock in it, because they are hoping it will die. They can't compete with the build quality of the imports for the price. So they're doing what they do best; larger cars and trucks. Small, effecient, import cars like Honda's are hot right now, just like musclecars were in the late 60's/early 70's,and vans in the 70's, etc. Their will always be a market for them, but I think down the road the market will shift.
3) Kids want imports right now. Ford is "so far behind" because they can't build imports. Ford is the type of car that these kids' parents and grandparents bought. To add fuel to the fire, these imports are made pretty well, and domestics have a bad reputation. Although my Chevy has had its share of repairs, I bet it will last me many years and many miles. In the long run I doubt that it would have been substantially cheaper top get an import. I buy American because I want 300+HP, RWD, somewhat subtle looks (no 3 foot spoiler) and good bang fot the buck. The only import I can think of meeting this criteria the S2000, which I personally just don't like.

posted by  giant016

Technically I would choose an import over domestic but it depends, I would not like an import truck but a domestic. To answer question number 3 I would like to state that IMO Mazda is selling the RX-8 for a dime a dozen now and plus they have a couple more nicer looking models, and most people think its some Japanese company so they think its better quality. :2cents:

posted by  99integra

1- Japanese imports are the in thing now. Younger people, more specifically teenagers in the high school area will blindly follow anything fed to them as long as it follows the fad of the day. American cars are great for different reasons than a Japanese car, or a Italian car, and so on.

2- With rising gas prices and less emphasis placed on performance by the majority of car buyers, it makes perfect sense for companies like Toyota to be in the lead. Especially since other places in the world have much higher gasoline prices, so cars like that are more important. It doesn't help that America is viewed as "evil" by many countries. Also, companies like Toyota and Honda's willingness to innovate and squeeze ever last ounce of power out of a gas-sipping 4 cylinder engine for a majority of their vehicles makes them favorites. American manufacturers aren't famous for their build quality, which doesn't help the situation much either. Especially with companies like GM sloppily putting things together as of late making our other companies look bad.

3- Because Ford, to my knowledge, only owns 50% of Mazda. Also, Mazda isn't on any best sellers list. I see Ford making a huge comeback with the popularity of the new Mustang and other new offerings they have made as of late. The Fusion looks to be a great car, and with its involvement in NASCAR it should get great publicity early. Mazdas also aren't known for their reliability. Just ask any RX-7 owner how much shop time their vehicles have seen.

posted by  PontiacFan27

FYI, I am an RX-7 owner. It's funny, my 7 has 166k+ miles on it, no reliability problems for a 15yo car. Realibility is an issue with only the FD RX-7, that too because of mainly 1 problem, cooling. But i digress...

Have many of the chevys/fords/dodge/mercury/lincoln/cadillac/pontiac you've owned break a lot? What about regular family sedans, trucks, suvs, and minivans?

From what you guys are telling me, the general 'style' of most import sports cars/coupes/hatches are to be compact with small engines and moderate power?

If thats the case, then why has it taken so long for GM to come up with the Solstice? The miata has been around since 1990, 15 years ago!?! Why did the SVT Focus get dropped, it fits in perfectly right? How are the SRT-4, Cobalt, and Ion Redline doing in terms of sales vs RSX, WRX, Spec-V, etc.?

FYI, the Fusion is based on the Mazda6.

It looks like gas mileage isn't much of a difference anymore, V8s indeed get very good gas mileage. The C6 gets same and even better mileage than the STi. So many people don't seem to understand that!

posted by  importluva

I work with a lot of 20 somethings. Many of them have taken advantage of all those deals you hear about on television so the American brands you've mentioned are very common among people who have bought newer vehicles. I'm always quite distraught when they have to run around making sure they get their car in before 36K miles because some part of the engine / powertrain has lost function. I drive a 10 year hold Camry and the majority of my problems stem from physical abuse of the vehicle frame (the way I drive).

To be fair, I don't know that many people who drive imports so I probably couldn't compare my experiences with how frequently newer imports get screwed up.

