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Midsize Sedans 2.0

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  • Understanding how to pick the trim levels and what features should be standard on each model is the role of the market research team. Because Mazda (and VW) does a poor job of it doesn't mean its a bad idea.

    I can't think of any non-premium vehicle currently available that requires getting a navigation system for any other features.


    I didn't have any specific manufacturer or specific item in mind, they're simply called "examples". Either way, you still get my point.

    Besides, I would rather decide what I want in a vehicle that I'm paying with MY $$$. "Market research" can't (and won't) make that decision for me.

    Riiight, because if the automaker can spend less money designing and building the car, it would never occur to them to make the car cheaper...

    ...And by bundling items into specific packages with items some consumers don't want or need, yet they STILL have to pay for them. How exactly does it become cheaper for the consumer?
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    ...And by bundling items into specific packages with items some consumers don't want or need, yet they STILL have to pay for them. How exactly does it become cheaper for the consumer?

    It doesn't, of course, but it sure makes for increased profits for the manufacturers. Had I been ordering our 2007 Ford Fusion from scratch I probably would not have chosen AWD but the SEL on the lot had all of the other features we DID want: V6, six-speed automatic, heated leather seating, moon roof, upgraded radio/6 CD audio system, anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc., black interior, Oxford white exterior.

    We got a pretty good -- but not outstanding -- deal on the $27,105 MSRP car as it sat on the lot, equipped with AWD. In other words, the rest of the package helped to "sell" the AWD. Of course, little did I realize the AWD would be such a gas guzzler. The original EPA sticker said 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway. I foolishly thought that this being December 2006 (at the time) that I might actually achieve that mileage which has since been lowered to 17 city/24 highway.

    Our stop-'n'-go, short-hop city driving only yields 14.8 mpg almost constantly. Our terrain is as flat as a fritter. We over inflate the tires slightly. We are both conservative drivers. We are 50 feet above sea level.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    I realize I am just an old fuddy duddy but all navigation systems seem like a waste of time and money to me.

    I used to think that until I bought my Sebring several months ago that came with a nav system. I wouldn't have ordered it that way but it was included on a car that otherwise was exactly what I wanted. Now I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever owned. Mapquest doesn't get a lot of business from me anymore.

    And it also came with tilt/telescoping steering wheel and heated outside mirrors. ;)
  • ...And by bundling items into specific packages with items some consumers don't want or need, yet they STILL have to pay for them. How exactly does it become cheaper for the consumer?

    Because the cost of those options bundled together is considerably less than having a different wiring harness for each application, a different vehicle architecture for each application, and different trim pieces to cover all the holes where the switches and buttons for the options not chose reside. The automakers call it give-away when its cheaper to bundle then to have separate parts. An example of this is automatic climate control and automatic headlamps. They need the same sensor anyway, why not bundle them?

    It doesn't, of course, but it sure makes for increased profits for the manufacturers. Had I been ordering our 2007 Ford Fusion from scratch I probably would not have chosen AWD but the SEL on the lot had all of the other features we DID want: V6, six-speed automatic, heated leather seating, moon roof, upgraded radio/6 CD audio system, anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc., black interior, Oxford white exterior.

    I think you are illustrating my point. The vehicle you picked had no trim level based package. On the Accord DX/LX/EX there are NO options (Nav, V6 and stick/auto are all different models, not options). You get what you get. If all the cars were equipped the same, your decision would've been that much easier.

    The other thing you could've done was ordered the car as you wanted it, or had the dealer done a swap or trade.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Besides, I would rather decide what I want in a vehicle that I'm paying with MY $$$. "Market research" can't (and won't) make that decision for me.

    In fantasy world it could happen this way:
    A customer decides what options he/she wants, the dealership orders it, then the customer waits months for the car (equipped exactly the way he/she wants it) to come in.

    Because customers are not willing to wait months for their car, and production costs would rise because every car would be specially made, it just will not work.

    Hence the guessing game is the only way.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Let's have some eggnog - or whatever your wassail of choice might be - and remind ourselves that this discussion is about the cars themselves, not the manufacturers. As I look around, it appears that the Christmas grinch made off with a few posts - though he clearly missed a few candidates in his haste.

