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The Current State of the US Auto Market

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  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    >>>>>>Can you just imagine what expensive piles of crap American cars would be today if the Japanese hadn't come over and set up assembly plants in the States? Duopoly vs. competition!>>>>>>

    Exactly. If not for the Japanese and their superior products starting in the 80's, the big 3 would have continued to build the same crap they offered us in the 70's. The Japanese forced the big 3 to improve everything about how they produce vehicles. From design and engineering to procurement of parts, manufacturing and assembly.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    "I think Ford has been getting sort of a free ride in the press because they avoided the bailouts. The new management team did a great job with that, but I'm not sure they are fixing engineering and purchasing deficiencies at Ford. Looks like GM kind of kicked Ford's [non-permissible content removed] in the latest CR surveys and reviews. "

    Ford did pursue more advanced technology in high volume vehicles. When you look at where they put technology with Sync and My Ford Touch, DCT in the Focus and Fiesta, direct injection and turbos in several vehicles and in the F series. Plus they did all of the above in a short amount of time and the quality surveys show the effects of Ford possibly biting off more than they could chew.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    edited November 2013
    "Exactly. If not for the Japanese and their superior products starting in the 80's, the big 3 would have continued to build the same crap they offered us in the 70's. "

    I agree, competition is a good thing and I don't doubt for a second the D3 would have kept building garbage. Just look at how much D3 pickups have improved since Nissan introduced the Titan in '04 and Toyota's Tundra in '07. Sure they never threatened in the sales race, but in many ways, those two trucks were better in key areas at the time of their introductions. Looking at what the D3 offers today and it's obvious they are serious about keeping the lead in both sales, but in offering truly competitive trucks.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    >>>>>>I remember the first time I took apart an engine on a Toyota pickup truck. The quality of the castings and the precision of the engine just amazed me, given the cost of the truck. Also it felt like the future of engine tech, not the past of it.>>>>>

    How about other Japanese brands?
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    "I remember the first time I took apart an engine on a Toyota pickup truck. The quality of the castings and the precision of the engine just amazed me, given the cost of the truck. Also it felt like the future of engine tech, not the past of it."

    I don't doubt that. Toyota's 5.7 v8 that was introduced in '07 is still competitive with the latest offerings from Ford, Ram, and GM. Back then it was way ahead.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    The other Japanese brands varied back then, as I recall. Datsun made the 240Z of course, which I personally thought, for the money, was about 10X better made and engineered than anything British or the price-equivalent Porsche 914. (Americans didn't build 'sports cars' back then unless you wanted to include the rather bestial Corvette, which cost considerably more).

    Subaru wasn't much back then, rather tinny and crude but they ran well.

    Mazda had the rotary RX-3 about the same time as the Z, and I remember thinking that the RX-3 station wagon was a beautifully made car for the money...too bad the engines were such turkeys.

    Toyota also had the little Corolla, which was pretty cheap and flimsy but a very tough little car.

    Honda was still in "tiny car land" but again, these cars ran very well and foreshadowed the success of the later Accord.

    This was also the time when Honda had their new motorcycle, the 750-4, which destroyed the British motorcycle industry in about 3 years flat, and made a Harley look like a quaint throwback to 1920.

    But yeah, Japanese sheet metal and interiors were 'built to a price" (except for the Mazda, which I thought was better), and I was not impressed by build quality in general, but they ran much better than American cars, in my recollection, and of course, got way better MPG.

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  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,737
    Honestly, for GM the most important metric is profitability. Apple is a relatively small share of the smartphone market worldwide, but they vacuum up most of the profits. As long as GM is profitable, it doesn't really matter (within reason) what their market share is.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    Not to mention the bad designs and wheezy engines. Pretty sad when a Tempo would be an improvement. My mom's big 70s T-Bird only made it a little over 10 years - and that was just accepted with a shrug by my parents. Today, that would be intolerable. My dad's 85 S10 Blazer was also really iffy by its 10th birthday. The good old days weren't always so good - for cars anyway, this isn't a bad time.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,509
    I think with few exceptions, the modern cookie cutter MBA clone is a one-trick pony, focusing on cutting labor costs at the expense of everything else. I don't know if the big business schools teach anything about long term consequences. The ones hired by the D3 were no better.
  • greg128greg128 Posts: 336
    "Toyota's 5.7 v8 that was introduced in '07 is still competitive"

    It gets terrible gas mileage and I would't trust their rust-prone flimsy frames that may or may not have been fixed.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    edited November 2013
    The other Japanese brands varied back then

    Don't forget the other competition back in the day - Simca anyone?

