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Low End Sedans (under $16k)

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Comments

  • save them: the Kia America CEO cringes when people say Kia is *a division of Hyundai*. Kia is not a division of Hyundai. Kia is Kia. Hyundai is Hyundai. Hyundai OWNS 51% of Kia Motors and stepped up to the plate when Kia was flirting with bankruptcy. They operate independently from each other but, and it's a significant but, they see the need for cost sharing like all car companies these days so they platform and bin part share-that's a given. The 2003 Kia Rio's front end looks like it's morphing back to the Hyundai Accent of last year in a way.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Yeah, I work in the US Trust building. I used to work in Lasalle Plaza.

    "The new platform for Focus and Protege will come from Europe, which begs the question: with Japanese powertrains, European design, and American components being built in large part in Mexico (at least for Focus), what on earth is the nationality of the next Focus and protege?"

    The next Protege is still supposed to be built in Japan which would mean that they are most likely still going to be using Japanese suppliers. European design is nothing new to the Protege. The current generation Protege was designed in Germany, Japan, and California. You can see the German influence in the exterior design and the handling behavior.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    >>> ...we are driving world cars." <<<

    I think that sums it up nicely. With all the cross-breeding in the auto industry, who knows what the origin of a car is nowdays. For some cars, like the Aerio, Elantra, and Rio, it's still pretty clear what their heritage is, but it's getting murky for others e.g. the Focus and Protege.
  • I think with the 33% that Ford owns of Mazda, they are the biggest shareholder. I'm not the biggest investment guru here but shareholders do get a say in how the company is run (you get little cards in the mail to vote for certain things). I'm not sure how it is done in Japan, but in North America that's how it's done. Anyways, if you're like me (i.e. not a big institutional investor), your 500 or 600 shares basically don't mean jack. Most people don't bother to vote so that 33% that Ford owns is probably much closer to 50 or 60 when it comes down to voting.

    Anyways, Mazda is it's own entity enough to differentiate it from Ford. Any product that has been more Mazda than Ford always does alot better (quality wise). I think that the Focus and Protege being on the same Platform (along with the small Volvo sedan) in the future may be a very good thing. The focus platform is an excellent design, it's just the stuff attached to it (engine, transmission, brakes, etc) are not attached so well. Basically it's a quality control thing. For me, as long as the drivetrain is out of Japan, then these cars will be tough to beat.
  • Re: 2067

    Well said. Focus platform is an excellent platform and it is rally proven, they came ahead of Subaru this year in the WRC. The 2.3L I4 that Mazda is putting out (in the Mazda6)is the first of the 4 cylinder engines that Mazda is making for FoMoCo as a whole. When the 2004 Focus/Protege comes out I am sure a 2.0L I4 designed by Mazda will be in the engine compartment. Has anyone heard any details on either vehicle?
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Expect a Mazda 225 hp turbo 4cyl to be available in the performance models of the next gen cars. This is according to Motor Trend.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Dealers of low-end cars came out pretty well in the latest JD Powers survey of dealer satisfaction, with six companies that sell low-end cars in the top ten:

    1. Lexus
    2. Toyota
    3. Saturn

    4. BMW
    (tie) 5. Honda
    (tie) 5. Hyundai

    7. Acura
    8. Volvo
    9. Mitsubishi
    10. Kia


    Interesting that Honda placed higher than its premium cousin Acura. Toyota's and Honda's programs to improve dealer satisfaction over the past year must be working. Also the rankings of the two Korean makes is noteworthy.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    Toyota!

    I am most surprised to see Saturn at third - are they slipping? If I am not mistaken (and you know, sometimes I am!!), they are usually number one...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Are some people thinking that that ranking is of CUSTOMER SATISFACTION with the dealer? It's not. That study is about the DEALER SATISFACTION with the manufacturer.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    That begs the question, why would J.D. Powers go to the trouble of publishing a study with such a narrow audience? I mean, why does the general public give a flip about how satisfied their dealers are with the manufacturers?
  • I know I've said it before, and in complete agreement with backy's "why" question, I ask why would I pay attention to the firm that hands out Best Limited-Service Spare Tire in Medium-Low Premium Utility Built in Des Moines on Thursdays.
  • And on another note ... I just read the Saturn Ion review in Car and Driver. Not a good debut from their vantage point. Sadly, just one more example of GM missing the boat when smaller companies a half a world away are making cars that are a cut above the Ion (my Elantra, for one). For all of the resources and talent at their disposal, the Ion is inexcusable.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    that Saturn is jinxed...they just cannot come out with one outstanding product, and Ion is a great example. Perfectly average, underwhelming car...OOH! But it's personalizable with roof rail selection! Yippee.

    Even VUE only sells well because you could make anything in a mini-ute right now and it would sell like hotcakes. I test-drove and compared it to its competition, and it came out.......totally average, what a surprise! It did not excel in one single category among all the ones I could think of.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Coincidently, I read CR's review of the Saturn L today (vs. Accord and Legacy). I know these are not low-end cars, but it reinforces James' and Stuart's point about Saturn. Here is a car just three years old, tweaked this year, and CR states it is "a generation behind" competitors like Accord and Camry--even way behind Hyundai! I've driven one before and I agree with CR's assessment. If that's the best Saturn can do, maybe GM should just admit defeat and stick to trucks, SUVs, and large cars.
  • "I mean, why does the general public give a flip about how satisfied their dealers are with the manufacturers?"

