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Low End Sedans (under $16k)

tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
I opened this discussion to compare lower end cars from all the major ountries that sell cars here in States.


  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    What price range did you have in mind?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well there is only true "low-end" Euro car, that being VW, as far as price is concerned.

  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    but I guess you are right.I wonder why no other European car has been successful here.In Europe,Renault,Fiat,Peugeot etc are plentiful in this segment of the market.
    The VW really isn't inexpensive,like the Accents,Lanos,Rios,EsteemsFocus and GM j-body cars.It seems the European manufacturers have abandoned us -in this market here.
    At the low end it would seem the Koreans have the most to offer.They certainly have a lock under $10,000.
  • tazerelitazereli Posts: 241
    I meant to include that the cars should be under $20K. For the sake of argument however I wanted to include VW's offerings here. Perhaps a better title would have been "who makes the best compact cars" or something like that. I want to take price out of the equasion because people should debate the cars not the price. This is a completly open forum so any compact car sold here as of today (5.23.01) may be included. I hope this clears up any confusion
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    If I had to guess, I'd say it's the low profit margins on these cars that keeps most Euro. competition out. You figure they have to build them (using the high labor rates in Europe), and then ship them here. Most people buying cars in this segment are very price conscious. That extra $1-2000 could be a deal-breaker on a car that the mfg. doesn't make much on to begin with.
  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    I think its hard to remove price as a factor.A lot of people select from this market because of price.
    In my case $20,000 was the limit,I was going to spend.I had started with the idea of a Gllant with the 6 cyl engine.A good friend had a 95 Diamante and I really liked that car.I also looked at Honda LX and EX models 4s and 6s.The Toyota Altima and Camry were also considerations.
    All the cars were pretty good.The HONDA LX 4cyl was the least interesting to me.I was hoping to get leather and the Accord with this option was too expensive.iI found the styling ok,but not too exciting.
    The Camry 4cyl seemed more responsive;everything else about equal to the Accord.I was just not comfortable in the car,don't know why.The Gallant was a disappointment.I guess,I expected a small Diamante.Overall quality seemed lower the the Accord or Camry.The Gallant 4cyl was the smoothest of the 4s,though.
    The cost of these cars with 6 cyl motors and the features I wanted was over $20,000.I did't consider VW because of cost and reports from people who owned then.Nothing real bad just more then I wanted to be bothered with.
    I was on my way to the KIA dealer.I had read a review on the Optima-loaded with a 6 for around $20,000.I had never ever considered a Korean car before.A friend had owned 2 in the late 80's and early 90's.Seemed like he was getting new engines every month(Hyundai).But ,the 100,000 mile warranty helped me overcome my reservations.
    On the way we passed a DAEWOO dealer.I confused it with DAHATSUI-a friend had had a Charade and really liked it -so I stopped.The KIA dealer was about a half mile up the road.
    To make a long story longer ,I bought a DAEWOO.The car had every option I wanted and more.The car has a 4cyl motor,but is quick in the city and great on the highway.In fact, the only thingI would change is the tires.It has KUMHO tires,a Korean brand-h rated.I've always liked Goodyear Tiger Paws-smooth ride.For under $15,000 it is unbeatable.
    Given the state of DAEWOOS finances its somewhat of a gamble.BUT,the engine is a Holden motor(GM) and the transmission is a Toyota design,so maintenance should be no big deal.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah they (Europeans) have given up on the lower end of the market here. Even VW has luxury car plans/aspirations now, of which I don't really think will work, nor do I fully understand with Audi being their luxury brand.

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    What is this world coming to when less than $20,000 is considered the low end. $20,000 is a pretty expensive low end car.

    In my mind, a low end car would sell for $13,000 or under.

