By on June 19, 2011

Nothing drives like a Mercedes. Toyotas are reliable… but expensive. Honda makes great stickshifts. 20 years ago you could say all of these statements with complete confidence. The world had been a simpler place with brands that offered a very stringent range of offerings to a very particular audience. Now it seems that all the lines of differentiation have been smudged and greyed out.

Subaru, a brand that had been one of the ultimate niche brand providers for decades is now diving headlong into the mainstream. VW is right there behind them with a line-up that ranges from de-contented Jettas to Porsche shared Touaregs. Scion, Toyota’s youth brand, has been supersized for the middle-aged. Buicks are all of a sudden sporty. Chrysler now offers premium interiors. And Honda? Who knows? Except TTAC’s Best & Brightest. What would you say is a ‘given’ in today’s market as far as brands go.

 

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151 Comments on “Hammer Time: It’s A Given!...”


  • avatar
    Strippo

    GMC sells rebadged Chevy trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      fiasco

      The Chevy engineers designed and built the whole truck

      The GMC engineers designed the hubcaps and emblems. — Smokey Yunick

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, I had hoped that since we, the people, had bailed out GM, GMC and Buick would have been sold off to China or who ever wanted them.

      GM should have been downsized to only Chevrolet and Cadillac, and GM should have divested itself from subsidiaries like Opel and Daewoo. But hey, that may yet happen. We can only hope.

      Just like we can only hope to see all that bail out money get paid back. That’s a pipe dream because GM cannot stand on its own without tax payer funding and won’t be able to do so for decades, if ever.

      GM doesn’t have decades. GM will eventually have to move to where they can make money. China comes to mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        highdesertcat Said:

        “Yeah, I had hoped that since we, the people, had bailed out GM, GMC and Buick would have been sold off to China or who ever wanted them.

        GM should have been downsized to only Chevrolet and Cadillac, and GM should have divested itself from subsidiaries like Opel and Daewoo. But hey, that may yet happen. We can only hope.”

        GMC is a waste of money and focus for GM.

        Daewoo and Opel are very critical, as is Buick.

        Buick is next to useless in the USA granted. A Buick by Chevrolet line would be fine here, but Buick is the number 1 car in China. Notice how the new La Crosse has big back doors? Thats because it’s a limo in China.

        Opel is in trouble, but Opel gives R&D to satisfy demanding European drivers and more volume if GM ever gets smart like, say, Toyota, VW and Ford to name 3 other big manufacturers who have the same basic chassis and component set world wide (ok the VW USA line is an exception – but the same basic parts are used in many areas of those vehicles, but sadly not world class trim).

        Daewoo? Design and cheap manufacturing.

        GM will stand on it’s own – they are making tons of money and will continue to do so unfortunately from all appearances making mainly mediocre boring cars that are in the thick of their class in features reliability and durability – but never leading…

      • 0 avatar
        Bryce

        GM inNA has proved repeatedly it cannot build cars worth driving it needs Opel Daewoo and Holden to do this or there aint any saleable product, just a few outdated pickups.

    • 0 avatar
      musiccitymafia

      Uhhh … yes. One set of engineers and then some marketing and design folks to rebadge them. Minimal incremental manufacturing costs.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        And by adding some uplevel features, increase sticker price by $5K to $15K (for Denali level trim) and count the profits.

        The way I understand it:

        Buick survived because of China

        GMC survived because on paper it was the only “profitable” GM division even during the meltdown – additionally it gives Buick dealers a “full” product line with the GMC truck division.

        Selling Buick off would have been a huge mistake for GM. China is the world’s most important automotive market moving forward, and will remain so – it is a sheer issue of population and growing GDP. India will eventually run over Japan and North America for the number two sport, probably within the next 7 to 10 years.

        As Japan’s population ages and their younger generation could care less about cars, the new world order by 2020 will probably be:

        1) China (growing)
        2) India (fastest growth rate in the world)
        3) United States/Canada (in decline)
        4) Japan (in faster decline than United States)
        5) Brazil (slow growth)
        6) Russia (growing)

        This bars some huge break through on fuel cells, hydrogen infrastructure, or giant leap in battery technology.

    • 0 avatar

      GMC full-size trucks were rebadged Chevies from 1967-1999. They had shared bodies before but had mostly distinct drivetrain options before ’67.

      Starting in 1999, the sheetmetal became differentiated. The family resemblance is there and they use common drivetrains but there’s now a difference in much of the sheetmetal.

  • avatar
    mikey

    The trend of “keeping the vehicle longer” has changed a lot of folks perceptions.

    Japanese cars can, and do, break. Japanese dealers, and service departments have gone downhill. In the relentless quest for volume and market share, Honda,Toyota, and Nissan are blowing it the same way the domestics did.

    Given…Mazda makes some of the best looking cars on the road. However they are way behind everybody else with rust control.

    Another given…Hyundai/Kia are kicking everybodys a$$. Whatever thier doing. The domestics, and Japanese better start paying attention.

    Whats might stop them? Long term reliability,and resale value? I guess that will remain to be seen.

    BMW and Merc, are for folks willing to pay for the German car experience.

    The domestics have made huge strides,but they still have a long way to go. Living down the “percieved quality” issues will take a long time. GM, Ford and Chrysler cannot let up.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Mikey, I don’t remember if you said how long you’ve been off the line, but if you assisted in building my 2004 Impala, I must say: “Well Done”!

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ Zackman..I walked by that line every day. Oh yeah,and I ate my lunch beside the stamping press that made the body sides. My last 12 years were behind a desk.

        I’m so glad you love your 04, with some TLC you will get years of great service.

        I recieved an 09 LTZ, as part of my GM retirement package. I love it,and will drive it till either I die,or it dies.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Given – 99% of cars sold are positional goods. If we really only cared about low cost transport from A to B, then we’d all just pick something from the Hyundai lineup. The lines of differentiation are smudged because all manufacturers want to try to get more market share.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Hyundai’s have become too expensive, perhaps Kia?

    • 0 avatar
      Strippo

      I’m in the market for A to B right now. I’m not sure GDI will hold up for 250,000 miles. If Honda and Toyota have something going for them, it’s the fact that they haven’t kept up with bleeding edge engine tech. Then again, the masses don’t think like I do. I’m leaning toward Honda as the old tech carmaker that offers efficient cars possessing a nodding acquaintance with the road and sweet sticks. (Sorry, Toyota.)

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        In both cars and houses, bleeding-edge technology has been, more often than not, a disaster for its buyers. This has much to do with the limited ability to find people who understand it well enough to fix it.

        Toyota’s hybrids seem to be a happy exception so far, probably because they’ve been reliable enough to become common before they’ve needed much fixing.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        The Lexus LS460 is known for great reliability and has GDI, and more HP and better MPG the the LS430…Just like fuel injection its likely that GDI will be very reliable…
        BTW, the Lexus LS460 is a Toyota. The GS300 has GDI too…as does the 2.0 L VW turbo 4 cyl used in Audi’s too, GM has it in the 3.6 L v/6 since 2006 or so, Ford Eco boast has it, and I think we can guess that MBZ, BMW and Porsche also have GDI, or as it’s more commonly called DI.

