Can US automakers ever return to glory days?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by JesseJames, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I would like to own a car by an American automaker but the products just don't appeal to me.
    I have seen some of the prototype designs that they are considering and they do appeal to me. But for the life of me why don't they ever bring them to market?
    Take the Chevrolet economy class cars: Aveo. Now here is a car that begs to be revamped. I have watched a show where they actually showed the industrial design shop where they were considering something to challenge the Toyota Scion line of cars. Hip, cool, and in your face, yes it is economy but damn cool attitude. But that was a few years ago. Nothing new on the roads though. Nothing. Boggles the mind.
    Ford is still trying to get its act together, and Chrysler has just been bought by a private equity firm- or at least a good chunk of it. GM has posted record losses.
    As has been posted here. They try to appeal to a sense of nostalgia with retrodesigns. To me it smacks of desperation.
    I will not be surprised if we are down to only one American auto manufacturer in the near future if this keeps up.
     
  2. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #2
    They'll never return to their glory days because it's simply a different economy. No one can have the strangle hold they once enjoyed in the industry.

    That being said, chances are the Toyota you see at their dealership has more American parts and labor in it than the Ford. So don't use "American Made" as a purchasing decision.

    The irony is that companies like Ford offer some really great cars overseas that would sell really well if they ever made them in the US, but for several factors they don't. These are small, economical models marketed at the Asian and European countries.
     
  3. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #3
    The biggest thing I think they can do is to continue pumping out well finished cars with good gas mileage. That along with good reliability will put them on the tops of charts and then people would buy them. I think they should also stay away from ugly designs that try to be revolutionary- chevy HHR, dodge magnum, etc.

    This is my advise for GM- DROP BUICK and PONTIAC in the US. In American culture no one wants a Buick. Its like the quintessential old person car. It doesn't matter how cool or nice looking you make it, it has the Buick name and thats 1/2 the reason people buy a car. Pontiac isn't doing so hot and they have nothing really to offer except the solstice. No one really wants one either In the place of this brand they should make an affordable premium brand. Chevy makes the cheap cars, the new company would handle the sports luxury cars, and caddi would be their premium. They need to also get rid of their stupid re-badging. I.E. the envoy, trailblazer, rainier, bravada, 9-7x, and Isuzu Uplander are all the same car.

    Ford is going to regret selling Land Rover, they're doing better than ever and I see tons of new Land Rovers on the road. Selling Jaguar probably isn't a bad idea although the XF looks like a very cool, very original car. They're going to lose the police car market if they don't revamp the crown victoria and they have no plans do so (they've stopped selling it). Lincoln doesn't have much to offer other than the Town Car for limousine services. The Navigator isn't a cool car anymore and everyone would rather have an Esclade.

    Chysler/Dodge/Jeep- Makers of the ugliest cars in the world, the worst transmissions, and the most unreliable air conditioning systems. Jeep used to be good but they've been ruined with their ugly styling. The commander is supposedly being discontinued soon. Everybody loved the Cherokee, everybody loved the 99-04 style grand cherokee, no one likes the new stuff aside from the Wrangler. Chysler/Dodge used to have the minivan market, but now all the soccer moms have Toyota's or Hondas.
     
  4. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020

    rockthecasbah

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    #4
    My problems with "American" cars is frankly, they are not American! It is the foreign car companies like Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai, etc, who are truly making "American" cars because real Americans are assembling them in newly built plants. They are the companies supporting the American economy and providing employment to American citizens, not the "domestic" companies like GM and others who outsource to cheaper labor markets like in Mexico. With the labor issue and the simple facts of higher quality/performance/styling and design of the vehicles, i find foreign cars much more appealing in general.
     
  5. Chromako macrumors member

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    #5
    If they actually, um... consistently make cars that a person can count upon to start up in the morning and not have to be fixed all the time, [edit: like the Japanese, they don't have to be fixed that much] sure... but even if they do (or have been and I've been living in a box), they have squandered decades of goodwill and that will be hard to get back. no?
     
  6. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Are you on crack, or just actually living in a box? :confused:

    Japanese Cars are the most reliable on the road right now. I would say in general american cars are pretty reliable but it doesn't matter because parts cost zip for them.

    I think the problem with American cars are
    1) Styling in most cases
    2) Name


    Volkswagens are made in Mexico. Some BMW's are made in the US. Pray that Land Rovers and Jaguars won't be made in India.
     
