By on June 3, 2009

I’m sick and tired of all the GM crap. Four brands will die. Boo friggin’ hoo. Nobody seems to mention that virtually all the cars are either cannibalistic shitboxes or uncompetitive black holes. I won’t miss them. In fact, I wish GM would take a whole lot of other brands with them to the pit of liquidation. For starters . . .

Suzuki. I’m sorry. But any company that bases most of their line-up on cars even GM wouldn’t take deserves to die. Like most of the second tier, Suzuki has a grand total of one good car. The SX4. Other than that, it’s trashville. The XL7, Grand Vitara, Reno, Aerio, Forenza, Verona, and whatever Italian named pseudonym or pig in sweatsocks Suzuki has marketed over the past decade, has failed. Miserably. Completely. The last genuine hit Suzuki had was over 20 years ago with the Samurai and even that quickly bit the big one. For all I care, Suzuki can donate the SX4 and perhaps a Swift on the side to Subaru and fold up their tent.

Mitsubishi is another one that seems stuck in a time warp. Back in the early 90’s, the parent company was spending serious coin on getting this brand noticed. There was the landmark 1st gen Eclipse, and . . . well . . . I can’t remember. Oh, yeah! The Expo, Diamante, Galant, Precis (ouch!), Mirage, 3000GT and Montero. Some of these models were good fifteen years ago.

Today? Misubishi’s line-up is like Mercury without the Jill. Not a single vehicle offers anything competitive to the customer with the soul exception of the Evo. That doesn’t help since they sell only about 200 or so of those a month. As of now even the one- model MINI brand outsells Mitsubishi’s six model line-up for all of 2009 (eight if you include the Evo and Spyder). So, I say screw this rental car junket. Let Porsche have the Evo, let their derivative traders give it a decent interior and give the rest of the lineup a decent funeral.

Finally, I say Chrysler must die. No, not the entire company. Well, actually, yes. Eventually. But first I would start with the Chrysler brand. For a normal company, you would say that Chrysler now sells six distinct models. Aspen, PT Cruiser, Town & Country, Sebring, Sebring Convertible and the 300. But wait. What about all the 2008 Crossfires and Pacificas that have yet to find a home?  What about the 2008 PT Cruiser? It may have been designed during the Clinton era. But apparently many of those will likely remain on sparingly visited auction lots well into 2010. In the dealer world those still count.

Personally, I just don’t see many of the other models making it out of wholesale heaven either. The Aspen’s the worst of the SUVs. The Sebring is the worst of the sedans. The Sebring convertible deserves to have a big “Made by Tonka” stamping on its dashboard. Since T&C minivans can now be had as a base minivan, and 300s can be given bare-bones interiors, I say what’s the point? Just kill the brand. Make one mediocre model instead of two terrible ones. Let Dodge take over the minivan and 300, and let the public be freed from a slew of unloved models that were made in Chuck E. Cheese hell.

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54 Comments on “Hammer Time: Die Brands! Die!...”

  • avatar

    I’d add Scion to the list.

  • avatar

    Uh Mercury?

    I can agree with Scion too. Especially with their new gen cars.

    I’m gonna disagree with Chrysler. I think they could position that brand something a bit better. never luxury, but better than just a re-skinned Dodge.

    I’d also have to put Maybach on this list of garbage brands.

    Possibly SMART, though the car kinda sucks, the idea is kinda nifty.

  • avatar

    Abs! I love abs!

    Back to cars…

    Mitsu also boasts abominable interiors.

    The only Suzuki I see on the road is the SX4, I’d forgotten what else they make. And the only Mitsu I see is the Eclipse. So, yes, their disappearance would be a real non-event.

  • avatar

    I would not miss Acura either. I honestly have no idea what they’re doing right now. I get Infiniti. I get Lexus. I don’t get Acura. Does Honda, even?

  • avatar

    Yes, Acura can die.

  • avatar

    “Nobody seems to mention that virtually all the cars are either cannibalistic shitboxes or uncompetitive black holes.”

    Fantastic… fantastic…

    I really was hoping GM and Chrysler would merge and bring the brands down to: Chevy, Dodge, Jeep, Cadillac.

    The car brand, the truck brand, the SUV brand, and the luxury brand.


    That wasn’t so hard, why can’t I be the Car Czar?

