By on November 14, 2019

Image: GM

A new report from Edmunds tries to make a case against Ford and General Motors placing their small- and medium-sized cars on an iceberg and setting it adrift. We don’t even need to see the metrics to agree. Ditching cars for higher-margin crossovers and SUVs always seemed a little short-sighted. Without entry-level models, you’re likely to get fewer entry-level (i.e. new) customers, and several of the models axed from North American lineups happened to be the most enjoyable to drive.

Selfishly, we like to see plenty of variety among mainstream brands.

Edmunds’ concern isn’t so much about Ford and GM losing money; rather, it’s more about the automakers setting themselves up for failure further down the line. The analysis revealed that 42 percent of Cruze and Focus owners are choosing to stay in the passenger car segment, rather than spending a little (or lot) more to purchase crossovers and SUVs. Meanwhile, 23 percent of Cruze owners and 31 percent of Focus owners who traded in their car in 2019 ended up buying something similar from a competing automaker

While that doesn’t underpin a fast-approaching doom, Edmunds suggests that domestic manufacturers are sacrificing favorable market positioning to free up cash for other products (electrification, connectivity, autonomy, etc.) and pad their bottom line. The proof, it claims, is the degradation of brand loyalty among customers seeking small, inexpensive automobiles. Many of those shoppers are now getting their modestly sized car fix from Asian manufacturers.

Does anyone remember if this has ever happened before?

“Ford and GM made a strategic decision to prioritize profit at the expense of market share,” said Edmunds Executive Director of Insights Jessica Caldwell. “While this may set them up better in the long run so they have the cash they need to fund electrification and autonomy, there’s no question that decision is giving their competitors an edge now.”

From Edmunds:

The brand loyalty of former Cruze and Focus owners has been steadily declining in the last three years. The percentage of Focus owners trading in their vehicle and buying another Ford has declined from 40 [percent] in 2016 to 33 [percent] through September of this year. The drop in brand loyalty is more pronounced among former Cruze owners: 45 [percent] elected to trade in their Cruze for another Chevrolet vehicle so far this year, compared to 57 [percent] in 2016.

Many former Cruze and Focus owners are going into direct competitive equivalents such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, but other brands are proving attractive as well. The number of Focus and Cruze owners trading their vehicles in and buying a small Jeep (Compass or Renegade), Hyundai Kona or Elantra, Kia Forte or Subaru Crosstrek have all risen in the last three years.

However, there is a contingent of loyal Ford and GM customers who elected to stay with the brands and go upmarket, buying an SUV/crossover, but they’re losing ground to the people who simply skipped town to find love in the arms of another. Through 2019, only 21 percent of Cruze owners purchased a Chevrolet SUV while 18 percent of Focus owners swapped into an SUV from Ford.

With average automotive transaction prices reaching ever-greater heights, the outlet doesn’t anticipate the situation improving. Crossovers and SUVs typically possess MSRPs many thousands of dollars dearer than a similarly sized/equipped passenger car (Edmunds estimates the gap at $4,000-8,000). That means more profit per vehicle for the manufacturer, but fewer sales overall. It also leaves cash-strapped youngsters with little recourse but to look elsewhere as these smaller domestics gradually disappear from dealer lots.

“The catch is, if Ford and GM don’t have affordable options for shoppers who are buying their first or second new car, it could be much harder to win them over later,” Caldwell continued. “Catching consumers early and keeping them in the family has been a basic tenet of automotive brand strategy for decades. But it feels like we’re in the midst of a transformative time for the industry where automakers are being forced to rethink everything. Time will tell if it will end up the right call in the long run.”

While Edmunds’ data may not be sufficient to actually predict the future, it certainly underlines the trend of domestic automakers willingly giving away a piece of the market. Right now, that piece is anemic and weak and, to be sure, it was actually causing headaches for both automakers. However, the segment still has a relatively loyal customer base that Ford and GM are choosing to turn their backs on in order to gamble with electrification. The overall plan sounds a little dicey, as it relies on accurately predicting customer preferences years in advance. That said, the industry is changing rather rapidly and unpredictably.

Perhaps Ford and GM have already thrown their eggs into the correct basket and it’s simply too early to tell.

[Image: General Motors]

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162 Comments on “Report: Abandoning Small Car Segment Could Be a Big Mistake...”


  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    I went the other way and traded a compact CUV for a small sedan.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I used to be a Ford guy, having shown up in their new car statistics several times in the last dozen years and they have nothing for me. I had a manual Focus SE and a Focus ST. Now the closest I can come in size is a vehicle I wouldn’t be caught dead in, the EcoSport. I’ve had an Escape and wasn’t terribly interested in going back. I looked at a Fusion recently and the numbers on that were a joke.

    Mazda caught me and have provided vehicles I like. Currently rocking a CX-5 while my mom has a 2018 Mazda3

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      The CX-5 is a surprisingly enjoyable vehicle to drive. As a longtime Miata driver myself, the Mazda DNA in it is noticeable. If an SUV is your flavor, it’s a really great choice.

    • 0 avatar
      saturnotaku

      I don’t mind the looks and the EcoBoost I3 in the front-drive EcoSport, but I still wouldn’t be caught dead in one. I honestly have no idea why that thing sells in the numbers it does.

      I was considering an AWD Mazda 3 for my most recent purchase, but the torsion beam rear suspension made it much less fun to drive than any of its predecessors. For only slightly more money, I nabbed an Acura ILX instead.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      If I decided I HAD to have another 3 row CUV the CX-9 would be at the top of my list based on the fact that the driving dynamics wouldn’t make me feel like I was slowly drowning every time I drove it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    We went from Ford (C-Max) to GM (Bolt). It’s entirely possible that if the C-Max had still been available we would have taken the lazy route and leased another one. We liked the first one just fine, especially on a deeply subsidized lease.

    We ended up buying the Bolt because the purchase terms were clearly better, so we’ll probably keep it a while. Maybe Ford will be selling smaller cars again by the time we want to replace it.

  • avatar

    According to the latest Consumer Reports GM trucks and SUVs are just as troublesome as their cars. They are no longer producing sedans and small cars due to their lack of competitiveness. Unfortunately, the very same flaws seen in their cars are showing up in their SUVs and Trucks. The Traverse in currently ranked as the least reliable SUV.

    Mary Barra has to go. GM’s reliability, styling, and worker relations are all below the industry average. Why is this CEO getting a free pass for producing some of the most unreliable cars in the industry? The fact that Cadillac is in last place should be a major concern. Maybe instead of concentrating solely on electrification and autonomous vehicles, GM should just try to produce vehicles that are not below the industry standard. Even FCA has now surpassed GM.

