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What is "wrong" with these new subcompacts?

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Comments

  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Never one to be a naysayer, and one that absolutely loves Ford of Europe vehicles, I too and taking a wait and see attitude. Frankly I will be very shocked if that terrific car is not ruined by the US division of Ford before it arrives here. So I know that sounds contrary to my opening statement , but sadly, that has been my experience with Ford in the US. Why oh Why do they refuse to bring over the simply wonderful cars? I've heard all the excuses (reasons, yeah right) and find them all fabricated. After all the UK has it's own set of very challenging standards that the auto makers must deal with, just like we do here, only different. But NOT different enough that they could not overcome them. After all why is it that we get nice Porsches, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Audis etc? And don't tell me it's about the price otherwise we would not have the very wonderful Mini Cooper S. If BMW can give us the Mini, Ford can give us a few of their very outstanding models designed by Ford of Europe!

    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.

    How pathetic, true but pathetic. :sick:
  • beantownbeantown Posts: 227
    I can't tell you why Ody sales are down and Sienna's are not. It should be the other way around.

    Why? Price? People do base their purchases off of more than just price.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    Why? Price? People do base their purchases off of more than just price.

    I've never been in the market for a minivan, so I couldn't tell you which one I think is better (although I think the Odyssey LOOKS better). But I think part of what's going on is that Toyota has gotten so big that they're sort of like how GM was back in the 60's and 70's. They could build something and people will buy it just based on name value, regardless of how good it really is. Now I'm not saying Honda is a loser name, not by a long shot. But I think Toyota's name value might be a bit stronger these days.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Of course that's not the only thing, but Ody prices are nearly $2 grand lower than they were in May of 2007 (that's when I was getting price quotes). That is a significant difference.

    Meanwhile the 2008 model actually got some improvements.

    I just don't see a reason for a drop in sales with the Ody, while the Sienna's sales are higher (flat pricing, no significant improvements for MY2008).
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Since I like both brands, and do a lot of business with both my local Toyota & Honda dealers I decided to go in and drive each of these minivans. I have never had a need for a minivan, therefore I've driven nearly every Honda & Toyota model except the vans.

    Toyota:
    A very nice driving van. Great power, very refined in terms of the category known as NVH, noise, vibration, and harshness (ride quality). When I set aside my personal dislike for the styling of the Toyota, I found it more comfortable with the best ergonomics. In terms of ease of moving around inside without opening any doors (as though one is parked at a rest stop, it's raining and you don't want to get out) it's far superior to the Honda. The ride quality was controlled, not too soft, not to harsh. They have obviously spent a lot of time on this, as the wind noise is also down to nil. at freeway speeds.

    Honda:
    I love the looks of this van, especially the subtle changes made for 2008. I also prefer the more sports oriented driving experience and the taught suspension. However that said, I believe it works against them as most soccer moms and non car enthusiast dads would find it too stiff, and the steering too responsive. You must drive this van (what a novel concept), as opposed to the Toyota which is clearly designed for the Americans (who as I like to say, are merely passengers that happen to be sitting in the drivers seat). A scary thought really, but one I witness everyday as I drive a lot and watch these so called "drivers" wander all over the road. They are so busy eating, drinking, talking on the cell phone and turning their heads to the right to maintain eye contact with the passenger they are speaking to while hurtling down the road, oblivious to the fact that they are behind the steering wheel.

    Then much like another comment made here, I believe that Toyota has such a strong reputation and brand loyalty, that many people go with that.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    while YMMV, my experience has ALWAYS been that Toyota dealers are more willing to deal on price than Honda dealers. I recently got internet quotes from 3 dealers on a Fit Sport MT and none made an offer below MSRP. They called that a "discount", because they had them marked up $1-2K.

    So Toyota dealers will deal more, and consequently Yaris and Sienna have more sales than Fit and Odyssey. And Fit and Odyssey will have better resale in 3 years and in 5......

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

  • mcmanusmcmanus Posts: 121
    So true of so many manufacturers (that they won't bring over interesting s from the European market).

    And why do we have to wait so long when they finally do decide to bring them across? Or in such limited engine options? Why can't we get the new diesel engines the same time Europe does?

    But alas, I'll be in the market this summer for a new car. I've promised my car to my daughter and drive about 40k miles a year, mostly rural (freeway and 2 lane). So I'm looking for a bit of comfort, A/C, low total cost of ownership, high fuel economy, reliability, and few stops at the shop for scheduled maintenance. A diesel rabbit would be ideal. I could wait until the fall for the diesel Jetta, but it will probably start out in limited supplies and only on very upscale s (especially here in the midwest). Heck, I can't even find a 5M Fit or any Corollas in stock locally.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    If BMW can give us the Mini, Ford can give us a few of their very outstanding models designed by Ford of Europe!

