Which Brands Do You Think Will Disappear from the U.S. Market by 2016?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
edited June 2014 in General

Some influential business publications are predicting the demise of various makes of cars from the U.S. market, and possibly even from the world market (as in "gone forever").

Which brands do you think are in danger right now of withdrawing from the U.S. market, and perhaps of collapsing entirely?

I'll start off with my prediction---Volvo.

Comments

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457

    Huh, you didn't pick Tesla Shifty?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited June 2014

    No, because Tesla, while not profitable, has a unique product---they have no competition at the moment, so they could survive as a boutique automaker, unless they somehow manage to squander that massive heap of stockholders' money. I've always viewed Tesla as a high tech company, not an automaker. Their stock doesn't behave like an auto stock. They might end up being more of a private utility company.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,616

    Volvo seems pretty popular, lately. I predict they'll hang around. I vote for Mitsubishi

    Edmunds Lease Calculator
    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    Volvo is selling exactly half as many vehicles in the US as it did in 2004. There have also been some rather tawdry corruption scandals in China.

    Mitsubishi for sure will be out of the US market.

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,204

    Volvo might survive based on Chinese consumers alone - both at home and here.

    Only new Mitsus I see are rentals.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited June 2014

    Mitsu seems to be a heavy industry company that just happens to build cars in addition to ships, planes and nuke plants, financing everything with their own bank. We've been predicting their US demise for a decade but they've outlasted Saturn, Suzuki and Saab (assuming Saab really is defunct). Not sure why they bother with the plant in Indiana unless they need some goodwill in the US or it's some kind of offshore money/tax scheme.

    Lots of owners like them - there's three owner's days events planned for this year. Hm, didn't Saturn do those in Sprng Hill TN?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited June 2014

    I feel pretty confident about the Mitsubishi prediction for leaving the US. Sales for 2013 were only 62,000. I mean, they COULD hang on just to spite me :) because they are a huge company, but really, how long can they bleed like this? And how long will dealers tolerate the lack of new and exciting product?

    I see Volvo out of here too--it might take a few more years. They sell better in China than they do in the USA, so what does that tell you?

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457

    The Chinese have deep pockets?

    It's fun reading back on Mitsu "history" in the forums, like this Outlander post.

    It is hard to see how the Mitsu dealers survive.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    My friend is a Mitsu dealer and he survives by a) having an excellent reputation and b) working a thriving used car operation.

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165

    Is Suzuki still selling anywhere in the US these days? Longer term in say 5 or 6 years I'm wondering about brands like Mazda and Lincoln. Mazda may make it by growing in Europe. I'm not too confidant about Lincoln, but Ford dollars can keep it running for awhile at least.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    I think Lincoln is okay for now. Ford is behind the marque, and their new MKC seems to be a good value and a very nice compact SUV. It's Ford's first and it's not a re-badged anything. it's the real deal for the moniker "luxury". Starting at $33,100.

    Nope, Suzuki is out of the USA, although they do sell throughout the world--they are after all Japan's 4th largest automaker.

    It was a case of the typical "struggling brand death spiral"....sales lag, dealerships start to close, thereby decreasing sales further, etc etc---and then you're toast. Not sure of the exact number for Suzuki, but when your annual US sales hit around 40000 in a low to middle price class, you know you're in trouble. That's the same thing haunting Volvo and Mitsubishi and perhaps Jaguar.

    It's not the cars. Suzukis were perfectly okay cars.

  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,751

    I have been lurking in and out of here for some time now just to see what people are still talking about. for me things have changed over the years. I retired and my needs, habits and wants changed as well. For a few years I kept my SUV, Bought a trailer, sold my compact and then drove over a good portion of the US visiting places I always wanted to visit. But it is time to slow down a bit and so I started looking for a small car. Many of the things we debated over the years have come to mind. I was surprised to see Suzuki was going because I thought they were making a fine effort. I was also surprised to see Mazda and Mitsubishi were still here as I was to see Smart was still selling. I also believe Volvo may not be long for these shores.

    But that being said because I just bought a car I have had some other observations. Small cars while still smaller than what I was used to driving are more roomy than I remember. However while I was shopping for a car I got more recommendations for Honda than I did for anyone else. Toyota, Ford and Nissan were distant seconds when I talked to mechanics. Manual sales have not increased but to my surprise still seem to be holding their own. However when I decided on a Honda Fit I also wanted a Sport with Navigation and that option wasn't available in a manual. So I got the automatic with paddle shifters.