        I am a very slow adopter of new automotive technology but DI has been around for almost a decade in high end vehicles and about 3-4 years on consumer priced cars. I think that the bugs have been worked out and it is fine for 250K miles. Tell me, how many fuel injection systems when treated to regular filter changes and decent quality gas make it 250K?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Mr. K,

        The Lexus direct injection example is illustrative, because Lexus equips their direct injection cars with port injectors too. They do so because direct injection doesn’t keep intake valves and ports clean of carbon build up, and Lexus cars are engineered to not need to have their heads removed for cleaning and repairs at regular intervals. It is one reason I won’t buy any car with DI that doesn’t have the redundancy of port injectors. Other cars with direct injection have had plenty of problems, either with build up in the intake ports or with their high pressure fuel systems. Many high end cars are built to be relatively trouble free during their warranty periods and that’s it. Carrying this over to appliance cars doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Rule #1. If Honda and Toyota don’t offer some gimic, it is because the gimic results in a less reliable product. Direct injection, if done cheaply, is a total gimic.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The Lexus direct injection example is illustrative, because Lexus equips their direct injection cars with port injectors too.

        The 4GR-FSE used in the IS250 lacks this redundancy and as result it seems that it needs an engine cleanup every 50K or so.

      • 0 avatar
        Strippo

        GDI = Ginger
        VTEC = Mary Ann

        I know which one I’d sooner marry.

      • 0 avatar
        ppxhbqt

        Just because an extra port is Toyota’s solution doesn’t mean it’s the only one. GM and Ford have both recently told AO that other tricks like new injectors and carefully controlling valve events keep deposits down. Carefully designed, “clean” EGR systems are important, too. Ford even showed an engine that had been badly abused and took it apart in front of an audience and it wasn’t badly carboned. Also, Cadillac owners aren’t so far complaining of the type of fowling that Audi has seen. Hyundai, too, showed a high mileage engine that just had normal levels of carbon deposits despite being GDI. The notion that because Honda and Toyota aren’t doing it means it’s wrong is just silly. They are both being slow with 6-speed autos, especially at the lower end, and I’ve yet to see a good reason for that.

        http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/06/direct-injection-fouls-some-early-adopters.html

        http://www.autoblog.com/2009/11/23/hyundais-new-2-4l-gdi-four-cylinder-hits-up-to-200hp-in-sonata/

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        A good reason for not going to more ratios than the ignorant market demands is that the choice when adding ratios is more weight or smaller, frailer gears. That isn’t a good reason that you see, but that’s why I wouldn’t buy a car that you’ve endorsed.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @CJ: “A good reason for not going to more ratios than the ignorant market demands is that the choice when adding ratios is more weight or smaller, frailer gears…”

        Using that same logic, defending US mfrs for not upgrading to ‘better’ components will get you a lot of comments painting you as a Luddite or worse. But, this isn’t about US mfrs…

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        I was unaware of the carbon build up on the intakes with DI. I do note that no one has said anything about the longevity of DI hardware.

        Carbon on intakes is a definite problem, yet Toyota has a inelegant solution in the LS460 according to reports above. When it comes to mass market vehicles like Ford and GM I can say this – while working ata Buick/GMC dealer I saw 1 high pressure fuel pump fail on a 2010 Enclave. We have seen 09 Acadia’s (Enclave, Acadia and Traverse share the same 3.6 DI engine)with over 100k.

        Ford has torn down a test bed of their DI Ecoboost (under lab conditions albeit run hard) with little problem.

        Hyundai has 5/60 (I think) bumper to bumper and 10/100 powertrain.

        The longivity of DI components is not an issue here. The carbon problem is a potential issue, however worst case you do what the BMW recall in 1986 or so did – pull the intake and shoot walnut shells into the intake port under high air pressure. The shells scrubbed the upper cylinder clean – perhaps they will also have to shoot shells down into the cylinder through the spark plug hole – making sure that the intake valve was fully open. Walnut shells are soft enough to cause no damage to cylinders and rings and at least in the intake they were no issue – perhaps modern cats will be harmed by the burned shell remains and this will not work, but there is to my mind little reason to sacrifice the performance and mileage boost that DI affords.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        BMW and VW are/were having terrible problems with high pressure fuel pumps used in their DI motors. I would suspect that this could pose some serious long term durability issues if these pumps are failing at very low mileage already.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Mr K,

        Cars that are driven over 50K miles a year aren’t driven in the typical stop and go, short trip cycles typical of the average 14K mile a year driver. Running highway speeds under constant load, constant operating temperature proves very little about the suitability of GM’s DI V6 for most applications. Unless you’re going to say that these are DI CUV taxicabs, you’ve done little to suggest that physics of combustion don’t apply to GM products.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        The fact that your post does not address the reliability of the GM DI system hardware seems to indicate that you cede any question about reliability of the DI hardware.

        Your point about *potential* carbon deposits is correct but it will be 10 years before the final judgement is in on GM DI.

        With 3 years of GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave experience and 4 years of Cadillac CTS experience with all sorts of drivers under all sorts of conditions it’s quite safe to say that the GM DI system is quite good in the real world. Perfect? Too soon to tell!

        I think Ford and Hyundai also have learned from the Germans what not to do and their systems will be fine as will the second generation systems from the fatherland.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        If GM does something better than everyone else, that is great. Personally, I’m going to take a wait and see approach to this. There is no harm in buying a car that I know will serve me well, but it would hurt to spend a few years with one that is unreliable and then worthless come trade in time.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      The fact that BMW, VW and Mbz are having trouble with their high pressure pumps is oh so sad. Looks like Toyota and GM have a few trouble free years under their belts on the same component.

      Hyundai has 6/60 bumper to bumper and 10/100 powertrain. I think their high pressure pumps will be ok too!

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Since 1953 the constant has been Chevrolet Corvette.

    Since 1964 the one constant has been, “Ford Mustang.” (I’m one of those people who beileves that the Mustang II was actually close to the spirt of the original in its intent.

    • 0 avatar
      fiasco

      I’ll give you that on INTENT, but execution….not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        The Mustang II was the perfect car for the times. Sales figures bear this out. Fortunately, the times did not last.

        It’s destined to become the rarest of Mustangs, not through any particular virtue of its own. Mine was an OK car for a malaisemobile. And it remains one of the tiniest places you can stuff a smallblock Ford and still generate one g of cornering force.

      • 0 avatar

        Funny you should mention the Mustang II. I got the opportunity today to talk with Howard “Buck” Mook, the Ford designer who led the Mustang II design. He says the same thing, that it was the right car for the times.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Were it not for the Mustang II, countless street rods would not have the benefit of rack-and-pinion steering. I often wonder how it would’ve been received had Ford chosen not to saddle it with the “II” suffix.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I’m all for the Corvette. A few years ago I got to drive a buddy’s 2000 ‘Vette and that was a car that was a real sweetheart to drive, something – aside from fuel economy – I could live with everyday.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Agree with the ‘Vette. If you look at the size, weight, and mission, it stayed (mostly)true. Even the ‘Vette suffered during the Malaise Era but the damage was corrected. I wish BMW M cars followed that same path, but they bought the lame bigger is always better line. Chevy should be commended for keeping the weight as constant as it did.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Honda now makes a Accord in the sky?

  • avatar
    fredtal

    When cars were made by MEN (and yea I’m being sexist here cause I can’t think of any women who made cars) they made what they liked. Surely not perfect, but unique Heck sometimes they were only made to fund a racing program. With only a few exceptions now days it’s all about corporate profits and demographics, less about the car.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Surely not perfect, but unique Heck sometimes they were only made to fund a racing program.