    America, Europe, and Japan (except for Toyota's Echo and some Suzuki offerings) have virtually conceded this market segment to the Koreans.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Japanese just don't make the money in the "lower" category anymore, or at least not as much as they would like to make. If the Toyota Echo doesn't do it this time Toyota will most likely give it up too and stick with the larger more profitable Corolla as their "entry-level" car. Nissan and Honda have left this segment and the Koreans are eating it up at moment. It's hard to build a car for 13K nowadays.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    also. Since they're enjoying success at this level and in the US the cars are selling I wouldn't expect a large MSRP jump. Can they turn a profit selling a car for $8,000-$12,000? With the won's value compared to their worker's wages and the fact that Kia is part of Hyundai I would say they can. To build factories in the U.S. with this level of sales I would think is a bit of a leap. I don't know though, Hyundai is not afraid to borrow money. At all.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • bluffhousebluffhouse Posts: 33
    The Japanese can't build good cars for cheap anymore. That's why they charge so much for cheap cars. Most of their profits went into real estate, not their factories. With GM buying Daewoo, you will only watch the Japanese cars disappear into the sunset, or be partially bought out by GM (the small part worth buying). For now GM has it's focus on Daewoo because of it's state of the art factories, all new. Daewoo currently owns the most productive plants in the world. They are setting next to the largest steel producer, have all the electronic expertise, top notch engineers and inexpensive highly skilled labor.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well they aren't able to do it as cost-effectively as they could before. The new Honda Civic is a good example, it's a nice car, but for the first time in the last 3-4 redesigns it now screams cheap. Yes the Koreans will gladly take this segment over and then over time they too will move upmarket as a whole. The XG300 is only the first baby step.

  • bluffhousebluffhouse Posts: 33
    They will be in a good position to give the popular Japanese midsizes a run for the money. Not only does the new Leganza surpass both Accord and Camry but will be a good alternative to the Maxima and the Avalon. Look at the SUV sector, the new Hyunda already outperforms everybody on the crash test. Everybody else may want to start thinking about a fresh design.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    How does the new Leganza surpass the Accord and Camry? And who said it?
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    From what I understand in reading the Daewoo bankruptcy discussion here on Edmunds, it is not definite that GM will keep Daewoo open here in the United States.

    From what I understand, they want access to Asian markets and this is why they are contemplating the purchase.

    Given that the Prizm is going bye bye as is the Metro, perhaps GM will buy Daewoo and sell the current Daewoo lineup as Chevrolet badged vehicles.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    It is my understanding that a dealer sees about $300 profit (best case) when selling an Echo. Does anyone know how much profit Toyota sees from the sale of this model?
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I highly doubt the Koreans will push the Japanese off "into the sunset". And I don't believe GM has much interest in marketing Daewoo here in the U.S. GM is trying to expand its global market and streamline its domestic product. Geo was an expensive and poor attempt for GM to "battle the imports". Their next attempt was much better, Saturn, but it too appears to be falling rapidly downhill and probably will see the axe, just like Oldsmobile.

    The Koreans, particularly Hyundai, have made huge strides over the years to improve their reliability and quality. For the most part, they have succeeded. However, their vehicles still lack the sophistication and refinement of the Japanese vehicles. In a very recent Motor Trend comparison of the Hyundai XG300 against the Dodge Stratus and Honda Accord, it was mentioned that the XG300's road manners could use some tidying up. That goes for just about all of the Korean cars sold here today. It takes a lot of experience to refine a vehicle's driving dynamics. And that's where the expensive R&D starts driving up vehicle costs. Eventually, the Korean vehicles will near the Japanese in overall refinement, sophistication, and driveability, but they could very well lose their price advantage in the process.

    Right now, I think the Japanese make the best "low-end" cars on the market. They may not be the cheapest, but they are the best in terms of overall quality, reliability, and refinement. Cars such as the Corolla, Civic, Protege, and Sentra display such qualities much better than the Neon, Cavalier, Sunfire, Lanos, Elantra, and Sephia. The exception would be the Focus, which ranks with the Japanese cars. The Golf is impressive but is pushing the financial limits of "low-end" and still has some reliability issues to work out (they're good, but still not up to par with the Japanese).
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Excuse me, but the Focus does not rank up there with the Japanese in my opinion. It had too many recalls for your statement to be true.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    the Kia process with the Cray super-computer will accomplish this refinement along with Kia's own track testing, wind tunnel testing process, crash testing, etc. The Kia and Hyundai process,price, warranty,value and might I add, looks, already top all Japanese models. It would be way cool to see Honda trail off to Australia or back to Japan or head over to Singapore. Malaysia! They're the dudes who had to have the tallest skyscrapers in the world! Thay wouldn't mind the boring looks and high prices of the Japanese cars, would they?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    It seems like when people use the word value in connection with cars, they mean just the price paid for the features you get. On that basis, yes the Kias and Hyundais are good values.

    However, value (to me) also means quality of workmanship, how dependable the car is, and the resale value.

    On the basis of initial quality alone, I don't think that the Kias are good values. According to the latest J.D. Powers survey of initial quality, the Sephia had 250 problems per 100 cars. The Rio had 255 problems per 100 cars. I believe the Sportage and the Spectra were right around there, but I did not write those numbers down.