  • avatar

    Chrysler should sell premium cars. No vans, no trucks and no SUVs. Maybe Accord sized vehicles and larger? Nothing entry-level.

    Dodge should sell trucks, entry to mid-level cars and a few SUVs that don’t compete directly with Jeep.

    Jeep should sell only full-blown Jeep SUVs.

    However, it’s easy for me to declare the above to be the route to go. Unlike Chrysler’s managers, I don’t have to deal with the realities of the market place.

    Suburu, Mercury and GMC should also be put to sleep.

  • avatar

    Honda made the same mistake as GM. They changed the names of their replacement cars. Too bad Acura didn’t keep the Legend and Integra monikers. I have no clue as to what to make of Acura now.

  • avatar

    Yeah, Acura’s got problems also. I’ve bought or leased quite a few Acuras over the years. However, Acura doesn’t work for me anymore.

  • avatar

    The one nice thing about Suzuki being a dead brand walking is that the SX4 seems to be taking the same depreciation hit as the rebadged Daewoos. It’s tempting.

  • avatar

    Suzuki doesn’t need to die, they just need to sell their cars here instead of GMDAT’s. And the Vitara is actually a pretty decent little SUV, made the way they used to be; body on frame.

    I agree with the additions of Scion, Mercury, Acura.

    I also think the Jeep brand needs to FO&D. Keep the Wrangler around to be sold at Chrysler dealers, but instead of a brand it would just be a model. Drop the Wrangler name and call it a Jeep. If you must keep the Grand Cherokee, make it a Chrysler. Everything else at a Jeep store isn’t worth keeping.

  • avatar

    I’d like to get an SX-4. If they change the gearing to lower RPMs and improve the highway mileage it would be a better car. 29 on the highway is a bit low for a little car like that.

  • avatar

    Honda made the same mistake as GM. They changed the names of their replacement cars. Too bad Acura didn’t keep the Legend and Integra monikers. I have no clue as to what to make of Acura now.

    They changed the names because apparently they decided that “unfortunately, we’re too popular among boy racers and other people looking for performance. We would rather ditch those people and our hard-won brand identity and try to compete for the same people as Lexus and Infiniti.”

    Honda found that it’s much easier to destroy a brand image than to build a new one. Nice going, 馬鹿野郎

  • avatar

    1. Why is she wearing so many clothes…?

    2. Even as an Acura owner, I have to agree with the previous comments – Honda needs to fix Acura (so it stands for….something) or it has to go.

  • avatar

    shabster – kill Subaru? really?

  • avatar

    Interesting that Suzuki is huge in up and coming markets such as India (with partner, Maruta) and China, as well as being top-seller in the top-selling Kei class of cars in home market, Japan.

    Mitsubishi has also got a lot going for it, but I have written before that I think neither of them will exist long-term without seriously considering a merger between them. Given that Suzuki is stronger worldwide, and that Suzuki has the financial capabilities of developing (and will soon introduce) a Camcord competitor of their own (even in the US), my suggestion would be to call the company Suzuki-Mitsubishi, but badge the cars as Suzuki (to go along with motorcycles, outboard motors, etc., a la Honda).

    Put another way, Peugeot-Citroen group can’t be world-class without a US presence, and likewise Suzuki and Mitsubishi have (barely) survived in this country and this will enable them to come back well once the economy comes back.

    In other words, a company needs worldwide presence to be effective in marketing because the world is increasingly getting “smaller”.

    This will prove to be Chrysler’s big failure – unless Fiat simply demand that Fiat becomes the badge under which mass-market cars are sold under in the US.

  • avatar

    Jerome10: Ditto on the Smart. I got a strange feeling of warmth seeing my local Smart dealer brimming with cars on the lot that last year displayed 3 or 4 units.

    Also, is there a reason for both Kia and Hyundai?

  • avatar

    Author: dcdriver

    Yeah. But, please don’t take offense. Subaru simply doesn’t offer the kind of vehicles that interest me. I’m kinda from the ’60s. Who knows, perhaps Subaru sells well enough to justify their existence?

    I’ve been wrong many, many times.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Suzuki is alive well and living in Europe and in Japan. Their concentration on small cars has served them well. The Swift is the way the Mini should have been, and everybody wants to have one. The Splash is a practical little car that drives well — almost best in class. The new Alto shows its Indian roots but is not too bad on the value for money circuit.

