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The Current State of the US Auto Market

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,008

    It's kind of a matter of degree I think. How much difference is there between 4 or 5 starts in a category. I'm an admitted simple minded type - give me 3 alternatives "good", "fair" or "fail". I think it makes the answers more clear cut.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368
    edited December 2013

    Thumbed through a CR auto issue on the newsstands now, for display until January-something. For all the belly-aching about GM can't make a competitive product, I was surprised to see they rated the '13 (not even the revised '14) Malibu 2LTZ at 89 points, versus 78 for the Fusion Titanium model. Both have average reliability per their charts. That's a big spread. And they recommend the Malibu, as I predicted last year when a regular poster said then it was "Not Recommended" (not really true; it was not "Recommended", as opposed to "Not Recommended"--two different things in their world). The Fusion is recommended too. All Malibus are built in Kansas City; some Fusions are built in Mexico and others in Michigan. This all is certainly not the conventional wisdom out there. I still laugh at their reliability reporting though--'11 and '13 Cruzes 'much worse than average'; '12 average. I can see people saying "I'll buy a '12 but not a '13".

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,018

    @uplanderguy, you'll like this one too. GM's reliability is rated higher in one recent study than oft touted Honda, although Toyota and Hyundai beats them out. Hyundai beats everyone out overall.

    "This year's data is based on more than 151,000 specific repairs performed on model year 2003-'13 vehicles from October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013.

    The CarMD report, which compares the combined "check engine" repair incidents and costs, ranks the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and the most common repairs by make."

    2012 Toyota Camry, Hyundai Score in CarMD Reliability Study

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,261
    edited December 2013

    "For all the belly-aching about GM can't make a competitive product, I was surprised to see they rated the '13 (not even the revised '14) Malibu 2LTZ at 89 points, versus 78 for the Fusion Titanium model. "

    Fusion Sales YTD Nov. 2013 = 270,872 Malibu Sales YTD Nov. 2013 = 185,101

    Looks like the Malibu is not competitive with the Fusion for some other reason than CR's score. Must be the fact that only one GM made it to the second list from IIHS.

    _**Meanwhile, only one General Motors car, Chevrolet Spark, found a spot in the "Top Safety Pick" list, which was the second highest ranking after “Top Safety Pick Plus”. Also one vehicle from Volkswagen AG (VLKAY), namely Passat, made it to this secondary list. **_:)

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368
    edited December 2013

    If you equate popularity with quality, then, as mentioned before, you must consider McDonald's to be the finest hamburger on the market. Of course, perception lags reality, sadly. Personally, I like not being one of the crowd.

    89 versus 78; both the top-line models--that is a significant difference by any yardstick.

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,261

    No, only reality with an opinion. I understood from you how absurd CR's rating system is, by the way, now it is all of a sudden law. Interesting.

    Sadly, Malibu is not understood by the McDonalds's crowd, let alone by the power of "One".

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368

    My complaint is about their technique of tabulating reliability records. I've felt that way for decades and decades...as long as I've been looking. It's wildly inconsistent.

    Conversely, I think they can test a car as well as anyone. Why couldn't they? In fact, I could see less subjectivity of 'coolness' or whatever compared to the thirty-somethings that review at the car mags, but that's only a guess on my part.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    edited December 2013

    I think one reason that the Ford Fusion might sell so well is that it really doesn't have much overlap from within the division. It's a midsized car and the Focus is clearly a compact. There's a definite step up in size when going from one to the other. But not so with Chevy. The Cruze, while marketed as a compact, is rather large for its class. And the Malibu is definitely on the low end of the midsized class (although supposedly the reshaped seats for 2014 help). So, I definitely see a lot of overlap, and potential for cross-shopping between the Malibu and Cruze.

    Where I do see some overlap with Ford though, is with the Fusion versus the Taurus. While I consider the Fusion to be a solid midsized car, I just think the Taurus falls flat as a full-sized car. Its only real advantage over the Fusion IMO is the larger trunk. But I don't see any real advantage in interior room.

    However, cars like the Taurus, and Impala, really aren't mass-market cars anymore, so I don't think either one is stealing that many sales from their midsized counterparts.

    As for the 2014 refresh on the Malibu, I'm not sure I like it. It seems to have a bit of Korean influence, like it could be mistaken for a Kia or something. Not that that's a horrible thing, but I just think it loses a bit of brand recognition.

    Also, on the subject of sales, if we just look at more recent months, how has the Malibu been stacking up to the Fusion? The 2013 Malibu did have a bit of a botched launch, with only the Eco model being offered at first. And, for awhile there were a lot of leftover 2012 Malibus that the new model had to compete with.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368
    edited December 2013

    I liked the new Taurus when it came out, but I think it looks chunky now. I think it's not selling very well, although probably nothing in that size class is a top-seller. I still like the Impala and wish I had an excuse to buy one, but I'd worry about my wife putting bumps in it due to its size. LOL

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    edited December 2013

    I liked the new Taurus as well, at first. I was a bit disappointed when I sat in one though. It just seems to me that a car that size should be bigger inside. Interestingly, the older 500/Montego/Taurus, which was the same basic car I thought, seemed huge inside. That older model was just a bit short on legroom up front I thought, although the seat was high enough that I could still get fairly comfortable...sort of a truck/SUV height seat. But the back seat seemed almost limousine-like!