    Of course the real foreign competition in the mid/late 60s was VW. The Rabbit kind of ruined that in the 70's.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited November 2013
    "Back to the original statement: I seriously do not remember anyone making public statements that GM was doomed to failure, in the '70's."

    You're looking at it from a sales POV.

    Economists, looking at the future costs down the road, started warning the big-3 about their unsustainable legacy costs way back then. We did a business case study on it when I was in a graduate finance class in the mid-70's.

    Of course, ignoring the Asian threat only added to the downfall.

    Google "1970 GM legacy cost" and you can find lots of articles describing its negative effects on the big-3.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    edited November 2013
    "It gets terrible gas mileage and I would't trust their rust-prone flimsy frames that may or may not have been fixed. "

    Whatever, have you ever driven one? I thought so.

    At least Toyota has the balls to actually run their trucks through the SAE J2807 tow standard. None of the Detroit trucks have conformed yet.

    As for the frame, I haven't heard any issues about the current Gen Tundras having frame issues other than being a bit flimsy. Honestly, I've driven them enough, that it's not an issue and is usually only brought up by those who've never driven one and/or never plan on driving one.

    In the real world, the gas mileage is inline with the other trucks. Toyota doesn't use an overly tall gear ratio like GM's 3.08 axle ratio to boost EPA ratings They gear all Tundras for max hauling/towing and the reality is in most situations, the mileage is similar to the D3 trucks. I've never seen a comparison test where the Tundra got significantly worse gas mileage overall. CR returned 15 mpg overall for the Ram, F150, and Tundra. The Silverado was 16. Big deal. That's not enough to choose one truck over another IMO. 15 overall is what I"ve been basically getting with my '14 Ram.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    edited November 2013
    There was John Keats' "Insolent Chariots" way back in 1958, and of course Brock Yates" "The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry" and David Halberstam's famous "The Reckoning" in 1986, which studies Ford and Nissan in particular.

    So there were people who saw the bankrupt future.

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  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    " I remember him telling me that if he had his VW in Michigan it would probably be keyed or have its tires slashed if he was parked in a large parking lot at a place like a mall or something (his grandparents lived in Dearborn I believe). I was incredulous, as being from CA I couldn't fathom such behavior."

    Oh, yes...living in Detroit from 1980-1990, the worst was the Detroit Auto Show...if you went there, by Day 4 or 5 (out of 7) all the Hondas and Toyotas had slashed interior upholstery, broken steering wheels (it takes some effort in an open arena to break a steering wheel), slashed tires, keyed paint, etc.

    Rather than actually try and compete, that is another reason why I think it takes an infantile mind to belong to the UAW...their behavior was worse than 2 year olds on a temper tantrum...

    Tlong, you really had to see it to believe it...it was disgraceful...and it was real...
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,737

    Oh, yes...living in Detroit from 1980-1990, the worst was the Detroit Auto Show...if you went there, by Day 4 or 5 (out of 7) all the Hondas and Toyotas had slashed interior upholstery, broken steering wheels (it takes some effort in an open arena to break a steering wheel), slashed tires, keyed paint, etc.


    I've never seen it personally, but I've heard it from enough places to believe it.

    I don't see how that kind of mentality is useful to the US. We need competitors, not thugs.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    "So there were people who saw the bankrupt future".

    Some see while others are blind. Even when history stares them in the face and punches them up 'side the head.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited November 2013
    I still do not believe that a mainstream publication, or even something like the WSJ, warned of a GM failure, back in the 1970's. 1986? OK, I'll believe that.

    Circlew owned up and posted about the recent 350K Odyssey recall. I'm surprised that one hasn't prompted any (any) conversation here. Unintended serious braking? WTH?

    BTW, Chevrolet had another recall. A sticker was peeling off of a sunvisor. Damn them.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 924
    "Could result in unintended braking". No problems have been reported. This is the usual pro-active recall. All manufacturers do this. Could we please stop reporting recalls as though they were somehow evidence of automaker inferiority? A truce on all sides?
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    "I still do not believe that a mainstream publication, or even something like the WSJ, warned of a GM failure, back in the 1970's."

    I don't recall articles predicting impending failure, but there certainly were articles about GM/UAW issues and that if not handled properly a scenario could arise to cause serious problems and there certainly were articles questioning GM's long term viability. Particularly after the 1970's strike.
This discussion has been closed.