The "new GM" (which looks amazingly like the "old GM" that went bankrupt
last year) has adopted at least one chapter from the Mercedes playbook.
However, Mercedes should not consider imitation the sincerest form of
Advertising for the new Buick Regal concentrates on it being a reskinned
version of the 2009 Eurpoean Car Of The Year, the Opel Insignia. And with
that, there's an underlying assumption that people think if its German it
has to be good. Well, the Germans aren't Smuckers.
The Opel reference would be lost on potential customers of, for example, a
Chevrolet Malibu. They're too young to remember Opels in the US. But
potential Buick owners, who are on average somewhere between retired and
dead, do remember Opels. And their memories of the last Opel branded car
sold in the US, a derivitive of the Chevette made by Isuzu, can't be good
Those negatives aside, GM should have considered Mercedes experience trying
to associate Germans with Chrysler. The Dr Z ads reduced sales every time
they ran. While some Americans respected the German reputation for
engineering and assembly quality, few considered any car the Germans were
involved in to be a good value.
Those who investigated further found how hollow Dr Z's claims of German
superority were. Chrysler was the first all front wheel drive American car
company. Yet when potential customers visited showrooms, they found
Mercedes had converted the big Chryslers to rear will drive so they could
install truck engines in perhaps 10% of the production.
All in all, GM advertising the German origins of the Regal is a mistake on
the magnitude of the old "This is not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign,
which offended the few customers Oldsmobile had left at the time. At least
GM has one thing to be thankful for. Dr. Z has been demoted from President
of Chrysler to CEO of Mercedes, and is unavailble to do any German
superiority commercials for GM..
I doubt it. It also depends on what you consider quality. Mercedes
vehicles tend to live a long time but Porsche's and BMW's tend to vanish
from the road. My guess is too many expensive (but probably not
major) things going wrong so they end up garaged and little used I'm
guessing from my own looking into them. Exception being the 'budget'
porsches of the 1980s. Of course porsche purists seem
to hate those... but they deserve credit because of the large
numbers that are still seemingly people's daily drivers or close to it.
In Europe Mercedes and Volvo are popular as taxis because they are
cheap to maintain and last long.
Saab, BMW etc are very good for a few months and then become expensive
Unfortunately most car manufacturers have been systematically making
cars that are made up of cheap material so they become too costly to
keep after 5 to 10 years.
This trend may change now if the customers begin look at resale value
and total cost of ownership.
Quality may come back in fashion.
Electrical cars with only handful of moving parts and close to zero
maintenance costs will grow in popularity.
Overpriced GM junk is in rapid decline.
I doubt the idea of driving a new car every couple of years will ever go
away from most of those who practice it. They might get stuck at some
point but it will be with whatever car they happen to have at the time.
batteries will continue to limit the reach of electrics until such time
that there is a signficant breakthrough. My guess is that the
breakthrough won't be batteries at all, but some sort of onboard power
generation from a fuel or as they called it many decades ago pulling
power from the 'ether'.
Re Bjorn & Brent:
Cheap Volvo & Merc taxis. In North America one does not see the bottom-end
diesel cars one has in Europe. Plus in Germany and many some other
countries Mercedes provide a high level of maintenance service for taxi
Nevertheless, Merc has lost ground to other brands (Volvo maybe mainly in
Scandinavia) such as Skoda, the 'cheap' end of Volkswagen Group.
I also don't agree with the "cheap materials" unless somebody provides
Brent: "My guess is too many expensive (but probably not major) things going
wrong so they end up garaged and little used." I agree with you in the
sense that it is a pure guess. Presumably you do not live in LA? If so you
would see stacks of BMWs and other such cars. Do you have numbers to back
up your claim? Top end (new) Porsches, BMWs etc are mainly for the
wealthier anyway, so not so many around, except in the wealthier areas.
Loads in central London, for example.
Brent: "Exception being the 'budget' porsches of the 1980s". If you mean
the VW Porsches then there aren't many left, not very good. Line was
discontinued quite quickly. So which and what do you mean by "large"
To reply directly replace 'nospam' with 'schmetterling'
You've clearly misunderstood. I did not say the cars were uncommon. I
stated that older ones vanish into garages or somewhere, because they
aren't seen often. I see newish ones daily, several times a day
usually. If Chicago's road salt were eating them I would see rusty ones
far more often. But instead there is just a cliff at about 8 years old
where the cars seem to just disappear. My guess is they become too
expensive to use as daily drivers. I'll see the Japanese luxury cars
and practically every other car expensive or not decline into beaterdom
and their numbers drop off slowly. BMWs... porsches? they just seem to
go *poof* as far as road use goes after about 8 years or so. MB has the
same decline as every other make. Audi again... I see them slide away
too... I just don't see some 15 year old beat down 911 driving around...
very rarely do I see them at all. a 0-5 year old 911? Sure, common
sight. Buying the older ones? Easy to find. Seeing them in daily use?
not particularly. My guess is things like this:
Item Name Repair Cost
A/C Compressor $1,500
Automatic Transmission or Transaxle $3,100
Clutch, Pressure Plate, Bearing $1,800
Constant Velocity Joints $2,300
Exhaust System $890
Shocks and/or Struts $6,250
Timing Chain or Belt $1,635
Not to mention the environmental attack on the materials in this
climate. It just costs too much to use these cars for daily tasks.
