Ask The Best And Brightest: How Much Do European Cars Need To Be Changed For The US Market?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

There seems to be an appetite debate about this issue, not just here at TTAC but in the industry as a whole. Just look the philosophical divide between the “One Ford” strategy and Volkswagen’s 2011 Jetta strategy. So instead of filling up the Jetta review comments with this debate, let’s have it out… right here, right now.

Join the conversation
4 of 84 comments
  • George B George B on Aug 07, 2010

    I think American consumers want European cars to retain good properties like excellent suspension tuning, efficient packaging, high quality interiors, and timeless/conservative styling while minimizing the differences from American market cars that cost money and time. The high volume engine option should run on 87 octane gasoline. A good automatic transmission option is necessary to achieve high sales volume, but a good manual is a potential selling point. Bonus points for automated manuals like the Volkswagen DSG for the automatic option. High performance all season tires fit the US rapid weather changes better than dedicated summer and winter tires for daily driver cars. The gas tank should fill from the left side of the car. Engineer for long service intervals because any event that takes their car off the road causes major stress for American consumers. Most Americans prefer a contrasting neutral lighter color in the car interior color scheme, not Johnny Cash all black. To sell in the hot Southern states, tint the glass dark and keep the interior light. Don't even think about trying to sell a car with burn your skin vinyl seating surfaces. Either use real leather or woven cloth. Air conditioning is necessary both to handle extreme heat and to remove moisture. Cupholders should be able to hold 32oz plastic drink cups.

  • Bumpy ii Bumpy ii on Aug 07, 2010

    All they really NEED are detuned engines to run on 87 octane, and an extra 3 inches of suspension travel to deal with the the busted-up US highway system.

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Aug 07, 2010

    I don't understand the point of this exercise. The Japanese and Koreans already make nice cars for the US market - sometimes making them right here at home. Why bother importing unreliable stuff from Europe? Re: The Metric System. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

  • Japanese Buick Japanese Buick on Aug 09, 2010

    The only thing European car makers need to do to improve their fortunes here is to offer a no-excuses, 100,000 mile bumper to bumper (yes that includes the power window regulators, VW) warranty. There are just too many horror stories out there that sum up to: you should never own a Euro car out of warranty. And sometimes not even in warranty. And by no-excuses warranty, that implies stories better not pop up all over about "Bad gas" excuses or other foot dragging. The people who are in their target demographic now were either: 1. raised on Detroit crap in the 70s and 80s, then discovered Honda and Toyota and ain't going back, or 2. were raised on Honda and Toyota and refuse to conceive of owning a car that isn't stone reliable. And I don't think the Euros have yet learned that in the age of the internet, it's harder to get away with screwing your customers and keeping your reputation. Lots of people including me really like European cars but would never buy one on the terms currently offered because of the reputation their reliability and dealer networks have earned. In this country we prize reliability and a hassle-free ownership experience in our cars over most other attributes. We apparently prize it more than others do, given VW's widespread popularity outside the U.S.