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Will Detroit Ever Regain The Middle Market?



  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    What do you drive, anythingbutgm?
  • your pictures sell my point. IMHO(we're supposed to put this in there even though everyone knows that what we say is much more than opinion, it's fact, right?)the '08 Chevy 'Bu has a lot more going on looks-wise than either the homely, blocky 2008 Honda Accord and/or the homely 2007 Toyota Camry.

    I would trust a 2008 Kia Optima, a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and a 2008 Mazda6 entirely enough to spend anywhere from $16,494 for the Optima to upwards of $21,000-$25,000 for the Malibu's and Mazda6's.

    This is all fantasy-land for myself as I much prefer my '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS and it's racing getup than a mid-size car. Although the Mazda6 looks more and more like a great choice for a sporty ride and good looks. And I'm not one that likes Mazda's blocky-chunky styling etiquette, either.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • S2000 in the warm, Impreza wagon in the bad months.
  • If I were buying in this class, I'd go for either the Mazda6 or Nissan Altima. Or even a Subaru legacy. The Accord would fall next probably tied with the Fusion/Milan, then the Camry (SE only). I'd by a much better looking Saturn Aura before I buy a Rentabu for the same money. At least that thing has a chance of holding any resale value three years down the road... And I'd buy a Sonata long before either of those.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    That is the problem in a nutshell.
    The General has to do things BETTER than Toyota if it wants to win customers back.
    It can't be "just" as good.
    What is the incentive to change if your other choice is only "just" as good as your current one?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Good choices; you've got the New England seasons covered.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    For 15 to 20 years people bought Domestic cars, sometimes two or three bad cars, and never switched to Toyota or Honda. It will not take 15 years of bad cars from Toyota and Honda, maybe just one bad car, for them to switch back to domestics. Toyota and Honda will have to stay on top of their game to stay ahead in sales. IMO, people will not be as dedicated to the Japanese makes, as many were faithful to the domestic brands. I have been loyal to Honda because of two great cars, but all it will take is one bad experience to turn me away. No slip-ups allowed.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    GM seems to be making some progress in reestablishing credibility in the middle market with the Chevy Impala and Malibu, and the Saturn Aura. Ford may be running in place with the Fusion and Taurus, plus the Mercury Milan and Sable, but is making little, if any, progress. Chrysler Corp. is clearly slipping with its Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus, and the 300 and Charger, while still competitive, are no longer fresh and exciting.

    The upshot is that GM needs to build on its momentum. Fixing Pontiac and Buick would help a lot. Ford needs to gain momentum. Maybe its plan to offer some of its successful European models will do the trick. Chrysler needs new mid range products to compete effectively.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    This is one thing Americans are good at. Challenges. Ford for one is doing the right thing by dumping Jag, Aston, Range rover. Now Ford needs to dump Mecury and funell that money into Lincoln. Ford needs an image brand like Toyota has Lexus, Honda has Acura. Lincoln is prime for this. Ford needs to keep Mazda and Volvo however. Mazda is doing pretty well with its line-up, along with Volvo. Ford is stronger than the media leads the American public to believe. Markets are strong in Europe and Asia. It was announced Ford is going to be bringing many of its platforms from Europe to North America. One that is going to be a hit is the Focus. The Focus in Europe is way different than the one made for North America. The Euro Focus is a much, much nicer vehicle.

    The Big 2 will be left to carry on the U.S. auto makers. GM is going to take back what Toyota took this last year. I believe it will happen in about 3-5 years. I also believe Ford will take the #2 spot back from Toyota in the next 5 - 7 years.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    bold predictions on your part, indeed. I do think that Ford is improving by leaps and bounds. And so is GM. But just how Toyota ends up is still a question mark, as far as how much of the American market they continue to take. They will hold in 2nd place after GM. Toyota's slipping, and not slowly slipping. I'm talking slip-sliding away. OK, that's mostly wishful thinking. I don't care for Toyota much. Way too much vanilla in their cake.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    Remember that vanilla is America's favorite ice cream....
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,675
    and it must be emphasized again, Americans love to miss the boat on good car styling. Toyota's are hideous personified.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,613
    i live in new england, too. i have kids. neither of those vehicles would work for me.
    it's just a different situation.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    The Malibu, the Chrysler 300 and the 2010 Fusion suggest that Detroit can compete effectively in the middle market. The missing ingredient is renewed buyer confidence.

    The 300 needs a refresh, or the introduction of the second generation of this RWD entry, to regain competitive status.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    If I remember right, they don't have the capacity to build enough Malibu or Fusions to overtake the Accord or Camry. Plus it would take away from the Impala and Taurus.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    If they do, it'll be without Mercury.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    I think topic was 'mid size' not 'mid price makes'.

    Fusion has been breaking sales records, so the older posts are moot.

    There are not too many truly large or full sized cars for sale anymore, and the term 'mid size' doesnt work if there are no larger cars to compare. Should just say "large" for anything bigger than a compact.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Middle market refers to mid-priced. That was the market once covered by most Oldsmobiles, Mercurys and DeSotos, Pontiac and Dodge were at the lower middle end of the market, as were some Mercurys. Most Buicks, Chryslers and some Mercurys were upper middle. More recently this has been referred to as entry luxury.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Once upon a time, Consumer Reports divided the automotive market into five categories...

    Low price class (Chevy/Ford/Plymouth)
    Lower Medium (Pontiac/Dodge/Edsel, some Mercurys, Buick Special)
    Medium (DeSoto, Oldsmobile, upper-level Mercurys, mid-range Buicks)
    Upper Medium (Chrysler, Buick Super/Roadmaster, the cheaper Lincolns in some years)
    Luxury (Cadillac, Imperial, most Lincolns, Continentals when they tried to make them a separate division)

    I think nowadays though, the market is re-aligning and simplifying to...

    Mainstream (Ford, Dodge, Chevy, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc)
    Luxury (Lincoln, Cadillac, Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, Benz, BMW, Audi, etc)

    Brands like Buick and Chrysler are starting to have problems fitting into this new mold. Chrysler really doesn't have what it takes right now to go head-to-head with the others in luxury cars. To do so, they'd have to get rid of minivans, the PT Cruiser, the Sebring, and the cheaper versions of the 300. Yet, those models I just mentioned are what keeps them down in the mainstream market, where they are often redundant because of Dodge.

    Buick, at least, isn't reaching as far downscale as Chrysler. But, they can only go up so high in prestige, otherwise they'd encroach on Cadillac. So, my guess is that, if this mainstream/luxury polarization continues, Buick may cease to exist, while Chrysler ends up taking over for Dodge, relegating them to only trucks.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    The Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu seem to be competing well, as are the Ford Taurus and Buick LaCrosse. In addition, the Buick Regal looks promising, so I'd say Detroit is gaining some ground in the middle market. Not much, maybe, but at least it seems to be holding its own.
This discussion has been closed.