I don't believe this will be the death of GM, but they will get
smaller, concentrating on areas of business such as full sized sedans
where they are not so vulnerable to a bitch slapping by Toyota and
A local Honda dealer has a load of Accords on the lot, but the Civics are
all sold out and they are just taking orders. Good mileage and the Car of
the Year Award from Motor Trend is selling them. Of course, that was when
gas was $3+ a few week back so that may change.
The growth of more economical vehicles will slow a bit with lower fuel
prices, but I doubt it will fall back as far as it increased.
As for me I will definitely look for significantly improved urban fuel
mileage (75% of my driving now) with my next vehicle.
News item today:
Chrysler has 50,000 unsold vehicles and dealers won't take (it) any more.
Plants are shutdown in an attempt to balance inventory.
The Caliber and a related Jeep which are fuel efficient are selling well.
Sounds like "Dr. Z" is falling into the same trap that Riccardo's
mismanagement team got into in the '70s...the "sales bank." It's
rather obvious that the sales and manufacturing divisions aren't
talking to each other again. This is one of the first things that
Iacocca had to tackle once he took over at Chrysler in '78...the
plants would churn out cars, and tell Sales to sell them...even though
no one was buying! At least they shut down the plants this time to
try to balance inventory. In the '70s, the plants would just keep
churning out cars and filling up every vacant lot in Michigan with
Nissan had a similar problem in '75, once the gas crunch eased. Greedy
for quick profit, Nissan was filling boats up with their biggest
model, the 610, hoping that US buyers would gobble them up to replace
their US-made gas guzzlers. Didn't work...'75 610s were seen
languishing on dealer's lots as late as the '77 model year. People
never talk about it now, but between '75 and '77, Nissan almost gave
up on the US market entirely. The only thing that saved their bacon
were their mini-trucks. 280Z sales weren't enough to turn much of a
profit at all. As a result, there were lots and lots of unsold Nissan
610s and 710s parked on vacant lots all around Southern California as
dealers tried to plow through the surplus, often only taking year-old
cars at 30% discounts from wholesale. It was at that time that they
abandoned the Datsun name, going with the corporate Nissan.
The local Chrysler-Jeep dealer here is bulging with unsold 300s and
Pacificas, but cannot keep Calibers or even Magnums in stock. Trucks
also aren't moving anymore and they're even offering "$2000 off"
Cummins diesels. While the new 300 initially was a hot seller, it got
a reputation (at least out west) as a ghetto ride, and now sales have
It was even worse that you say. In '78 we were looking at a Nissan
smaller car. Good Lord it had a non standard shift pattern. Why they
would try that I'll never know, having had several Datsun 510s in the
family in the early 70s that had the std. pattern.
Same here for the 300s, with Magnums selling a little better.
I drive by a nearby Chrysler dealer every few days. In the summer he
suddenly had a lot full of 300s and trucks. They are going very slowly,
but the Calibers are seldom seen on the lot.
Recently very well equipped new 4wd 3.5L Magum's have been selling for a
very low price here. I would have bought one, but a two week rental
taught me their outside vision is inadequate for me.
I bought one with a 289 Ford that ate a valve for $600 in '79. Had
extreme chop. I pulled out the 289, put in a junkyard Ford engine and
slushbox, and-took a air chisel and cut the whole top off the car,
windshield and all. Completely decapitated it. Put on imitation
"Brooklands screens" and painted it with stolen TWA Red imron.
Sold it a couple of years later and he drove it off a boat ramp in the
Muddy Mississippi near Hannibal. Probably still down there.
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