I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) a lot and was really quite shocked that Toyota, I think it was, just had their most profitable third quarter ever! If I had to guess, I would say it had to do with the proven reliability of their vehicles, resale value, and of course the hybrids they offer. I've even heard some very loyal American car buyers say they would be willing to consider a Prius if Ford doesn't hurry up and make a hybrid! Also, imagine someone going in for one of those energy efficient vehicles, cannot find one because they are not always available, and settling for a Camry or Corolla instead. All these are just my guesses, of course. The same can be said for someone going in for a Mustang and coming out with a Focus, as well, so whatever.

posted by  JaneiR36

Everything i want to said, has been said above. I have a lot of friends with Mazda 3's and 6's. Although they come with a lot of standard equipment, Mazda cars have their problems; all my friends say they have electrical problems; some of them have changed out their whole ECU's, of course all under warranty, but its still a hassle. Mazda has aggressive styling and marketing but their cars are below Toyota/ Honda grade. Mazda's are hot right now due to their styling; but down the road a couple of years; they will start to have problems. Althought the RX-8 sells relatively well; it embarrasses the Rotary engine; even though it gets much better gas mileage; 235 at the crank is pitiful for a sports car at that price.

FYI; not everyone that buys imports like the exhaust note of a 4 banger. For example the G35's VQ exhaust note is much better then the majority of muscle cars i've heard. Because its a low growl almost like the purr of a lion. And i hate I4's exhaust notes, especially ones with crappy exhaust systems; its one of the reasons i jumped from an I4 TSX to a V6 TL. Because its a low growl almost like the purr of a lion.

posted by  aerith

In some respects, yes, in amny respects, no. Most are built on teh opinion of their parents, and really how many know all that much about cars in general, especially cars outside their narrow range of interests? Look at the types of questions we get here... And remember the thread about "what's the stupidest thing you've heard?"

Most people are clueless when it comes to cars, so using their opinions as to what is or isn't good is kind of silly.

Lately, the Japanese manufacturers have been getting a passon quality. They are really good at fit and finish, and choosing good surface materials. But as they have gotten larger, the overall quyality has faltered a bit. Toyota's been building bad engines, Honda and Nissan have been building cars that have bad transmissions and that catch on fire, etc. Were these problems in an American brand/model, they'd be "proof" that the domestics can't build a car, but in a Japanese model, it's shrugged off as "everyone can make mistakes." Hypocritical, but typical.

And to be fair, most domestic sedans were not all that well built through the '70s and '80s, into the mid '90s. The domestics concentrated on their truck markets, which were ALWAYS larger than their car markets. it's a differnt world to come from building larger cars to building smaller ones than to go the other way around.

As for engineering, the people doing the actual work ar not that different, and often cycle though various car companies. So saying one manufacturer can do something while another one is incapable is not true. Upper management determines where monies will be spent, and where their market emphasis will be.

As for profitability, Tyota isn't buying up other companies with it's profits like GM or Ford is, and doesnt' ahve to deal with the large union costs. GM lost a few billion dollars in a merger fiasco with Fiat. That really cuts into profitability yet has nothing to do with their products. Ford had spent billions on it's Premium brands (buying them, renovating them, etc), which cuts into profitability, as well. Now they are spending money on domestic product, and it shows.


Ford bought a controlling share in Mazda, and spent a ton of money on revamping it, while not spending money on domestic car production (remember, at the same time that Mazda has been improving, so has Ford's truck lines). Ford is uysing Mazda to help develop new chassis for Ford and Volvo. The Mazda 3 uses the same underpinnings as the Volvo S40 and European Focus. The Mazda 6 chassis, that Ford paid for, has been lengthened and widened to use under the Fusion, which is a great sedan. Mazda has been using Ford engines lately, other than the Miata and RX8. the Ford 500 uses Volvo underpinnings, and the Mustang is completely unique (as well as the Ford GT) How is teh Mustang and GT "so far behind?)

Ford has a plan for their car lines, and it involves putting key players in place. Remember, they are working with 7 car brands and their trucks, and are doing them in a logical order. The ONLY question is why didn't the Focus get revamped in the US as well as it did in Europe? And it's probably a consideration of money. Too many other products are getting attention.

posted by  ChrisV

1) it's not a sports car. It's not an RX7 replacement. it's really the latest in a long line of rotary coupes and sedans.

2) 235 at the crank isover 50 hp more than the last normally aspiraed 13B, and if you knew what it took to get 230 hp in a 6 port N/A 13b, you'd understand how impressive a warranteeable daily driver rotary is a that power. ALMOST as much power as the last twin turbo 13B had... without having turbos.

posted by  ChrisV


1) younger ppl do sometimes actually come up with valuable comments and are actually right on the mark on some subjects. still, the probabilities are quite low.

