Back in those days it seems that MT's Car of the Year awards had a whole
lot more to do with $$$$$ relationships with manufacturers than it did
with the quality of the vehicles chosen. Also, my recollection is that
in the 70s a car had to be from a US nameplate in order to even be
considered for the dubious honor of being named car of the year.
In modern times, Car & Driver's "10 Best" list is a much more
respectable effort by a long, long shot.
Car/Truck of the year award simply means in MT opinion it is the best ALL
NEW car/truck brought to the market that year.
Vehicles introduces in prior years are not eligible
The fact that a car based vehicle, like the Ridgerunner, can be awarded
'TRUCK' of the year, proves is to a meaningless award. ;)
I just went through this a month and a half ago, compare something people
will be more likely to buy, not the Si and the SS:
2006 Cobalt LS Sedan 2.2L, Mileage - 25/34, Base MSRP $13,490.00
What you get in the BASE Cobalt that the base model Civic doesn't have:
60/40 split folding rear seat (Civic folds but not 60/40 in the DX)
5 Year powertrain warranty
2006 Civic DX Sedan 1.8L, Mileage - 30/38, Base MSRP $14,760.00
What you get in a BASE Civic that the base model Cobalt doesn't have:
6 Air Bags
MP3 CD Player
Tilt and Telescoping steering column
Also good to point out that a 2002 Cavalier can be had for between $4,500CDN
and $13,000CDN while a 2002 Civic goes for $6,600CDN to $20,000CDN.
Based on the "quality" of the first Foci, you can't hardly blame buyers
from staying away. I would. I had a friend that worked for Ford when
the Focus first came out; he let me drive his new car (he was very
proud of it) and I have to admit that I was impressed at how well it
drove for a small, inexpensive American car. After seven recalls in
the first year, however, his opinion rapidly changed... This is the
kind of rep the American mfgrs. have to overcome if they are ever going
to come back. GM is not immune either, remember the Fiero? They
finally turned it into the car it should have been when it was
introduced, right before they killed it. You don't let your customers
do your beta testing for you and expect to be a leader (unless you're
Microsoft, and that still boggles my mind.)
Mike Hunter wrote:
A recall simply means the manufacture has discover a problem in the field,
or on the assemble line, and wants to fix it for FREE.
Ford did with the Focus what the Japanese have been doing for years, sell
the vehicle in other markets to flesh it out before bringing it to the US.
If you would research the recalls for the 2000 Focus you will discover they
were minor, effected few vehicles and applied mostly to vehicles not yet
delivered to customers at the time. The competitors of the Focus like the
Civic, and the Corolla, also had numerous recalls.. They were minor and did
not apply to all that were build as well.
In any event that was then. Today Fords new vehicles have been trouble free
and out scored the Camry and the Accord, in that survey of owners.
That makes absolutely no difference to the customers who had to
repeatedly bring their vehicles back to the dealership and be without
them for days at a time. The Japanese have a reputation of not doing
this. The US mfgrs. have a reputation of doing this repeatedly. It
will take years of consistently high quality vehicles for this
perception to be reversed.
Mike Hunter wrote:
You forgot to say in my opinion. I have owned a lot of vehicles, both
domestic and foreign and I do not find that to be a true statement. I had
to begin litigation before Honda agreed to replace an engine on my daughters
new vehicle, because of a blown oil seal, to make them do so.
It's not just my opinion, it's the opinions of a whole mess of people.
Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis drive Japanese or
Korean cars as they seem to think that they offer the best value for
the money, and don't even consider anything American made past 1970
(and very few people who aren't hard core gearheads want to be bothered
owning something that old.) The few who don't drive Asian cars buy
European, usually German, as the reputation is that they are a little
more costly to run but are more durable. The only people I know with
newer American cars had them provided to them by their employer.
Now whether or not this is actually the state of affairs NOW is
debatable, but it certainly has been historically true, and perceptions
like that take a LONG time to fade away, we're talking a decade or
more, unless something really spectacular happens to change their mind.
This is the reality that US mfgrs. need to understand, and quickly,
before it's too late.
I can certainly say from personal experience that the way another
friend of mine was treated at an Infiniti dealer (when he was driving a
cheap used G20) as opposed to the way the friend I mentioned before was
treated with his brand new Focus, would certainly make me want to buy
Japanese, had I been in the market for a new car at the time.
Mike Hunter wrote:
Obviously those that drive Japanese, European and Korean vehicles believe
they are the best value for the money, that is WHY they bought them. Just
as obvious is the fact that these that buy domestics believe the vehicles
THEY buy are the best value for the money, that is WHY they bought them, as
The fact is far more buyers choose the vehicles sold by GM and Ford than ANY
import brand, period. If what more people chose to buy, determines which
vehicles are the best buy, then domestic by far are the better buy.
I don't buy used vehicles. The reason I stopped buying vehicles from Lexus
was, as a frequent buyer, the dealer was taking me for granted after
purchasing half a dozen of them from him. My current domestic brand dealer
treats me like a frequent buyer should be treated ;)
If by "more people" you include fleet buyers, then you are correct.
I don't see many American vehicles on the road anymore that aren't
obviously fleet vehicles, or else not cars.
Mike Hunter wrote:
You must not get out much, if that is what you believe. GM and Ford sell
millions more vehicles in the US than any import. Every manufacturer sells
to fleets, it is just that most corporate fleet buyers prefer domestics.
You can bet the farm manufactures, including import brands that sell to the
rental car companies, do not care WHO buys their vehicles, as long as they
buy them. LOL
I'm just going by what I see on the roads every day; I actually thought
of you the other day as I was driving home from work, I saw a Cobalt
ahead of me and it was so odd that it made me look around, it was the
only non-Japanese or Korean car around, and I was in heavy traffic.
Mike Hunter wrote:
Most fleet operators have tried import brands but revert back to
domestics because they are far "cheaper" to operate, maintain, and
repair. Hard numbers defeat over hyped name recognition every time.
Can someone find me a Sedan that makes about 260 hp & 280 torque or
better? That also gets 19 city & 28 highway or better? Oh and that is
also WELL under $30k after tax & fully loaded?
No timing belts either. I dont like having wrecked valves on out of the
blue failures before I get 60k miles out of a vehicle. I also dont like
spending half the vehicles value or better on repairs when it is less
than 5 years old.
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