    The American market does not appreciate small cars. It would be silly to bet on this situation staying so forever, so Suzuki is smart to keep its toes in the water. I wouldn’t diss them.

  • avatar

    Subaru definitely sells well enough to justify their existance; they just didn’t sell well enough to justify having their own massive factory in Indiana. So, when GM owned most of Fuji Heavy (i.e. “Subaru”) it did its usual mismanaging job of trying to increase sales by rebadging Subarus for sale by Saab dealers, and developing a huge SUV for sale by Subaru (thankfully, not GM SUV based, as the Saab SUV was).

    Now, with Toyota having purchased the chunk of Fuji Heavy (“Subaru”) that GM used to own, Toyota Camry and Subaru cars are both manufactured in the Indiana plant and therefore made it more viable (assuming that our economy does not go dust-to-dust, earth-to-earth).

    Originally, when GM part-owned both Fuji AND Isuzu, Subaru and Isuzu shared this Indiana plant – until Isuzu sales evaporated and they handed their 1/2 to Subaru.

  • avatar

    I agree Martin. Plus, Suzuki have a good name here in the US, in their outboard motors and motorcycles.

    It’d be insane not to capitalize on that, just as Honda has done.

    A Suzuki-Mitsubishi combination would actually enable dealers to sell these cars in the US (some of which are arriving on our shores “soon”) – and some of which that are now being sold, could obviously go away. Not forgetting that Suzuki has a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario; Mitsubishi has a plant in Normal, Illinois. I’d go with this line-up:


    iMEIV electric (J)
    Swift (add production for the US/Can to Can)
    SX4 (J)
    Lancer (move production for the US/Can to the US from J)
    Evo (J)
    Outlander (move production for the US/Can to the US from J)
    Kizashi (all-new D-class sedan) (J)

    Equator (US/mfd by Nissan on contract)

    Keeping the pickup, even with very low sales, is simply a means of keeping up appearances of having a “full car and truck line-up” and a means of keeping some Suzuki motorcycle and marine faithfuls in the fold.

    I also would not write off Suzuki. They are just in need of a decent distribution network (dealers) in North America and some marketing money.

    I hear there are a batch of ex-GM and ex-Chrysler dealers looking for new franchises…

  • avatar

    Sorry for the re-post but I can’t edit.

    Once gasoline goes to $4.25 again in the US, perhaps as early as summer 2009, Suzuki will be in a good position. Especially if they can start bringing in the promised Swift cars sooner rather than later.

    Don’t chuckle; gas has gone up over 50 cents a gallon in 2 1/2 weeks, where I live.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I have seen some fabulous Suzuki four-wheelers. Why in the heck GM didn’t bring those in while Suzuki was part of their planet is a great mystery.

    Shenanigans and branding in automobiles goes way back. Look up “Wolseley” for more info.

  • avatar

    Just what are we suppose to make in the US.

  • avatar

    I remember when Chrysler was only the Newport, New Yorker and Imperial. Nothing was like a Dodge or Plymouth either.
    If all these brands would go, and I agree with all so far, but I don’t want the selection to be reduced so can we bring Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Fiat, SEAT, Opel and maybe Skoda here?
    Rod Panhard- The Geo/Chevy Tracker was a Suzuki 4WD

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    “Like most of the second tier Suzuki has a grand total of one good car. The SX4.”

    What about the Swift? Fantastic little car. The Jimny is a credible Wrangler mini-me at a bargain price. The Alto is good value too. The Splash isn’t crap.

    -> 5 good Suzukis.

    @Jason :
    “I would not miss Acura either. I honestly have no idea what they’re doing right now. I get Infiniti. I get Lexus.”

    I don’t get Lexus and Infiniti either. A Lexus is an expensive Toyota, Infiniti is an expensive Nissan – so why make up a fancy new name, instead of naturally extending the core brand upwards?

    Calling the G37 the “Skyline sedan” would have made more sense – in the long term, sub-brands kill customer loyalty. My first car was a Nissan. If they had anything I’d be interested in today, I wouldn’t drive a BMW now.

  • avatar

    That’s an inappropriate shooting stance! If she were really shooting that gun, the recoil would knock her shoulder out of socket!

    I can’t bring myself to start talking about which brands should live and which should die. I just don’t care, that’s all.

  • avatar

    How about Opel? I find it hard to think of any Opel worth going into debt for. Saab has fallen a long way from quirky cars for individualists to little more than badge engineered wonder. Stand in front of the wall facing those men with the rifles, please. Put on the blindfold, if you want.