  7. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #7
    In reality there is no true "American" car. All cars these days are manufactured here in the states with half the parts made over seas. All the makers are the same, it's just different in terms of who came up with the models :)
     
  8. FrankBlack macrumors 6502

    FrankBlack

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    #8
    Agreed.

    My Legacy was manufactured at Subaru's plant in Lafayette, Indiana. I've owned Subes for awhile now, and a Toyota truck before that.

    Everyone I know who has "bought American" over the past ten years has regretted the decision, with one notable exception: One man I work with, who bought one of the 2-seat Thunderbirds. But,,It's not his daily driver. He bought it for a "fun car", and it probably gets driven about three thousand miles per year, if that. His daily driver is a Toyota Camry.
     
  9. Chromako macrumors member

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    #9
    hehheh.... oops.
    I meant Like the Japanese as in the Japanese are reliable. doh.
     
  10. tennisplaayer11 macrumors member

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    #10
    Well, these days more and more foreign cars are more energy efficient. With all the buzz about emissions and global warming, along with rising gas prices, domestic car manufacturers are going to have to come out with more hybrids to keep up with Toyota, Honda, etc. While Ford and some others have released a few hybrids, it doesn't really compare to what Toyota has done with the Prius, for example.
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #11
    Maybe they have considered this numerous times, examined the situation, and understand the general car buyers mentality better than you.

    There's a reason they sell different cars in different markets. If what you said was the case, it would save Ford a lot of time and money if they standardized their car range across the entire world. However, they don't, and the reason is likely something you haven't looked in to.
     
  12. biturbomunkie macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    i've never been interested in american cars, but my next purchase will mostly likely be american (all my cars have been german and most recently japanese). i think that american automakers will make a comeback if they can rectify their identity crisises.

    with UAW/health insurance haunting GM, i'm not surprised that it's losing money. but you can see lutz is working hard to improve GM's products. for example, the new CTS's interior is far more elegant than audi/lexus, and the new CTS-V will most likely outperform its rivials. in addition, cadillac's art and science theme look better than some of the designs from deutschland/nippon. aesthetically, i'd take a XLR-V over a 650i. i used to joke that pontiac's slogan was "we build excrement" (instead of excitement for you non car geeks ;)), but the solstice changed my thought. and the GTO proved that GM does have some decent designers/engineers overseas. the G8 seems like another promising product from holden.

    however, i still think GM needs to strengthen buick's products, brand, and dealership experience in order to really go after lexus. they should also reposition pontiac as a cheap bmw alternative that is more exciting than the japanese by introducing a new GTO and killing dreadful products like the g5, vibe and torrent. pontiac needs to be a true excitement division, let saturn be the vanilla toyota/honda alternative. while the trailblazer SS is a fun vehicle considering what it is, GM needs to stop slapping the SS badge on vehicles like the silverado and malibu. the SS badge needs to be earned, not by dumping a mediocre engine on some aging platform. lastly, GM needs to learn from ford - GM needs to stop repeating x-type's fatal mistake with saab. making "cars" like the 9-2x/9-7x will only alienate the enthusiasts and further dilute the brand. instead, safety should be saab's emphasis so GM can use that to target volvo.

    i'm not too familiar with all of chrysler's products. but i know that the company was doing okay until it got screwed by daimler AG, royally and without lube. =\
     
  13. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

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    #13
    Unless they change their attitudes and business models, not a chance.

    My next car will not be from the American auto industry. More likely than not, it will be a Honda or a Hyundai.
     
  14. KingYaba macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I have observed most Americans do not go get their oil changed every 3,000 miles like those with the Japanese vehicle (just an example). Those Hondas and Toyotas are treated better by the consumer while the American vehicle is held to somewhat unrealistic expectation and often neglected proper maintenance. The notion American cars are inferior is perceived.
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #15
    Hmmm.....
     
  16. keith032001 macrumors newbie

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    #16
    OMG!!! have you seen the new corvettes, CTS', Escalades, HUMMERS, 300Cs and Callangers or Chargers?? go google those then tell come back...
     
  17. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #17
    As already said, no they won't. Too much competition now. But, they're slowly coming back.

    GM- New products like the Malibu, Aura, CTS, Astra, G8, etc shows that they are changing. Right now, GM is in the best shape out of the Big 3. The $34 billion loss was only caused by a freak tax issue and without it the loss would be in the millions in 2007 instead of the billions. So they're getting better.