    • 0 avatar
      retrocrank

      “Styling?” You mean angular interpretations of the ubiquitous oriental toothy smile and/or boyracer scoops and wings? A sad day for humanity if we have to apply the word “style” to these visual abortions.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      akear

      I find Consumer Reports demerit system of rating vehicles completely useless.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Peter Gazis,

        What about CR’s methodology don’t you like?

        Are there other surveys you prefer?

        (Asking in all seriousness.)

      • 0 avatar

        You may find flaws with Consumer Reports, but the fact remains they are for the first time ever ranked behind FCA(Chrysler). For me, I always found Consumer Reports tinged with a little anti-Americanism. It is not always obvious, but it is there and sometimes very subtle. Despite what Consumer Reports says, the general consensus is GM quality is in free fall.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenn

          From the vehicles I’ve both owned and rented, I’d admit I’m “tinged with a little anti-Americanism,” as well. The last GM car I owned was a ’99 Saturn SC-2, and when I needed a 4-door sedan for a week, I rented a Corolla and was surprised by how much better it was put together compared to the Saturn’s squeaks and rattles, air leaks around the front doors, it’s tiny seats, it’s poor A/C, and inadequate cooling system. Dealer service didn’t resolve these issues, either. The next car I rented was a new ’12 Focus, and that car, with numerous glitches, sealed my automotive “anti-Americanism.”

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I used to read CR regularly when I was younger (late 70s to early 90s), then less, now rarely.

          I agree with Akear, they have subtle, and not so subtle biases.

          Until the mid 80s, I felt they were trying to give readers their honest opinion.

          Now, they sound like a 2nd rate Car & Driver wannabe—prose (attempted) has replaced data.

          Maybe this is because the data for ALL cars has gotten much better.

          As to their reliability surveys, when I was in jr high, they rated a 75 Pontiac Ventura V8 as ‘below average’. It was one of the most troublefree cars I’ve experienced. Ditto my 2005 Cobalt SS.

          So their reliability survey is spotty.

          But, despite that, I pick CR over JDPower any day. I don’t think JDP data available to the public is of much value. Initial 90 days? Come on.

          Both CR and JDP are in it to make money.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            I have a 1958 CR that says the best car to buy in America is the 1958 Plymouth….

            I liked those boats having owned one but they were not well assembled, leaked, squeaked and rattled terribly from day one .

            I was apparently very lucky to get one of the very few really good ones, a stripper Plaza model, Flathead i6 engine and two speed automatic (push button of course), no radio, no heater and rubber floor mats .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    This catch-them-while-they-are-young strategy makes a lot of sense to me.
    Chrysler’s turbo cars were the biggest bang I could get for my buck back in the 80s and despite my dad being a die-hard GM guy, I had to have one. I had some fun times in that little car and it has become a bit of a touchstone for my lost youth. Since then, I have continued to shop the brand and have owned a couple of other Chryslers – one used, one new. I still think of them fondly and although I don’t buy a lot of card, pay attention to what they sell.

    Ford and GM dumping their small cars means it will be harder for young people to have experiences similar to the ones I had. That’s a bad thing. These consumers wont love OR hate these brands. Instead, they’ll probably just not think about them at all…

  • avatar

    The new Corolla is beautiful.

    GM – what a disgrace!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The Corolla is profitable (I’m sure) the Corolla has many loyal buyers.

      But dynamically is as exciting as dry white toast.

      • 0 avatar

        The Corolla is better than every single small car GM has ever built. Toyota is better than GM in virtually everything now.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          I’ve driven new Corollas as rentals and they are nowhere near as good as my first gen Cruze was. GM finally got the small car thing right and pulled the plug.

          • 0 avatar

            This is why GM has become garbage. Barra is the most infuriating GM CEO since Roger Smith.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Indi…agree. Had both generations of the Cruze. Our Gen 1 was one of our favorite cars. We “sold” it to my son and his fiancé and bought a second gen Cruze HB. What a colossal piece of garbage. The build quality and reliability differences were shocking. We kept the Gen 2 for just at a year before dumping it.

    • 0 avatar

      GM’s quality has fallen and so their small cars and sedans are junk. They make them cheaply

      • 0 avatar

        Except for Buick, GM’s latest showing in Consumer Reports is very troubling. They have fallen behind both Ford and FCA. It is hard to believe the Challenger and FCA minivan are the most reliable domestic vehicles. GM best selling SUV the Traverse is also GM most unreliable SUV!!

        • 0 avatar
          saturnotaku

          The Chrysler Pacifica was rated one of the LEAST reliable vehicles for 2020.

          https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2019/11/14/consumer-reports-auto-reliability-study-2020-vehicles/2578463001/

  • avatar

    I agree. I think Ford is making a big mistake discontinuing the Fusion sedan. It’s a pretty good car.
    Even Toyota & Honda are seeing a slow down in small car sales, but they have no plans to leave the small car segment.
    In the future, if gas prices get higher, people will leave SUVs and go back to smaller cars and sedans that have get gas mileage. Also, young single adults and couples without families don’t need a big car or suv
    The reason GM, Chrysler and Ford’s small cars aren’t popular like the Japanese is because they are poorly built and unreliable. GM’s quality has dropped

    • 0 avatar

      GM and Ford are becoming dumpster fires. It is really getting embarrassing.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      davinp
      Toyota has recently dropped the: PriusC, Scion iQ, xD, xB, tC, Yaris liftback, Lexus CT200H. The Corolla is the only high volume small car they have left.

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      Both the Fusion and the Focus desperately needed a redesign and were long overdue. Both needed better utilization of space, better visibility, better ergonomics. Ford is more than willing to dump tons of money into the F150 but they expect cars to just sell themselves forever. They neglected the segment and gave up competing with the Japanese and Koreans. Self fulfilling prophesy.

  • avatar

    The average new car buyer is 55 if I remember or right about the point where ease of entry starts coming into the buying process. Really brand loyalty doesn’t start with your first new car it starts with used cars. Which makes for some interesting math.

    The best example I can think of is housing in the US. In most of the country the don’t build new starter homes. They build new houses starting around 2500 sq ft. The builders have been doing this for at least 2 decades now (at least her in the North East) and that’s how it works used house until you build your dream home near retirement. In the new middle class you drive a used car until you have the cash right before retirement to buy a new one.

