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Direction of the auto industry....

graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,873
There's both good and bad news about the auto industry. Here's just one look at one person's opinion...pretty compelling.....
2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC


  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Interesting article.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I agree with most of it but I don't think product alone is the key to survival as he states. I think SERVICE is going to be the weapon that will decide the combat of the future because the quality gap is closing among most manufacturers.

    A good car with lousy service will stumble but a mediocre car with outstanding service may survive.

    I think in the service area some of the imports are doing a better job of training personnel and shaping attitudes.
  • kronykrony Posts: 110
    Beyond Service I think the biggest gap today is the overall dealer experience. Many folks loathe going into a dealership. I think the company that can best develop their dealership will have the best shot for success. Look how good Saturn has done over the past 10 years with virtually no huge swings in product.

    No doubt you have to have product but few will buy from a poor dealer. And the internet can't fix you're car, yet.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,873
    Shifty....I agree that service is a big ingredient. I'm already seeing better service on the dealer level. I can't tell you how many phone calls I get per month from my dealer trying to find out if I'm pleased. That doesn't include the letters they send me every month.

    All that said, you gotta get'em in the showroom first, before they can become a customer. The only way to do that is to have a compelling product.
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    I've been reading Peter's columns for quite some time now. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but he certainly doesn't pull any punches.

    graphicguy, I totally agree with you on your last comment:

    All that said, you gotta get'em in the showroom first, before they can become a customer. The only way to do that is to have a compelling product.

    When I was shopping for my car in '02, I looked at Toyota, Honda, Nissan and VW. Saturn had just redesigned the L series for '03, so I did some research on-line and found that I could get a comparable car for sevaral thousand less than the Accord, Camry, etc. Went to the dealer, did a test drive and was really impressed with the vehicle and the experience.

    Brought the wife back for a second look and decided to pull the trigger. Wife commented afterwards that it was the easiest buying experience she's ever had.

    While many may disagree, I believe that Saturn has a competitive product but by far the best customer service (both sales and service) of any non-premium brand currently available.

    That's probably why the whole family now drives Saturns - wife bought a VUE in '04, our son got a used L200 at the same time and the daughter got a new ION 2 earlier this summer. Each purchase was easy and we got competitive pricing (of course, being eligible for the GM Supplier discount doesn't hurt).

    The service after the sale, either in warranty or out of warranty, has been handled professionally.

    I'm excited for Saturn's new products (Aura, Sky, Outlook, ION replacement) to arrive, even though I'm not in the market for a car and won't be for several years.

    Product is king, and I'm optimistic that GM, Ford and DC can start to make the kind of product that will be competitive against the best that the rest of the world has to offer.
  • With the help of GM's old friend Isuzu...

    link title
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    HETHEL, England — Lotus Engineering, the development arm of Group Lotus, said it will assist a new Chinese automaker, Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing, with launching a new range of passenger cars over the next five years to be sold under the Youngman brand.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    ZUFFENHAUSEN, Germany — Amid all the hoopla surrounding Porsche's purported takeover of Volkswagen, the sports-car maker has quietly sent out a teaser photo of its face-lifted 2008 Cayenne, due to hit the streets next spring.

  • The Dead Horse Theory

    The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

    However, Automakers in North America, as in politics tend to rely on more advanced strategies, such as:

    1. Buying a stronger whip.

    2. Changing riders.

    3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

    4. Visiting other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

    5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

    6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

    7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

    8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

    9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse's performance.

    10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

    11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

    12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

    And of course . . .

    13. Promoting the dead horse to a Management position.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Fed regulators want to know about dealings in Syria, Sudan, which are being sanctioned. :surprise: - 1148

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    My buddy at the gym in Farmington Hills was bemoaning the dreadful Michigan housing market a few days ago. Sales at his building supplies business are down 56% this year. He knows plumbers in bankruptcy, guys who have left town to work on New Orleans reconstruction or other projects down South, just to scrape up a few bucks to send to families back home.

    That conversation, the morning after I returned from 12 days in China, put the contrast in stark relief. After visiting four cities in China, the world's most dynamic economy, here I was back in the most lethargic patch of the U.S. economy, metro Detroit.

    What are Detroiters to make of the stunning growth half a planet away, where China's building boom is sucking up half the world's concrete, where Beijing will host the 2008 Olympic Games, where Shanghai will host the 2010 World Expo, where an autoworker in Chongqing is paid a mere $2,000 a year?

    Detroiters -- and Chinese people, for that matter -- should see today's economic upheaval the same way as great economic upheavals of the past, from the rise of America to the great migration of Southerners from farms to the factories of Detroit.

    There is great opportunity for those who seize it.

    There also is tremendous dislocation, disaster even, for many people, especially for those who wait passively for the upheaval to subside, hoping things will return to the way they were.

    Dominic Pangborn and entrepreneurs like him aren't waiting around.

    Last week, Pangborn -- founder of the Detroit design firm that bears his name, creator of colorful neckties, leader of an Asian food-and-retail project on the Detroit River -- signed two deals with a company in Tianjin, China, for the North American rights to sell a fertilizer and a cement-waterproofing product developed by the Chinese company.

    "Everything is new in China; even what's old is new," said the Korean-born Pangborn, noting that the Chinese government is buying millions of sheets of gold leaf to spruce up artwork in Beijing's Forbidden City prior to the Olympics.

    Meanwhile, Chinese entrepreneurs like Chen Suhong, 45, see Detroit as the land of milk and honey. In 13 years, Chen's Chongqing Chaoli Hitech Co. has grown to $46 million in sales of auto parts such as condensers and air-cooling systems. Chaoli has gradually built its technology and quality base and began exporting this year, establishing a sales and service office with a half-dozen employees in Auburn Hills. By 2008, Chaoli expects 40% of its volume to be exports. Customers include General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, BMW and Volkswagen.

