Detroit two-step is a tired tango

Detroit two-step is a tired tango http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070611/AUTO02/706110312/1148/AUTO01
Lest you think the Detroit two-step -- two forward then one back --
might become a blessed relic, reality comes roaring back to prove the self-defeating boogie is alive and well.
I refer, of course, to the last week or so of auto news, more triumphs of the real world over good ol' hometown hope:
We had Detroit's auto CEOs in Washington fighting against stiffer federal fuel economy rules, which will be increased whether Detroit and its backers want it or not. And if certain coastal politicians get their way, Detroit will be out of business and it'll be all Detroit's fault.
But wait: How much more evidence do we need that the world has changed, fundamentally, and with it the nation's economic politics?
In September, we'll be six years from 9/11. More years in Iraq than it took the allies to fight World War II. Gas prices just off record highs. China and India growing apace, sucking down global oil supplies. A bill in California wants to slap a $2,500 gas guzzler tax on selected models, and the governor there wants the feds to allow his state to regulate emissions.
In Washington, a bipartisan, critical mass in Congress is coalescing to shove climate change legislation down the throat of the collective auto industry -- including Toyota -- even though autos account for roughly 20 percent of emissions. Fair? No. But automakers are the path of least resistance. Toyota can take it, and Detroit can take the tailpipe.
'Embarrassing?' Yep
We had Chrysler, whose month-old ad campaign touts its vehicles as being "engineered beautifully," admitting to its own people that it seriously misjudged the U.S. market with its new Chrysler Sebring sedan and Dodge Nitro SUV, which an internal memo described as "embarrassing 'misses.' "
Hello? Good enough is not good enough, and bad is terrible. Two steps forward, one step (at least) back.
We had Ford Motor Co., flush with the good news that it had dominated the latest J.D. Power initial quality surveys, showcasing its campaign for the "new" Taurus. OK, but it's a mid-cycle tweaking of its underwhelming Five Hundred sedan, and a chilling reminder of how out of touch some Glass House marketers can be.
Every time I hear Ford's brass say Taurus is the third most recognized Ford model name behind F-Series and Mustang, or that Taurus has 80 percent brand recognition so aren't we smart to bring it back, I want to scream. And the first thing I want to scream is: Who killed the Taurus name in the first place, and if they are still employed by Ford, why?
'Foolish' by any measure
Think about this: The storied brand name of the American car that hammered the Japanese, the only thing Camry and Accord actually feared from Detroit, was chucked to feed Ford's fetish for forced "F" model names like Focus, Fusion and Five Hundred.
The most appropriate "F" word I can conjure to describe that kind of over-thinking would be foolish. Two steps forward, one step back.
And we had General Motors Corp. Chairman Rick Wagoner telling shareholders there are "no plans" to make like Chrysler and take the General private. That may be, but that doesn't mean the private equity shops (like Cerberus Capital) see it that way. They have the dough to go big, real big.
The word at some of the highest levels in the industry is that private equity's feast on Detroit may not be sated by gobbling Chrysler, taking a majority bite of GM's GMAC finance arm and swallowing a collection of suppliers large and small.
This buying-and-restructuring jag has not run its course. Not in executive suites here. Or on Wall Street. Or in Washington. And not with national union contract talks preparing to start.
Doing riffs on the Detroit two-step doesn't help. It only makes things worse by reconfirming outdated notions -- and nagging, uncomfortable truths -- that should be buried, but aren't. We just keep resurrecting them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Detroit needs to follow Toyota lead, buy doing what Toyota has been doing for the past ten years. Detroit must build more of the type of vehicles that American buyers actually want to buy, to grow their market share.
Detroit must make their cars bigger and more powerful with every new model. Build more and larger SUVs, build larger more powerful trucks. Raise the prices, particularly on their luxury cars to over 100K then.............er, oh, ah, never mind. LOL
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike Hunter wrote:

I think I just felt the earth move under me when Mike Hunter said Detroit should follow Toyota's lead. Am I in the Twilight Zone (don't answer Mike). Could Rod Serling be posting as "Mike Hunter" from Beyond? Or did I wander into the Star Trek episode "The Guardian of Forever" http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Guardian_of_Forever ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You are a little slow today again I see LOL
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yep. Toyota does that. The current Camry is bigger and more powerful than the previous generations.
BUT - Toyota has introduced several new, small, very fuel-efficient cars since 2000 or so and they sell them at a profit. Certain models may be bigger and bigger but Toyota still builds cars that sip gas rather than guzzle it.
Detroit should figure out how to do that. Especially the profit part.
You can buy several cars from Toyota that get 40+mpg on the highway. Which Detroit cars can do that?
The Camry, which is big enough to haul a family of 5 and vacation luggage around (I know this because I've done it), is available in hybrid form that gets 38mpg on the highway and over 40mpg in the city. Which comfortable 5-place Detroiters can do that?
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Get real, all of Toyotas newer cars, SUVs and trucks have been made bigger to compete with those made by the domestics because those are the types of vehicles Americans want and buy. There are plenty domestics larger cars, SUVs and trucks that get fuel mileage as good or better than Toyotas and they don't do it by putting underpowered engines in cars to get good fuel, mileage as does Toyota. GM offers more vehicles that get 30 MPG than does ANY import brand. Toyotas imports the midget cars that they sell in the US, they are not assemble them in the US. Obviously Americans do not want to buy small cars, as is evident in the relative few midget cars sold in the US by import brands Toyotas best selling individual car is not one of their midget cars or their hybrids, not even their small car, but the underpowered powered 4cy Camry
mike
.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If Americans want those big car so desperately, why are GM, Ford and Chrysler laying so much cash on their hoods to get them to move off dealer lots?

Name them. You've dodged this rmany times before.
And you neglected to tell us which GM cars get 40mpg or better, choosing instead to cliip and ignore the question.

If people like it enough to buy 50K+ copies per month, it's not "underpowered."
Toyota sold 45K Corollas last month.
Toyota sold 11K Scions last month.
Toyota sold 24K Priuses last month.
Toyota sold 11K Yaris's last month.
America must want small cars, Toyota's selling a lot of them. At good prices, too. Honda's selling their share, too. I hear it's fun to be a Toyota dealer. Chevy? Not so much. The local Saturn dealer has rank upon rank of Auras on the lot.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The same reason Toyota is offering rebates on its cars and trucks LOL
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

the bigger is better mentality. You would think with their mastering quality control, long before Detroit even realized it was a problem, they would have not taken this path. If they continue they may find the same short rewards but long term demise, facing the bigger is always better, former Big 3.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tango wrote:

Bigger is better. People who bought the smaller car buy the bigger car. This means more profit. And last I checked, more profit is bigger. And better.

Actually, the bigger is better works for the Michigan 3 (I don't say Detroit 3, because they are not all based in Detroit). People tend to buy small Fords, like the Escort, then a Contour, then something bigger, say a Ranger or a Expedition (if they can increase the size of their garage).
What's different about Toyota and Honda is that they have the same model name for years and years. And over time, the size of the car is slowly increased. But, they come out with other car lines that are smaller.
The thing about Ford that is smaller is the car and minivan lineup. The used to have the Aspire, Excort, Contour, Crown Vic, Mustang, Probe, Aerostar, Taurus and Thunderbird. Now they have the Taurus, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Edge and Freestyle. They dropped the number of models from 9 to 6. And the Taurus and Focus had station wagons, too.
Of the 9 cars/minivans that they had 10 years ago, the only one that has been continuously made is the Mustang.
Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Frank from Deeetroit wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Name one ;)
mike

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.