    How about Renault, purveyors of weird and unreliable contraptions? Come to think of it, Peugeot and Citroen are not much better. French cars? Don’t do it.

    On the luxury end of the market, who needs a Maybach? Bentleys have become little more than over-engineered Volkswagens. The Bugatti Veyron may be a triumph of engineering, but is of little relevance to those of us who have to finance our four-wheeled friends.

  • avatar

    menno :
    June 3rd, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    “I agree Martin. Plus, Suzuki have a good name here in the US, in their outboard motors and motorcycles.”

    I don’t know about their outboards but when it comes to motorcycles they aren’t that great. The Suzuki Boulevard is a pretty bike but doesn’t ride as well nor is as reliable as a Yamaha V-Star.

  • avatar

    I just bought a 2008 new Forenza yesterday. Best value in the market. For cars, Suzuki is my favorite for best value. Best warranty, it is transferable to new owners.
    For motorcycles, Kawasaki is best, Suzuki is a close second. Honda is about out of the low cost end of them market here in the US.
    Suzuki has kept the GS500 and the SV650 as affordable bikes.

  • avatar

    GMC actually has a reasonable rationale. It’s just one that GM can’t afford. GMC trucks are “professional grade” – the big bruisers. They could merge them with Chevy. In their desperation mode, keeping a separate brand is silly. Ford doesn’t seem to need a separate badge to sell F350s.

    Buick, Saab, Saturn: all should be dead. Hummer at least stands for something, which is perhaps why it has been sold and Saturn and Saab are still on the block.

    Pontiac I almost feel bad about…but then I remember my wife’s minivan and the idea of a Pontiac minivan so perfectly illustrates what went wrong with GM’s brand confusion that I don’t feel bad anymore.

    I don’t get Hyundai AND Kia. Kia: really cheap cars. Hyundai: er, really cheap cars. What’s the difference?

    I get Infiniti (though it’s doesn’t have the same cachet as Lexus). I don’t get Acura.

    Suzuki and Mitsubishi…who will be the next Isuzu?

    And one more I’ll throw out…as a brand to watch for future decline…Volkswager. I’m still waiting for a Volkswagen I’d like to buy here in the USA. Seriously – I can’t even pronounce half their lineup. The new Beetle in 2011 (“the cutesy bug-eye look, rounded shape, and bulbous roofline woudl be replaced by a more aggressive style with a sportier stance and a couple-style roof” – Wikipedia) makes me suspect they are in for a period of going astray.

  • avatar

    If there is one brand that needs to die, it is GMC. There is absolutely no difference between a GMC Sierra and a Chevy Silverado, a Tahoe and a Yukon, or a Traverse and an Acadia. Chevy has heavy duty trucks just like GMC, the only thing ‘professional grade’ about GMC is the ad campaign. Killing off GMC entirely would also allow GM to merge Buick with Cadillac dealerships, and let Buick serve as what it is – a poor man’s Caddy, let Buick make the entry level luxo cars, and move Caddy further upmarket.

    I love Acura, and think they have a very solid meaning behind the brand – Acura is luxury with precision. Technology, bullet proof reliability, fuel economy, power, handling, everything in perfect balance. Personally I really dig the new acura look with the guillotine grill as well. I’d much sooner buy an Acura than anything from Lexus or Infiniti were I in the market for a Japanese luxury car.

    Mercury is on its way out already. As Ford continues to consolidate Lincoln/Mercury dealerships with Ford dealerships there becomes less and less of a reason to produce the Mercury brand twins. For right now they are nice to have, as some people prefer the more subdued exterior styling of the Mercury line to the Ford line, but I suppose they could just offer appearance packages to the Fords when Mercury does finally dissapear.

  • avatar

    She really should be wearing safety glasses.
    :- )

  • avatar

    I know the current Acura and current/future Subaru lineups don’t impress, but it it not like these brands have been lost for years.

    You could easily make the case for Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki. I’d like to see these brands ‘replaced’ by Peugeot and Citroën in the US, which are at least interesting, even if the product quality isn’t higher.

    The future viability of Saab is questionable, even if they could become more independent. I think it’s a “damaged brand” going forward, easily. /boblutz

    Buick and Mercury are on the down-trend, with Mercury disappearing first and Buick later (after the necessary reinvention thing, a la Oldsmobile).