2) i HAVE heard of the problems chrisv mentioned. still, the japanese companies are sort of improving their customer services quite a bit (at least here in PR its gotten a lot better for some of them). from wat i have studied lately in statistics and accounting classes, the more... "stuff" you have under your command, the more bound you are to have greater expenses and have more complications to make profit (depending on management mainly). greater mass production tends to lower quality sometimes, hence why i think the jap companies are making "mistakes" lately (corollas are a great example of mass production at a high level).

3) im not impressed at all with any of the mazdaspeed models. im actually disappointed with mazda overrating everything lately. i dont get why u say that Ford is "so behind". they have been doing pretty well through the years. in fact, they have been improving, slowly but surely. remember how the older explorers tended to malfunction in the rear suspension? i havent seen any of the newer models do that. they also have the best selling pick ups and trucks so far (correct me if im wrong).

posted by  Inygknok

I don't know what most youngsters think, but let's face it the size of the car and engine is a pretty overt signal of whether it's going to drink much fuel and the acceleration is invariably going to be crisper in a smaller sedan.

In the 1970's when Detroit ignored the population and continued with the notion they would dictate market fashion wants, the Japs jumped in with relatively reliable vehicles that were economical and gadgety. The young people who bought these cars are now parents and will have influenced their car buying children.

Is Ford behind, or has it just got it's marketing wrong?

posted by  Wally

If you read my post; i never said it was a replacement for the RX-7. But it is a Sports car, no matter what you say; the RX-8 is meant to be a sports car, may not be as sporty as the RX-7, but it is one none the less. I didnt say it was pitiful for a rotary; i said its pitiful for a car at that price compared to its competition. For example; the Mustang, or if its the RX-8 6 speed Shinka; G35, or even TL is around that price. (33k usd) The G35 puts down 280-298 hp (depends on auto or stick), and the TL puts down 270 (old HP rating) and both of these cars feature a better interior, while the exterior is personal preference. Even a Accord V6 coupe coming at a cheaper price can out perform it, and still manages better fuel efficency.

posted by  aerith

Depends on your definition of a sports car. The sig in ChrisV is a sports car. They used to be a two seat, two door, manual, no power steering, tuned suspension, high speed, high accelerating and most importantly no creature comforts. They were supposed to connect the driver to the road and at the end of race your arse felt disconnected from the torso. :smoke:

posted by  Wally

4 seats and a fixed roof. Nope, not a sports car. Merely the latest in a long line of rotary Mazda coupes and sedans. the only people disappointed ar those that THINK it's supposed to be the RX7 replacement, and that car is yet to be created.

Sorry, but the way the RX8 is balanced puts the Mustang (which I'm a BIG fan of) and FWD sedans like the TL and Accord V6 to sahme. Sorry, but a heavy front driver just isn't a match for the precision and balance of that light, front-mid-engine RWD coupe.

Interesting that you want to call it a sports car, and then say it's pitiful by using the ONE measurement sports cars NEVER were measured by: pure accelleration. Look at the car in my sig. THAT'S a sports car. And cars like it have never been measured by accelleration unless they were deficient in other regards.

posted by  ChrisV

Everyone has their own opinion of sports cars. My definition of sports car is very broad, a Civic can be a sports car if work was done on it. There is other factors then acceleration; but 60% of the RX-8 demographic; don't look at that do they? They look at just the acceleration and horsepower figures. I know alot of people who work at car dealerships; they say that most of the people buying "sports" cars just ask for how much horsepower and not the handling figues. You can say that superior balance may be everything, but most of the people that buy RX-8's don't take them autocrossing, so superior balance doesnt really matter to a lot of buyers. The G35 has rear seats, the Skyline has 4 seats, the Evolution/STi can seat up to 5, Porsche 911 seats 4. Are they not sports cars?

posted by  aerith

You aren't confusing a sports car with a tourer are you?

posted by  Wally

Well, i guess each different generation has its own definition of sports car. But apparently this generation; everything that has the potential to be quick is called a sports car. For example; Acura's model is that they build Luxurious Sports Cars. The Skyline, G35, Evo, STi, may be tourers, but what about the Porsche? I don't think you can call that a tourer. Its light, nimble, and it seats four.

posted by  aerith

AAARGGHHHH!!!! If you want to communicate, you use basic definitions. Shall we just randomly start defining ANYTHING the way we want? Like a camshaft is now something that goes to the wheels.

