'Clunkers' sales point to challenges

FWIW: At present we are visiting in the Oakland/San Francisco/Berkeley area and have been to the Portland, OR area. The sales "war" was waged
and *lost big time* on the West coast long ago. My unscientific estimate of parking lots and freeways is that Detroit (what remains of it) has only approximately 30% or so of the West coast market. Detroit is not a significant factor out here, a trivial presence.
'Clunkers' sales point to challenges http://tinyurl.com/ye97hgk
Michigan's allegiance to domestic brands is not the national norm Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News
Michigan car buyers tend to purchase what their neighbors make, but that doesn't matter as much to the rest of the country, according to an analysis of data from the "cash for clunkers" incentive program.
"We really are a whole different planet here in Michigan," said Stephanie Brinley, product analyst for AutoPacific Inc. in Troy.
For example: 81.1 percent of Michiganians traded in domestic clunkers and bought domestic replacements, but that number dropped to 42.8 percent in the rest of the nation, according to a breakdown of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the program, officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, intended to boost sales of fuel efficient vehicles.
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In fact, many car buyers across the United States used the cash for clunkers program to buy a foreign nameplate, showing again the challenge General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have outside of Rust Belt states.
The $3 billion clunker program ran from July 27 to Aug. 25 and encouraged consumers to turn in gas-guzzling vehicles for cars that get at least 22 miles per gallon and trucks capable of 15 mpg or 18 mpg, depending on class. Eligible trade-ins were those that got no more than 18 mpg and were destroyed in exchange for rebates up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
Nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold while the program was in effect and some automakers increased production in the aftermath to replenish their vehicle stocks. The most common trade-ins across the country were the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle and the Ford F-150 full-size pickup, according to the NHTSA data.
In car-crazy states like California, the most popular purchase was a Honda Civic; many states also put a Toyota Corolla or Camry at the top of the list.
By contrast, the Ford Focus topped the shopping list for buyers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wyoming, Arkansas, Montana, Vermont and Maine.
Some farm states: Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota continued to make the Chevrolet Silverado pickup their first choice.
The data shows Michigan differs wildly from most of the country. More than 57 percent of Americans traded in a vehicle from the Detroit Three and bought a foreign make, but in Michigan less than 19 percent fell into this category.
Conversely, while only 14.3 percent of the country bought a Big Three vehicle after trading in their import, the number was more than triple in Michigan where almost 47 percent went domestic with their new car or truck after trading in their foreign nameplate.
And while the majority of states saw 85.7 percent of buyers trade in their foreign car for another foreign make -- usually a Honda for a Toyota and vice versa -- in Michigan this group represented only 53.2 percent.
The Michigan results "have to do with our relationship to the automakers," Brinley said. "So many people rely on (the Detroit Three) for their livelihood or have family or friends who do."
That influences purchasing decisions in a couple of ways. Employees use their company discounts to buy what they make. And among nonemployees, there is an overarching sense of responsibility or obligation to help the hometown teams, especially in the last couple of years as it became apparent the domestic automakers were struggling.
The travails of the local carmakers have "been polarizing. Some are saying the Big Three got what they deserve, but others are trying harder to do their small part in keeping them going," Brinley said.
When times are good, it is easier to not remain loyal to American brands, she said.
"You don't worry about your purchase having any ramifications for a company's fate. But when times are tough, there is a greater sense of responsibility to pitch in."
Additionally, the United Auto Workers presence remains strong in Michigan and the union has pushed the "buy American" sentiment, Brinley said.
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Further analysis will show in the end, it was GM that still was number one, Ford was still number two and Toyota was the closest import brand, in it was still in third place.
The reason the imports did well was the fact they had far more of the left over 2009 in stock than did the domestics and were therefore thousands of dollars for less expensive to buy, than the 2010 models the domestics were selling.
The reason so many were Explorers and F150s is they were by far the best sellers, of each type, during the years from which the trades had to come.

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Mike Hunter wrote:
You are right about F150's, a good truck. Something our Toyota and Honda haven't mastered. But around where I live, Ford is #1, followed by Toyota, toss up between Chrysler and Honda follwoed by GM. In fact I don't see too many new GMs at all.
GM is a dying. Will not be long before they are #1, then #3 and perish.