    As soon as the general public is wiling to pay Mini prices for a Focus (or "Fiesta"), it can start to happen, but I just don't see a lot of $24k Foci running around (as much as I would enjoy it). As far as bringing over FoE vehicles, I would like to remind the forum members of the Ford Cortina, the Mecury Capri (the early 70s, and the 90s), the Merkur Scorpio and XR4Ti (which spanked the BMW 318 of the time in just about every measure), the original Escort and Fiesta, and one dear to my heart, the Contique twins, none of which were exactly out of the ball park home runs, although some did better than others. We will see how the Ford Transit goes, and they new Fiesta. Even other brands have had issues conforming to US codes and standards, remember the HUGE bumpers on European cars in the 70s and 80s?

    I also think this whole mythical "they make it there so they should sell it here too since they already make it there" thing is a bit silly too. The European driving experience is very different than in the US. I think there are very few people who drive 30 miles each way to work, there is less travel on huge interstates and more travel on rural country roads. They are designed for a different user population. Even the US Honda Accord is very different from the rest of the world.

    FoE has very different requirements than FNA. I think this is changing slowly, but a Mondeo is like $40k, the Contour was $20k and the Fusion is about the same so they have more to work with in terms of design. The Europeans are less legislative so there are fewer requirements and fewer lawsuits (that said, some of their crash safety requirements are silly).

    Now if you are saying you don't care for the styling of some FordNA vehicles vs FoE counterparts (like the new Focus or the '08 Taurus), that I can understand, but the majority of the motoring public isn't willing to give up their higher torque motors and 6 speed automatics for the European driving experience.

    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.

    This is even more true than previously thought. One of the highest correlations with JDPowers satisfaction studies is number of cup-holders.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    That said I do have an idea of what it is, and I hate to admit it but I believe that the "average" buyer of cars in that segment in the US could care less about the car. They are buying price, cup holders, colors, and related nonsense. Wow! Look at this car Linda, it has 10 cup holders.......sold.


    This is even more true than previously thought. One of the highest correlations with JDPowers satisfaction studies is number of cup-holders.

    Funny you should mention that. One of the reasons the early MINIs scored so poorly on JDPowers surveys was the poor cup holders. :surprise:

    That and the rough ride. I guess some how people thought a ultra short wheel base, light vehicle with at the very least sporting intentions in base form should have a soft ride. :sick: :confuse:

    The average American car buyer is stupid.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    As soon as the general public is wiling to pay Mini prices for a Focus (or "Fiesta"), it can start to happen, but I just don't see a lot of $24k Foci running around (as much as I would enjoy it).

    Very good point, the reason I omitted it from my entry, is that I know enthusiasts like myself that would not let that stop them, providing the performance was similar to the Cooper S I have. It's one of my favorite cars, and yet there are many naysayers out there that argue it's too much larger and heavier than the original, and I'm aware of this because I own one of the originals, which in my opinion should not be compared. My 2005 Mini S has welcome creature comforts, a great audio system, although I hardly ever use it, due to the beautiful exhaust note!

    Back to pricing, Your point is well taken as we enthusiasts are in the minority and love to drive, not dread to, like so many Americans.

    Regarding your points on the Merkur, and others (which bring back memories) I agree with you.

    The only point where I differ from your take is the European driving experience, and not that it isn't different as I do agree on that point. However, I have spent a lot of time there as my family is from Germany, and therefore I have driven quite a bit there as well. Yes the terrain, the typical length of a drive, roads, etc. are all quite different than the typical US driving pattern. And yet the fact that remains that there are a large group of enthusiasts on either side of the "pond". It's just that the ratios are so much different. On a per capita basis the largest group is in the UK and other countries.

    While I could enjoy a lively debate on this for hours, the facts remain (specifics aside) as you have identified them. Too many differences between the two mindsets and based on this fact, I agree with you completely.

    Cheers!
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    The average American car buyer is stupid.

    And Your Score Based On Statement Above....

    Points
    10 = Accuracy (yes)
    10 = Succinct (yes)
    10 = Discouraging (very)
    10 = On Target (absolutely)
    10 = Indisputable (yes)
    10 = Surprising (no)
    10 = Subject to Change (no)
    10 = Frustrating (very)
    10 = Dangerous (definitely)
    10 = Funny (no)

    Congratulations, a perfect 100!
    Sad, but true...
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    But then we must ask ourselves what makes them so globally stupid.

    The answer being American car companies that persisted in wanting to sell land yachts for the past 60 years, and therefore had to convince Americans that they were the best thing in the world.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,452
    the average american car buyer chooses a camry.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Stupid and would prefer an anonymous transportation pod.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    And yet the fact that remains that there are a large group of enthusiasts on either side of the "pond". It's just that the ratios are so much different. On a per capita basis the largest group is in the UK and other countries.

    To your point, Volkswagen did a series of consumer clinics around the United States (I think it was last year but could've been the year prior) and concluded that while in the European market, it is exclusively about the drive, while in the US market, it is about everything but the drive (witness the Focus, with SYNC is selling so well they have to increase production, while it is less powerful and only about as economical as the outgoing model it replaced.
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Thanks for the interesting, yet discouraging report about VW and their market study.
    It brings to mind the disgusting, low grade, sleazy, TV shows one only sees in the US.
    Pretty scary when one thinks about who these shows are being written for.

