The US large personal truck/SUV market is going to contract by about 50%
from it's peak. That is what it will take to get back to the 20-25%
share of sales which represent the people who have a real need for
trucks and are not simply buying them because it is a fad to do so.
Fads come and go, and the every man, woman and child needs a Suburban
sized vehicle to sit in stop and go traffic with fad has run it's
course. Who is going to go to a party and brag about their new
Expedition today? Nobody. But, drive up in a tres chic Toyota Prius
and you have something to talk about.
The genius of Toyota is that they have strong contenders in every market
segment of consequence from the Prius on one end to the Land Cruiser on
the other. Why can the world's second largest auto maker field a more
competitive line-up world wide than do GM or Ford?
Hula hoops, beanie babies or Razer scooters anyone?
Yes, fads come and go but some actually are worthwhile. Remember how hot
the minivan was and how many times it took Honda and Toyota to finally
get it right. Ford and GM still can't. But in the end the minivan is a
practical vehicle and while not as popular as before they will still be
here when the other fad vehicles fade. Remember the "personal luxury
coupes" of the seventies. The only who left is the Monte Carlo (the
Grand Prix is sedan only now).
The minivan will be around for a long time, but it's peak volume days
are over (at least for the full size type).
Pickup trucks are usefull as well and will be around for a long time
just as they have been ever since Model T versions were once made, but
the days when people would buy them for long commutes to office jobs are
probably over as well.
I'm not saying that the large truck / SUV market is going to disappear.
I am saying that it is set to contract by about 50%.
People are nervous. They are, perhaps temporarily, thinking economy.
Soaring gasoline and associated energy costs are making reasoning
people shake their heads in disbelief.
The stock market is making people question the whole economic system
and the wars in the Middle East are not helping either.
Predictions were published the other day, and I dont remember really where,
that Toyota will overtake GM for the world market in the next couple of
Predictions dont mean anything, though, and we can wait and watch.
Overtaking GM worldwide is more of a possibility than in the US. GM and
Toyota do not necessarily compete in the same small markets around the
world. The Japs have a better economies of scale in the small and midget
cars, as well. As Toyota starts to sell vehicles in the US in the million
rather than in the hundreds of thousands, as it has for a long time, more
of their not so good ones are starting to come to the surface. Over time
that will erode the buyers perception of their so call superior quality.
Anybody in the business knows that Toyotas vehicles are no better on average
than any other manufactures vehicles.
Stop, you're killing me. Only a very few mfgrs. have the same
reputation for reliability and durability as Toyota. Really only Honda
has the same kind of "halo" although I am partial to VW myself (but
their shitty dealer network and past issues with poor quality
outsourced components has tarnished their reputation among the general
Anyone that can say with a straight face that there is no difference in
quality between vehicles is quite simply ignorant. If that were true,
we'd all just buy the cheapest car we could. Simply test driving a
cross-section of the various cars in any given class will show up great
differences in fit and finish, material quality, etc. etc. etc. and to
disregard this is idiotic. Most people realize this, and try to strike
some compromise between quality and price.
As I said before you are entitle to your opinion but that does not mean it
is the most valid. When I owned my fleet service business we serviced
thousand of vehicles monthly, of nearly every brand you can name. With our
meticulous service, as recorded in the records we accumulated, we saw little
discernable differences on average among the vehicles on the market today.
The only real difference is style and price and one need not spend at lot
more money to buy a good dependable vehicle. Just a note, the manufacture
with the most vehicles recalled so far for 2006 is Toyota. ;)
As you should well know, fleet use and private use are two different
animals. Someone with a fleet car doesn't care about it as long as it
is still functional and safe to drive. However, they would never put
up with the junky feel and increased NVH of worn components in their
own personal cars. Thus a cheaply made car will cost a private owner
much more over the long term than a well built one, unless the owner
*acts* like a fleet manager and trades it in every couple years.
Mike Hunter wrote:
You have no idea what you are talking about. Fleet buyers do a far better
job of maintaining their vehicles than the average owner. How may owners
do you know that do things like changes brake fluid, do pressure tests
monthly, take off door panels to lubricate window actuators, take apart and
clean electrical connectors etc?
To a corporate fleet a vehicle is a 'tool' needed to run their business.
Down time costs money. They generally keep them in service for five years
or 300K WOF, because of federal deprecation tax laws. Many keep them even
longer. To government fleets, maintenance is primary as well. To a police
officer his patrol car is as important as his weapon, it has to work
properly or it could cost him his life One state police department that we
serviced, has Jeeps Cherokees from the eighties, with over 200k on the clock
and still in tip top shape, in use in mountainous parts of the state.
The only high volume buyers that don't care about their cars are most of the
rental car companies. Top fluids and get it back on the road. The
difference is to a rental car company vehicles are NOT a tool, but their
product that they get rid off in a year or less.
I do that, and I try to remind those that I care about to do that as
well. Not done on fleet vehicles IME.
Nobody does that, not even the fleet managers. I should know, having a
fleet car. Well, I do, when I have to, on my own cars.
Not true; I turn in my car at 70K miles, I think the service trucks are
kept a little longer but not much, maybe 100K or so.
That's the exception not the rule.
IME the fleet services treat the cars exactly like rental cars. When
they are turned in at 70K miles they are just about smack wore out
(well at least the Impalas the company that services the company that I
work for uses are!) Before I got my company car, I drove my
predecessor's car for a few days that was actually over the 70K cutoff.
Aside from the ludicrously loud noises from under the hood, the
shimmy, and the disconcerting creaks and clunks from the front end, it
was just fine. I would find this totally unacceptable in a personal
You must have missed the part of my post that said; 'an opinion based on
your particular experience.' The facts, as I know them from serving
thousands of corporate and government fleets in six states, are quite
different. You are entitled to you own opinion, based on your personal
experience with ONE vehicle in ONE fleet, but not your own facts pertaining
to fleets in general ;)
Ford is lucky it never sold the Pinto (or much else) in Japan. The
Japanese government takes public safety very seriously and they don't
mind making an example out of any corporation/executive who puts it at
The Toyota recalls are world-wide. World-wide, Toyota sells more cars
than Ford. Also, the Ford recall is a continuation from last year
when they recalled over six million trucks for the same problem.
Obviously you prefer to believe only those things you chose to believe, and
will not change, even though Ford was exonerated in all three instances.
Search the NHTSA and the Congressional Record for the facts, WBMA. ;)
How do you feel about projections? Based on projected sales released
by each company at the beginning of the year, Toyota is expected to
surpass GM in total worldwide sales in 2006. I don't know for sure,
but I am betting that Toyota is doing at least as well as GM at
hitting their sales targets so far this year.
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