    Ford- is getting there as well. Not as fast as GM, but getting there. Fusion is decent. The new Focus is a joke, but Ford admits it was a mistake not to bring the Euro Focus over. The new Focus ended up more expensive then it would of cost to bring it over the pond.

    Chrysler- Execs just sitting there going, " WTF?????????" They are in the worst shape. Sebring, Avenger, Compass, Patriot, etc are all JOKES. Daimler royally screwed them over. Viper is dead come 2011. Looks like Cerberus is starting the carving as there are talks of selling Jeep to an Indian company. RIP Chrysler.
     
  18. MikeTheC Guest

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    #18
    [Over-The-Top fake Indian accent] Would you be liking a slurpee with the new car which you are purchasing in the store of Crysler? [/accent]

    Yeah, I can just imagine that.
     
  19. iAthena macrumors regular

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    #19
    Gas guzzlers all. I hope that US companies aren't banking on those to pull them out of the slump they are in. They should be looking at why people are buying Civics, Camrys, Prius and Minis like they were going out of style.
     
  20. protozoa macrumors regular

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    #20
    I own two Toyotas and a Mazda. I doubt I'd ever own another "American brand" car.

    However, every now and then they get close to getting things right. A recent example that I can think of is the Pontiac Solstice (and its Saturn cousin). Also, I have a fondness for the Jeep Wrangler that causes me to take one out on a test drive every few years (I owned a Wrangler back in the early '90s).
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    By "glory days" do you mean when GM made half of the cars sold in the US, and the other US manufacturers made almost all of the other half? I do believe that's a rhetorical question. Right now, the question more about survival than a return to any sort of glory days.
     
  22. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Yes. The word that comes to mind is 'fugly.' I will never buy a car from an American car company, ever.
     
  23. FrankBlack macrumors 6502

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    #23
    What do car buyers in their 20's to early 30's want to buy, when they are considering cars? They don't buy Buicks.

    I'm glad Cadillac has a hit on their hand with the CTS, but is it enough to save GM?
     
  24. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000

    ryannel2003

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    #24
    Times have definitely changed from GM's heyday in the 50's and 60's. At the time, they had over 50% market share with strong competition from Ford and Chrysler, even AMC. They hit an extreme rough patch in the 80's putting out cars that were not up to standards, even at that time. They were taking Oldsmobile's, rebadging them as Cadillac's and adding $5k to the sticker. GM has a tendency to take a good thing to far, similar with the new Lambda triplets. I don't see the need for the Outlook, Acadia, Enclave, and now the Traverse. This kind of rebadging is dangerous in my opinion; if I were running GM, I would drop the Outlook due to slow sales, and make a different kind of crossover for Chevy. The Acadia and Enclave are doing very well, so no need to mess with them. I would also do a complete image rebrand with Buick, as sales on them continue to decline. I would re-introduce Park Avenue, Regal, and LeSabre as those cars sold well even in the last years of life. As for Pontiac, drop the Torrent and do a complete re-design of the G6. It has the goods and style, but with a horribly cheap interior and average drivetrains, they can't compete with Camry, Accord, or even the General's own Malibu. I would also re-introduce Trans-Am to spice up the lineup a bit, even though the new G8 looks promising.

    As for Chevy, they are doing well right now. The Malibu has won praise from every magazine I have read so far. The FWD Impala is going away in 2009 or 2010, and supposedly going to be replaced with a new RWD model to compete with Dodge's Charger. Saturn is a bit of a sore spot, with the new Aura and Outlook not selling to expectation. The Aura has the goods, amazing looks, powerful engine, but I guess the Saturn badge scares some people away.

    Cadillac is perfectly fine right now. CTS is amazing, Escalade is selling well, and the SRX is doing decent. As for STS and DTS, they are both being replacing in 2010 with a all new sedan, which sounds like a great idea. However, GM is dropping development of a Northstar replacement, so I'm not sure how that will go over. Might start using LS engines, which are pretty damn reliable and have decent fuel economy and wouldn't cost GM so much money to translate into a Caddy.

    As for Hummer... get rid of 'em. Sell them off or create a whole new kind of image for them.
     
  25. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #25
    Please don't try to lecture me saying that because a company is large and has money behind it, it knows what it's doing and knows what people want. Making the wrong decisions and not knowing what people want is exactly what's gotten the US automakers in their mess in the first place (plus pensions, but that's a whole other issue...).

    I hate to break it to you, but large corporations are capable of making mistakes...

    Also, at least one person gets what I'm saying:

     

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