    Just one more sobering reminder about who we are surrounded by out on the open road. A bunch of semi alert, hamburger eating, soda sucking, self absorbed bozo's with their foot dancing between the accelerator and the brake pedal, all the while forgetting which one does what..... :surprise:
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    I'm not trying to start any kind of argument here, but, for the vast majority of the population, isn't the primary purpose of an automobile comfortable transportation, with maybe a little excitement added on for good measure?

    I understand that there is a group consisting of a minority of driving enthusiasts, and there are a few automobiles made for them (Corvette comes to mind).

    And, I also cringe when I see those "self-absorbed" folks participating in several functions at once, of which the most miinor one seems to be driving. These folks would be dangerous if they were riding a bicycle, much less driving a 1.5-3 ton bullit.

    However, to me, at least, I think the idea that every vehicle should be primarily performance designed isn't exactly realistic...
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,730
    How stupid can we be? We are the only super power left and we are the only people to land a man on the moon. We just have different things to do than our European cousins. Driving in the US is no great pleasure because we like our roads wide and straight. At least in Southern California. Once you get passed the Grapevine heading north out of LA with a good aligned vehicle you can drive for 20 minites without touching the wheel if there is no traffic. They have brought European cars here before. The Renault and the Peugeot. We chased them out of the country with torches like movie monsters. Driving is secondary to the US consumer. Getting to where they are going is more important.

    Being different from our foreign brothers isn't a bad thing. After all the US consumer represents about 50 percent of the total car buying public in the world. we like power, we like bigger houses we like easy to use. We don't like high taxes we don't like Royalty and we will do what ever it takes to survive even if it means driving smaller cars because we "have to", but we will not ever like it. We want to have our cake and eat it to. After all far more of our foreign cousins are moving here than we are moving there. So if we are stupid think about the ones that want to leave such great places as Europe, Asia, and central America must be to come here and suffer our vehicle choices. To me a total moron would be someone in Japan making and selling a Super bike to the US and not being able to buy one at home. They did that in the 70s and early 80s you know? So in the end it is all a matter of perspective.

    Do I like small reactive cars? Sure but not as my only choice. Driving is only one facet of my life. It would make me sad if I had to give up hauling my toys to the desert to play in the rocks at the hammers or Rubicon. It is a far more depressing idea that I might not be able to buy a small commuter car the size of a large Quad to drive every day in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    How stupid can we be?

    Oh man what a loaded question.

    We are the only super power left

    Hmm, except maybe that place where they are having the Olympics that owns the U.S., makes all of our consumer goods, and is a new user of fossil fuels (although their developing infrastructure uses newer technologies...).

    Once you get passed the Grapevine heading north out of LA with a good aligned vehicle you can drive for 20 minites without touching the wheel if there is no traffic.

    Where as in every other civilized nation, people don't live 2 hours from where they work so in 20 minutes they would be there.

    They have brought European cars here before. The Renault and the Peugeot. We chased them out of the country with torches like movie monsters.

    Which is ashame since Peugeots had terrific ride quality and were magnificent highway cars. A 505 TD had enough power to move (though not extra) and was reasonably fuel efficient as well. It was a POS but eh, you cant have everything.

    After all the US consumer represents about 50 percent of the total car buying public in the world.

    Which means the whole world will get to share in our recession because Americans don't know how to handle credit and lack fiscal responsibility. Starting with the government right down to everyone who took a variable home equity loan to buy a car and go on vacation.

    we like power, we like bigger houses

    Yup we just cant afford them as our standard of living drops due to the lack of a middle class.

    Do I like small reactive cars? Sure but not as my only choice. Driving is only one facet of my life.

    Its good that you are well balanced in your hobbies...from your description though, do any of your hobbies not consume natural, non-renewable energy sources?

    I like to restore and repair cars of interest. This actually keeps them off the road more than on the road, so I would argue it conserves fuel. My other main hobby is cycling, and other than competing with bio-fuels for lilengineeringboy fuel, I would argue is environmentally benign. I like a vehicle that gets good fuel economy that allows me to spend any discretionary income on other things, like preparing for retirement, home improvements, and hobbies.

    My issue is that my Accord gets 34 mpg on my commute and can hold 5 people (including 4 people and an infant seat) comfortably. It has an honest to goodness manual transmission with a pedal that disengages and reengages the drivetrain at my command. It is certified as an LEV. The jump from the Accord to the Fit or the Yaris doesn't gain me enough to warrant the change.

    It is a far more depressing idea that I might not be able to buy a small commuter car the size of a large Quad to drive every day in bumper to bumper traffic.

    I think you will; it will be an enclosed box with windows that let light in but you cant see out, and computers will drive the vehicle and handle intersections, etc.
  • After all the US consumer represents about 50 percent of the total car buying public in the world.

    How does that work? Last year, there were more than 70 million vehicles produced worldwide (and, to be technical, more than 50 million of them were cars). In that same year, the US bought just over 16 million light vehicles (just under 7.9 million cars). Even with fleets calculated into these figures, I can't see how there were only 12-14 million consumers buying cars in the world last year.
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