    Let's send him off to some other where while we toast the season and ensure that we stick to the cars and let the Auto News discussions continue the other debates about the manufacturers' philosophies and actions. :P

    Happy happy! Enjoy the season.
  • In fantasy world it could happen this way:
    A customer decides what options he/she wants, the dealership orders it, then the customer waits months for the car (equipped exactly the way he/she wants it) to come in.


    Or it could be like how I bought my 6: Walked into a dealer with the EXACT car color/options/drivetrain that I wanted (Gray/moonroof, no leather/V6 with 5-speed manual). Dealer had none in inventory, but found said exact model 150 miles away at another dealer. Customer waited 2 days for car.

    Because customers are not willing to wait months for their car, and production costs would rise because every car would be specially made, it just will not work.

    Or, customers have just given up and settled for what they can get at a certain time, or settled for how an automaker bundles options instead of shopping around for other manufacturers that actually try and please their customers, instead of padding their bottom line. Hence the reason why I bought a 6 instead of an Accord.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Or it could be like how I bought my 6: Walked into a dealer with the EXACT car color/options/drivetrain that I wanted (Gray/moonroof, no leather/V6 with 5-speed manual). Dealer had none in inventory, but found said exact model 150 miles away at another dealer. Customer waited 2 days for car.

    Believe me, you are one of a very small percentage of customers who got exactly what he wanted. For instance, does the 6 come with leather seats with manual adjustments? I don't think so. I would still have to stand outside the car while the seat slooowly moves back so I can get in.

    So there isn't one option you would have wanted, but the 6 didn't have. Or one option it did have, that you could have easily done without? I find that hard to believe.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I got excellent add on leather for my Optima for an additional $500 at purchase. Looks as good as factory installed.

    http://www.roadwire.com/
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'm assuming it is made to accomodate your side airbags?
  • Or it could be like how I bought my 6: Walked into a dealer with the EXACT car color/options/drivetrain that I wanted (Gray/moonroof, no leather/V6 with 5-speed manual).

    So you got a Base Mazda6 S with the moonroof option. This combination didn't even exist in 2007, so I guess you are lucky you got it when you did. Of course, if you use the same cost for the optional sunroof, going from the cloth trim base w/roof to the leather/heated seats touring is less than a grand.
    I guess if you want the cheapest possible bottom line price, that is different then overall value. That upgrade gets better tires/wheels, audio system, and the heated leather power seats, and a few other little things.
    Oh, does yours have the compass mirror? Is that something you were looking for?

    Or, customers have just given up and settled for what they can get at a certain time, or settled for how an automaker bundles options instead of shopping around for other manufacturers that actually try and please their customers, instead of padding their bottom line. Hence the reason why I bought a 6 instead of an Accord.

    Or they are looking for what offers the best value. Its interesting to note that Mazda dropped the manual trans on everything above the base model, so I guess everyone wanted that so now thats how they packaged it. But even Mazda created a package.

    I actually bought the Accord because the Mazda I wanted didn't exist, so I guess that flips both ways.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "I've seen two Auras on the road (it may have been the same one seen twice). I have seen more 08 Accords on the road (probably 10 so far). There are no Saturn dealers in my local area (40 miles). "

    That may explain it because we have 5 Saturn dealers in my metro area.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    A navigation system, for a multitude of reasons, can be very handy. The issue might stem from the $2k price, but as that drops under a grand, it will be more feasible.

    I told my kid that my price point is about $50. But then I don't see why one wants this built into the car, particularly given the price premium for this option. I understand the aftermarket ones are now as low as $100 with rebates.

    For $50 it would be handy to have, as a convenience. But what good is a built in system, when you fly somewhere and rent a car?
  • So there isn't one option you would have wanted, but the 6 didn't have. Or one option it did have, that you could have easily done without? I find that hard to believe.

    Believe it. When I bought my 6 in '04, I wanted the Bose with 6-CD changer, moonroof, cloth interior, the V6 with 5-speed manual, and the sport package which included foglights and the body kit. The ONLY thing that I'd like would've been HIDs, but they weren't even offered on the 6 at the time.
  • No, I've discovered that the type of car that I've bought in '04 isn't possible today. But yes, my sport package did include the 17" alloys (no 18" at the time), as well as the foglights and body kit. The compass mirror, if I wanted it, would've been a dealer-installed option.

    I actually bought the Accord because the Mazda I wanted didn't exist, so I guess that flips both ways.