Let's try a test: Is the Ford Lighting a sports car? It has 2 seats and performs like one, so should it BE one? can we call your TL a truck? It carries stuff, right? Or is it a station wagon? If you're going to discount ONE definition because you feel like it, do it for ALL of them. the F150 is a sport coupe, and the Miata is a sedan. The Escalade is a roadster (it drives on roads, right?)

No, the categories and cars still exist. It's just that cars in various categories have gotten better. That doesn't make the CATEGORIES or their DEFINITIONS obsolete!!!!!!

posted by  ChrisV

No, they are not. See the above post.

Let's see: most other drivers are idiots. Most are ignorant (look at the "what's teh most stupid thing you've heard" thread). Most are called ignorant and without taste for making acts like Britney Spears and American Idol the most popular. But let them define sports cars any way they want and they are suddenly Mensa candidates that should be listened to? PUHleeeeeeze!

Again, the categorites already exist and the cars fit into their respective categories. That doesn't mean they can't WORK good IN those categories. But you just don't go changing them around willy nilly because you feel like it's an insult to call a sedan a sedan just because it performs good!!

posted by  ChrisV

Just like to note I see 235 crank hp thrown out alot i nthis thread for the RX-8 when i nfact it is still much below that. In the 220hp range. I've seen quite a few dynojets of stock RX-8's and they all average around 180-185rwhp. LEss than even the new "197hp" Si makes at the FRONT wheels.

posted by  thunderbird1100

I don't control how the market thinks. Cars are built for the general public and not to just a small bunch of car enthusiasts. Why should the minority define what is and what isn't? Shouldn't the entire market do so? I mean if the general market is what gives the automakers profit to be able to make more cars, then shouldnt they have the right to define it their own way. Things change, and so do the automakers along with it. 15 years ago, sports car was a very small minority of cars, but as of now, all the automakers are calling any of their cars with slight potential "sports cars." You know why? Because, the market would rather buy something labeled a "sports car" then a car labeled "people hauler." If it were up to me; i would get rid of the whole sports car label and just have; convertibles/roadsters, tourer/saloons, etc, etc. Two seats, convertible roof, what ever else you said was what a sports car a decade ago. As time passed; the definition changed; you may not like it. But look around, every automaker is calling everything a sports car. If they and teh general market don't have the right to change the definition; we as car enthusiasts sure as hell don't.

posted by  aerith

No, you control how YOU think and what YOU argue about. I'm not talking to the reast of the market, I'm talking to YOU and determining if YOU want to learn and be knowlegeable or merely be opinionated.

The definition did not change, only the capabilities of the cars IN those definitions. Encouraging ignorance is not to be a virtue.

Is your car a station wagon? Why not? beaceu you KNOW teh definition of a station wagon. Is it a pickup truck? Nope. YOu KNOW that definition. Why do we know these?

posted by  ChrisV

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far.

Starting with aerith's argument about sports cars...

I don't think the definition of a sports car can be anything drastically different from what it originally was. In terms of modern day cars, the S2000 and the miata are sports cars, both not known for their acceleration or power. The Skyline/G35 is a luxury coupe, the Nissan GT-R is a sports saloon, the Evo/STi are rally cars, the RSX is a sport hatch, TL is a FWD luxury sedan, etc.

The average buyer will test drive the car. The 50/50 distribution, steering, and 3000lb weight are all heavy factors when normally turning cars. You can feel it. Just making a turn from one street to the next, you can feel it. This is what the potenial buyer feels when driving the car. Balance really is everything, combined with the RX-8s ease to drive. It sounds to me like you've never driven an RX-8 or a miata, you clearly don't know what its like to drive these cars. As for power, time will tell. PTP is developing a turbo kit with 400whp+. When the turbo RX-8s start rolling in, all these little complaints will vanish. Its amazing how power solves everybody's problem. Additionally, Mazda will without a doubt release the MazdaSpeed RX-8. Time will tell.

First you need to compare cars in the same class (there really are none). As i've said before, the RX-8 is a car that is for everybody. Great for auto-x, everyday driving in style (imo the exterior is beautiful enough to rival the FD) for soccer moms who need that extra door, it is more unique than any other car this side of the C6, the RENESIS is capable of using both gasoline and hydrogen as fuels (Mazda just released the hydrogen RX-8 in Japan), it is a vast improvement over the 13B N/A (i own one of those), it is a testament to the evolution of the rotary, etc. You also forgot to mention that at that price, the S2000 comes in at 240hp. Wait, isn't that overpriced? There is much more to a car than price, power, and fuel economy. If that was all that mattered, there would be no RX-8 owners or S2000 owners. Mazda's real prowess is in innovation and developing cars that are fun to drive. Go test drive one with an unbiased mind.