    To put some numbers on it as a percentage of population (by age)
    Under 34 went from 5% buying new cars to under 3.5% over the last 15 years. 34 to 49 went from 8.3% to 6.6% and over 55 went from 4.9% to 5.7%. You need to make a compelling used car. Which honestly bodes well for trucks and Honda/Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Good post.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Except not everybody views a new home as a dream home. I’d pay far more for a pristine painted lady Victorian than anything new. I hope to die never being forced into new construction sporting plastic cladding like a 1990s Pontiac. But you are correct that used cars are the pathway to brand loyalty. Which is why keeping turds like J cars in production for so long was far more damaging than one might think. Imagine how many people bought these used because they were cheap and were subject to failure after failure. I’d bet the farm that many potential GM customers were lost before they even had a chance to step into a dealership.

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        A legacy of not wanting to sell small cars in the very first place, until forced into it by market share erosion. Their take on small car offerings was to make the customer hate the experience so much they went back to their bigger wider more profitable cars and in the 80s and 90s SUVs and trucks.

        Fug em. The market segment where I shop, no one wants my business.

        WTH: my 05 ION only has 72,000 miles on it,looks like a late model and never gives a problem. Since you’re not interested in my business, GM & Ford, my business will go elsewhere. And F.O.

        “While Edmunds’ data may not be sufficient to actually predict the future, it certainly underlines the trend of domestic automakers willingly giving away a piece of the market. Right now, that piece is anemic and weak and, to be sure, it was actually causing headaches for both automakers. However, the segment still has a relatively loyal customer base that Ford and GM are choosing to turn their backs on in order to gamble with electrification.”

        You jez keep dreamin’, sweet thangs. There’s a market for electric vehicles but it’s not THE market.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    As I have said prior: Gm and Ford are abandoning the car market to make way for the Chinese manufacturers. Just yesterday on the tram inside Detroit Airport (DTW) there was an ad for GAC motors, showing 3 of their vehicles.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Small vehicles are another casualty in the “quarterly stock price above all” mentality of American corporations in general, automotive ones in particular.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Schmitt trigger
      Most of the worlds largest corporations are U.S. corporations. They didn’t get to be the biggest by waiting resources on dying product lines.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      Small vehicles are another casualty in the “quarterly stock price above all” mentality of American corporations in general, automotive ones in particular.
      Bingo. I think Ford saw every Focus that sold as a more profitable Escape that didn’t sell, every Fusion that sold as an Explorer that didn’t, etc. The easiest way to prevent that is to eliminate the Focus and Fusion, and buyers will have no choice except to buy the Escape and Explorer. I wonder how long it will take to realize that a Fusion that sold might be a Malibu, Altima, Accord, Camry, Legacy, 6, Sonata or Optima that didn’t sell?

      • 0 avatar
        DweezilSFV

        Great observation. +++. My choices would be Forte, Rio, Accent, Corolla.

        How do they even breath with their heads so far up their
        flues, Namesakeone ?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “I wonder how long it will take to realize that a Fusion that sold might be a Malibu, Altima, Accord, Camry, Legacy, 6, Sonata or Optima that didn’t sell?”

        if they have to give you money to take that Fusion, how is that in any way helpful?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It used to be that automakers withstood losses in this segment for the reasoning outlined in the attached report. However, with margin compression due to increased competition, immense compliance costs and a general plateau in the market, they need to shed the dead weight.

    This is not a question of whether there is *enough* margin in these cars, it’s that there is none. Like it or not, it’s prudent to drop something that’ll cost them major losses.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There is still some margin in this segment, just much less than many other segments. However the current sales trajectory of sedans says that the margin will turn negative before a future generation ran its course.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It’s been estimated by industry analysts that Ford had been losing $800M a year on cars. That’s not chump change. Other analyses affirm that pretty much everyone loses money in C segment in NA. If these cars do something well financially, it’s keeping dealers fed with reserves from subprime finance deals.

        • 0 avatar
          namesakeone

          In that case, how is Toyota able to sell Corollas and Honda able to sell Civics, apparently at a profit, when their labor costs are as high as ours?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Because they shift 300,000 units every year, not 100,000. And even then, you’re assuming they’re still profitable even at those volumes. they may be, but I’m sure Toyota and Honda would make dollars selling RAV-4s and CR-Vs than making pennies on Corollas or Civics.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      danio,
      Agreed. Would add that the “get ’em and grow ’em” strategy has backfired badly on some automakers at some times in the past (turned into ‘alienate them for life.’)

      Scoutdude,
      The margin varies by manufacturer – but danio is absolutely correct that for some OEM’s on some products, it is very close to zero (if not negative).

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    My take.American small cars are expensive (relative to their competition) and can only be sold in the USDM, for the most part. JDM small cars have popularity globally and their profit margins are palatable for them given the scope of their sales. I think they realized they couldn’t compete anymore so they got out of the game.
    Shame , because the new Focus ST looks like it could be a blast to drive.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “ The analysis revealed that 42 percent of Cruze and Focus owners are choosing to stay in the passenger car segment,”

    So? If they’re going to stay in that segment, why would the companies be obligated to keep losing money on them? It’s like some people (who should know better) don’t understand what a for-profit corporation is there to do. Everyone insists that there should be lots of small cars, but that’s easy to say when it’s not your job to make them profitable.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This. The fact that the other half can effectively be moved into more profitable segments shows why it’s a worthwhile move.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s funny, really. this place is infested with crotchety old right-wing “let the market decide” trogs. Yet if they don’t like what the market tells those companies to do, those trogs get all triggered.

        you know, because car companies are obligated to produce unsellable lot poison just so those trogs can argue about it on the internet.

        these chuds need to realize that they have to accept the results of what “the market” wants and what “states’ rights” want even if things don’t go their way.

        but no, they’ll just throw tantrums.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “ Yet if they don’t like what the market tells those companies to do, those trogs get all triggered.”