    I don’t care for Toyota or VW (where is our Scirocco?), but they are not going anywhere. If GM went into a REAL Chapter 11 bankruptcy where it was able to quickly trim the fat, and if Chrysler was allowed to fail, and the Japanese stopped funneling money to Mitsubishi Motors, etc then the US market would have breathing space for the remaining players (Ford, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, etc).

    I’d like a report from Bertel Schmitt on what’s going on with Mazda and Mitsubishi. Who/what/how is Mitsubishi Motors being funded as a going concern, and who owns Mazda now that Ford is a non-controlling small-share owner?

    Ultimately, those wanting various American, European, and Japanese brands to vacate the market are basically saying they don’t mind Chinese and Indian cars (likely sold at Wal-Mart and/or former Chrysler dealers) clogging our highways. I’m not ready for that yet – just not ready.

    I wouldn’t call the Scion project a ‘success’ for Toyota. The future of Acura is a part of the future of Honda – will they sell bloated, utilitarian vehicles (“Toyota Lite”), or will they get back to some kind of sporting roots?

    Nissan and Infiniti need to cut down substantially on SUVs and other large vehicles, not bring a ‘Murano convertible.’ Yuck. Not many brands have a decent lineup of sedans, trucks, and vans, especially the Altima and Maxima. When you look at a Nissan or Toyota, you can see where other brands fall short.

  • avatar

    Looking at Toyota, the current lineup looks more like a domestic than an import.

    Honda – 1 dedicated hybrid: Insight, 1 subcompact: Fit, 1 compact: Civic, 1 midsize: Accord, 1 sporty car: S2000, 1 compact-pickup: Ridgeline, 2 mini-CUVs: Element and CRV, 1 midsize CUV: Pilot, and 1 minivan: Odyssey, total vehicles – 10.

    Nissan – 1 subcompact: Versa, 1 compact: Sentra, 2 midsize: Altima and Maxima, 1 sporty: 370Z, 1 compact pickup: Frontier, 1 full-size pickup: Titan, 1 compact CUV: Rogue, 1 Midsize CUV: Murano, 2 mid-size SUVs: Xterra and Pathfinder, 1 full-size SUV: Armada, 1 minvan: Quest, and 1 supercar: GT-R total vehicles – 13

    Toyota/Scion – 1 dedicated hybrid: Prius, 1 subcompact: Yaris, 5 compacts: Corolla, Matrix, tC, xB, xD, 1 midsize: Camry (also includes the Solara), 1 fullsize: Avalon, 1 compact CUV: Rav4, 2 midsize CUVs: Highlander and Venza, 2 midsize SUVs: FJ Cruiser and 4Runner, 2 large SUVs: Sequoia and Land Cruiser, 1 compact pickup: Tacoma, 1 fullsize pickup: Tundra, and 1 minivan: Sienna. total vehicles – 19, take the Scion away and you are still at 16 models

    Total Chevy lineup* – 7 cars (HHR, Corvette, Malibu, Impala, Aveo, Cobalt, Camaro), 4 pickups (Colorado, Silverado, Silverado HD, Avalanch), 4 SUVs/CUVs (Traverse, Equinox, Tahoe, Suburban), 1 Van – total 15 vehicles

    Total Ford Lineup* – 4 cars (Focus, Fusion, Taurus, Mustang), 4 pickups (Ranger, F150, Super Duty, Explorer Sport-Trac), 5 CUVs/SUVs (Escape, Edge, Flex, Explorer, Expedition), 1 Van (E-series) – total 14 vehicles

    * – models discontinued after this year not counted.

  • avatar

    I owned a two-door, soft top Suzauki Sidekick for nine years. No problems what so ever. I got rid of it because my family grew with the addition of our first child and our second soon on the way.

    Unfortunately, Suzuki stopped making the 4 door Sidekick. Pity. I would have bought a new one version. The models on the lot felt loose and flimsy.

    Kill Chrysler. Sell Dodge trucks and Jeep 4 wheel drive vehicles to someone else. Let’s move on, folks. GM should just be liquidated to the highest bidder.

    It’s called creative destruction for a reason. Too bad the numbskulls in Washington have not read their Schumpeter.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Gotta jump in here on the motorcycle side.

    Suzuki makes fabulous bikes. They stole German tech in 1950s and took off and never looked back.