      They still make cars like that, and back in the day they cranked out Falcons and Valiants in the millions. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

      We only remember the exceptional products, while the stuff that most people bought in quantity has been resigned to the trashcan of history.** This is universal.

      ** I hear similar arguments about music. People remember, say, Let It Be but tend to forget that You’re Having My Baby was also a top hit. The point is that music isn’t that much better or worse, but that things don’t change as much as people think they do, and that if society really was going to hell in a handbasket (as every generation has been claiming for the past two centuries) you’d think we’d have gotten there by now.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        @Psarhjinian
        I agree wholeheartedly about the cars but not on the music. Any member of the Monkees (or Tommy Roe or Boyce and Hart) could whip Justin Bieber. :)

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        Two centuries? How about for the entire recorded history of man. Plato and Aristotle were whining about those damn kids thousands of years ago.

        I suspect that when man figured out how to make fire, the old cavemen were bitching about how being able to cook your meat was turning all these kids into pussies.

  • avatar
    creamy

    Acura: Acuraren’t.
    Audi: We’re better than BMW and Mercedes. Really.
    BMW: Cars for people who care more about making money than the driving experience.
    Buick: China!
    Cadillac: The BMW of automobiles.
    Chevy: Design! Engineering! Meh!
    Chrysler: We’ll save Detroit. Really.
    Dodge: Get out of (a) Dodge.
    Ferrari: Go fast. Pay lots.
    Ford: Nice cars at near-obscene prices.
    GMC: Who now?
    Honda and Toyota: Cars for people who should really be buying Hyundais.
    Hyundai: Honda and Toyota better watch their backs…oh, hello there, Kia.
    Infiniti: All your base are belong to us.
    Jeep: Needed for the potholes. Really.
    Kia: Out-hyundaiing Hyundai.
    Lamborghini: Go fast. Pay lotser.
    Mazda: Gloom gloom gloom.
    Mercedes: We used to make amazing, expensive cars. We now make amazingly expensive cars.
    Mini: Lol carz.
    Mitsubishi: Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!
    Nissan: It’s electric. Boogie woogie.
    Porsche: Pay for it, biatches.
    Subaru: All the ugliness of old without the quirkiness. Environment!
    Suzuki: We make more than motorcycles. Really.
    Volvo: Too boring to make up a “given.”
    VW: We’re European. Not Chevy-like at all. Really.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Love the Cadillac line.

      Ferrari could also have: Only if you’ve already bought a used one.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I like your Ferrari line, but I don’t know if it is true any longer. Last time I was at Ferrari of La Jolla, they’d added a new showroom accross the street to hold all the unsold new 2-seat Ferraris. It used to be that all they had in stock were Maseratis and the odd 612.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    It’s a given any non US manufacturer opening a plant in the US will lose whatever made them appealing in the first place within 20 years.

    Honda got around tariffs and regulations building a plant in Ohio. They made some very nice cars that with a few exceptions were the same Accords and later Civics sold to the rest of the world. By the 90s the American Accord was US only and built for ‘American tastes.’ The Civic has followed. Nissan, Toyota and Subaru all fell into the same trap; look what’s become of the Maxima, Camry and Outback, let alone the mere existence of the Tribeca. Since we’re essentially an isolated market there’s an inevitable creep to making things larger and softer.

    BMW and Mercedes were a bit more savvy; building SUVs and tepid roadsters that would mainly be sold locally and keeping their core vehicles German.

    It will be interesting to watch Hyundai and VW; let’s see if they can stay true to their roots. And one could argue VW not even going to pretend to try.

    It’s profitable, sure, but it doesn’t make their products stand out much.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Actually, I see a trend to disposable cars that you recycle after you wear them out. The ones I’m talking about are the sub-$15K cars from Kia, Nissan, etc, that provide adequate transportation for the daily commute.

      None of the domestic brands can build those because their MSRP is so heavily padded to provide money to sustain the UAW and its lavish benefits.

      I’m all for choice and the more the merrier. I look forward to the day when we can buy a car through a Big Box store and the offerings range from Chinese-built cars to India-built cars to Latin America-built cars and everything in between.

      In 1972 I bought a new Euro-spec Mercedes-Benz 200D (tax-free) at the Schiphol airport near Amsterdam and took delivery from what they had in stock at the airport. It was the best new-car-buying experience of my life! Why can’t we have that same wonderful experience here in the greatest country on the planet? Dealer envy, maybe?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The Subaru Outback is still a world car (sold in most every country where Subaru has a distribution network), despite the bloat of the current generation compared with the excellent 3rd-generation Outback.

      http://subaru.co.uk/vehicles/outback/

      http://www.subaru.de/allrad-fahrzeuge/outback-boxermotor.html

      http://www.subaru-china.cn/10Outback/10outback.html

      And in Japan, they even have a Legacy Touring Wagon which is an Outback without the lifted ride height.

      http://www.subaru.jp/legacy/touringwagon/

    • 0 avatar
      Magnusmaster

      Funny how Americans, who are great industrialists (unlike people here in Argentina that only know how to plant crops and can’t make any competent manufactured good), happen to have so much in common with us when it comes to cars. Over here in South America the exact same thing happens. They open a plant to get around regulations, make a good car for five years, then they either butcher it, make a new South-America only car (that sucks), or they keep making the same old car for decades.

      Chevrolet is still making the Corsa B after 15 years, and making horrible South American cars like the Agile. Fiat gave us the Palio instead of the Punto, later they gave us a Punto built with a Palio platform. Renault rebadged Dacia cars instead of bringing the Clio, Peugeot facelifted the 206 and called it 207, then delayed the 308. Citroen keeps the old C4 alive and butchered the C3 Picasso, and the new C3 will also be butchered. Ford made a Brazilian Ka, kept around the old Fiesta alive and butchered the European Focus. Honda butchered the Fit and Civic and sells them at a ridiculous price. Toyota refuses to bring the Yaris and gives us the Etios instead. Hyundai is building its new crap car, the i15, instead of the global i10 or the i20. And they still have the balls to charge an arm and a leg for front airbags, let alone the fancier stuff.

      Of course, in South America this kind of stuff happens with ANY manufactured good, which is why there are still children starving to death over here. At least in USA you just have bland cars.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    Some things never change:

    Lots of road noise from your Honda.
    Oil consumption from VW engines.
    Insane interfaces from our German friends.
    Stupid attempts by GM to market a subcompact.

    The rest is in flux ;->

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    Every 20 years, Ford will try to make money making global cars.
    most american enthusiats pine for either an Australian, JDM, European or 1960′s american car in that order by ascending age.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I agreed with you up to where you said Australian cars. They’re better from a distance. The ones that made it here as Pontiacs, Mercurys, and Mitsubishis were all pretty meh. Car and Driver tested a Ford Falcon with a turbo inline 6 a few years ago. It wasn’t particularly refined, and it returned fuel economy similar to that of a Newell Coach. None of them were built of high quality materials or drove with much precision. The best selling brand in Australia is Toyota, and we have most of their strong selling Oz products here.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        I agree on the falcon and commodore comments, but that’s why I said it was by ascending age. So the youngest want Aussie V8 RWD caminos and the oldest people want the dream cars of their youth.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Sorry. I didn’t read your post carefully enough. I’m 41, and I can’t figure out where I should fit in the progression. I’m not old enough for ’60s American cars. The ones that were within reach in my youth were mostly used up, modified, ordinary, or all three. I did have a friend whose first car was a restored Sting Ray roadster with a NASCAR race shop built small block and a 4 speed, but it was usually in the body shop being reconstructed after the mixture of 600 hp, drum brakes, and whitewall tires proved too much for a 16 year old to keep on the pavement any time the secondaries opened. A new BMW had replaced it as his daily driver by the time we reached college, and he wouldn’t let me buy it. I’m over European cars after going through all the German brands, some of them twice, plus an Italian car(FIAT 124 Sport Spider made of rust) and a Mini Cooper. I love Hondas now, but JDM stuff does nothing for me. The reality of JDM is automatic transmissions, huge navigation screens, and boxy little bodies that float. I suppose they make lots of sense in Japanese cities or on roads with Japenese speed enforcement, but they don’t seem better suited to spirited drives up Palomar Mountain than various American market cars. Am I not an American enthusiast for enjoying the cars I have?