          I don’t see many right wingers, let alone right wingers old enough to be crotchety complaining about the market going it’s own way. Too bad we don’t have that and instead have government interfering at so many levels.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Quite an axe to grind there. haha

          There’s a lot more than the free market and simple consumer preference at play here. This trog is familiar with the nuts and bolts of how it works and laments how CAFE 2025 has basically assured anything that can’t be classified as a light truck must die.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Jim, I failed to read a comment where someone was calling for the government to mandate they keep making cars. You can criticize an action without wanting the government to be the solution. The market today allows the manufacturers to make better money on trucks and crossovers. More than 50% of Cruze buyers bought those to replace them. Their self imposed problem will be no new Cruzes will be sold in 2020. 58% of 0 is still 0. Those will be Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai customers. When it comes time to replace their entry level compact, they will go look at their brands cars first. Once people switch, it’s hard to get them back.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If you look at the numbers they are moving about 20% of those former customers into one of their own CUV or SUV. If you look at the Fords the Ecosport has a $6225 higher base price than the Fiesta or $2535 than the Focus, the Escape goes for $4400 more than the Focus did. So I’d say they are making more money on that 20% they are retaining than they did on the 100%.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    Some random thoughts:
    *I remember when GM was roasted for pursuing market share above profits mercilessly. Now it’s profits over market share- so, criticism.
    *If you’re making small cars that are losing money, Barra doesn’t owe the B&B or Edmunds an explanation- they owe it to their stockholders. From past examples (see GM) the stockholders don’t appreciate continuing investment in sure fired loss leaders.
    *Even when the gas crisis comes again, you still won’t make money on small cars if history is repeated. Even at $4 a gallon, small cars lost money.
    *The small cars that do ok do so because they do well in other countries so putting money into development is reasonable. They don’t have to make much at all here to at least make sense.
    *We need a small car exception on tariffs if we want them to work because if there is any way at all to make them profitably, it’s got to be done in a lower labor market, period.
    *From everything I’ve seen, younger people don’t seem to develop their own brand loyalty- If they have it, it’s inherited from their parents.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      You just distilled what was going through my head much more succinctly than I could have.

      I wonder if it’s possible to continue offering a sedan, maybe only in one size. Say European midsize (Contourish), put all the things on it and allocate a small number to each dealer. Price it well enough below a crossover to make it worthwhile for those not up to paying the scratch. Don’t overbuild them and allow customers the chance to order easily where the only choices to be made are interior and exterior color. Then the manufacturer doesn’t need to pile money on and they’re still available or in the pipeline.

    • 0 avatar

      GM is obviously doing something wrong. In just 12 years they have gone from the world’s top carmaker to the fourth largest. With an upcoming FCA and PSA merger GM will probably drop to fifth.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This is a pretty good summary. The brands that remain in the segment also tend to command higher average transaction prices spread over higher volumes.

      Ironically, for the C segment passenger car to thrive again, CAFE would have to be amended or killed. It seems odd because these cars get great fuel economy, but they need to hit higher targets than small CUVs/SUVs of the same footprint, and that requires investment that ensures no return.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        the brands that remain in these segments (Honda and Toyota) are still able to sell 300-350k per year. The economics of remaining in that segment are justifiable when you have that volume. When you’re only able to shift 100k units, the financial picture looks very different. Honda and Toyota will own the C- and D- segment sedan market ’til the very end, and the other companies are gradually deciding to stop burning cash in a futile effort to take marketshare away from them. I don’t know why Hyundai is even bothering with a new Sonata, they’re barely going to crack 100k in the US this year and they can’t be making anything on it.

        There’s no value in sinking money on unprofitable products just to vote “present” in a segment. That’s just *business.* For all the wailing about the Fiesta and Focus, I would be surprised if those two car lines *ever* turned a dime in profit since 2011.

        amazing how hypocritical the “Free market” whiners are when they don’t get what they want.

    • 0 avatar

      “From everything I’ve seen, younger people don’t seem to develop their own brand loyalty- If they have it, it’s inherited from their parents.”

      I can confirm that. First two cars my son got were both Fords because I am a Ford fan. Second Ford he bought under his own name and it was almost new. But the next car he bought without my participation was a new Subaru SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      MrIcky,

      Good summary. I will not criticize GM for discontinuing low-or-no-profit small cars. But I do wish that they could have made more than a half-hearted attempt at small cars in the U.S. market. Traditionally, “small” = “cheap” = “we don’t care please buy something bigger.” They sold ‘smaller’ vehicles in Europe that were much more useable and dynamically pleasing. I’m over it, but they could have handled things differently.

      (In general, more attention goes into products which the executives actually spend time in – years ago this was luxury sedans, now it is luxury SUV’s.)

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        man, people want to have their cake and eat it too. I remember plenty of people b*tching about stuff like the Focus Titanium trim level. “Who would pay that much for a Focus? That’s more than a base Fusion!”

        now the problem is they didn’t “make small cars nice enough?”

        What, they’re supposed to lose even MORE money on them to make you happy?

  • avatar
    beken

    I used to be GM guy. But somewhere along the way, GM did things to ensure I would never buy a GM car again, no matter how compelling their cars became. So I’m already lost from GMs customer base, my children won’t buy GM cars, but maybe their children would consider it. We’re talking 20 years into the future now. I wonder if GM will still be around. The Focus was an intriguing car to me, but now that it’s gone, I’m no longer shopping for American small(ish) cars anymore.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    The first generation Chevy Cruze was a dynamically nice car. Seemed well put together. Reliability was not its forte though. A good friend of mine owns a 2015 and at 37,000 miles one of the half shafts exploded. Probably cheap Chinese steel. Another thing I noticed, since I helped her buy an air filter, consumables are crazy expensive. 37 dollars for an engine air filter??? And I shopped arround. I was in denial and thought it was a mistake. Nope, same price on Amazon and Walmart doesn’t carry it. Odd size. Must be that German design. Air filter for Corolla? OEM AC Delco made by Denso was 9,99 on Amazon. Crazy!!

  • avatar

    The Truth is Detriot never produced a truly competitive small sedan. I guess the Saturn SL1 and Neon were the closest they came to producing a decent compact. The Pinto, Vega, Cavalier, and Chevette were rather pathetic attempts to compete with imports.

    GM’s current lineup is one of its worse in nearly 35 years. With the exception of two vehicles, every single GM vehicle is rated below average by Consumer Reports.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      My 1997 Ford Escort was absolutely dependable. I did routine maintenance on it and replaced the timing belt and water pump ahead of schedule and still had the original clutch in the car at 179,000 miles. Aside from brakes and tires, the car had almost all original parts on it. It was extremely fuel efficient (45 mpgs per tank without fail). It would have still made a great second car if I had room, but ultimately I let it go and bought something newer that is safer (more airbags and better crash structure protection); I get slightly better gas mileage with the 2016 Hyundai Elantra that I purchased – but it is so much more comfortable. Ford left me – I did not leave them. And now I’ll consider Hyundai and Kia for my next car should I desire to get something newer.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      My 1997 Ford Escort was absolutely dependable. I did routine maintenance on it and replaced the timing belt and water pump ahead of schedule and still had the original clutch in the car at 179,000 miles. Aside from brakes and tires, the car had almost all original parts on it. It was extremely fuel efficient (45 mpgs per tank without fail). It would have still made a great second car if I had room, but ultimately I let it go and bought something newer that is safer (more airbags and better crash structure protection); I get slightly better gas mileage with the 2016 Hyundai Elantra that I purchased – but it is so much more comfortable. Ford left me – I did not leave them. And now I’ll consider Hyundai and Kia for my next car should I desire to get something newer.