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Depends upon who you ask. I went to lunch the other day with a friend in his Tundra. It has 150,000 miles and has never caused one instance of trouble. This rusting must be geographical....in the rust belt.
This guy ran fleets of trucks in the Colorada area. He claimed the Chevrolets or GMs were the worst, Dodge was better, and Fords held up best.
His company Chevrolet ate three differentials before 60,000 miles. Dealership and GM told him tough shit, he was working them too hard.. The Dodges lasted 80-100K before serious problems set in, in general, and the Fords over 120K.
Anecdotal, but better than a wild guess.
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Anecdotal? How about some facts instead? 150,000 miles less than average. I formally owned a fleet service company that consisted of twenty-six facilities, in six eastern states. We serviced hundred of the major and minor commercial, as well as federal and state government, fleets. Ford vehicles and Ford truck are by far the preferred brand, GM is second.
Commercial fleets, because of federal corporate tax depreciation laws, generally keep the "tools" used in their business for five years.
In the case of one of their tools, cars and trucks, it is five years or 300,000 miles WOF federal tax requirement. As a result they are provided the best preventive maintenance. We serviced hundreds of thousands of them over the ten years I owned my business.
Fleets required us keep meticulous maintenance records. As a result they buy mostly Fords because those records proved that Fords are the most cost effective to own, in terms of the cost to acquire, insure, maintain, repair and replace then any other brand, period.
Look around for yourself at what brand you see being used by the utility companies, mini buses, vans, box trucks, ambulances, and any of the other corporations.

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Depends what you do with it. If you chase cows to the yard 150,000 miles is pretty darned good.
If it sits in a heated garage and babied (as opposed to abused), 250,000 and up is very common. Even see some F100's around here.
Mike Hunter wrote:

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hls wrote:

I was considering a Tundra too, but at the time Canadians were getting screwed on exchange rates, making the Tundra stupid priced.
I went for a Ford as much more than 50% of the ranchers in the area had them. I suspect ranchers can be hard on them and will buy what simply stands up. Ford was the predominant, followed by diesel version of the RAM, then followed by GMC or Chev. Ranchers didn't seem to go for Tundra and Ridgeline. While I liked the Ridgline, the seat was not right with the stearing wheel. The Tundra was tinny on the ride. GM, knowing they were sliding into bankruptcy and their pricing was wonkers, never did take the plain feeling Sierra for a test drive. Besides, after the Regal tranny issues, I wasn't stuck on GM for this round. No regrets either.
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Honda does not make a truck, what Honda refers to as a "Truck," is the Ridgeline. In reality it is build on an AWD Accord car chassis. Seems they should be marketing it as a crossover. LOL

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Mike,
I think it is not correct to refer to the Ridgeline as being built on "an AWD Accord car chassis." I think it is more related to the Odyssey and Pilot components. Of course, like all manufacturers, Honda shares components between the car and truck lines (engines, transmissions, electronic bits, etc.).
Would you claim a Ranger is a crossover becasue it uses the same basic automatic transmission as the 2005 Ford Thunderbird, or becasue some versions use car engines? Is an F150 a Crossover becasue the standard V8 and automatic are a version of the drivetrain used in a Grand Marquis?
Don't get me wrong, I think the Ridgeline is a poor excuse for a "truck," if you are defining a truck as something like an F150. On the other hand, it might be the perfect vehicle for people who need whatever sort of vehicle it is. VW sold the Rabbit based "truck," and I know plenty of people who loved that. I know plenty of people who like the Avalanche sort of "truck" also. I guess a truck is what the buyer defines it to be, or I guess more importantly what the EPA allows you to call it.
Ed
Ed
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My reference is to the basic chassis upon which a particular vehicle is built. The Accord, Ridgeline, Odyssey and the Pilot are all built upon the same chassis.
The drive components have nothing to do with the chassis. Remember Keiser and Frazer? They never made ANYTHING BUT the chassis. Every other component, from the brakes to the engine, was made by others such as Continental, GM, Chrysler, Willy's etc..

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You did not understand the last time I tried to explain to you why several different types of vehicles, all bolt off of the same basic chassis can have those differences, what makes you think you will understand if I explain it to you once again? ;)

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If you are harking back to your ridiculous claim that the 2005 Mustang and Lincoln LS shared chassis, then that was about the must ignorant claim anyone could make. Well, at least unitl this claim.
The bottom line seems to be, that you think vehicles that share no basic dimensions, no suspension comoponents, no sheet metal parts, no suspension mounting points, and use completely differnt suspension styles, still share "chassis."
This make no sense.
Ed
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Apparently not to you at least, that is why I will not try again. ;)

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C. E. White wrote:

One of my all time favorite vehicles was the El Camino. Of course I also spent 5 years driving a 59 Caddy Hearse as my daily driver....
Those style vehicles are great for applications where you have large items but not a lot of weight. For instance the average ATV isn't very heavy but they are bulky. You don't really need a 3/4 ton vehicle to haul them.
On the other hand you don't really want one if you're planning on hitting the lumber yard for 30 sheets of plywood and 10 bags of concrete mix. However most deliver!
--
Steve W.

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I test drove one. Thought is was the best assembled of the bunch, would have bought it except for 2 reasons.
First, needed more leg/head room and when all the way back it was weird for drivers wheel fit. No proportionally the same or something. Second reason was towing capacity. Pretty small next to a Lariat with all the options for a few bucks less. I would class it as a light truck SUV want to be.
Give Honda a few years to revise and refine it, they could find themselves in the truck game.
Mike Hunter wrote:

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