Pretty much. Those are still in daily service in Chicago's harsh
In GB, very few cars fail mechanically. Most are retired because of
rust caused by our continuous use of road salt during the winter months.
I have seen maps of where cars last a little longer or shorter but the
average car fails it MOT through rust at between 9 to 11 years old, and
is subsequently replaced by a new or newer one.
Eight year old luxury cars go into export to Middle East, Africa, Asia
und South America. The average export price of a MB or BMW is about 6000
EUR and their expected life time is about 20 years. It is much cheaper
to run an old MB than a small new Toyota or VW.
Germanys BMW The Bavarian carmaker is making a new plug-in electric
It is one of the first designed from scratch to use an
electric motor rather than being converted from an existing model
and to use no steel.
The car is built as two modules: an aluminum chassis
containing the electric drive-system and battery, and a body
made almost entirely of carbon fiber is fitted onto it.
Carbon fiber is 30% lighter than aluminum and 50% lighter than
steel. The fibers are extremely tear-resistant. When woven into a
lattice structure and impregnated with resin they can produce a
part that is stronger than steel.
Carbon fiber is an expensive alternative to steel or aluminum,
but besides being extremely strong it is also very light. It is found
in high-performance parts, such as aircraft wings, bits of super-
cars, and the frames of pricey mountain bikes.
This car has a driving range of 600 km before a recharge is needed.
The price for the base model is 19.876 Euros.
Because of the extended range BMW is the first real mass produced
electrical alternative to hybrids.
BMW has created before this created long range electrical light weight
More technical details are available at the official BMW website.
Crashing a sick company is a lot different than crashing a healthy
It is most obvious that Chrysler's management in the 60s and 70s did
not know what it needed to know to turn around junk companies selling
cars sized for roads built for Roman chariots.
It is most obvious Mercedes management did not know what it needed to
know to continue the success of a very successful company selling low
and medium priced cars in the worlds largest auto market.
Knowing about both Chrysler and Fiat, I believe it's a case of the blind
leading the blind. If you Merkins buy Fiats, I'll know you don't
recognise quality, even the Italians are avoiding them and their market
share is continuing to drop.
I'm happy to wait and see what happens.
Why would there be a question in your mind about whether we'd buy
Fiats with a Chrysler or Dodge nameplate on them. We aren't buying
Mitsubishis with Chrysler or Dodge nameplate on them.
Course, we're not buying any of the goofy stuff Jergen Schrempp etal
came up with either. Which is the real point which you've dodged.
It obviously didn't expect such a shortness in engineering skilled
people. Sending German experts to develop Chrysler cars and combined
global producing overstretched the companies ability to find sufficently
many skilled engineers in Germany.
Btw the largest auto market is the EU. See eg
Mostly the US are an interesting market for foreign car manufacturers
during periods with an overvalued US$ for luxury car exports or during
periods of an undervalued US$ for shopping tours of stumbling companies.
On Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:33:21 +0200, Roland Franzius
Yea. Uh huh. The Germans showed up and decided the guys who made
Chrysler shine in the late 90s were incompetent. They left. And what
we see is the rsults of the German "experts".
Sorry, These guys should have stuck to expensive cars where their
inefficiencies aren't evident.
Nice try. Chrysler was the most successful US company when Mercedes
took over. The last of the Chrysler people's designs, the 00 - 04
models, would be more competitve TODAY in 2010 than what Mercedes came
up with and what they're stuck with trying to sell.
Converting the bread and butter cars to rear wheel drive. Ignorant
for that market segment. Coil springs on the big trucks. Why? Oh,
yea, I know, better wheel location control but more expensive. And
most importantly, better or not, NOT what truck buyers want. Anyone
remember how much better Chevy did when they canned rear coils after
72? How long Ford stuck with antique front I beams because that's
what the cutomers wanted? Even if you come up with something better,
it doesn't matter if customers don't think its better.
Oh, let's get rid of the Ram Van so we can ship kits to the US and
Chrysler can build the Sprinter. Oh, yea, its OK for a city delivery
van. But they gave up a chance at the people mover van market and the
cutaway van market. Notice those U Haul etc trucks are built on a GM
or Ford van now? No Sprinters there.
Chrysler got there first with the bigger small truck, the Dakota. GM
and the imports are making bigger small trucks now. And the Dakota
doesn't sell well anymore. First because its ugly. Second because
they cut themselves out of the commerical market by not offering a
work truck package or even a standard cab.
And then there's the product differentiation problem. Know when to
make things different. So they took some vehicles styled as Jeeps,
and stuck in a Dodge-ish grill. Sorry, doesn't get it.
But then the other side where the Dakota and Durango don't share front
sheet metal any more. What's the deal there?
OMG, no one's building station wagons. We'll turn Dodge into a
station wagon brand and get 100% of the market! Well, you know,
there's a reaon no one builds station wagons, and what they were
aiming for was 100% of almost nothing.
Mercedes make decisions the old Chrysler crew wouldn't have made if
you held a gun to their heads. The only thing worse than having
Schrempp and Zetske running Chrysler was having the ex Home Depot CEO
running it. And I'm beginning to think even the people from Fiat
might be an improvement.
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