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        The most reliable U.S. manufactured small cars were if my memory serves: the Pontiac Vibe (based on the Toyota Matrix) and your Ford Escort based on the Mazda with a Ford engine. I had both and they were remarkably reliable if unexciting cars to drive. It was hoped at the time that GM and Ford would learn about reliability from their Japanese counterparts–sadly it was not the case. Ironically the Japanese, especially Toyota, learned much about reliability from an American W. E. Deming.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I think some market for econoboxes will always be there .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    dwford

    Part of the problem is that the budget crossovers Ford and GM currently offer are total crap. No one in their right mind would come out of a newer Cruze and get into a similarly price Trax. Same thing at Ford. Focus buyers coming back are unlikely to like the Ecosport. Maybe with the next generation of these vehicles, they will be more what cars buyers would accept, but right now they are literally 3rd world designs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I doubt I will buy another GM or Ford regardless of what they make. Not in the market for a full size pickup and for not much more and in some cases less I can buy an Asian brand with better reliability. Reliability is important to me and if both Ford and GM are emphasizing profitability at the expense of quality then count me out.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Electrification and autonomous cars in big numbers are a long way off. What’s likely to happen in the next few years is that gas prices will spike. What happens then when people who needed a full-size truck to take Tad to his oboe lessons can’t afford to put fuel in it? Leases will tank costing the Big 3 tons of money and they won’t be able to pick up any business in the small, efficient car market because they have nothing.

    This really smacks of stupidity.

    BTW – I had a Ford (’17 MKZ) and would have bought another Ford CAR but they’re all dead cars walking now so I went elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I have no problem agreeing that full-size trucks are priced to the sky, but trucks were the best sellers even when gas went up to $4 a gallon. Compact cars were money losers then as well, since crossovers are now routinely getting over 30MPG Hwy, they are what people would fall to if gas ever went way back up to $4 a gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        On top of what I just said, my experience with my 2017 5.3L 4×4 4 door Silverado tells me there’s no longer a disadvantage to buying full-size. Easy 24-25 MPG highway, that’s reached to over 30 on more than a few occasions.
        There’s just no advantage to trading a full-size for a smaller vehicle any longer.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Except that not everybody likes driving big. I hate it unless I’m renting something for a vacation like a Suburban where the virtues of size are needed and welcomed. But for everyday use I dislike the bulk on the road, the poor handling, all the space it sucks up in the garage, and frankly the image of driving a monster. No doubt that’s similar to the way you feel when you see a Prius or a Subaru. That’s why choice is good. While I always have tended to buy American (mostly) I will simply move on to an import next time around.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            They could build more expensive compacts and midsizers but until those compacts are RWD, V8 the Luke warm reception party will keep going.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree at some point fuel prices will go up and people will not want the big trucks or suvs and GM and Ford will be in trouble. EVs are not going to really take off in the near future–maybe 10 to 20 years if then.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I like small cars. I don’t need bigger – I don’t need an SUV or CUV or a truck. I want great gas mileage and I refuse to spend a lot of money for a car.

    This past January my 1997 Ford Escort that I owned since it was new started to have a litany of issues with failure of OEM parts that I knew would happen. The car had close to 180,000 miles and was extremely dependable until the cascade of issues happened. The car had very little actual value so there was a big decision to go back to a car payment on a late model USED CAR. With the prospect of repairs on the Ford approaching $1500, I decided I wanted something newer and safer so I bit the bullet.

    I found a delightfully low mileage fleet (not rental) manual transmission (!) equipped 2016 Hyundai Elantra – I did the comparison shopping for about six months as I was suspecting I was living on borrowed time with the Ford. After testing cars and ruling out many, I ended up with a 21k mile Hyundai that checked every box including safety. It is a basic car without a lot of the electronic garbage, but it really is a pleasure to drive and is extremely roomy. Also line of sight out of the inside to outside was far better than most cars.

    Ford might have been in consideration, but they left me and my market. I won’t be back even after owning Fords for nearly 40 years. I just am not moved by their abandoning the car market and am so glad that Hyundai/Kia are sticking with it. I loathe the Honduh/Toyoduh tax (I would have paid nearly $4k more for same year and mileage) over the cost of the Hyundai which looks and drives like a new car. I don’t know if I’ll keep this car as long as my Escort so having a “reputation” for 200k miles does not move me. I am also unmoved by the hideous design of most of the Duh sister vehicles these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Ford might have been in consideration, but they left me and my market. ”

      Consider how many dollars Ford would see from the transaction that you just described and you’ll understand why they left.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Ford might have been in consideration, but they left me and my market. I won’t be back even after owning Fords for nearly 40 years. I just am not moved by their abandoning the car market and am so glad that Hyundai/Kia are sticking with it.”

      Let’s re-visit this when Hyundai/Kia also decides to exit because they’re tired of giving you money to take one of their cars.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @cprescott–That is really low mileage for a 2016. I bought a bigger car, a 2012 Buick Lacrosse from a neighbor with just 45k miles still like new for much much less than a new subcompact car and it is even a hybrid (e-assist).

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    To those of you who think the new generation of Corolla based on the TNGA platform is anything like the previous generation please shut the f*ck up until you’ve driven one.

    The end.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s just stupid thinking. So you can’t go from a from a Hyundai Sonata to a Mustang GT?

    It’s the exact 1950’s GM boardroom thinking. It doesn’t work anymore. There’s a bit more than 3 automakers now and consumers all cherrypick in every segment. And it could come down to the biggest touch screen.

    Then what?

    When was the last time you drove past a driveway with selections from 3+ segments and they were all the same brand, compact to big pickup or SUV? 1953?

    Ford could bust its own chops pleasing Focus buyers, but what if they buy another brand when/if they’re ready to spend real money?

    Stupid report.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well there aren’t that many driveways you’ll pass with 3+ segments in the driveway, but there are still a fair number of people with 2 vehicles from the same mfg, at least around here. Off the top of my head I know a person with a Corolla and a RAV4, a Prius and a RAV4, Fusion and F-series, C-Max and Mustang and a couple of multi Subaru families.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Ah, it only counts if it’s an old cheap car and a new cash cow.

        Of course if they got a new Lariat or higher F-150, they probably got the C-Max thrown in for free!

        The point is, there’s no “loyalty”. Even if the “entry level” sedan experience was extremely positive, what if they want to step up to a new Wrangler (from an awesome Focus experience)?

        And “entry level” isn’t just for the very young, just starting out. What if all they ever buy is entry level? Or they’re elderly and it’s their last new vehicle?

