Screw Consumer Reports

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I don't have much of a problem with this, especially with GM's history of lightly restyling a product 1/2 through an 8-10 year life cycle and calling it 'new'. If a product is uncompetitive from a powertrain, ride, interior space, reliability, etc. standpoint and you restyle the body, then any one of us would have an opinion to state without driving it.

Hard to believe, but true.
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Perhaps, but in the US more buyers still choose GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles over Toyota or Honda. They must believe GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles are better, no matter what CR believes ;)
mike hunt

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Mike,
why do you keep repeating this misinformation? Toyota is #3 right now, unless you have a cite that contradicts the figures I've already posted.
nate
Mike Hunter wrote:

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Haven't been in this thread before but it would be interesting to look at sales divided into two categories A) People buying personal cars with their own money and B) People buying cars for someone else with public or corporate money (fleets, rentals, etc.) I suspect that GM/DC/Ford would lead in category B and that Toyota and Honda would lead in category A. Don't know that for a fact. Just my opinion.
Howard 89 Mustang 5.0 95 Windstar 3.8
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Howard Nelson wrote:

You're probably right, in part because most fleet buyers don't even consider foreign cars because they don't want to appear unpatriotic.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the US mfgrs. get back on their feet and start producing cars that people actually want; minimizing the problem doesn't help to solve it though.
nate
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What difference does it make who buys their vehicles? I owned a fleet service business up until a few years ago. We serviced thousands vehicle for large and small corporate fleets as well as government fleets, is six eastern states. EVERY manufacture offers specially equipped vehicles to corporate fleets at a discount, of around the same amount $400 to $600 if you buy five or more, and they all try to get more of the corporate fleet business. Few corporate fleets buy very many imports because contrary to what many believe, import can not compete with domestics in the total cost of ownership over the five years, or 300K, fleets generally keep their vehicles because of federal depreciation tax laws. Fleet vehicles get the finest of preventive maintance and are generally used harder than privately owned vehicles. Fleets look at the total cost of acquiring, insuring, maintaining, repairing (they ALL need to be repaired at some point) and replacing the vehicles which are just one more tool used in their business that must be replaced at some point. Ford motor company vehicles are generally the best in that regard, that is why the biggest majority of corporate fleet vehicles are Fords. GM is second. LOOK at the corporate light trucks you see daily, Ford trucks dominate. The only state I know of that buys import brands is Tennessee, they use Nissan trucks that are assembled there. The biggest problem with most imports is acquisition costs, that average 25% higher for the same type of vehicle, and down time because of parts availability. As well as the much higher price of the parts themselves.
On the bottom end of fleet car business, imports have a majority of business, however Primary Korean cars that are used as courier cars, others are Corollas, Civics, Neon's, VWs, Focus etc. Courier cars are run round the clock and rarely turned off except for maintenance. They easily accumulate 100K a year or more and are dumped sooner.
mike hunt
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yeah, yeah. We've heard it a bunch that you've owned a fleet business.
It *matters* who's buying the vehicles because, as is frequently reported, the fleet or rental business leaves little or NO profit in the cars the manufacturer is selling. Fleet sales can keep a factory busy or artifically boost a vehicles sales numbers, but they do little for the profitability of the company.
JP
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Actually I owed a business that SERVICED fleet vehicles. I guess you missed the part of the post that listed the average fleet discount offered to dealers, to sell to fleets, is only between $400 and $600 among all brands
Perhaps you might want to do a bit of research before you choose to comment on a subject of which you obviously have little or no knowledge. Manufactures can not sell directly to corporations or anybody else, that is a violation of franchise laws. Manufactures can only sell to their franchise dealers. The dealers sell the cars to fleets, generally based on bids. The guys that settler for the lower profits to get the fleet business are the dealers. ;)
mike hunt

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didn't much care. Owned a fleet biz. or owned a biz that services, you're still presenting yourself as a fleet expert. Semantics at this point relative to the discussion.

not at all, I just don't believe it. Besides, regardless of the narrow definition you'll choose to use, 'fleet' includes the rental agencies, and that is specifically what I was referring to. I'd be curious to know the relative sales through "fleet" as you define it and rental agencies... ie-what percentage of "fleet" sales in total is to rental agencies. Those are the sales that keep people working with no profit margin for the manufacturer.

Perhaps you should be less beligerent and a jerk. You're here defending american auto manufacturers and their sagging market share against all logic, reason, and fact presented to you. You won't even acknowledge the other viewpoints, and you weaken your own points along the way.
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Actually I'm not defending anyone but I am as expert as anybody in the business. I've worked in vehicle design for three manufactures, in top management of retail group for ten years and in fleet service for ten since I graduated from college in 1949.
You are free to believe whatever you wish. I am merely point out the facts available to anybody willing to do the search. GM still is the number one selling manufacture in the US, period. In the fast growing market in the US GM, Ford and Chrysler still sell more than ALL of the twenty or so import manufactures that offer vehicle for sale in the US, combined. Those are facts not opinion. Who chooses to buy their vehicles is immaterial. Rental fleets are simply not the same as corporate fleets in how they use and service the vehicles they own or lease and that too is a fact, whether you happen to agree or not. Call any dealership of you choose and ask for the fleet Sales Manger, or the person that sell to fleets for the dealership. Ask him what is the amount of the fleet discount, pretty simple stuff. Manufactures can not sell to anybody but dealerships and that is a fact as well Seems you are the one being a jerk because you do not like that what you believe is being challenged.
mike hunt