    Consumer Guide (please note this is different from Consumer Reports) has a category called value. 10 is the highest and 1 is the lowest. They gave the Rio a 1, the Sephia/Spectra a 2, and the Sportage a 1 for the manual version and a 2 for the auto version.

    Finally, Money magazine had an article about cars a few months back. One fact that they listed was the resale value of cars after five years. The Rio will be worth 23%. The Sephia will be worth 22%. The Spectra will be worth 20%. The Sportage will be worth 31 or 32% depending on the trim level.

    Kias have improved, don't get me wrong. But topping the Japanese, I don't think so.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi friends,

    Catherine Heins is looking for people to interview who have switched from American to Japanese cars in the past few years-- especially folks who wouldn't have given a Toyota or Honda the time of day in the 1970s.

    She's a business reporter at the Yomiuri Shimbun, which is the biggest daily paper in Japan with a circulation of 14 million. They are writing a feature story about Japanese automakers' continuing success in expanding production in the U.S. and snatching market share from the Big Three even on their former home turf of light trucks.

    If you fit this description and are willing to be interviewed, please call her directly at 212-582-5827 or e-mail her at [email protected]. As always, you can contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions.


    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    The Toyota Echo looks a lot like it never got over the lasagne and wilty salad served at the value buffet on that busy Sunday afternoon 4 months ago and had to resort to uncomfortable measures to breathe again. All of that drivel you posted about Kia from Consumer Guide (like we're going to start drooling in instant appreciation) adds up to hill of dried livestock chips when it's all said and done and expired. Those car magazines are slanted, paid off, uninspiring, uneducational and stuck in a huge Japanese rut that needs to exposed for the lie that it is. I see Mr.major's going to leave his trail of anti-Hyundai/Kia literature at every site that Kia is slandered at. Okee-chokee! Kia and Hyundai are here selling cars with great warranty's, low prices and great looks. Japanese models are overpriced and uninspiring. The Echo can't hold a shakey candle to Kia's Rio in looks. Mechanically the Rio's there and the warranty, price and better looks make it an easy decision.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • bluffhousebluffhouse Posts: 33
    J.D. Powers does not mention reliability in thier report. All they report are defects. Defects range from very small like a warpped trim piece to quite severe like a transmission. Either way, most the cars built today are quite reliable. With the Korean cars, Hyunda/KIA is the current leaders in safety with Daewoo not having released it's new Leganza. As for performance, the the four cylinder category, the Leganza has the highest top speed, highest skidpad and compareable braking to Both the Accord and Camry. The Camry has safety weaknesses in side impact structural integrity. Other ares untested and unconfirmed are roll over and rear end crashworthiness. Outside of that, the Koreans are all ready also buiding more attractive vehicles than the Japanese. In al respect, the Japanese are no longer a benchmark for the Koreans, but the Koreans are the benchmark for the Japanese.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    It is funny that 9 times out of 10, people have to fall back on attacking my car's looks.

    Okay, I take it that you (Iluv) don't trust car magazines. What about actual owners?

    AutoPacific does surveys of actual owners annually and how satisfied they are with their cars. 1,000 points is the most you can score. Kia Sephia owners gave their cars a score of 576. The Sephia is in the compact car class and only the Dodge Neon had a lower satisfaction score out of the 28 vehicles listed.

    Also, what do you say about the fact that J.D. Powers results come from actual owners? You make the claim that Korean cars are just as good as Japanese cars. The number of defects per maker overall shows that is not the case.

    Bluff, I mentioned J.D. Powers in reference to build quality, but I think it would be reasonable to think that low initial quality of things you can see or know will probably translate to long term reliability problems.

    Bluff, some time back you made a statement and I asked for a source. The statement was that the new Leganza surpasses the Accord and Camry. Again, I ask how does it surpass the other two and what is your source? More recently you claimed that the Leganza has the highest top speed of the three, highest skidpad, and comparable braking. What is your source for this information. I have checked the listings for performance tests in Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and Consumer Reports. I have also checked the Daewoo website. I cannot find any substantiation for your claim. If this were true, you would think that Daewoo would tout it on their website.

    Again, I think the Koreans are doing a lot better, but they are not as good as the Japanese. And when they get as good as the Japanese are today, well, the Japanese will have moved on higher up the road of quality.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    I thought you might be talking about the Magnus when you were talking about the Leganza so I went and read every post in that discussion. Yes, every 178 of them.

