Apparently, more bad news for the domestic auto industry:
In just the last few weeks, the grand plans that were supposed to carry General Motors and Ford Motor into their second centuries have crumbled.
Sales at G.M. have fallen, profits have tumbled to losses. Last week, Ford also warned of a drop in earnings. Thursday, in yet another blow, its union refused to give much ground on G.M.’s health care coverage. If that were not enough, G.M.’s stock hit a 12-year low.
The Big Two automobile giants offer plenty of explanations, from soaring health care costs to rising gas prices and creeping interest rates. But consumers and industry specialists say G.M. and Ford have swerved off course for a more basic reason: not enough people like their cars.
Here is the problem, geniuses. Your cars are ugly, they break down much more than they should, and you spent all your time opposing CAFE standards instead of researching AND implementing fuel efficiency.
Cry me a river. I would love to buy a domestically made vehicle- but you look at all the sedans on the market. What would you rather drive? The beautiful all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy, which for all intents and purposes is a luxury vehicle at economy pricing, or a Chevy Malibu?
Look at the Chevy lineup, if you can stomache it.
Unless there’s an angle I missed, I think you might have miss-filed this one…
I don’t see either how this can be blamed on Democrat stupidity.
Can anyone explain why FoMoCo is still selling Mercurys? They are literally the exact same cars as their Ford counterparts but with vertical grills and chrome on the tailights! I’d say maintaining two separate structures from the corporate level down to the dealers is probably a fucking mistake. Maybe trimming that would help the bottom line…
GM is doing the same dupication shit with GMC and Chevy trucks. WTF?
GM shitcanned Olds and needs to do the same with Buick. Who the hell is buying those cars?
Here’s my GM business plan, three divisions: Chevy=family sedans, and all SUVs and trucks (I’ll allow the Corvette for nostalgia only). Pontiac=sporty cars only. No more vans, etc. The Vibe is great car. the only one from either of these companies I would buy (because it’s really a Toyota Matrix–but actually better-looking), the upcoming Solstice kicks ass and might be the best thing GM’s had in decades. The GTO is an embarrassment to the Goats of yore. Axe it. Cadillac=high-end. I like what Cadillac is trying to do. Once upon a time the ultimate sign of success or fame was buying a Cadillac. That’ll probably never be true again, but at least it’s no longer the ultimate sign of being a codger. I’ll allow the Escalade because it’s obviously a cash-cow, even though I think it’s an abomination, people like ’em.
Cut my beloved Saab loose, and stop dressing up TrailBlazers as Swedish SUVs.
But, what the hell do I know? I’m just a consumer in my mid-thirties who needs to buy a car sometime in the next year…why listen to me.
Damn, dude … you are talking mad sense today.
John, check out the very fine Mazda 6 – Ford Fusion sedan. Probably the best sub-$20k sedan in the world. My new Mustang is the hottest car on the market, and it is as good a car as it looks.
Chrysler is holding its own, too.
PS – As a diehard liberal, I say again, your blog is a breath of fresh air. Good conservatism, like good liberalism, is good for this country. Hang in there, it will get better.
the friendly grizzly
Me? I’d rather have the Malibu, thanks very much. I’ve had imports and US-make cars, and for just plain reliability, I found the US makes were by far the best.
Yes, Detroit has made some nasty stuff in the past. Well, so have other manufacturers.
As for stomaching the Chevy lineup, I am the very happy owner of a Chevy pickup. I use it for, among other things, picking up a workmate at the Toyota agency each time his Tundra goes back into the shop again.
Subaru? Yeah, lots of fun, I freely admit. Enjoy your frameless windows when they start to rattle in 3 years.
The fact that Bob Lutz’s philosophy on car building is so rare that Lutz is revered like some kind of uber-genius visionary is really sad. There should be 20 Lutzes at the top and one Roger Smith (just a typecast, I know he’s been exiled to the Canaries or whatever) instead of the other way around.
I’ve had imports and US-make cars, and for just plain reliability, I found the US makes were by far the best.
Dude, you are the definition of “outlier.” Just saying.
the friendly grizzly
Kimmit: not really. I bought into the ALL domestics bad / all imports good line for a very long time For me, it just did not prove true. I know this makes me an outcast, or outlier as you put it, especially since I live in California where folks face Stuttgart 5 times a day and chant slogans of piety in German. I don’t tie up this site with a link as I think that is a no-no, but I wrote about all this in my blog, under the March listings.
“Outlier” means someone who is statistically unlikely, nothing more.
I think the domestic car industry is due for some blame, but the basic reason US vehicles are uncompetitive is that the Japanese aren’t paying their workers enough. If the Japanese really let their currency float it’d be 50 yen to the dollar, and japanese cars would cost the premium they are worth.
I was not under the impression that Japan engaged in anything other than a managed float to decrease volatility — it’s China that has the peg. Am I incorrect here?
I’ve had various Honda vehicles over the last 25 years and have yet to pay for a repair, even on the high mileage (80k+) ones. Their only stays in the shop have been scheduled ones, and I know many who have similar experience with their own Hondas. My neighbor bought a new Ford SUV and it seemed that half the time she was driving a loaner. I also rent a lot of cars and find that the fit, finish, engineering, ergonomics, and noise level of the American makes lag behind the Hondas and Toyotas my family has owned.
We went to the Detroit Auto Show this year and the Ford exhibit was mobbed, particularly the pickup trucks. At the Mercury exhibit right next door….crickets. My daughter likes sitting in the drivers seats so we went over there because there were no lines for the cars, other than that we wouldn’t have been there either.
I like my 9-yr old Subaru Outback wagon as much as when it was new. It’s the best car I’ve ever had.
My 25-year old Benz still drives like the day it was born.
Enjoy your new cars, y’all.
I have no love whatsoever for Ford or GM. But in fairness you’ve got to recognize that the differences between our system and the system of our international competitors adds a significant chunk to the cost of every automobile in the form of company-borne health care costs. We can change our system, we can tariff imported cars (with the attendant ills), or Ford and GM can build cars that are so much better than their overseas competitors’ that the world will knock down their doors to buy their more-expensive product offerings.
That’s a pretty high expectation.
Exactly why anyone living in MA, NH, Vermont, upstate NY, etc would buy any thing other than a Subaru is a mystery to me. I own an Outback and from personal observation half the state of Vermont own either a Forester, Outback or Legacy.