    My other surprises? The Fiat 500 seems to sell well in my area. I don't know how well but I have seen quite a few. The Kia Soul seems to have become a big hit.
    But If I had to predict the demise of a car in the US the Smart would be up there with Volvo. With the Caveat that if it goes EV it could be a much bigger hit than it is as a Sub Compact. When looking for a car myself the window sticker on the Smart just didn't do it any favors in the compact and Sub Compact class. Not that I would bet on it.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    Hi Boaz and welcome to the discussion! The Smart could be one of those cars that dies slowly because there is no profit in it, and therefore no incentive to keep it up to date. As the design ages, fewer and fewer people will buy it, further increases the obstacles to improving it.

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165

    Shifty, your comment on the upcoming Lincoln MKC raises a good point. The cheapening of lux brands like BMW and MB with their new dinkmobiles might play into Lincoln's ability to pass a Mercury off as a Lincoln.

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,204

    This might not help Volvo

    I wouldn't do it based on political reasons alone. And a hope for 10K LWB models a year in the US? Good luck with that!

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457

    I remember my old man ragging on VW's in the 60s - lawnmower engines. Then everyone razzed the Japanese cars, then the Korean ones.

    Chinese Volvo? Bring it on.

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165

    I'd sure desire a made in China automobile. Just like those 7 year refrigerator compressors you get these days or relatively short lived TV's and electronics. No worry, the toxins in the car may overcome you quickly if the windows are closed :p

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited June 2014

    What, no mention of drywall? Oh yeah, lots of that was made in the US. ;):p

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165

    Actually, I never read about that - just Chinese. But I guess I wouldn't be surprised by anything here anymore these days. Has that industry consolidated into an oligopoly too now? Administered pricing, loss of worker's jobs and fat executive and shareholder profits. Of course the defense is "Adam Smith" right?

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,204

    I'd find it hard to support a company that is really a business arm of a regime as sinister as the one in power there. I also seriously question how first worlders can embrace it with open arms.

    If under strict supervision, the quality will probably be passable. That's not my concern.

  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,751

    Shifty, The Smart Car has amazed me from the beginning. If it were unbelievably inexpensive it might have in impact. If it got great fuel mileage it might have an impact but it is neither. I wasn't surprised to see Saab fade from view. That being said it is also a matter of perspective. I have changed my transportation choices a bit by becoming a cyclist. No not one of the anti car cyclists but one that puts about as many miles a year on my bikes as I do my car. Even before I downsized I was putting more miles during the week by bike than car.

    After having adopted the cycling bug after I retired I also visited some of the cycling sites and discovered there is a strong, if not numerous, anti car movement in some of our larger urban centers. No they don't have the numbers but they seem to have the political ear to siphon off funds for mass transit and alternative forms of transportation in places like New York and Portland. With the downturn in the economy and the push by some for alternative forms of transportation in the larger urban areas it is harder on cars in the Volvo class to meet sales than it once was. And with the move towards hybrids a Smart car seems less necessary than it once might have been.
    ( as a side note research the term, "Car free movement" in google. And no I am not one of them.)
    However with the number of cars the Chinese and even the people of India seem to be interested in it seems as if the market shift is simply eastward. From what I have read China buys more cars than the US now. Maybe to be successful a manufacturer needs to refocus
    more on emerging markets and so cars can be "reborn" in those new markets?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited June 2014

    There's a big difference between Japan bringing us a Honda Civic in 1972 as opposed to Honda importing a Japanese-made Mercedes to the USA in 1972.

    People want a Volvo that's a Volvo---made in Sweden. Their memories aren't THAT short, even for Americans.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited June 2014

    Heh, my Volvo memories date back to the two '74s that were in the family and were always breaking down. The rubber bellows would break every few months like clockwork and teeth on the flywheel broke on one (that was okay until you parked in the wrong spot - then you'd have to crawl under with a big screwdriver and move the teeth over to engage the starter). Then there was the '80ish one a friend had that wouldn't crank at the end of a cold river trip and only hot Tang saved me from hypothermia.

    Got a new pair of glasses a couple of weeks ago after getting a new Rx from my eye doc. Fancy frames from a London designer. Made in China. My price just for the glasses after the insurance paid ~$260 was $60. Went to Zenni for a spare pair - work great for $9.95 plus $5 shipping from Hong Kong.