        It’s all junk theories, or where’s the proof? It’s like “Halo” cars. Eh, it sounds good along with “Racing on Sunday, makes a sale on Monday…”. Does anyone pay attentions? Does anyone really care?

        • 0 avatar
          Imagefont

          My first NEW car was a Honda Accord, 1988. Dead reliable. I bought a CR-V, still driving it. Both well over 200k. Last weekend I sat in a Honda Passport, really just a foreshortened Pilot. I’ll probably buy it, a decision based heavily on the good experiences I had with my other two Honda’s. It’s like eating at a restaurant. Get a bad meal, you don’t go back.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I’ve had very good experiences with GM since I started driving, however the caveat to buying good GMs is buying products from classes they excel in. You don’t buy a Cruze expecting it to be reliable unless this is your first rodeo.

            The problem is, GM occupies only 2 of what used to be many segments of good vehicles, and seeing as how GM is getting out of the SUV segment and they’re current trucks simply suck outside of the engine, there’s no reason left to buy from GM.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Imagefont, That’s great for you! But how does that help GM, Ford or Chrysler? What’s the point of them offering cars at the lower end of the spectrum?

            Yeah it might lead to greater profits as some move up the automotive ladder, but if they had an average or poor experience with a Cobalt, 200 or something, it will backfire.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Partly the problem is people, not cars. You take the guy that owned a ’72 Nova that the dealer couldn’t fix a wind noise or something. He hasn’t owned a domestic/Detroit vehicle since.

            You’re wondering where Tundra/Tacoma/Titan sales come from? Yeah people can be their own worst enemies.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I largely agree with MrIcky‘s analysis…. Why make what isn’t selling when history teaches that even if you make it might not sell, and even if it sells you probably won’t make any money on it? Both GM’s and Ford’s market niche are squeezed from above and below by the Japanese and Koreans. Anyway, Ford’s transmission troubles have to have really destroyed the future of the Focus, and with Chevy I don’t even know what their small car is nowadays. Cruze, Cobalt, Sonic? Sumthin.

    Meanwhile the profit margins on trucks and SUV’s are nice and fat, and Detroit gets to build what’s it’s built since the 1950’s (1930’s?) (1920’s?): Big and spacious front-engined, rear-drive, body-on-frame vehicles for a market where torque matters a lot more than fuel economy.

    My theory on the EV move is pretty cynical – why pay Tesla for their offsets when they can build their own? There is another cynic’s benefit to switching to EV’s. It allows Ford and GM a ‘virtuous excuse’ for closing expensive U.S. plants and thus getting rid of expensive UAW workers.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      ^^ This is a brilliant observation. Especially Ford’s destruction of the Focus [and Fiesta] with their insistence on lobbing off that awful transmission on it’s buyers.

      I think your theory is correct.I don’t see mass consumer demand for electric motivation [or self driving] except among internet auto scribes and pompous car company execs. The only self driving regenerating thing is all the hype and they’ll have an ugly surprise when their lines are converted and no one is buying.

      Especially when the public realizes it is priced out, even in the small vehicle car segment and the manufacturers are only making cars for the rich and rentals and car sharing for the unwashed public.

      Perhaps mergers will become the next big “transportation” trend for our “technology and mobility companies”: Ford and Hertz, GM and Avis
      FCAPSA and Budget.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    All those (*cough* Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors [GM], *cough* Ford) who abandoned sedans and coupes are going to be in for a massive spanking (on top of Cadillac, Chevy and GMC’s abysmal rankings in the new Consumer Reports Reliability Index, where Cadillac was dead last, beaten by Alfa Romeo, taking the 30th out of 30th spot*) when the tide shifts away in a big way and many more sedans and coupes are purchased as a % of total new vehicle sales than now.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton

      This is one of your more restrained if not highly factual comments. If Cadillac is beaten in reliability by Alfa Romeo, it appears what you have been saying for years about the “Standard of the World” automotive division has come to fruition. Always an entertaining read.

    • 0 avatar

      GM sucks sh*t. Thanks Barra….

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Fact is even at the height of the recession the F-Series and C/K were still the #1 & #2 selling vehicles and the mfgs still didn’t make money on compact and subcompact cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      ” when the tide shifts away in a big way and many more sedans and coupes are purchased as a % of total new vehicle sales than now.”

      yeah, yeah, whatever. we’ve been hearing “wagons are going to come back” for years too.

      can we stick to what *is* happening, and not what you *want to happen?*?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    *Cadillac is dead last in CR’s New Reliability Index (30th out of 30).

    Chevy and GMC are also horrid.

    Go Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors!

    Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac among least reliable in Consumer Reports rankings

    https://www.abc12.com/content/news/Chevrolet-GMC-Cadillac-among-least-reliable-in-Consumer-Reports-study-564926372.html

    “General Motors brands Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC were among the least reliable in annual Consumer Reports rankings.

    By Tom Krisher, Associated Press | Posted: Thu 12:54 PM, Nov 14, 2019  |  Updated: Thu 12:55 PM, Nov 14, 20”

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      In the same CR Index for 2019 the Ford Fusion is “The most reliable family sedan”. Make of that what you will.

    • 0 avatar

      With GM ranked at the bottom of the industry in reliability how does Mary Barra keep her job? GM is supposed to excel in producing trucks and SUVs, yet virtually all of them of rated below average by Consumer Reports. I find it amusing that the Impala is GM’s highest-rated vehicle.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    The previously big 3 are digging themselves a very big hole. Given upcoming fuel economy standards , there is no way they can meet these standards with gas guzzling trucks and body on frame SUVs from which they derive all their profits. Despite all the above talk of great gas millage from pick up trucks, the reality is most of them average 15-17 mpg and not mid twenties. Unless the domestic car makers dominate the future electric truck market, then they will go back into bankruptcy which will be permanent this time.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The upcoming CAFE standards are exactly why cars are dying, their targets are much higher than for a CUV of the same footprint if it meets the definition of a truck which is a very low bar, flat load floor and steep enough approach/departure angles and you are in.

      I do expect that Ford will dominate the E-pickup market and at this point the only mfgs that look like they will bring an electric full size(ish) pickup to the market anytime soon are US based.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Given upcoming fuel economy standards , there is no way they can meet these standards with gas guzzling trucks and body on frame SUVs from which they derive all their profits.”

      This is not accurate. As Scoutdude wrote the CAFE burden on cars is much tougher than on large trucks. Some full-size pickups are *already* CAFE 2025 compliant for their footprint and “heavy duty” trucks aren’t subject to CAFE at all.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        That’s also why they stopped making smaller cars. Even the cars themselves can’t meet the 2025 CAFE standards. So combined with big (even midsize) trucks, the whole thing was a joke, so why even attempt it?