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What is your point, the discussion was about the US market where buyers buy mostly light trucks, SUVs and a few little cars like those that Toyota sells around the world. The US market is by far the biggest in the world. When GM sold 50% of the vehicles in the US the total market was around 8,000,000. Today, when GM is selling 26% of the market, it is around 17,000,000. You do the math.
Me thinks you are just one more of the Toyota owners that find a need to go into other brand NGs to try and justify to themselves why they paid a premium price to buy an under powered 4cy car that they now realize is no better than any of the other cars on the market. ;)
mike hunt

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No, that is not a bad thing. We know you prefer Toyotas that is why you buy them, you do not need to try to justify your choice to others, you are free to spend your money where you wish. But more buyer still prefer GM, Ford and Chrysler products. Thanks for making my point about Toyota being under power and over priced. however. For what you had to pay to drive home your underpowered 4cy Toyota SUV you could have purchased one of nearly a half dozen other small SUVs on the market that are just a good, but have a more powerful V6 engines and come with more standard equipment, that are also good on gas. After all the number one selling small SUV is not a Toyota or a Honda it is a Ford, and by big numbers ;)
mike hunt

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Re: Screw Consumer Reports Group: alt.autos.ford Date: Fri, Mar 10, 2006, 10:44am From: snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com (MikeHunter)
What is your point, the discussion was about the US market where buyers buy mostly light trucks, SUVs and a few little cars like those that Toyota sells around the world. The US market is by far the biggest in the world.
When GM sold 50% of the vehicles in the US the total market was around 8,000,000. Today, when GM is selling 26% of the market, it is around 17,000,000. You do the math.<<<<<
I did and the math says that 50% of 8 million is 4 million and 26% of 17 million is 4.42 million, almost the same volume. GM's volume has not significantly increased even thought the market has doubled.
Eric
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Even though we're not seeing eye-to-eye... if GM is as healthy as you're attempting to paint them, then why 25 + years of layoffs and plant closings? Do you feel it's just because they're moving production to canada, mexico, etc.? jp
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I'm not painting anything. I was simply replying to those Toyota owners, posting in this FORD NG that believe their Toyotas are so great. I pointed to the sales figures for 2005 released by the US Commerce department PROVE most American do not agree with the Toyota owner opinion as to who makes the best vehicles.
GM, Ford and Chrysler sold 57% of the 18,500,000 vehicles sold in the US in 2005. Toyota, and ALL of the other twenty some imports brands combined, sold the other 43%. Domestic have the number one selling vehicle, in every class where Toyota competes in the US, except one. The only Toyota that actually sells in big numbers in the US is the mid size Camry. It is the number ONE selling single brand name mid size vehicle sold in the US. GM actually sells more midsize cars than Toyota however, they just do not carry the same brand name. ;)
mike hunt

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Hi Mike,
My father in law is the fleet sales manager for one of the Ford dealerships here and you are right in every respect. The fleets simply do not get pricing that is lower than what the dealership pays the factory for, that is nonsense. Dealerships simply do not sell cars for less than what they paid, period. And the factory does not gave a damn about selling directly to the fleets at some special price. The factories know that the fleets are going to buy a lot of cars from them no matter what dealership the fleets use, and they don't sell at below their cost, either, or at least try not to. Since the factories price varies by volume that is how you get GM loosing billions, because they screwed up their forecasts of how many cars they were going to sell - so they sell fewer cars and their price to make the smaller volume is not as low as they thought. This is the only area that fleet sales are helpful to the manufacturer, because it increases volume which generally means lower prices to build that model, and if that model has a lot of rebadged versions, it can help. But, fleets are fickle too and the auto manufacturer has no way of knowing in advance what is going to be the popular fleet models for that year, save for a few specialized ones (like the crown vics which the cops use)
Fleet sales are desirable from a dealership perspective because it boosts the delaership sales volume and the vehicle manufacturers all have incentive programs that give bigger discounts to dealerships that sell more. In all truth of it, the entire thing is rediculous, because what it ends up doing is making it more cost effective for super-dealerships and corporations that own chains of dealerships to come into existence. You really do not want to buy a car from a corporate dealership if you can help it, since the people your buying it for don't really give a damn if you have a good experience or not. By contrast with the small dealerships the owner of the dealership is usually working right in the dealership every day and if a customer wants to see him, half the time he's walking around the sales floor.
Ted
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That is not quite correct, ALL dealers buy from the manufacture at the same prices regardless of volume. Anything different is a violation of franchise law. ANY discount or incentive offer applies to all dealerships. Bigger dealerships would like buyers to THING they buy for less, but they do not. They do not get lower prices or greater incentive, than smaller dealerships, because of their volume. There are indeed incentives based on sales figure that smaller dealerships may not be able to meet, but the smaller dealership get a larger incentive on a fewer number of vehicles if he chooses. If a manufacture offers a special discount to a dealership to attain a large order of like vehicles to a particular fleet, every dealership become entitled to sell, or 'piggyback' that same price to any other fleet buyer. In any event nobody, not the manufacture and not the dealership, is selling at a loss. They are simply accepting a lower profit on more vehicles. contrary to what many believe imports try all the time to get fleet sales as well. They are just not as successful doing so, for a number of reasons.
mike hunt
mike hunt

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