    I'd rather have a Chinese Volvo. Maybe it'd at least be as dependable as my two Lenovos. :D

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,204

    I think 1974-80 anycars broke down with regularity compared to modern ones. That era was the nadir for driveability, especially when the cars got to be a few years old.

    I don't know if laptops or the iphone red herring that China supporters constantly use are apples to apples with something as complex as a car. Not that it can't be done, the foreign bribe plant products seem to operate perfectly fine in China. If there's enough parent company control, the products will certainly be OK. But if one wants to support a regime like that, I suppose buying a BMW in 1940 or a Moskvitch in 1952 wasn't bad either.

    In specific terms of Volvo, it might sell to those of Chinese heritage, but I think a lot of traditional Volvo buyers will notice the assembly point on the sticker, and might keep walking.

    It might end up being moot though, if the only product is a LWB S60 - an answer to a question asked by nobody on this continent.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    the Chinese have yet to make a decent jet engine. I know that some day they will be ready for prime time, but not yet IMO.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited June 2014

    Back in the 70s I had already switched to VW Bugs; über reliable for the day. The '74 CJ-5 ran much better than the Volvos too.

    Re jets, the Chinese would likely buy GE or Rolls engines, just like Boeing. I don't think they know how to layup the wings yet though.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350

    Mitsubishi...the company that brought us the Zero!

    I agree and I'm surprised that have hung around this long. At the last Seattle Car Show I don't
    think they even attended.

  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 53,204

    Bugs and Jeeps were old tech still being made in the 70s. New cars from that era, or those choked with primitive pollution controls, fared worse.

    I don't even know where the nearest Mitsu dealer is, maybe Auburn or Renton.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    it's too bad. Mitsubishi made a pretty good car.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350

    There's a Mitzu store in Renton off the 167 freeway. A couple of years ago my brother in law
    bought a new Outlander there. It has 59,000 miles on it now and there have been no problems.

    At a recent XXX car show, some guy was trying to sell has 1979 VW beetle convertible. I think he wanted 8000.00 for it. The sign said low miles but he admitted the speedo head had been replaced. He based his low mileage claim on a guess from his mechanic not that I cared.

    I looked at that smogged up little engine that had that primitive fuel injection system and I was reminded of how primitive those cars really were.

  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,751

    Ahh memories. Do any of us not remember the VW stop light drill? You come to a stop light and the idle is a bit slow or surging. You get out run to the back and twist the distributor ever so slightly to smooth the engine out?

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457

    heh, wish I had known that trick. I did take a Bug "for a walk" one time.

  • au1994au1994 GAMember Posts: 2,086

    Since we are essentially 1 yr away from the 2016 MY, I will say no makes will disappear.

    I agree that Mitsu and Volvo seem to be on life support and are the logical choices to follow Saturn, Olds etc. Lincoln, I think, is TBD. New models are either all out new, or doing a better job disguising the Ford underpinnings. As the Town Car finally fades from existence, Livery companies will have to replace with something. Maybe these new SUVs are the answer, maybe not. I've been in several Town Car's with 250k+ on the chassis.

    2008 Toyota Land Cruiser White over Tan
    2017 BMW X1 Jet Black over Mocha

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457

    Volvo is falling behind in mpg, fwiw.

    54.5 MPG? Automakers are On Track Says Consumer Federation

  • berriberri Member Posts: 10,165

    What I always found a little odd about Volvo was that Sweden is a country with many tall people. However Volvo's often seemed a bit cramped. In fact, the Ford products based on the Volvo chassis like Taurus and Explorer are rather legroom challenged compared to much of their competition.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited July 2014

    Which Brands Do You Think Will Disappear?

    At this rate, VW!

    Chrysler’s sales rose 9% in June, General Motors’s edged up 1%, Ford’s fell 6% and Volkswagen’s plummeted 22%. (Detroit Free Press)

  • boaz47boaz47 Member Posts: 2,751

    @stever said:
    Which Brands Do You Think Will Disappear?

    At this rate, VW!

    Chrysler’s sales rose 9% in June, General Motors’s edged up 1%, Ford’s fell 6% and Volkswagen’s plummeted 22%. (Detroit Free Press)

    Well if we look at YTD VW is down a bit over 6 percent and KIA is down by 11. According to AUTODATA. June looked like a bad month for a lot of people.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482

    I don't see VW going anywhere. It's just having its ups and down and it is backed by a huge organization.

