By on June 26, 2015

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Warning: What you are about to read is NOT REAL. It is the product of the warped mind of your friendly neighborhood editorialist, Bark M., who wonders: What if automakers had to “draft” new products, just like the NBA does? 

Talking Head #1: Greetings, and welcome to Detroit, the host city for the 2015 National Automakers Association Draft! Tonight, we’ll see the future of automakers unfold, as they get the chance to select a new model for their existing lineup.

Talking Head #2: That’s right, and the excitement has been building ever since the end of last model year. Some big questions will be answered this evening: What will Subaru do with their pick? Will Ford finally have a full-sized sedan worth talking about? And will FCA’s Sergio Marchionne finally find a trade partner for their spot in the draft?

TH1: Word has it that Sergio has been burning up the phone lines trying to find somebody to help him move out of the first round, but my sources say that he hasn’t had any takers so far. As you know, though, there’s invariably a surprise or two on NAA Draft Night!

TH2: That there is! As always, the automakers will be drafting in reverse order of current U.S. market share. That means that first up on the clock is a fan favorite, Mazda.

TH1: Well, Mazda has a good, quality lineup, full of young star players, but for some reason they’ve had a hard time breaking through in America. Will this be the pick that finally gets them over the hump and positions them as a real player in the U.S. market?

TH2: We’re about to find out, as it looks like we are getting this 2015 NAA Draft underway! Here comes the commissioner to the podium with the card. Let’s listen.

Commissioner: With the first pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Mazda selects… a New CX-9, from Hiroshima, Japan!

TH1: Well, we can’t be too surprised with this one, can we?

TH2: No, not at all. The CX-9 has been getting long in the tooth and Mazda needed something new and fresh to be competitive in this segment. The Mazda fans have got to be happy with this selection.

TH1: Indeed, they are. While some fans here were hoping for a new Mazda 2 to be brought to the U.S., it’s hard to ignore that Mazda is missing out on a key segment with the current CX-9. Great pick.

TH2: All right, that was a solid, if not necessary climactic beginning to our evening. Next up is one of the more glamorous names in our industry: Mercedes-Benz. What have you been hearing about Mercedes?

TH1: It’s hard to know exactly which direction Mercedes might go in here. Their fans are still a little confused about the recent shakeup of their lineup – there are a lot of familiar faces with new names. Plus, they’ve had a few recent refreshes of their biggest sellers – the C Class is selling better than ever, and they’ve already signed a new E-Class for 2016.

TH2: We’ll know soon enough – here’s the commish!

Commissioner: With the second pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Mercedes-Benz selects…the W246 B Class, from Stuttgart, Germany!

TH1: I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our first surprise of the evening!

TH2: No question. The B Class has been a solid performer in both the EU and in Japan since it launched back in 2011, but I’ve gotta say, I’m surprised that they’re trying it in America. However, with the growth that MINI is seeing in America this year, perhaps Mercedes thinks there’s an opportunity for a luxury entry into the subcompact market.

TH1: It’s all part of the excitement that we’ve come to expect from the NAA Draft! Next on the clock with the third pick is another German automaker, BMW.

TH2: BMW has sort of lost their…

TH1: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I have to blow the whistle on you there, partner. I’m sure you weren’t about to say that they’ve “lost their way,” like every other talking head hack, were you?

TH1: Um, no. Not at all. I was about to say that they’ve lost their…okay, fine. You got me.

TH2: Considering that BMW is up about 7 percent in sales year over year, I think they’re doing just fine. But there is one segment where they’ve lost some market share, and that’s the small luxury SUV segment.

TH1: Let’s see if they address that tonight. Over to you, Commissioner!

Commissioner: With the third pick in the 2015 NAA draft, BMW selects…a new X3, from Spartanburg, South Carolina!

TH1: That’s the obvious choice here, isn’t it?