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    CAR will automatically claim that any new regulation will cost X per car increases and Y job losses (X = amount of pages in the NHTSA explanation and Y = the bonus that Sean McMuffin wants that year)

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    It’s a given that GM is dead and now owned by the government of we, the people. Hence, Government Motors!

    It’s also a given that Chrysler is now an Italian owned and run foreign auto maker doing business on American soil, like the other foreigners.

    It is a given that Ford is on the right track under the tutelage of Alan Mulally, who has done wonders for this company (with the help of the US tax payers and all sorts of loans that will never be repaid and special tax accommodations and accounting privileges).

    It’s a given that Buy American fans will always choose to buy an American brand.

    What remains to be seen is if the remaining American new-car buyers who have chosen to buy a foreign brand in the past will choose to buy an “American brand vehicle” even if it is made in Mexico, South Korea, Canada, or run from Italy.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. K

      highdesertcat said:

      …”It is a given that Ford is on the right track under the tutelage of Alan Mulally, who has done wonders for this company (with the help of the US tax payers and all sorts of loans that will never be repaid and special tax accommodations and accounting privileges).”

      What loans are you speaking of? The DOE loans? Why do you think Ford will not repay their loans when GM and Chrysler did?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        If you think that GM and Chrysler repaid their “loans” then there is nothing that I can write to dissuade you from that notion… except to say that the US tax payers lost more in the bail outs, hand outs and nationalization than we recouped, or ever will recoup.

        All the US car makers including Ford are just barely getting by and the least bit of upset in the US economy will cause their house of cards to crumble. They can’t make it on their own because not enough people are buying their vehicles (thanks to choice in the US).

        The shakeout of the US auto industry is well under way but it is not over by a longshot. That won’t happen until CY 2015 at the earliest. Between now and then there will be major financial alignments and realignments in all aspects of the US economy, of which the US auto industry is a part yet also very much dependent on other segments of the overall economy, like housing.

        I believe that the US auto industry will be much changed by the time the shakeout will be done and that both Ford and GM will be completely changed and morphed into multiple joint ventures with major global competitors like Toyota and other, lesser known auto makers in China, India, Brazil, Russia.

        Ford stands a better chance, especially if it merges with Toyota. But GM? Buick needs to be sold off to China. GMC needs to be discontinued. Opel and Daewoo need to be sold off to Russia. Maybe then, Chevy and Caddy will have a chance to make it.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        highdesertcat

        It sounds like you don’t know how GM’s R&D are done right now. Daewoo and Opel do a lot of it. Selling them off would be suicide. That have to keep at least one of them.

        Buick is growing and doing well in the US. GMC is doing ok as well. It takes a little marketing and engineering to sell the same product for a bit more with GMC. I wouldn’t buy one, but it works.

        The suggestions you would have GM follow are the wrong way for them to go unless you want to see them in bankruptcy court again soon.

        Your thoughts on Ford are just completely wrong. Ford is doing well, has a good plan with good platform sharing done right. They will be just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Ford is already paying its debt way ahead of schedule. The only loans Ford took were ones available to any automakers, foreign or domestic, who applied for them. When it comes to the DOE loans, IIRC Nissan also availed themselves. Ford’s accounting practices are the same as used by any other major corporation – if you find them byzantine then it’s time to talk to your government representatives about reforming the way corporations report income and are assessed for tax liability.

      When it comes to special concessions and tax breaks, non-union states will continue to offer them to foreign automakers to get them to build factories, yet no one will call out Mercedes for the handouts they received from the people of Alabama, BMW for the gifts they received courtesy of the taxpayers of SC, or Toyota for the concessions they managed to secure in Tennessee.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Written like a true Ford man and UAW supporter! I commend you for your dedication. I do not share your enthusiasm.

        It would take fifty years for Ford to repay all of its debt and retooling loans and I don’t believe that Ford as we know it today, will be around in three more years.

        I believe Ford will be bought by Toyota or seek some other merger opportunity that will result in a modicum of their survival with a combined effort to produce a truly world-class Tundra150 series (a bastardized derivative of the F150 and the Tundra), but much of their sedan class vehicles will be relegated to niche markets, i.e. Lincoln. They simply do not sell in the numbers Ford needs to survive on its own.

        The special incentives that were extended to the foreign car makers to have them come here and set up shop in the US resulted in jobs for Americans. The bail outs, loans-by-any-other-names extended to Ford and GM resulted in a mass-exodus of jobs to Mexico and other foreign shores to get away from the UAW. That pretty much tells the story and gives us a glimpse into what is yet to come.

        That, my friend, is the ugly reality, warts and all. We may differ in our views, but the US economy pretty well sums it up today, tomorrow and for the years to come. The US auto industry is nowhere and without government intervention it would no longer exist. It just doesn’t make sense to keep 6% of the economy working at the expense of the other 94%. Eventually something has to give. And it will. It always did in the past and it will again in the future.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Ford will not be bought by Toyota or anyone else. They are the only full line automaker that is actually making real money right now.

        When all is said and done at the end of 2011 Ford will be the #1 brand in the US and will retain that #1 position in many parts of Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Scoutdude, we can only hope that Ford and GM can make a comeback, just so we, the people, can get back some of that money we showered on them for this miraculous resurrection attempt of the dead.

        I’m not optimistic. I saw this carmageddon coming (with a lot of help from stock analysts) and I pulled out of the market near the end of 2007, when their stock was still worth something.

        Sure glad I did. I don’t share the optimism that some of the Buy American fanboys express because the sales numbers just aren’t there.

        Both Ford and GM can sell more in numbers than Japan, Inc., combined, but if they aren’t making any money at it or a substantial profit to stand on their own, they’ll eventually go under, have to merge, be sold or be liquidated. Look for big things to happen around 2015. Seriously!

        Back in 2005 automotive analysts were saying, “look for a US auto industry shakeup in 2010″. They were wrong! So wrong! It started in 2008.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        So do you think that Ford and GM aren’t making profits right now? They are doing pretty good right now. Ford is paying off debt very well. GM, once it gets Europe under control, should be fine as well. I don’t share this 2015 year like you do. I could make claims that GM and Ford will be number 1 and 2 in the world at that time. Doesn’t mean that it will happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Highdesertcat, I’m not so sure about GM over the long term but Ford is going to do alright. Mullay did see carmegdon coming, made the hard decisions and prepared for it. That is why they did not end up in receivership. They were the only automaker to really see this coming. Sure Mercedes dumped Chrysler just before but they had been trying to sell parts of it or all it for years as it was sucking them dry. They were seriously considering folding at least the car portions of the company before finding a sucker in Cerebus.