    I can understand that, since I probably would've skipped on the 6 now due to the bundled packages for '08. I'm hoping that changes when the second-gen is released, since I'm up for a new car in '10.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    I'm not in the market to buy anything this year but judging strictly by the exteriors I think the 2007 Accords look better than the 2008s. Am I in the minority here? I realize this is a next generation Accord but, appearance-wise, I still like the '07s more.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    I agree with you, the 2007 was better looking inside and out. The Accord without navigation looks pretty dull inside which is one reason why all of their press cars are loaded EX-L models. The exterior styling has grown on me but its still not a looker in this class.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    As an '06 Accord owner (they are identical to 2007s) I can honestly say I like the exterior look of the 2008 better. I think my car's interior is MUCH better ergonomically and stylistically however, and it is the interior which I spend all my time looking at, so I'm happy to keep my 06 - I'm not pining for the new Accord at all.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    I thought the new Accord is now full size. Doesn't the Cadillac CTS belong in this forum, or is about price rather than size? :)
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The vehicles in this discussion are mainstream midsize-ish family sedans. There are a few outliers, such as the non-sunroof equipped Accords and Hyundai Sonata (full-size by EPA just barely), the Pontiac G6 and Subaru Legacy (misses being a midsize by a small amount). These cars are all marketed against each other, however. A CTS is an entry-level luxury vehicle that is priced out of this comparo. It competes more with the Acura TL, Lexus ES350, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3-Series.

    Most cars in this discussion are between $20k and $30k. The CTS is in $30k-$45k territory.

    Perhaps the title of this discussion is misleading; I can see how it would be to some.

    I hope everyone had a very blessed Christmas/Holiday! :)
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    I don't think you can be so sure your 06 Accord is MUCH better ergonomically designed than the 08 Accord unless you spend some serious time in the newer Accord.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    I think someone was just trying to be a smart pants with the CTS.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I sat in a Gen VII Accord and loved how the things I used every day (CD/AM/FM, Seek, Fan Speed) were right there near the driver, and were quite intuitive.

    Its just my personal opinion, but if someone can get in a car and immediately find all the controls and how they work, the design is more ergonomically sound than in a car where some hunting is necessary.

    The Gen VIII I was in (LX-P and an EX-L) seemed much more scattered and unplanned; less logical in its layout.

    Maybe my opinion would change if the car were mine. I just didn't think the design was as smart, simple, and clean as the previous generation models.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Oh well; I sort of figured it with the :) icon... But there's probably a reader out there who doesn't fully understand the forums - maybe it helped.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,747
    Since we are all over the map here, talking about everything from cars that are mid-sized inside and compact outside, to Impalas, to Acura TLs, etc. etc., I could see how someone could think the CTS would fit in here. After all, the base CTS is about the same price as the top-end Accord, Camry, and Altima (and Legacy?). I think you pegged it right with the "mid-sized famlly car" label. It's not just about mid-sized sedans, but about the low-end of the mid-sized spectrum--not near-luxury cars or luxury cars that happen to be mid-sized. (Although some of these "family cars" can get pretty luxurious when loaded up!)
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    "The Accord without navigation looks pretty dull inside which is one reason why all of their press cars are loaded EX-L models."

    Gee, I thought the "press" cars were always loaded models. Your opinion of the Accord's interior is fine but to state it as a reason for why Honda only furnishes loaded models is baseless.
  • mrsyjmrsyj Posts: 77
    "Gee, I thought the "press" cars were always loaded models. "

    they are not always loaded. My guess is Honda knows the Accord seems more average without nav and thus they make sure only cars with nav are provided for test drives. The "upscale" interior the Accord has been praised for is hard to appreciate when you see the non nav interior. Doesnt quite seem so acura-like without the big screen.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    It seems to me the magazines test the 6 cylinder versions at least as much as the 4 cylinder versions, when the 4 cylinders sell in much greater numbers. I assume it's because 6 cylinder versions have every possible feature available for comparison (VCM for example).
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    maybe more a case of the enthusiast mags. being run by enthusiasts and with subscriber bases that tend to be the same way - power sells - at least in terms of the magazines.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Yes, I suspect the reviewers themselves campaign for the 6 cylinder versions. ;) Why not go all out, especially when your not paying for the car.
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