ChrisV and others, i really do hope GM and Ford are concentrating on their cars. It makes sense that the F-series is the best selling truck in America for many many years. The mustang and the fusion are a great start, i hope they continue to come out with great cars like that.

Inygknok, why are you disappointed with the MSP models? What do you mean by overrating everything?

I believe that ford does have a hybrid, the escape hybrid. Just no hybrid cars yet? I still think the whole hybrid thing is a big scam. Ill stick to 100% gasoline thank you.

posted by  importluva

What i am trying to say is that is what i think. I am going along with the market. Because i like the way they generalize, there are rules to what a sports car can be, but now they are fuzzy. Look; here ( Read the top portion; it agrees with what you say, but the bottom half says that any car can be a sports car. I agree your definition is what may be right; but that does not mean i believe in it. See, your definition applies, but so does mine; even cars that does not fit in your criteria are called sports car.

Also note here ( ; that sports car racing involves cars that do not completely meet your criteria.

Also here ( The club supports all types of racing, and im betting that not all of them are sports cars.

What you have described earlier as teh criteria for a sports car is a defintion you have grown up around. But my definition of a sports car is what i grew up around.

A station wagon, pickup is a description for the physical attributes of a car, not the performance figures. The meaning of sports cars may mean the same to you, but if so what not just use sports cars to replace roadsters and convertibles? In my book; sports cars is not what a car is physically but what it's performance figures.

posted by  aerith

the whole hybrid thing is a scam? please explain why you would think that...... 50mpg whisper quite and the lowest emissions ever, still a scam eh?

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

First of all. alot of the cars that the RX-8 are cross shopped with have very similiar handling attributes. So similiar that a normal test drive cannot determine the difference. Unless your test drives involve cornering at high speed and autocrossing. And FYI i did test drive one, i didn't like it, i didnt have a biased mind when i test drove it. I test drove alot of cars while looking for a car; i didnt have a favorite. They included; RX-8, Mazda 6, Acura TSX, Acura TL, Infiniti G35, BMW 330i, Lexus IS300, Subaru Legacy, Mercedes C350, Audi A4, and the Volvo S40. There wasn't enough oomph, I don't go autocrossing on a regular basis so the better acceleration is more important to me. Considering the modern car, all of them handle great with just normal driving. So, unless you take them to the track; 50/50 weight balance isnt that important. I based my choice on which car by; handling, acceleration, efficency, interior styling/quality, exterior styling/quality, versatility, and resale value. Reliability, i couldn't determine, since they are all such new cars.

posted by  aerith

Same here. If its a scam why are all teh taxi companies picking up Priuses? Because they look nice? Wrong. Better gas mileage means more profit.

posted by  aerith

Emissions can't be argued. Emissions really have come down a lot and that is commendable. This (,2554,63413,00.html) is part of the reason why im starting to believe that hybrids are a scam. I've heard from a lot of people, not just articles online.

If anyone could provide convincing facts proving otherwise id be glad to change my perception of hybrids.

posted by  importluva

It really depends on how you drive. The IMA system in Honda hybrids work differently depending on how you drive. For example if you accelerate hard the gasoline engine kicks in. Or if you don't cruise a lot, then the electric motors don't have much of a chance of getting action. Or if you drive at higher speeds, then the gasoline engine kicks in to maintain a high speed that the electric motors can't keep. That is one person, maybe a few out of thousands of people who own one. If hybrids were a scam then Priuses wouldnt be selling like hotcakes.

posted by  aerith

Thats the point. Some people feel they were misled by Toyota/Honda/Whatever company. If something isn't done to satisfy those people, they will get very vocal and thats not good for sales.

posted by  importluva

I get what you are talking about. But keep in mind that Hybrids aren't supposed to be a replacement for regular gasoline cars. Its meant for more people who are more enviromental conscious to have a option to the other high emission high fuel consumption choices. Like i said before, it all depends on how you drive. Different Hybrid systems work differently; for example Toyota's Synnergy system work completely differently then Honda's Intergrated Motor Assist. Most people who buy them are happy with them because they feel less guilty. It also depends on the temperature and altitude you are at; just like a auto manufactuers MPG rating; they are done at optimum levels; with moderate temperatures and at sea level. So the air composition is optimum to yield optimal MPG. So, you can't complelety trust the manufacturer's MPG rating.

posted by  aerith

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