        The bulk of Ford’s debt was/is from private non-govt backed funding and they are paying it down quicker than planned. They have focused on increasing transaction prices and profit per unit which they have been successful with so far. Barring any significant change in Ford’s direction they will do all right and will more likely be the purchaser rather than the purchasee.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Steven & Scoutdude, I WANT Ford and GM to succeed so they can pay back ALL the money we lavished on them and the UAW, PLUS INTEREST. In order for that to happen they’ve got to be successful and make a lot more money than they do now.

        I remember in 2007 when rumors started in the investor world and the unthinkable was first uttered about the possibility of GM, GM of all corporations!, going bankrupt.

        Without fail, all the forecasters were derided as lunatics, and worse. But I could read the signs for myself. I chose to put my money where my mouth was and pulled out of the US auto makers. I thank my lucky stars for that every day, and so do many others who doubted the viability of the US auto industry and the pariah that is the UAW. WE, did alright. Others lost their shirts.

        So, I urge you to go easy and watch the scenario of a defunct US auto industry unfold as time progresses. This in no way implies that all is lost! There are all sorts of things Ford and GM can do to gain an advantage in the market place. Some involve more closures, moving to Mexico, and even brokering selective sell-offs (like Ford did with Volvo, JLR and GM did discontinuing losers like Saturn, Hummer, Saab, Pontiac, Olds).

        The biggest obstacle to growth and expansion (and profitability) of Ford and GM remains the UAW. Ford and GM cannot move to right-to-work states. Boeing tried that in SC and will more than likely lose that battle and lose millions of dollars in the process, then take their plants to Mexico, China or India.

        What Ford and GM need is for more AMERICANS to buy their vehicles but I don’t see that happening since we have a choice in America and so many people, which now includes me, have switched to the better products with the better track records that happen to be foreign-owned. I’m all for choice, but as long as we have choice in America Ford and GM have to make stuff that is better than the foreigners and a lot of Americans still can’t see any of it, or they simply do not want to reward Ford and GM for their pathetic past performance.

        In the future I will look at Ford and GM but I’ll buy where I place my confidence. I just recently converted to buying a foreign brand and I have not been disappointed. Looking back over my past experiences with Ford and GM, I was ALWAYS disappointed. So for me, why go through that again? Maybe many Americans feel the same way. Ford and GM EARNED their reputations the hard way. They worked for it!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Where or how to begin? I won’t delve into the past, as everyone knows or has studied how things used to be. Now?

    Hyundai/Kia is still a developing entity. GM appears to be regaining its mojo. Ford? I feel they are about to hit a very large wall. Toyota? They have hit a wall of sorts and I perceive are no better than most other makes. Ditto for Nissan and Honda. Both companies are still arrogant, IMHO, but still are pretty good products overall, but hold no interest from me.

    Chrysler? Big question mark, but watching with interest. Fiat? I want to say “who cares?” but I can’t because of Chrysler.

    The rest of the OEMs? I really have no interest.

    The given? Keep trying to re-invent the wheel.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Any German car that:

    - has a dual-clutch transmission
    - has forced induction

    is going to be pricey to own post warranty.

    Any Honda product with a manual transmission is going to be extremely reliable if properly serviced and taken care of. However, the same could be said for any Hyundai with a clutch made in the last 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      I think that, for the dual clutch part anyway, you can leave out the word “German”.

      I also have my doubts about the longevity of Ford Ecoboost engines.

  • avatar
    Terry

    A constant–Miatas are FUN

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    as the CRX and contemporary Civic Si hatchbacks are disappearing, one constant remains – Volvo 240.

    Audi went from a cool car to a cool VW.

    VW went from a being a cool Honda to a cool Cavalier.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      An odd thing about moving from the east coast to southern California is that I see the Japanese cars of the ’80s, even a few from the ’70s, that have been gone from the land of rust for years, but there are no more Volvo 240s. The people who cared about them replaced them with Prii, and they were too tough to smog for anyone else.

  • avatar
    George B

    The BMWs and Audis actually on dealer lots will always be significantly more expensive than their theoretical reasonable starting price. Dealers will load up the cars they buy with overpriced accessories. The reasonable price most powerful engine/lowest weight combination will be a special order.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Is there much demand for the stripped base models? A friend of mine wanted one. The San Diego dealers either brushed him off entirely or pushed used cars on him. He wound up buying one in Richmond, Virginia while visiting family and driving it back. The Richmond dealer had to order it for him, but at least they didn’t tell him that the real base price was 30% more than the one listed on the website. He was a cash customer, so the idea of ten grand in ‘options’ he didn’t care about bristled, but most of these cars are leased, and I’m sure the leasing companies don’t want to own four year old cars with less features than many inexpensive compact sedans.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    1) Mustang and Camaro guys still argue passionately over which is better
    2) Ford and Chevy guys still argue passionately over who makes the best truck
    3) Mopar guys still argue they are relevant
    4) The F-150 is the best selling pickup truck since – forever
    5) Toyota Corolla buyers return to the showroom like spawning salmon
    6) VW is still selling the two-oh slow under the hood, now with less electrical problems and 70% less oil consumption
    7) The Corvette is still Chevrolet’s flagship
    8) When it comes to hybrids – its the Prius bitches
    9) Toyota really can’t build a full-size pickup truck the masses want to buy
    10) Nissan – we’re that other mainstream Japanese car company that you think of, about sixth or seventh on your list…
    11) The RX-(x) still has a twin rotor engine
    12) Little boys still dream of Italian supercars
    13) Audi and Subaru still do a damn good job on AWD

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    It’s a given that Chevrolet will proclaim “Quality Is Back!” or some similar horsebyproduct like that and then disappoint the suckers who believe them. Never again. God Bless Hyundai.

  • avatar
    mopar-is-subpar

    It’s A Given: Mopar is Subpar!

  • avatar
    Acubra

    All makers have very same marketing drones and bottomline-obsessed “effective managers”, all trying to achieve the same goals:
    - Appeal to as many consumers as possible
    - Go upmarket and charge insane premiums
    - Try to spend as little to distinguish (from others) as much as possible.
    - Cost-cut like there’s no tomorrow.

    As brilliant later LJK Setright had once observed, trying to make a car that appeals to average people, you can only get an average car. And that is all we are increasingly getting.

    And that is the reason why all my future purchases are rooted in the past (products). Those cars may have been imperfect, but they were definitely special and characterful.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Oh, and all car designers… It appears that to be fit for this job, one has to
      - be stuck with aesthetics of a 5-year old who never seen anything in his/her life aside from transformer robots,
      - be on a steady diet of LSD and mushroom pies,
      - be capable of talking for hours about “modern art”, “form expression”, “breaking with tradition”, “establishing new design language” and other nonsensical gibberish.
      Role model – Chris Bangle et al.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Yes, unlike the US car designers in the late 50′s, or mid 70′s. When they all made conservative,practical,brand related designs… :P

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        Zykotec: I hope you will not be surprised, that auto manufacturing existed in other countries aside from the US in the 50-70′s?..