        And what do automakers know that the rest of us aren’t privy to? You know, behind the scenes stuff…
        Well they’re not saying, but it seems its easier to simply pay the fines. No one is talking about raising the fines to where they actually have teeth, but yeah.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “And what do automakers know that the rest of us aren’t privy to? You know, behind the scenes stuff…
          Well they’re not saying, but it seems its easier to simply pay the fines. No one is talking about raising the fines to where they actually have teeth, but yeah.”

          The fines for non compliance go up each year and are reaching a point of nixing most of an average vehicle’s margin if non-compliant by 2022.

          The fines are in fact so high that automakers are investing billions to make electric cars that are unprofitable on a unit basis in order to take advantage of the credit multiplier factor under the CAFE rules just for building an electric car.

          Margin on future cars that sell en masse will be made largely by credits generated by minority EV sales.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “As Scoutdude wrote the CAFE burden on cars is much tougher than on large trucks.”

        I’m glad more people are catching on to this now.

        Small/midsize cars aren’t going anywhere, they’re being lifted and given AWD so the can be classified as trucks. This is due to more than just consumer preference, but necessity.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There has to be a separate standard for larger vehicles, and or lifted, utility style, if you’re going to allow them.

          Europe has a separate standard too, except they classify by weight, not footprint. But it amounts to the same. Either ban or accommodate.

          • 0 avatar
            Sceptic

            Exactly like Scoutdude pointed out. Typical liberal idiotic policies. Talked goodie goodie and turned out the total BS.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “There has to be a separate standard for larger vehicles, and or lifted, utility style, if you’re going to allow them.”

            There’s another option. No fuel economy standards. If they were serious about regulating fuel economy they’d tax the fuel and buyers would move accordingly.

            Not that I’m advocating for that, I’m not. I’m just pointing out how CAFE was developed to pass the political buck to automakers by the gov rather than them take any heat for a tax.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            The footprint standard needs to be removed. It is completely counterproductive to the goal of improving mileage

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “The footprint standard needs to be removed. It is completely counterproductive to the goal of improving mileage”

            What you attribute to the stupidity of the Obama regime I see for the calculating evil that it is.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    I can’t understand how an automaker can go from being highly rated one year with the same model run of a certain vehicle, then completely tank the next year? What gives?

    Ford and GM focusing heavily now on profitability over market share and repeat buyers, is going to truly hurt both automakers pretty hard.

    I mean GM was once the largest automaker in the world and they USED to make great cars and trucks way back in the days, but it’s like what the hell happened??

    Currently I am searching for a used 2002-06 Lexus ES300 for my mother that wants a nice used car that will last forever and not have any real major issues. Well an old Lexus is the answer especially of that era when the quality and engineering was very high. She really wants a crossover but even used ones are too much for her budget.

    So they’re still many people out there that won’t mind a nice sedan if need be, but stupidly GM and Ford have decided to completely abandon that market. I honestly wouldn’t have purchased my 17 Impala if it wasn’t for the great reviews and reliability ratings. After the test drive I was very impressed that GM made a vehicle like this and of this quality for the price range. In some respects my Impala has a nicer feeling better put together interior that of the older Lexus that I’ve test drove. So it’s not like they don’t know how to build quality vehicles because they do it’s just not their focus longterm. I mean for crying out loud, H/K are coming out with the new Sonata and Optima. That goes to show the effort being made by the 2 automakers and how much they care to make sure that their sedans stay relevant even in a dying market. GM and Ford could care less and honestly I don’t think that will change anytime soon unless there sales really drop off big time and they get a wake up call.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    As for GM’s small cars, they are mostly cheap trash, just like Nissans.

    My GF has a 2012 Cruze Eco with the 1.4 turbo. She’s had the infamous overheating issues and coolant leak problems from poorly designed hose routing and clamping design of that engine. The thermostat got stuck closed and overheated the engine blowing the head gasket!! Luckily she purchased an extended warranty when she bought the car and had it fixed for free.

    But looking in the engine compartment and underneath the car, for only 120,000 miles, the car looks very aged underneath it. It has oil leaks and there’s slight surface rust even tho she lives inland far away from the ocean in San Diego.

    Besides for the major cooling issues, the little Cruze is very peppy and has a lot of power for such a small engine. The transmission is still smooth and the car feels very solid and is pretty quiet for its size. The interior is well put together and is no worse than its competition of the time. It handles extremely well and is nice car to drive around.

    I did notice some German engineering going on especially with the oil filter housing and certain design characteristics. Some sensors and other parts where either Bosch or said made in Germany which was strange, because then you had parts that said made in Mexico. WTF!? Lol

    The Cruze could have been the choice leader in the small car segment if it weren’t for the reliability issues with that 1.4 engine.

    GM just doesn’t care enough and after losing around 3 billion due to the strike I would be very hesitant in regards to future reliability and quality of GM products moving forward unless they can prove everyone wrong.

    I truly miss the days when they built extremely stylish, powerful, high quality cars. My 64 Cadillac is the perfect example of a time when GM truly still cared about making sure that Caddy was THE standard of the world when it came to the best luxury car you could buy at the time. Nothing else came close to it’s ride quality, interior fit and finish , material quality, performance and reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Timely anecdote. The other day my neighbor reached out to me because his daughter’s Cruze was giving overheat messages. I took a look at the cooling system and found that it had puked most of it’s coolant out from the water pump. Still under powertrain warranty, send it to the dealer.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    YOU DON’T TRY AND CATCH A FALLING KNIFE!
    New car sales are falling. Used car prices are falling. GM and Ford won’t be stuck with a bunch of crap no one wants sitting on dealer lots.
    Meanwhile the Americans get to watch the Asians beat the crap out of one another. Fighting over the last few sales.
    The winner becomes the number 1 choice of Rental Fleets.
    Runner up becomes your next Uber/Lyft
    The rest get pushed onto 3rd world markets, and A__ F__k_d by the Chinese until the sweet relief of death.

    Let the 2020 bum wars begin.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Peter Gazis, consistent, reliable Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) sales person, always there to wax fantastically about and sing the fake virtues of the rolling dumpster fire tragicvehicles that are made by Guangzhou-Guadalajara Red Star Motors [GM] (now with Cadillac dead last in Consumer Reports latest reliability index, with dumpster fire Chevy and GMC – with their made-in-China parts Knock Down kits assembled in either China or Mexico joining Cadillac near the same bottom of the sewage pile).