    I like the new Impala, as well. I've been seeing one show up here at work, a champagne colored one with Maine plates on it. I wouldn't mind finding an excuse to buy one, myself, although I think I'd probably prefer a Charger. But, my 2000 Park Ave has been behaving itself lately, and I'm also finding that the older I get, the less money I want to spend on a new car.

    Kind of a shame I'm not rich, so I could rationalize a Charger AND an Impala!

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368
    edited December 2013

    About the '14 Malibu--for all the talk of a 'refresh', it doesn't look very different to me! I think I've come to like the new front end a little better, only in that it seems to me there's more chrome, which I like (can't exactly remember what the '13 looks like in front by comparison). The '13 was definitely a botched launch. But like most things, people jump on the bandwagon and gang up, whether something is claimed to be a good by a magazine or not so good.

    I've probably seen not enough new Dodge Darts on the road to count on one hand, but CR says it's "much better than average" in its first year. I wonder if andres3 has an opinion on that based on his Neon? ;) Actually, I do wish the Dart well.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594

    I do like the additional chrome, which is a nice touch, but I just think the lower part of the grille has too many corners to it, which just seems a touch over-styled to me. But if I found the car to my liking otherwise, I wouldn't let that detail stop me from buying one.

    I haven't seen very many Darts on the road, either. I kinda like them myself, except for a few details. For example, I think the car looks great, up to the B-pillar. But from the B-pillar back, it reminds me of an older Hyundai Elantra (thanks to TJC78 for first pointing that out...). I do like the taillight pattern on the Dart, though. I've sat in a few Darts, and was comfortable enough, but I still think in the end, I'd prefer something bigger.

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,702

    @Stever@Edmunds said: uplanderguy, you'll like this one too. GM's reliability is rated higher in one recent study than oft touted Honda, although Toyota and Hyundai beats them out. Hyundai beats everyone out overall.

    "This year's data is based on more than 151,000 specific repairs performed on model year 2003-'13 vehicles from October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013.

    The CarMD report, which compares the combined "check engine" repair incidents and costs, ranks the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles overall, top vehicles by category and the most common repairs by make."

    2012 Toyota Camry, Hyundai Score in CarMD Reliability Study

    "Check Engine" seems like a pretty narrow measure of repairs. A car could be very unreliable yet almost never report this condition, and vice versa. I'd call that a pretty idiotic study if I understand it correctly.

  • If defects aren't "weighted", the results can be very skewed. Both an 02 sensor and a bad catalytic will throw a CEL, but one might $250 and the other $1,750.

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,454

    Won't a loose gas cap often give a "check engine" light?

    I agree with Tlong...

  • berriberri Posts: 4,008

    _About the '14 Malibu--for all the talk of a 'refresh', it doesn't look very different to me

    The '13 was definitely a botched launch_

    The Malibu is pretty conservative in styling to me and I think that type of buyer leans toward larger sized vehicles. I wonder if the Malibu is capacity constrained in production volume? Until this year, that was a problem for the Ford Fusion.

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,075

    @uplanderguy said: If you equate popularity with quality, then, as mentioned before, you must consider McDonald's to be the finest hamburger on the market. Of course, perception lags reality, sadly. Personally, I like not being one of the crowd.

    89 versus 78; both the top-line models--that is a significant difference by any yardstick.

    Personally, Burger King makes a better burger but I prefer McDonald's fries.

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,075

    @andre1969 said: I do like the additional chrome, which is a nice touch, but I just think the lower part of the grille has too many corners to it, which just seems a touch over-styled to me. But if I found the car to my liking otherwise, I wouldn't let that detail stop me from buying one.

    I haven't seen very many Darts on the road, either. I kinda like them myself, except for a few details. For example, I think the car looks great, up to the B-pillar. But from the B-pillar back, it reminds me of an older Hyundai Elantra (thanks to TJC78 for first pointing that out...). I do like the taillight pattern on the Dart, though. I've sat in a few Darts, and was comfortable enough, but I still think in the end, I'd prefer something bigger.

    I dunno. I'm starting to see a lot of Darts lately in the Philly area. I guess they started to catch on. Just saw a silver one today on my way back from the store.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368

    In the era of electronically-controlled transmissions, problems there often set a CEL as well.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,368

    Personally, Burger King makes a better burger but I prefer McDonald's fries.

    Lemko, I like Five Guys burgers and fries best, but at almost nine bucks for a small everything including drink (OK, their small sizes are big enough and more for me), sure is a lot of $$.

This discussion has been closed.