    I'd be more concerned with brands whose parent company isn't doing too well--like Volvo or Jaguar, or where the number of sales just doesn't justify the future investment from a healthy parent company (like Mitsubishi).

    So I don't see VW in either of those scenarios that might require a pull back from the USA market.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited July 2014

    What's funny is that VW swore up and down that they were going to make a big push to increase sales in the US and worldwide. Their profits seem to be good but they also seem to be taking two steps back here for every step forward.

    That 22% decline was just for a month's sales, but 2018 is just a few years off. (Motley Fool)

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491

    Heck, Volkwagen is finally to the point that they build a car I'd seriously consider...the latest version of the Passat! So I hope they don't go anywhere! But, who knows? Maybe the fact that I'd consider it is a bad sign...after all, I've had a DeSoto, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, and three Pontiacs. :o

  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXMember Posts: 2,693

    Heck, Volkwagen is finally to the point that they build a car I'd seriously consider...the latest version of the Passat!

    I have owned a 2008 Passat 2.0T since 2008. I recently (a few months ago) drove a new 2014 Passat, and I like my old one better. So no more Passats for me.

    2019 Chrysler Pacifica
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491

    @henryn said:
    I have owned a 2008 Passat 2.0T since 2008. I recently (a few months ago) drove a new 2014 Passat, and I like my old one better. So no more Passats for me.

    What was it about the new Passat that you didn't like? I haven't driven one yet; I'm only basing my interest on the fact that VW has finally made a car that's big enough for me. Although, I was impressed with the 2001.5 Passat that a friend of mine had. While not a very big car, I thought it made great use of interior room, and legroom was good, I thought. Sort of compact shoulder room, but midsized legroom, I thought. It also seemed well built, and had pretty nice materials.

    I have heard that the latest Passat shows evidence of cost cutting, but I think most cars, to some degree, show that. They almost have to, otherwise they'd cost a fortune these days, what with all the advances in technology, safety, fuel economy, etc...

  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXMember Posts: 2,693

    What was it about the new Passat that you didn't like? I haven't driven one yet; I'm only basing my interest on the fact that VW has finally made a car that's big enough for me.

    My 2008 Passat has a 2.0 turbocharged engine, 200 horsepower, 207 lb-ft torque.

    The new Passat gets a 1.8 turbocharged engine, with 177 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. While that is a substantial improvement over the 2.5 liter 5 cylinder engine that it replaces, it is still considerably less than the engine in my 6 year old Passat.

    I just don't believe in going backwards, that's all.

    And yes, you probably will fit in a Passat. Unless you're tall, and want the sunroof, then all bets are off (as usual, the sunroof steals a good 2 inches of headroom).

    You will probably even like the 1.8T engine, it's not bad. It's just not as good as what I already have.

    2019 Chrysler Pacifica
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,491

    I wonder how the 3.6 V-6 in the Passat rates? I'm kinda old skool, "no replacement for displacement", "my hybrid burns both gas and rubber" types...

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457
    edited July 2014

    Just found this site with easily digestible numbers, thanks to @rayainsw. GoodCarBadCar

    Sales year to date for the US and Canada:

    • Jaguar 8,317
    • Volvo 29,330
    • Scion 30,636
    • Mitsubishi 39,672
    • BMW 157,382
    • VW 179,144 (118,154 if you exclude Canada)
    • Kia 297,413
    • Hyundai 364,404

    Here's an overall link (you can sort by YTD) that will group by corporation; i.e. BMW/MINI and Jaguar/Land Rover.

    Unfortunately I don't see a way to rank by profitability (VW has historically been very profitable).

  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXMember Posts: 2,693

    I wonder how the 3.6 V-6 in the Passat rates? I'm kinda old skool, "no replacement for displacement", "my hybrid burns both gas and rubber" types...

    I don't think they (VW) produce very many V6 Passats. At least around these parts, they are hard to find, and when you do find one, they are VERY expensive.

    My advice? Go down to the dealer, try sitting in a Passat, if it fits, drive it. Then try sitting in a Jetta GLI with the 2.0T engine. The Jetta is only a little smaller when it comes to room for the driver, and if you fit in the Passat, you just might fit in the Jetta. But if you do fit, after driving the GLI with the 2.0T you will throw rocks at the Passat with the 1.8T.

    2019 Chrysler Pacifica
Sign In or Register to comment.