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Acubra:, I know very well, car design is one of my greatest interesets, I just used the worst examples I could think of. Modern designers really does not have an easy job. All their designs have to use a given egg/teardrop-shape for aerodynamics, and they have to try the best they can to make it look interesting, while also making it recognizeable, sporty, luxurious, and within their brands ‘design language’. And at the same time try and design something that’s not allready been made. It’s not easy. BMW as an example had no chice but to find a ‘new design’ after the Lexus IS (toyota altezza) and Mitsubishi Galant ripped of their designs(which BMW had ripped from the Corvair and Datsun 510′s). Ferrari had really outlandish designs allready in the 70′s, and have started to return to their roots.

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      And a corollary Given: North Americans can not purchase a modern car that truly reflects the national character of its makers, save for exotics, high end and modern Pony cars.

      A question for you Acubra: how do you manage to keep driving older cars in Alberta? Or are you counting on a steady supply from Arizona?

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        ThirdOwner: Gods (Shinto is polytheistic) bless Japan and the 15-year old rule. Brought from there anything from a ’90 USD SAAB-900 Turbo to a ’92 SL-500. Would love to get a Y31 Nissan Cedric/Gloria or Cima (for personal nostalgic reasons), but they are all RHD only and I do not like to seat on the wrong side.
        I’m not much interested in US cars too, although had a couple in the past.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    If you want a properly made fast great handling car from Ford or GM you need to live in Australia or New Zealand, Holdens and Falcons are the cars Americans should have had all along but no US car maker can build these in NA you all love your fwd crapcarts taurust and shit like those rubbish off the line. OMG there are people who think a Jeep handles well grow a brain American cars r shit GIVEN

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    All the same. Honda and Toyota purchases are the smartest choice you can make. One big difference. Detroit makers and supporters are engaged in a vicious shoutdown of Honda and Toyota all over the web. That is how the left wingers do it.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Umm no. Honda and Toyota are making interiors that people left the Detroit 3 for. They are also over priced, another reason people left the Detroit 3. Go sit in a new one and the competition. They are starting to lag.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Clueless you are. Left for the interior? Not even I could dream up such a dumb idea.

      • 0 avatar
        HoldenSSVSE

        Don’t feed the trolls, they grow stronger.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Focuses and Cruzes I’ve seen on the lots are considerably higher in price than a comparable Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        jimmyy,
        I guess the interior isn’t important to you. To me, and most other people who buy a car, it is very important. The outside of them, well they look pretty much the same. Have you seen the “new” Civic and Corolla. Yeah, not so good there. The Camry is old. The Accord is too, and it is loud. Which direction do you think Toyota and Honda are going? With less focus on the product and more on the bottom line and total sales, they are now on the GM path.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        geeber,
        GM and Ford are doing very well with the vehicles. They are priced higher because they are better than the competition. Look at transaction prices. All you need to see there. Honda and Toyota are trying to charge as much for a lesser vehicle (Civic and Corolla). Surprising as it is, the Cruze, Focus and Elantra are the best vehicles in this segment right now.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Sorry, but there is no objective proof that the new Cruze is better than the new Civic. The Civic placed ahead of the Cruze in comparision tests conducted by Motor Trend and Automobile.

        Edmunds.com compared the Civic to the new Elantra and the Cruze on InsideLine. The Cruze finished last, behind the Elantra (which placed first) and the Civic.

        The Focus is a different beast – some reviewers have ranked it ahead of the Civic, while others do not. It placed first in the Automobile test, but it failed to beat the Civic in the Motor Trend test.

        Is the Focus better than the Civic? In certain versions, it is a more “driver oriented” car than the Civic, and the styling (aside from the gaping maw front grille) is very attractive. And the five-door hatchback is the real sleeper – a very functional and attractive car. Ford scored a homerun here.

        As for the Cruze? People used to the Cobalt or Ion will no doubt view it as a revelation, but it’s not really a game changer for the segment as a whole. The complaints about the drivetrain, in particular, have been pretty consistent across all of the reviews I have read. I’m certainly not seeing any evidence that GM has sent Honda home with its tail between its legs.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @geeber: “Sorry, but there is no objective proof that the new Cruze is better than the new Civic The Civic placed ahead of the Cruze in comparision tests conducted by Motor Trend and Automobile…”

        You got that right. There is no objective proof, particularly coming from enthusiast magazines. I consider C/D the most ‘objective’ of them all, and they have a ‘fudge factor’ or a subjective rating built in to their tests. They even show it in their test results.

        For some, objective proof is a magazine comparo, others point to sales. The Cruze has been doing well in sales, way above the Cobalt. It will be interesting to see how well it does against the new Civic once it gets to wide distribution.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        So the tsunami made the Cruze better than the Civic or the Corolla? What if there isn’t a tsunami when I’m shopping for my next car? Should I pretend that there is one?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        geozinger,

        We’ve had three different tests by three different publications, and they have all placed the Civic ahead of the Cruze, even though other cars have varied greatly in their final rankings. (The Focus, for example, topped the Automobile test, but finished mid-pack in the Motor Trend test.)

        This tells me that reports of the Civic’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

        Considering that the Corolla has brought up the rear in every test I’ve read, it also tells me that Toyota IS being beaten by Chevrolet and Ford.

        Is the Cruze a bad car? No. I’m sure that people who buy it will be very happy with it, especially considering that reviewers have praised its noise levels and ride – two areas of special concern to people who may be trading a larger car for the Cruze.

        I’m just not seeing where GM has beaten Honda (closed the gap a great deal, on the other hand – I can believe that), or where the Cruze is “better” than the Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Honda and Toyota are some of the dumbest purchases you can make. Higher maintenance, repair and insurance costs, lower MPG, out dated technology.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It’s fathers’ day, not opposite day.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        In the real world, the new Civic has consistently turned in better mileage figures than the competition. I put more stock in these figures than in the EPA ratings.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Do you have some sites that show the MPG numbers geeber? I am interested in what they are showing. My dad has a Cruze, says he is far outdoing the EPA number of 36 highway (1.4L Turbo Auto).

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        My daughter just got back from a trip to Tennessee (from Michigan). Her 2004 Pontiac Sunfire with 2.2 Eco and 4 speed autobox got 42 MPG. What does it mean? It means she drives pretty economically on the interstate.And four cylinder cars lightly loaded get pretty decent mileage. And anecdotal evidence is just that. Anecdotal.

        With most of the cars I’ve owned in the last 20 or so years, I’ve managed to exceed the EPA sticker consistently. Port fuel injection has a lot to do with it.

        The only real basis for comparison of mileage we have widely available in the US are the EPA numbers. And, all the mfrs ‘game’ the test. Why wouldn’t they?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        http://www.cars.com/go/crp/buyingGuides/Story.jsp?section=Passenger&subject=stories&story=compactMileage&referer=&year=New&aff=national

        http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1107_best_selling_compact_sedan_comparison/cruze_ltz_rs_and_focus_titanium_specs.html

        http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1107_best_selling_compact_sedan_comparison/civic_ex_and_elantra_limited_specs.html

        The first test has the new Civic returning 36.8 to Cruze’s 33.2 mpg when driven on a 161 mile route repeatedly by a series of drivers. The Civic even had its Eco mode defeated during the test, which might not be the practice of someone who cares primarily about mileage. The Motor Trend comparison returned 29.4 mpg for the Civic, 23.8 mpg for the Cruze in conditions that were probable more enthusiast oriented, but didn’t actually consitute a thrash. That would be the Car and Driver test where the Cruze returned 18 mpg. Unfortunately, there was no Civic on hand for that one as it was before the new model was available.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Steven02 The EPA’s website http://www.fueleconomy.gov has a “your MPG” tab where people can post their real world MPG. Of course the newest models usually don’t have any or little data and its hard to make direct comparison for different drivers in different conditions. You can also look to some of the magazines and their head to head tests that are under the same conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Car and Driver averaged 33 mpg in a Civic EX sedan with an automatic – and its testers are notorious for having a lead foot.

