What's Wrong With This Picture: A Month Of Mass-Market Madness Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the “Detroit Three” automakers are once again on top of the charts, as a wild and wacky month of sales closed with some serious shifts in the volume-manufacturer landscape. Not only did Chrysler claw its way back to number three for the month, but Hyundai-Kia beat out all the Japanese competition save Toyota, which narrowly escaped with the top non-Detroit volume number. Detroit fans should savor the win, as the Japanese automakers should work through most of their inventory and supply issues by sometime this summer. Things should get back to (relatively) normal at that point, but for now it’s clear that literally anything is possible.

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  • Jogrd Jogrd on Jun 01, 2011

    Just replaced a Civic with a Fiesta. Tried a Fit first, and I could care less if it's more reliable, as no repair could fix the ugly or make the seats comfortable. Twenty five year Honda or Toyota guy before this as well. Now those brands' cars seem like the market dominating Olds Cutlass of my youth, which the herd of the time made into the best selling car.

  • Volts On Fire Volts On Fire on Jun 02, 2011

    The Detroit 2.1 have reason to cheer their good fortune... up to a point. If history is an indicator, though (and it usually is) I suspect consumers flush from their recent purchase of a Daewoo Cruze or Fiasler Durango* stand a very good chance of being soured on their decision within record time. Thanks to the bailouts, a whole new generation of consumers may now (re)discover why they didn't rush out and buy domestic-branded, UAW-built products just a few years ago. We're already seeing ominous signs from Ford (ChiCom transmissions in the Mustang, dual-clutch issues in the Fiesta) and I'm eager to see the next major malady to befall the Cruze. You just know it's coming... and thanks to the Internet, it will be very difficult to stop word-of-mouth when the next steering wheel falls off. Sorry to sound so sour on domestic cars... but there's a very good reason why the market determined a few years back that at least two out of three of those companies should have died. *This morning I followed a new Durango on the freeway. It's the first one I've seen on the road, and I admit it looked pretty good... but all I could think about was "what an idiot" for the buyer taking a chance on a first-year, completely unproven Fiasler.

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    • Volts On Fire Volts On Fire on Jun 03, 2011
      @geeber I disagree. Imagine my surprise.

  • Michel1961 Michel1961 on Jun 02, 2011

    Toyota and Honda sales may also be down because they are not trying very hard. Uninspired salespersons, high in-house interest rates, little to no incentives, no demonstrators available on certain models and trims in the whole region (that's pre-Tsunami), long delays for delivery on some models, no salesperson call-backs (not necessarily a bad thing...but it shows some interest). Not to mention Honda's apparent laziness in terms of design (very little has changed since 2007 in there) and Toyota's declining built quality (especially interior materials). I bought a Hyundai in April. Toyota couldn't be bothered to sell me a Highlander, even though I was willing to pay more to get one. Might explain the Big 3 and Hyundai/Kia numbers.

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    • Moedaman Moedaman on Jun 02, 2011

      A friend of ours works for Hyundai at their Ann Arbor, MI facility. We saw her at a party Sunday and she certainly was glowing about their sales. They really do think that they will blow past Toyota and Chrysler/Fiat and become the number three seller in the USA. Pretty confindant bunch, but I do feel that they've earned it.

  • Jplew138 Jplew138 on Jun 02, 2011

    I've been watching this space for awhile, and I've noticed that like death and taxes, it's almost certain that CJ and jj will come up with some Detroit-hating, because it's just in them and it can't be washed out. As for myself, I've owned both foreign and domestics, with varying degrees of reliability. For example, I have a 1994 Cadillac Deville, with 289,000 miles on it, still runs, and is used as a second car - no overhauls or anything of the sort. I've also owned a Mitsubishi Mirage, that may well have been the worst car I've ever owned, as it started breaking down at 30,000 miles, and got progressively worse until I finally had to junk it in favor of a Ford Contour. If the aforementioned gentlemen had actually driven something like a new Focus or Fiesta, I might actually be inclined to take their rants seriously, but as it's rather obvious that they haven't, I'll pass, thank you. Those two cars are quite possibly the best in their respective classes, and as I'm actually looking for a car, I've actually driven them and their Japanese competition. The Japanese competition doesn't compare as far as driving dynamics, interior quality, or power combined with fuel economy. Face facts, guys...Toyota and Honda are turning into the GM and Ford of this generation - fat, happy, and totally unconcerned with what their customers think. And they'd better watch their backs...not only the domestics, but the Koreans are gaining on them.