    Cant speak to Boulevard, it being a cruiser, but they have 20 years of unbeatable GSXR bikes. Whats better than GSXR series for that style of riding? Nothing yet.

    Their SV series is a long standing hit in several flavors.


    Honda, Yamaha and Kawi are all clustered closely with Suzuki. The problem with all of them in USA is they dont bring their most interesting bikes here. 600s are starter bikes here, the market is out of whack.

    Triumph is cool, BMW is weird but approaching normal with latest 4s.

    Harley is oddball, selling on tradition. Separate niche from motorcycles, Harleys are “bikes”. People only cross shop cruisers with them.

    So, there are no less than great mainstream motorcycle companies selling product in US.

    -Has anyone upsized tires on a Suzuki SX to raise the gearing? It sure looks small up close.

  • avatar

    She could clean my weapon anytime.

  • avatar

    The only problem with killing all these brands is the lack of choices we’ll be left with. Pretty soon you’ll be stuck with either a Ford or a Toyota. How’s that for FUN? UGH!

    I think the real problem is two fold: on one side you have these silly NICHE brands – like Hummer and Mini. While on the other side you have companies like Mitsubishi trying to have a full line up when they only offer one decent car (the Evo).

    So I’m going to predict it now… in 10 years people are going to laugh at Mini as a brand, because they will be out of business when the “retro-ness” wears out, or they will be over bloated with too many models as they attempt to “expand the brand” with the Mini SUV (Wrangler clone), the Mini Max (4-door), the Mini Hauler (pickup) and the Mini Micro (tiny EV). Why not just save themselves now and rebrand the current Mini as the BMW .5i and leave it at that?

  • avatar

    Mirko Reinhardt:

    The Swift is hardly fantastic. We had a rental one for about four days, and it was “serviceable” and “adequate”, which is far from fantastic. The only tiny car (sold here) I can think of that approaches that lofty description is the Fit.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    If you think Lang is hot about this, you should listen to Alan Mulally.

  • avatar

    @johnny ro :
    June 3rd, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    “Gotta jump in here on the motorcycle side.”

    I can’t argue about the GSXR rice rockets, I ride cruisers. I test rode a Boulevard and wasn’t impressed with it compared to the V-Stars.

    Triumphs Rocket 3 has a huge 2300cc in-line triple in it that I think is way to much for a cruiser but is fun to ride :)

    BMW is still a great bike, if memory serves me that’s what the Goldwings were patterned after.

    Harley Davidson, about the best thing they have going for them is resale and oil leaks although I do like the Electra Glide and some of the newer bikes such as the V Rod, first water cooled Harley i have ever seen and quick too.

    Next bike I get is going to be a Road Star Silverado ;)

  • avatar

    I agree on GMC.
    -Why the hell don’t they just roll the successful ones into Chevy and make GMC a Heavy-Trucks-Only company?

    Btw, I know it’s anathema to suggest a 2.8 co make fewer trucks.

    They could even upsell a special trim/series under Chevy like the G-Series or Pro-Series, for the kept models that sell better.
    Ex: more Tahoes move than Yukons, so keep the Tahoe, ditch the Yukon. It becomes the rep for it’s class and the top trim is the GMC-vibed Tahoe Pro-Series.

    Meh, whatever…

  • avatar
    George B

    Regarding the Acura comments, yes there is a severe Honda/Acura brand overlap problem, but Acura used to have more attractive styling. The previous generation TL is a better looking Accord or TL than the current “Supersize Me” models. Bet it would still sell well with relatively inexpensive interior and engine upgrades.

    Infiniti = near luxury performance without German repair bills.

    Lexus = serene luxury without German repair bills.

  • avatar

    superfast for Car Czar.

  • avatar

    The last (and only) Mitsubishi I kinda-sorta wanted was the first generation Diamante station wagon. I have come to notice that every Mitsubishi I see on the road that is more than about 8 years old burns oil. Sometimes just a few puffs when accelerating from a light, but it’s unmistakable

    As for Chrysler and Dodge, it’s a shame that they went in the wrong direction. If the previous generation Sebring convertible and the first-generation LHS had never been built, and you introduced them today as replacements for the existing Sebring and 300, they would be seen as vast improvements. I saw a well preserved early LHS in town about a week ago and I was amazed with how well the design stands the test of time. It looks miles better than anything the company builds today. Whatever handling improvements the Germans installed in the 300 could surely be designed into the LHS without changing the styling.