        Edmunds.com was able to get about 30 mpg out of a Civic EX and an Elantra Limited. The Cruze LTZ managed to get 25 mpg. This was despite the Civic being saddled with a five-speed transmission, as compared to the six-speed units in the Elantra and Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        geozinger,

        I posted this a while ago with links to the stories at Cars.com and Motor Trend, but apparently the presence of links got my post sent to moderation purgatory.

        The Cars.com comparison test has the new Civic returning 36.8 to Cruze’s 33.2 mpg when driven on a 161 mile route repeatedly by a series of drivers. The Civic even had its Eco mode defeated during the test, which might not be the practice of someone who cares primarily about mileage. The Motor Trend comparison returned 29.4 mpg for the Civic, 23.8 mpg for the Cruze in conditions that were probable more enthusiast oriented, but didn’t actually consitute a thrash. That would be the Car and Driver test where the Cruze returned 18 mpg. Unfortunately, there was no Civic on hand for that one as it was before the new model was available.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      KOOL Aid!

  • avatar
    carguy

    For all car makers, periods of good designs and sales success are usually followed by a period of decline that starts with successive models that don’t live up to their predecessors, jump-the-shark attempts at creating a new niche and eventually uninspired, overpriced irrelevancy.

    Currently Hyundai and Ford are on the up cycle and BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota are firmly in decline. If it wasn’t for the Chinese car boom the European decline would be financially more obvious.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Detroit supporters, I saw the 2011 Explorer and 2011 Edge scored the 17th and 18th place in Consumer Reports CUV testing. Toyota took 1st. Then, the Motor Trend evaluation. New decade. Same Detroit. Same trash.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Yet both the Edge and the Explorer are well built vehicles with high quality interiors and attractive exterior styling that review well in the majority of publications and sell very well to the public who votes with their money.

      So, I guess you could say that it’s a given that CR will always take the safe choice (Toyota has been reliable in the past, it probably will be again, or three dial HVAC and basic boxy graphic nav systems worked in the past, that’s all that’s needed) vs. taking a risk on a product that is fundamentally different and brings something new to the table.

      I guess it’s also a given that die-hard Toyota and Honda fans will ignore both of those brands gradual yet perpetual slips in regards to materials and reliability and at the same time scream to anyone who will listen that there is no way that American made vehicles are constantly getting better. It makes sense, the emergence of the Japanese as the standard for cars came about because of Detroit’s ‘head in the sand’ attitude, and the re-emergence of American built vehicles as quality, feature, and reliability leaders will come about through the same attitude out of Japan. Everything that’s happening has happened before, it’s all just a little bit of history repeating.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Ford “High Quality Interiors” you say. One complaint I read is the poor interior space for the size of the vehicle.

        Ford and General Motors is lucky that older people have such a mean streak of Jap racism. The racism distorts their judgement such that they continue to buy outclassed and overpriced Ford and General Motors stuff. What is Ford and General Motors going to do when the old racists die?

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Yes, car reviews are the end all be all for vehicles. I mean, who actually needs to sit in them and drive them when they can just take someone else’s opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Detroit needs people with no professional automotive evaluation experience to sit in the vehicle and decide for themself. Sounds like the same formula that wall street uses where people with no professional investing experience jumps on a web site and trades for themself.

        Both examples results in poor decisions.

        Leave the auto evaluations to Consumer Reports and leave the investing decisions to a mutual fund manager.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …Leave the auto evaluations to Consumer Reports and leave the investing decisions to a mutual fund manager…

        Ugh. Looks like jj99 has some competition…

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        That IS JJ99 and so is JJimmy. What I can’t decide is if he’s a troll or just a remnant from the days of when people like Autosavant used to frequent this site in greater numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        How does one do that? Have multiple ISPs? I thought that TTAC tracked usernames to the internet address; that was the way you were banned. But, yeah, I’d have to agree…they all sound like the same empty barrel…zero substance.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Must be a conspiracy. Only one person in the United States has an issue with GM or Ford. This one person has thousands of ISPs. Standard left wingie shoutdown. Can’t blame you boys. You are trying to protect your industry that overcharges the citizens of the US for cars, and non US car makers are ruining your scam. How else can an 8th grade graduate make a living? You should demand all non left wingies who will not buy Detroit should be banned. That is what a good left wingie does.

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        I could’ve sworn you could make different usernames if you had multiple emails. All I know is the same 2 usernames make posts over and over about how great their Highlander is, how they never see any domestics in boston/ the east and west coasts, and how MT, CD, or CR reviewed this in a negative way and TTAC didnt.

  • avatar
    saponetta

    Given: Porsche will builds the absolute best car in every market segment it enters.

    Given: the GTI is the best cheap car you can buy in america

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Is starting at 23,695 cheap? Better choices out there for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      The only given about the GTI is that it will still be one of the most overrated cars around. It excels at nothing in its class and makes only 200hp that 5 less than an 1985 SVO

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Ion-
        GTI excels at nothing in it’s class? The GTI clearly has the best ride and interior in it’s class and in many tests has equal or better handling than it’s competition. Anyone who bases a car purchase on HP alone is a fool. Why don’t you just go buy a V6 Camry, it has 268 horsepowers OMG!!!!!!ONE!111!!

        BTW – The SVO was a sports car, not a hot hatch so different class. You could find many sports cars from the past that have more HP that the GTI. Who gives a sh1t?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The ride of the GTI probably has a lot to do with the wheel selection. The ones I’ve driven or ridden in were encumbered with the giant wheel/low-profile tire combo that killed any semblance of smooth ride on textured pavement.

        I will give you the interior – VW knows how to put together a tight high quality interior when they want to. I like the techno-wizardry look of the Mazdaspeed3, but the materials overall are a step down from the GTI. The WRX and the Evo don’t even come close. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a Civic Si that I couldn’t say how it would compare.

        If VW decontents the Golf like they did the Jetta, and the upcoming Focus ST has a similar interior to the SEL or Titanium models, VW could be in for a challenge in the interior segment, as well as overall refinement. Chevy could come out with a Cruze SS that would give it a strong run for it’s money too – especially considering the Cobalt SS was a good car, great if you consider the basic vehicle that Chevy had to work with to make it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        ride and interior are subject to opinion, I find the plaid seats (historical as they may be) tacky. Handling for the GTI has been on the decline since it started putting on weight post the MK4.

        The Camry’s V6 is irrelevant it has 2 extra cylinders and no turbo. The SVO’s engine is a nearly 2-decades old basic turbo 4 that comes from of all places, a Pinto.

