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#35 of 64 Re: Image [scape2]
May 03, 2007 (4:54 pm)
I agree that GM and Ford need to improve their image but the bashing is well deserve especially with respect to their car lineup. Both companies made bad business decisions that have finally caught up to them. Their reliance on SUV's and pickups while putting out mediocre cars has gotten them into this mess, not the media. Their obsession with selling cars in China and Europe while the North American market flounder allowed Toyota and Honda to gain market share. Look at the first quarter earnings for both companies. Both made profits overseas but lost money in the NA market. As you know you need the profits so you spend more money in the R&D phase. Without it you get products like the 04 Malibu and the Taurus (pick a year) or the Grand Am, or the Cavalier, or the L-Series, etc. Of course that is the media's fault.
Both companies are on the right track now that they both have resign that they will never have 30% of the market anymore. They are now running their companies based on 20% and 15% market share and controlling production (the key to profits). GM needs a clean launch of the '08 Malibu and for Silverado sales to remain strong. They should be fine. A smaller and leaner company but a much stronger company ready to deal with the global market. Quite honestly, who cares if they are no longer number 1. Ford needs more new products quickly. With the sales of the F150 and Explorer declining, they need more sales from their other products to make up the lost in profits. Quite honestly after the Fusion/Milan and Mustang, it is slim pickings in their current lineup. Even analysts are saying the upgrades to the 500..I mean Taurus aren't going to be enough. The decision to bring products from Europe will help (hmmmm, why does the European market have better cars then the NA market?). it's a matter of can they get the products into the dealership fast enough.
You can keep blaming the media all you want, this problem lies squarely in the laps of the decision makers at GM and Ford. BTW I owned a 2001 Malibu, the one "you knew America could build". That car exemplifies the bad decision making by GM. They not only built the Malibu but used the same parts to make the L-series and Grand Am. Guess what happened? they all had the same problems. Bad alternator, intake manifold gasket leak, bad brakes, electrical problems, etc. But of course that is the media's fault.
#36 of 64 Re: Flip side of the coin... [lemko]
May 03, 2007 (9:27 pm)
I sincerely hope you (and others of your kind) keep buying American cars. Maybe they can make enough money off you, to get back on their feet. One day, who knows when, domestic auto makers could start making quality cars again. Until then, I don't make enough money to buy a car every 6 years, because it's worn out it's welcome. In my experience a 5 year old American car feels as old as a 10 year old Honda. So keep up the good fight.
#37 of 64 Re: Flip side of the coin (elroy5)
May 04, 2007 (4:31 am)
I think it's a case of perception lagging reality. domestic manufacturers have made great strides in closing the quality gap in the last several years, to the point where there's little, if any, difference across the product spectrum, between them and the best Japanese cars. In some cases (Buick, for example) the domestics are rated at the top. Therefore, I don't think your statement applies to the '07 models. Many people are more comfortable with Hondas and Toyotas based on old data. The point is that Hondas and Toyotas are very reliable and durable, but so are today's domestic cars.
My suggestion is to make your selection based on such factors as styling, comfort and driving dynamics, because all the major brands are good today. While in the '80s it was somewhat of a challenge to find a good car, because the bad ones outnumbered the good ones, today it's the opposite.
#38 of 64 A graphic revelation...
May 04, 2007 (7:06 am)
...if you want to see just how far GM has come, rent a Chevrolet Classic (old Malibu) and then drive one of their newer cars. I had a silver Chevrolet Classic for a week, returned it to the car rental place, and got in my girlfriend's LaCrosse. The Classic's interior was a sloppy mishmash of ill-fitting somber gray pieces made of cheap materials. The LaCrosse's interior has excellent fit and finish, a few splashes of brighwork and imitation word, and of much better quality. Judging by the Classic, it's no wonder you guys hate GM. But things are rapidly changing.
#39 of 64 Re: Flip side of the coin (elroy5) [hpmctorque]
May 04, 2007 (7:07 am)
"While in the '80s it was somewhat of a challenge to find a good car, because the bad ones outnumbered the good ones, today it's the opposite."