TH2: Certainly is. The X4…well, I mean, what the heck is the X4, anyway? It’s not selling in any great numbers, and the X3 has been down big time as of late. A new model seems to be just what Herr Doctor ordered.

TH1: Subaru is next up on the clock, partner. There’s been a lot of discussion lately about Subaru’s recent success in the American market, but how will that impact their draft pick tonight?

TH2: That’s a great question. They’re missing a lot of the key segments for American market success in their lineup – mid-sized SUV, subcompact – and the Impreza is sold in numbers that don’t impress anybody. But can they take on more capacity right now?

TH1: Let’s see what they decide to do. Here’s the commissioner with the pick.

Commissioner: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a trade. Subaru has traded their pick to Toyota, along with all remaining BRZs on dealer lots, for cash considerations and a car to be named later. With the fourth pick in the 2015 NAA draft, Toyota selects…an Avalon replacement, from Georgetown, Kentucky!

TH2: Not a huge surprise here, is it?

TH1: No, not particularly. I think Subaru did the right thing – they’re already at maximum capacity at most of their plants, and adding more models would just make it even worse. Also, killing the BRZ makes a ton of sense. They barely sell, and they are occupying floorplan space that could be used for other, more profitable models.

TH2: And Toyota needed a new full-sized sedan. The whole segment is dying quickly, yes, but maybe Toyota sees that as an opportunity to seize some market share from their aging competitors. Perhaps they can use the platform to update the Lexus ES, too.

TH1: This evening is moving along quickly, as we move to the fifth pick, which belongs to Volkswagen Auto Group. VW and Audi have a few holes to fill in their American lineup, to say the least.

TH2: Truer words were never spoken, my friend. The Jetta, the Passat, the A4…all of them are aging and relatively unpopular in their segments. The lights are flickering a bit at VW stores. Can tonight’s pick help keep them on?

TH1: The pick is in, so let’s turn things over to the commissioner.

Commissioner: With the fifth pick in the NAA draft, Volkswagen Auto Group selects…a Jetta with actual content, from Wolfsburg, Germany!

TH2: I think they didn’t really have much of a choice here. The Jetta is losing market share faster than any other compact car – they had to get competitive.

TH1: I don’t know…the Passat isn’t doing any better, and that’s a bigger segment, overall.

TH2: Yes, but the Jetta name still means something in America. The Jetta is the top-selling VW model of all time. I think VW knows that they’re climbing an uphill battle in the mid-sized segment with the Passat – maybe they figure it’s better to fight a battle that they actually have a shot at winning. And they’ve proven that they can make an excellent small car with the Golf and its performance derivatives.

TH1: Good point. VW fans have to be pleased with this pick.

TH2: Well, we’ve got Hyundai/Kia up next. Is there a faster rising team in the league than these guys?

TH1: I don’t think so, my friend. While the current Sonata hasn’t been everything that they hoped it would be, they’ve got some real hits on their hands with their crossover lineup. And the new Sedona is doing quite well, too. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t trouble spots.

TH2: You’re absolutely right. The Rio is falling well behind the competition in the Subcompact category, and even the Soul isn’t selling like it once was. What inside scoop do you have about H&K’s next move?

TH1: I don’t think there’s any question that they’d like to have a real, legitimate sporting car in their lineup. But can they justify it?

TH2: Well, the pick is in, so let’s go to the commissioner.

Commissioner: With the sixth pick in the NAA draft, Hyundai/Kia selects…an all-new, 5.0 liter Hyundai Genesis Coupe, from Seoul, South Korea!

TH1&2 (simultaneously): WHOOOOOOA!

TH1: That’s a big swing.

TH2: Is it ever! The Genesis Coupe has been tired for a while. Not only are they revamping it, they’re shoving in the big V8 from the sedan. Do you like it?

TH1: I love it! They’ve already got, in my opinion, the best RWD sedan for the money on the market. Now, they’re taking aim at the Mustang and Camaro. It’s bold, it’s brash – great pick!