    I found it really funny how insulting you were to supporters of Honda and Toyota cars.

    I also found it funny that you made the same claims about the Leganza being better that you made here. Someone asked you for your source and strangely, you were silent. Will you remain silent or give me some proof to back up your statement?

    Yes, the Leganza does get a better side impact rating for the front occupant than the Camry in the NHTSA tests. What you fail to mention is that the rating for the rear occupant is the same and the Camry does much better in the frontal collision test.

    Also, you fail to mention the fact that the Leganza got the lowest rating from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. It got a poor overall. The Camry got the highest rating from the Institute. It got a good overall.

    Nice try at trying to make people think the Leganza was as safe or safer than the Camry.
  • badtoybadtoy Posts: 368
    Let's take the bit about GM buying out the Japanese makes. I believe it went something like....

    "The Japanese can't build good cars for cheap anymore. That's why they charge so much for cheap cars. Most of their profits went into real estate, not their factories. With GM buying Daewoo, you will only watch the Japanese cars disappear into the sunset, or be partially bought out by GM (the small part worth buying)."

    Sorry, Mr. (or Ms) iluvmysephia....if anyone does the buying , Toyota will buy GM, not the othe way round. They're the only ones who have the cash to do so. And Toyota and Honda both continually improve their production systems -- it's called "kaizen." And Nissan is already beginning to be a force to be reckoned with again, now that Carlos Ghosn squared them away.

    It continues, "For now GM has it's focus on Daewoo because of it's state of the art factories, all new. Daewoo currently owns the most productive plants in the world. They are setting next to the largest steel producer, have all the electronic expertise, top notch engineers and inexpensive highly skilled labor."

    So why couldn't they turn a profit on their own? I have a friend who works at Daewoo headquarters here in Torrance, and his opinion of the way they do business would make you squirm.

    Which isn't to say that I don't think they make some kinda nice cars -- I believe they do, as do Hyundai and Kia. But as has been said before, they only charge the prices they do and offer the warranties they do because that's the only way they can get people to buy them. For now, at least.

    I hope for their and our sakes that their quality will continue to improve, because that gives us all more choices and forces the other automakers to do better themselves. But the Toyota Production System is still the envy of the manufacturing world, and has yet to be duplicated with the success of the original. Ford is preparing to go to that system in order to save its own hide. I don't believe they've benchmarked Daewoo.

    Dream on, little Sephia, dream on....
  • fangio2fangio2 Posts: 214
    and posting you do when do you get a chance to drive your Echo?You make some intersting observations,but tend to overkill.Just enjoy your car--lighten up.
  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Thanks for the concern Fangio, but I find plenty of time to drive my car. But you know, the same could be said about a lot of other people. : )
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    What a joke! If Toyota is the envy of all of the production world why couldn't they make an attractive 4-door sedan? Kia's Sephia blows all Japanese models outta 'da water. No competition at all. No, badtoy, you're wrong. I could have sprung for a dull looking Civic or Corolla but they look so dull and ininspiring I couldn't even bear looking at them. I wasn't worried about quality because I know that all makers have quality control problems because people aren't perfect. A perfect car can't be made. I bought my Sephia before the Long-Haul warranty came out so I got a lesser warranty but it's not a selling factor anyway. Now after 2 years of driving my Kia I see through personal experience that quality is not and was never something to make me shake silly in my cowboy boots. You "all Japanese or nothing types" crack me up! People are that wimpy with their cash and listen to their biased relatives and friends that easily that straying away from Japanese models is like spitting on your traffic cop when he's handing you your speeding ticket? Kia and Hyundai have arrived and are smart enough to realize that the Japanese models don't have a grip on ALL Americans. It's nice to have a car manufacturer making quality cars at great prices with a great warranty. Bring on Sephia II boys!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • majorthomechomajorthomecho Posts: 1,331
    Iluv, I am sure glad that you don't worry about quality and I am sure that Kia is glad too.

    I have said it before, but the Sephia had 255 problems per 100 vehicles in the latest J.D. Powers survey. Who knows how many problems there were with the 1999 Sephia. I also know there were three recalls involving the 1999 Sephia. Finally, there were many reports of brake problems.

    Yeah, Kia and its quality sure has the rest of the automotive world worried.

    Personally, you crack me up. You cannot beat people on a little something called facts when it comes to measures of quality, reliability, overall safety and resale values so you resort to name calling.

    But if it makes you feel better about your purchase, be my guest.
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