I'd certainly agree with that part!
I'm not sure about how much the quality gap has closed. I am sure that is because I was hearing it for years when it wasn't so. I suspect now it is but now I get caught in the boy who cried wolf syndrome.
Now I have a nearly 8 year old Accord that works just fine so my next vehicle is likely coming a long time from now, but when it does I'll look at all sorts of things.
#40 of 64 Re: A graphic revelation... [lemko]
May 04, 2007 (11:15 am)
I agree with your example but you simply can't toss out the past. GM and Ford earned their reputation based on past cars. Honda and Toyota earned their reputation based on past cars. Both GM and Ford are building much, much better cars but so are Honda and Toyota. My bad experience with the 2001 Malibu will greatly influence my next car purchase later this year. The winner is the consumer as we have better cars to choice. In about 5 years, you won't go wrong picking a car from any of these manufacturers.
Nov 09, 2007 (6:02 am)
Let's see, six months after the last message on this discussion, the big hope for the domestics regaining the middle market in '08 rests with the new Malibu. The Impala continues to sell well, but it will be interesting to see how the Malibu impacts Impala sales. The Saturn Aura received a lot of accolades, but sales have been rather disappointing. The addition of a four cylinder option for '08 could help .
The Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan are doing okay, sales wise, but they haven't really busted through the Asian dominated front ranks. They're solid products, and have gotten good reviews on quality, so they should continue to enjoy decent sales. The jury is still out on Taurus/Sable. The new 3.5 V6 and 6-speed automatic, plus the styling tweaks, have transformed these into excellent excellent family cars, and great values.
The Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger, while better cars and better values than their predecessors, aren't cutting it with retail customers. There's talk about refreshing these on an accelerated timetable, but the time line on those changes is a couple of years away. That's a long time to depend on fleet sales to keep the factories open. Between now and the refreshings, look for creative marketing and financing, and maybe spring special editions, to appeal to retail buyers. One thing is for sure; it will be easy to rent a midsize Mopar.
So, for the near term, the '08 malibu is the next big hope.
#42 of 64 I think that the new Ford Fusion and
Nov 09, 2007 (10:51 am)
the new '08 Chevy Malibu are pretty good cars. If I was one lookng in this size range I'd consider either one and the one I think I would buy would be the Chevy 'Bu.
But as far as Americans buying middle-sized cars overall, it looks to be all Japanese with some Korean purchases buffeting them softly from the sides. I think the new Kia Optima is a great middle-sized car and it would be between a new Optima and a new Malibu for my buying dollars probably.
People can't seem to get over the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord and I would reallly rather buy an Optima, Malibu or even a Mazda6 before I'd sell out and buy one of those appliances. Ouch, they can't seem to design a decent mid-sized car in Toyota and Honda-land. Bodystyle-wise I'm talking here...they do absolutely nothing for me and I want my rig to do something for me in that department.
Nov 09, 2007 (2:18 pm)
The thing is, you and others may not find the Camry or the Accord up your alley, but there are folks, including myself who have owned one after the other (I've had three in a row). A decade and a half ago, I would add the Ford Taurus to that list, right before the bungled Catfish look.
It's those folks those that are going to be tough to crack because they see no reason to go with something different. 450,000 people buy one every year. and I highly doubt .1% of them is going to even take notice of a lowly Chevrolet. Heck, they probably had a bad experience with one or two in the 90's which probably drove them to the Camry in the first place!
So I am curious as to what you find missing in those two yet find in (for example) the new Malibu? Heck, park an 08' next to a Camry especially and the profiles are identical. Size wise, the Malibu is bigger but interior volume is supposedly smaller.
This is good looking Blech
Now on top of that, try convincing some stubborn 3 time Camry buyer that they need to switch to a Chevrolet midsize. Tell them they need to go for a car with worse depreciation, a car that is expected to cost the same amount of $$$ as a new Camry and one that hasn't had the same reliability/quality reputation to fall back on.
Tough sell if you ask me. And I'm not even an Accord/Camry owner!
Nov 09, 2007 (2:28 pm)
What do you drive, anythingbutgm?