        You want more modern examples that beat “German engineering” The Cobalt SS made 260, The speed3′s makes 263, the new Si 200 and thats without a turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        My friend that passionately hates the ride quality of his MKV GTI and has ever since the first week he commuted in it when new has 225/45R17 tires that I believe came on the smallest diameter wheel available. His previous car was an E38 with the sport package which may have stacked the deck against the VW, but he insists that my Civic Si sedan rides much better. I’m not sure if he has ridden in my car since I replaced the OE Michelins with Continentals similar to what came on the GTI, and I do think the sidewalls are stiffer on the new tires. What he hates most about the GTI’s ride is that it porpoises on the freeway, which doesn’t have much to do with the tire selection and my car still doesn’t do. One thing I don’t see many people comment on is that the MKV has a better interior than the MKVI. While it isn’t as dramatic a change as what happened to the Jetta, the MKVI is just a decontented, cheaper to make MKV.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – the MkVI Golf is cheaper to make than the MkV not because of any decontenting or reduced quality but because they reduced the massive number of options available in Europe. Before virtually any spec level could have a multitude of options selected, now the number of permutations has been reduced significantly. This saves money. Ford has also done it, to a greater degree, with the “rapid spec” concept – reduces manufacturing permutations, inventory and hence money.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Cars with those silver AAA stickers on the back bumpers make the best used cars.

  • avatar
    musiccitymafia

    A given – The speed of vehicle redesign and reengineering will increase.

  • avatar
    lahru

    The given is that all current B and C cars will increase in size as they are redesigned. Also, Subaru will rue the day the 1st 2010 Outback left the line. They had the small wagon AWD market all to themselves and the Outback is now a midsize SUV? Wagon? you tell me. Very sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      +1.
      There is not much difference in concept between Outback Gen1 and Gen3: Compact, capable, restrained (well-aging) looks, excellent visibility, some interesting quirks. Gen4 is not on my radar – corn-fed size, ugly,…
      Unless something changes at FHI my ’05 will be the last Outback that I’ll have.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      They have yet to “rue the day” because sales of the bloated Outback are booming. Looks to me they made the right decision, much to my consternation.

  • avatar
    Marko

    It’s a given that if anything about a Hyundai/Kia product is less that class leading, you can bet that they will fix it quickly.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The only hope for Detroit is the auto unions will organize the Japs and screw them up just as bad as Ford and GM. If the auto unions are not able to do that, then Ford and GM will perish.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, Mercury, AMC, and Saturn are still dead.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Don’t forget Studebaker, Nash, Hudson, and Packard. :P

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Plymouth, out of all of these, should still be alive.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        You must be old enough to remember Plymouth’s glory days. My experience with the brand was during the barely-even-brand-engineered days when a Plymouth was nothing more than a Dodge, and didn’t even supposedly have a higher level of trim or a unique branding message. It’s a shame that Plymouth died in much the same way as Mercury – two great brands that had the potential to still be great if given a unique identity but were instead turned into carbon copies and then nixed once the redundancy could no longer be supported.

        Saturn at one point had something unique with the no-haggle no-pressure dealer experience, and the plastic body panels, both unfortunately left in the past before the brand disappeared. I still think Buick should have been axed before Oldsmobile. The Aurora was one of GMs greatest cars of the 90s, with unique styling, a driver focused interior, and plenty of comfort and power. I also miss Chrysler’s Eagle brand, sporty cars with plenty of performance (even if they were Mitsubishis).

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Actually, before the brand engineering days, Plymouth was the cheaper car, dodge was actually one step up :) They still used to give Chevy and Ford a run for it’s money though (about 20 years before I was born…)

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @NulloModo:

        Yes, I am old enough to remember what a Plymouth was. I’m 60 yrs. old and the 1990 Plymouth Acclaim we owned for 10½ years was one of the finest cars I have ever owned. Yes, Dodge and Plymouth were badge-differentiated, but I felt the Plymouths were nicer trimmed than the Dodges and that held true for our 1981 Reliant.

        My mom and dad had a 1950 Plymouth and that car lasted for 10 years until the front seat began to fall through the floor due to rust! It was a fine car – nothing fancy, but was solid and reliable, which to me is what a car should be, anyhow. I suppose that was at the tail end of Plymouth’s glory years.

        Yes, I miss Plymouth very much. A solid, no-nonsense automobile brand.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    It’s still true – and always will be – that the brand of car you buy ranks higher with you than it does with the rest of the world. Until you buy another brand.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    -Ford still makes exactly the car you thought you wanted, like always, and at an affordable (buying) price. And I can’t help loving them still :P
    -Honda still will never make anything properly ‘cool’ or ‘awesome’, they will continue to build ‘good enough’ cars forever.
    -germans will continue to built ‘better’ cars than everyone else, without them actually being neither good looking, or interesting or having any actual reliability apart from great door locks, hinges and dashboards (they’ll never understand how to put a half-decent seat in an affordable car).
    -BMW’s still drive better than everything else (since ‘everything else’ is wrong wheel drive), when they run…they don’t make cars that look like Datsuns from the 60′s anymore though.
    -VW (VAG) will still be hyped by european car journalists for stealing some old idea, however shi**y the actual outcome is. They have really become GM now…
    -Lexus will still for some reason be hyped by car journalists for building incredibly silent old German cars, just with even more quality, and worse design.
    -Europeans and Americans still have little or no understanding for the other sides taste or expectations in a car. The asians try their best to cater for both sides, with a certain success, even if they will never really understand why or how we like cars.

    It’s all constant :)

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    No matter how good of a deal you got on your last car purchase, this guy knows this other guy who has a brother, who has a roommate that bought the EXACT SAME car the week before you did for at least 10% less than what you paid.

    Sucker.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Regardless on how good MPG becomes in the auto industry, some dude knows another dude who had a Honda CRX or Geo Metro back in the day that got at least 10 more MPG and they drove it like it was stolen 75 miles one-way each day, uphill both ways on an 8% grade, towing a 5,000 pound trailer.

  • avatar
    bodegabob

    1. The next model will be bigger and heavier and uglier.
    2. Once any brand establishes a name for quality and value the cost-cutting starts immediately.
    3. Whatever it is, GM will fuck it up on a massive scale. Just name it. Anything.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    No matter how big of a piece of cr_p your newer Ford or GM is, some Detroit poster has the same ride that went three hundred thousand miles with only oil changes and tires.

    Sucker

  • avatar
    autobahner44

    Audi has the best interiors.
    BMW has the worst exteriors.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I would also say BMW has some of the worst interiors. Not that they are ugly, just incredibly dated, dowdy, and frumpy compared to the competition and ones with iDrive automatically fail.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Some things that haven’t really changed:

    Toyota still builds boring mushy driving cars for people that don’t care about driving or the blue haired set.
    Hondas still have lots of road noise, longer braking distances and automatic transmissions that certainly don’t last forever.
    VW is still making an engine that consumes oil and has a timing belt.
    Germany still believes in complex vehicle interfacing.
    GM is poor at advertising and updating some of it’s core products and still has failed to make a no compromise compact entry that does everything well.
    BMW’s are still bland generic looking vehicles with no flash whatsoever and there interiors are equally austere with poor cup holders and older designs.
    Audi still has some very nice interiors- (too bad there exteriors are looking plainer and more mainstream than ever)
    Chrysler still has indifferent fit and finish and the worst CAFE rating with all it’s guzzler trucks and SUV’s.
    Hyundai/Kia still make lower priced affordable decent looking entries with more content that other competitors cars that cost thousands more.
    Toyota still can’t make a full sized pickup as good or that sells as well as the Detroit 3
    The Corvette is still a performance bargain.
    Mustang and Camaro owners are still warring it out which is better.
    Subaru is still the car company thought of the most when 4 wheel drive cars are brought up.


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