    J.D. Power studies are commissioned by the manufacturers. The consumer sees basic results in the press release. Only the manufacturers see the numbers for below average ratings and other details.
  • Matchbox car that is not to be taken seriously. Serious lack of Body Design 101 going on not to mention average-schmaverage marks for engineeringability. GM should punt. With them regarding Saturn it's 4th down and 30 on their own 15 yard line. Meanwhile, makers like Kia, Hyundai and GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. are making solid small cars that are good looking and reliable as well. Pass me another one of those chocolate chip cookies, would ya?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "Meanwhile, makers like Kia,... and GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. are making solid small cars that are good looking and reliable as well."
    by iluvmysephia1


    LOL!!! ;-0

    -larry
  • I also read that L200 review, and what surprises me most is that this is basically a GM Europe product. Their products from the Continent are typically worlds better than those engineered and built here. What a shame. The huge gap in the dashboard may be overlooked by the legally blind, but this same model was cited in the New Car Preview for its huge gap in the driver's seat base trim. Sheesh.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    from the U.S. except for one or two specialty cars that will be sold as Chevys in the years to come?

    I finally got a firsthand look at the Ion sedan, got to walk around it, sit in it, really get into it.

    I will be surprised if they can sell any of these at all. Ugly doesn't begin to describe it - funny slanted rear end, way too small wheels, etc - but that is subjective.

    It is also plasticky, insubstantial, uncomfortable, and gets way worse gas mileage than comparable models, all for a price which is not competitive if you figure in the fact that Saturn retailing is one-price-only.

    It is time for Saturn to call it quits. They never were really allowed to make a go of it. The Koreans are all over this segment now, with cars that feel better and are way more inexpensive. The Ion just loses out on every count.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    >>> The Ion just loses out on every count. <<<

    At least it still has the rustproof plastic panels. I think that's why I see so many Saturns where I live, in Minnesota.
  • That is one car I will definitely scrutinize at the upcoming auto show in Detroit (starts January 11!).
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "They never were really allowed to make a go of it. The Koreans are all over this segment now, with cars that feel better and are way more inexpensive. The Ion just loses out on every count."
    - nippononly


    Nip, in all honesty, do you think G.M. even has the "Know How" to make a top box compact car? Personally, I don't think they care to produce that type vehicle. Except for the obvious need to comply with CAFE.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    C/D reports in the January issue that the Honda Fit/Jazz (please call it the Jazz here, not the Fit!) will be coming to the U.S., but probably not next year. If you haven't heard about this five-door hatchback, there's a board on Edmunds.com dedicated to it - "Honda Fit/Jazz - What do you think?" C/D reports it will cost less than the Civic and be aimed at younger buyers (as in potential Scion buyers?). From the pictures it looks good, and if it has the traditional Honda quality and a low price, it should be a winner. BTW, this is the best-selling car in Japan.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    ...but American tastes in cars are more 3-box sedans instead of 2-box hatches or station wagons.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I like the looks of the Jazz/Fit just fine. It reminds me of a four-door cousin of my late, great '85 Civic S. And the two-box design provides the most interior volume for the size. Maybe Americans are catching on; witness the increased interest in station wagons and 5-door hatchbacks with a two-box design such as the Aerio, Focus, Pro 5, and Matrix/Vibe.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    That's why I get the Golf, instead of the Jetta..
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    all I can say is every compact car GM has ever had has come from someone else, someWHERE else...witness Chevy Metro, Geo Prizm, and on and on.

    GM has enormous resources - I think if it wanted to make a really good compact car, it probably could. But these cars are money-losers in GM's mind, and they will never devote significant resources to this segment.

    Even in the new "car focus" Gm has now, it is all about big cars, like "Malibu MAXX"

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    >>> ... every compact car GM has ever had has come from someone else, someWHERE else ... <<<

    Did you mean to say every <i>good GM compact car has come from somewhere else? GM has developed several of their own compact cars, e.g. the Corvair, the Vega and its offspring, the Citation and its relatives, and the Cavalier/Sunfire to name a few. I know it's also developed many compacts for overseas markets. In fact, some of these, such as the Vectras and Opels, are pretty good cars. Proving your statement that GM could develop a good compact car if they wanted to. Why they can't develop a good compact car for the U.S. market is another question. Sure they lose money, but every other car maker that sells a full line of cars realizes that they need the low-end cars to grab buyers when they are young and then offer them increasingly bigger and more expensive cars/trucks/SUVs as they grow older, richer, and have families. Saturn finally realized they needed other models to move their customers up to from the S cars, but it took them too long to offer a bigger car and a SUV, and when they did, they were not worth the wait.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    "...every other car maker that sells a full line of cars realizes that they need the low-end cars to grab buyers when they are young and then offer them increasingly bigger and more expensive cars/trucks/SUVs as they grow older, richer, and have families."
    -Backy


    I would also think the current CAFE laws, Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE), would be a huge incentive for all manufactures to build a very good small car?

    -larry
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,248
    Not necessarily a very good small car, just one with better than average fuel economy. It seems the US brands want a fuel efficient car while the import brands desire market share so they make a good quality fuel efficient car. Personally, I gave up on the domestics in the late 80s.

    To stay on-topic, my wife's 01 Elantra has had 21K trouble-free miles so far. Average mileage in mostly city driving is about 29.
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