  • avatar

    superfast for Car Czar…I’m down with that. If he or someone in his family is a big Obama donor he’s a shoo-in.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    superfast, I would abbreviate it to…

    ( )

    GM doesn’t need a government. It needs the opportunity to restructure without a government. I believe a simple Chevy/Cadillac combination would do wonders. But a non-GM sourced management team would probably find an even better answer to the branding issue.

    Brands that will need to die off in the next five years, but haven’t officially taken the dirt nap yet, include…

    Mercury: I didn’t put it on the list because I already knew that the readers at TTAC haven’t stepped into their dealerships since the 1980’s.

    Volvo: I believe Hyundai should snap up the brand and sell the Genesis derived vehicles under that name. The rest of Volvo should either wither or stay with Ford in some fashion.

    Dodge and Jeep: Sell off Chrysler…. period. It’s not a viable company. Hopefully their cars will be made of better quality components if someone else builds them.

    Scion: Toyota doesn’t need a young brand. They need Toyotas that appeal to young people.

    Maybach: Pointless

    Kia: This one will be a surprise. But I don’t see how Hyundai really needs another budget brand. A lot of the MSM like Hyundai and falsely believe that their quality is top notch. It’s not. They’re pretenders. But perception is far more important than reality when it comes to the car business.

    Sustaining a ‘Kia’ division forces Hyundai to build two versions of the same car in some critical segments. For example, the Sonata will never overtake the Camry so long as they have to spend their resources building an Optima along side it. The same is true for virtually everything else the two companies have shared (Entourage/Sedona, Azera/Amanti). Hyundai should spin off Kia and perhaps sell their stock to the public.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    By the way, there was an interesting discussion at TTAC a few weeks ago that touched the very same points:

  • avatar

    Suzuki is a motorcycle company. Period. I actually like Mercurys, the waterfall grill is better looking than the Fords.
    Chrysler? Liquidation.
    GM? Liquidation.

    I drive a 1953 Packard which is more alive than those two aformentioned firms.

  • avatar

    i dont agree with Suzuki, maybe Suzuki of America, but Suzuki has a lot going for it especially with their expertise in small cars. the next Swift will be awesome.

    Mitsubishi i think deserves credit because they have clawed their way back from the verge of bankruptcy. i think they’re currently in their “late 90’s Mazda”. before their Mazda6 reinvention, Mazda was building dull cars in order to survive. i think Mitsubishi will go through the same process.

    i actually agree with Chrysler. Nothing in their entire multibrand lineup is worth saving except perhaps the Grand Cherokee

  • avatar

    I haven’t understood Acura since the death of the Integra and their move to naming cars with insignificant letter/number combinations.

    Acura, Lexus, Infinti were all created as a means of expanding sales of imported cars, if memory serves. I believe back-in-the-day the parent companies were limited to the number of vehicles they could import without some sort of penalty, so the solution per the government was “if you want to set up a seperate brand/dealer network we’ll call them different cars”. The Japanese called their bluff. I think this was along the same lines as Toyota importing pickups without beds and having US made beds installed back in the 1980s; merely a way of getting around some US law.

    As for Mitsubishi, it is funny mentioning the oil smoke. That’s how I could always tell which engine was in a Chrysler minivan I was following. Blue smoke = Mitsubishi 2.6. I worked for Hyundai back in the early 1990s and most of the drivetrain was Mitsubishi. Hence, most of the failures were parts stamped with the Diamond. Once Hyundai started making their own engines, suddenly all my techs had to do were oil changes and a/c kit installations. Mitsubishi is, to me, the exception to the rule that Japanese cars are all infallible. They are crap, the parts distribution sucks, and the resale value is non-existent. The sooner they join Isuzu the better.

  • avatar

    Do we really need Acura, Scion, Mistubishi, Isuzu, Kia and a soon to be parade of Chinese copy kat lead tainted junk? Opening the door on any of these cars reveals a smell akin to recyled chemical garbage which is enough to make me steer clear. GM should have eliminated Buick, Saturn, Saab and Hummer not Pontiac which is there only youth oriented performance division with a history of expressive designs that stood out from the ordinary Chevys.

  • avatar

    Anyone else think of Sideshow Bob’s tattoo “The, Bart, The”

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