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The only reason Cadillac is ranked lower is because Cadillac’s loyal customers are accustomed to product excellence and have higher standards – so they notice and report on problems which the less-demanding customers of other brands might overlook….

    No, wait, I can’t say that with a straight face… :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      ToolGuy

      Go back to CR and see where Jaguar, Land Rover & Maserati finished.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Jaguar resale is much higher than it used to be, supposedly they cleaned up their act in the early 10s and even the Ford 00s stuff is an improvement over the decade prior. LR also commands ridiculous resale, neither is an indication of reliability but evidently whatever it is the block -and ultimately consumer- finds acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I’m just glad Lexus doesn’t have demanding customers or a lot of features to potentially go wrong. Remind me again what their ranking is?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “While this may set them up better in the long run so they have the cash they need to fund electrification and autonomy”

    Hahahahahahahahaha. Do it please, so you can go bankrupt and liquidate.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Sweet. Thank you and amen. I’ll be waiting, watching and laughing, 28-Later.

      I may even drink a toast with actual booze this time after 20 years tee totaling. Good job home team !!!

  • avatar

    Question of the Day:

    When will GM’s US market share hit the 15% mark? That is where I think things will level off. Without a strong passenger car lineup and suspect quality, I don’t see GM ever getting anything close to 18% market share again.

  • avatar
    NG5

    I loved the Ford I bought, but I have no interest in Ford anymore as a buyer. If Ford claims it can’t execute a competitive cheap car, why should I trust them to do so when the car is bigger, more expensive, and on stilts? It’s not exactly a motivating speech for an in-brand upgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Same as my suspicions of GM making a reliable electric vehicle when they couldn’t get a simple ignition system right, NG5.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “If Ford claims it can’t execute a competitive cheap car, ”

      uh, no, they can. “Making money on one” is another thing entirely.

      • 0 avatar
        NG5

        If they have to burn money to compete somewhere it would seem they had issues fielding a competitive entry. While I think generally they weren’t paying customers to take cars from them, they may have been in the Powershift case on balance. It seems that both Ford and GM wanted to focus on extracting even more profits from trendy segments where buyers overpay unreasonably beyond materials cost. I understand the move (because investors like hearing you’re going to make more money every second) but I think moving to a space where all the hits are cheap and easy makes one careless.

        I’m not convinced things like the Trax or Ecosport are dramatically better than the competition, either, and I think the jury is still out on their new, more profitable vehicles (Silverado, Explorer, etc.). But that’s just my opinion – maybe they’re great. I like small cars, so I don’t care about these brands much anymore sadly. Maybe I’d buy a muscle car at some point, though probably not new. I’ve got no faith they’d support them or make a successor I’d enjoy if I spent new car money on it. Fool me once…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford, GM, and FCA will become less relevant to most who don’t buy pickups and suvs. Agree that GM will keep shrinking in size but if they remain profitable then it won’t matter. Eventually I can see the Chinese offering small cars and crossovers in NA at affordable price to get a foothold in our market. I believe there will still be affordable cars and crossovers but they will not come from Detroit.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I’ve been saying this for awhile and I’m not a brilliant industry insider. I try not to think about the kind of idiots we have running the Big 3.

    I think we’re ok for now. CUV and SUV sales are strong. Strong like bull. I see that continuing over the next few years, particularly if Trump wins reelection and the economy continues to flourish. But I predict the ground will start shifting in about 5 years.

    Not long after that (6-7 years from now maybe), the automakers will be back in front of us with hat in hand, as they struggle to stave off bankruptcy and require a big infusion of our money to adjust to the “new and changing” market that everyone with an IQ over 75 can see coming towards us now with all the stealth of a charging freight train. People are staying with small cars for a reason. Millennials do not have the same salaries, priorities, financial stability, or overall wealth that Boomers do.

    That’s the only reason I really care about this. As far as I’m concerned, people can drive (and build) what they want. But this shortsightednes is going to end up costing us U.S. taxpayers big time, either through the big cash infusion they’re going to need or the lost jobs if we let them fail, or probably a combination of both. Just saying.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      that’s great, but that doesn’t mean small cars will become profitable. What’s better, going out of business because people aren’t buying your products, or going out of business because you’re losing your shirt on what you are selling?

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        You’re right. It’s Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan that must be run by idiots. Sometimes ,I stand back and just marvel in pride over how great this country is and what smart people we have here. We’re very special.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          I mean look, all sarcasm aside, the truth is money can be made with good small cars. Otherwise, the Japanese and Korean makes wouldn’t be building them.

          Now, I believe you can make more money with less creativity on CUVs and SUVs. And that is what our automakers have chosen to do. And as I said, that’s fine in and of itself. You will seldom see me come on here and b**** about these vehicles anymore. It is what it is.

          But don’t come asking me for money later to bail you out because you couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. That’s where my issue comes in. I really hope I’m wrong on this.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That’s my take on the Detroit 2 1/2 that in a few years they will be asking for another bailout. Wouldn’t surprise me to see GM become foreign owned even by the Chinese. Agree also that many Millennials will not be able to afford the larger more expensive vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      that happened because overnight the industry lost 6 million new vehicle sales a year. From 2007 to 2009 the industry went from 16 million/yr to 10 million/yr, because a lot of people stopped spending money thanks to being scared sh*tless by the collapse of the financial industry. And even then, the F-Series and Silverado were *still* the #1 and #3 sellers in 2009, respectively DESPITE $3-4/gal gas. The bailout came because the car companies were already heavily in debt, industry sales tanked, and they could no longer get financing to continue operations.

      I simply can’t believe how the hell some of you are convinced that small cars would have “saved the day.”

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        This. Forget about the bankers setting the world on fire in 07 and 08. No conceivable product portfolio could have gotten them through that. Remember that Detroit was barely keeping abreast of their legacy costs in the incredible bubble that preceded – and only achieved that much by going all in on trucks AND hitting.

        The only thing that small cars would have saved them would be the need for a recession to run out of money.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          This is not correct. 2007-08 was a global crisis and the German government did not have to bailout its automakers, nor did the Japanese government need to bail its out.

          GM, Ford and FCA could build smaller cars. They choose not to because they can make more money with less effort building a CUV or, better, a truck-based SUV. So they want to allocate all production and development costs towards that.

          That’s all fine, I guess, but Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai are choosing to stick with small cars even if they make a little less now. That’s because they are far-sighted. U.S. makers are thinking more short term.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “the German government did not have to bailout its automakers, nor did the Japanese government need to bail its out.”

            Nor were their automakers directly paying the pension and healthcare costs of 900,000 retirees.

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