TH2: Don’t go anywhere, folks! When we come back from commercial (tomorrow –Bark), we’ll find out what the big boys from Nissan, Honda, Toyota, FCA, Ford, and GM have in store for us.

All right, have at it, B&B – what would you have “drafted” for these manufacturers?

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15 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The (Imaginary) National Automakers Association Draft, Part One...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Mary Barra & her South African, Soho stationed Cadillac chief, Johan de Nysschen, should be released on waiver, for a level of gross incompetence that could only be tolerated at an entity such as General Motors, with the just uncovered release of the Cadillac SRX replacement as the latest example of such; behold the genital wart, vomit inducing, retina piercing, CADILLAC XT5:

    http://oppositelock.kinja.com/new-cadillac-xt5-spotted-completely-undisguised-1714025214/1714049714

    Ugly front, uglier sides, and the FUGLY STICK used on the rear end.

    Only Cadillac/GM could not only not rectify their incompetence, but magnify it.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      DW ,
      Caddy is like the Philly 76″s no one really knows what they are doing, it is great fun to watch from a far to see if it works out for them, it sucks if your a fan of their and deep down i think your rooting for Caddy , but hate the management, sort of like me with the Mets.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Some have said that Barra was to be the sacrificial lamb on the NHTSA ignition switch alter. Since that is still unfolding………

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    This ads garbage has to end. It is insufferable. Now this rubbish sends me to another ‘website’ to have flash updated.

    DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    And Nissan USA, from Nashville Tennessee selects…

    The 2016 Titan! Big move for them.

    Hmm. You sure they didn’t just pick the F150?

    No, says here it’s a Titan.

    But what I see looks quite a bit like the F150. Wait, no. Let me look a little closer…Yes, yes, they just drafted the F150.

    Did Ford release the F150? I mean, is it on waivers or something? I can’t believe it. They’d never…

    Me either, but there it is, in the flesh. An F150 with a Nissan logo on it.

    This makes no sense. Can someone get the commissioner over here to clarify?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      PROPS

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Domestic Hearse –

      Talking head #2…….. and that big RED C on the fender……… oh my word…. how did they pull Cummins out from Ram’s nose.

      Talking Head #1…….. well you do know that Fred Diaz was the coach for Ram and they dumped him. Nissan did a quick pickup (TH#1 and #2 laugh at pun)and Diaz took all that he had learned from Ram to Nissan.

      Talking Head #2….. I’m sure Diaz has an ax to grind and that ax is shaped in a “C”.

      Talking Head #1 ….. agreed and Ram is doing well on their short game but they have very poor draft pick potential in the future.

      Talking Head # 2…… pundits have said that FCA and Nissan/Renault would be a powerhouse dream team of Olympic proportions

      Talking Head #1 ….. yes but so far everyone is acting like Marchionne has contagious jock itch. No one will touch them (more raucous laughter).

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Subaru should have drafted a reskinned Highlander. They’ve already gutted their AWD advantage with the CVT equipped cars, why not take the good Highlander and apply Subaru DLO ethos to it?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Isn’t the Avalon pretty new? 2013? I had one as a rental in 2013 and returned it because it was horrible.

    • 0 avatar
      sastexan

      I just had a 2015 Avalon in upstate NY, and for a load of 4 plus luggage, cruising on the I-90 was really smooth and nice. Don’t love the dash controls – the no-feedback “buttons” – but they are better than all touch screen. The ride was soft without being floaty, and still had some decent feedback. Gas mileage was not far off the 4 cyl Camry SE that National gave me the week before – something was off with that particular car because it was darty, noisy, and rough.

  • avatar
    wristtwist

    Oh boy! This is like fan fiction for car nerds.

    hehehe

  • avatar
    sastexan

    BMW likely would have laden down their pick with option packages that are eye popping expensive, but with residuals on leases that make them palatable. Maybe they will pull out “lifetime” oil and filter to ensure the engines are toast after factory warranty expires.

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