    The downsides of today's great upheaval are evident in both Michigan and China.

    In metro Detroit, Ford Motor Co. fights for survival and a host of auto suppliers --Delphi, Federal-Mogul, Tower Automotive and Collins & Aikman -- has sought refuge in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The rising capability of low-wage manufacturers in China, India, Mexico and Eastern Europe has made it brutally difficult for Detroit's automakers and suppliers to compete, burdened as they are with the ballooning cost of pensions and retiree health care.

    China, conversely, isn't all smiles just because economic growth is surging at 10% a year and construction cranes fill the air.

    Heavy smog hangs over all the major cities I visited this month -- Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing and Nanjing. The International Energy Agency projects that by 2009, China will surpass the United States as the largest emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, nearly a decade earlier than previous forecasts.

    And the country's communist government has been unable to quell a wave of social unrest in recent years, fueled by yawning gaps in the fortunes of the haves and have-nots.

    Riot police have subdued protesters angry about confiscation of land, pollution, corruption and other issues. Two weeks ago, according to news reports, police in Guangdong province used clubs and tear gas to disperse villagers angry that the government was forcing them to sell farmland at below-market prices.

    The same day, 2,000 people mobbed a hospital in Sichuan province in a dispute over medical fees.

    But from China's problems, spring opportunity for those intent on finding it.

    If China has pollution problems, well, who has more experience dealing with industrial pollution issues than Detroit, which spent decades -- successfully -- cleaning up the Rouge River? Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who led a trade mission to China the past two weeks seeking both export opportunities for Michigan companies and Chinese investment in Wayne County, sees big pollution cleanup contracts waiting in China for Michigan companies with the technology to exploit them.

    Chinese government officials know that their huge trade surplus with the United States is a festering sore that could cause serious long-term problems if untreated. That's why China's government is pushing Chinese companies to set up plants and research centers in the United States, Ficano said, and he's determined to be out there like a parking lot attendant waving a flag, directing investors into his lot.

    Ficano is being joined by the Detroit Regional Chamber, which has been prospecting for years in China and throughout Asia. The Detroit region's Automation Alley just did a China trade mission, too. The state of Michigan has a Shanghai office. And, yes, these groups are talking to one another, despite suggestions that Michigan's approach to China is disjointed and scattershot. Gov. Jennifer Granholm can help by jumping into the fray herself.

    The rise of China as a 21st-Century economic power is one of the great upheavals of our time, with the global impact only just beginning.

    Do we identify the opportunities and do whatever it takes -- long plane rides, overcoming language barriers, changing our business models if necessary -- to capitalize?

    Or, to paraphrase legendary Detroit Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, do we just stand there "like the house by the side of the road" and let the great upheaval flatten us?

  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    That was excellent, I think that you've persuaded me to buy a team of dead horses. (They're very quiet and they don't each much, so according to the efficiency experts, they are an outstanding value...)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    much sums it up for the Detroit automakers. I used to buy Ford products...until 1999 when my buddy bought a 1999 Kia Sephia sedan in the shade of white. It wasn't a big deal to him, he wanted a small car to do his Boeing commute from the Skagit Valley north of Everett. He wanted a rig that got good gas mileage.

    I liked his little Sephia and studied it's nice design lines. I was driving a 1997 Ford Escort sedan at the time that was running fine. Miles were heading into the 80,000's IIRC.

    "How do you like your new little white car," I asked him.

    "Ahh, it's all right. I told them I wanted their cheapest car. This is what I got."

    "How does it ride," I asked him.

    "It's fine" was his reply.

    "It looks kind of cool, I like the body design", was my response.

    I ended up snagging my own 1999 Kia Sephia in 5-speeds and in the shade of Violet Mist(kind of a light metallic purple). Traded in the purple '97 Escort. Purchase price? It was only $7995 after a $2,000 Kia manufacturer's rebate. The rest is history. You see, there was nothing wrong with my '97 Ford Escort in purple. It was an automatic tranny, though, and I wanted better gas mileage.

    I ended up getting 30 mpg in the 5-speed '99 Kia Sephia. Oh, sure, the car had some faults. It needed some fixes that were covered under Warranty. I only needed to do it's normal maintenance, though, as long as I owned the Sephia. Cost of ownership was low, very low. Just what I was after. Kia Motors, huh? I had to learn more.

    Over the years I have learned more about Kia. Much, much more. I now drive a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 that has 123,535 miles on it and counting . Normal maintenance costs once again with the Sportage 4x4. Low cost of ownership. Very, very reliable rigs, the '99 Kia Sephia and the '01 Kia Sportage 4x4. Great service departments and great Long-Haul Warranty. And no, contrary to all the slop that you read, these new Kia's don't need to sit in Kia dealer service centers for days on end. All of the work I've needed was done very quickly and it was done right. No car is dirt cheap but I have found Kia car ownership to be really, really affordable.

    With my Ford's I started feeling a tad bit tentative with them. Most all my Ford's were pretty good cars. I just wanted more. I wanted a foreign car. I wanted better gas mileage.

    I found it with Kia and even though I will probably not trade in until the Sportage croaks and I often get sorta excited about another brand's new car coming out, I am going to really have to give the early nod to getting another car from Kia Motors of South Korea.

    Post #15 above is hilarious because it casts light on Detroit's idiotic view towards smaller cars, IMHO. What have they been thinking? Yikes.

    They felt that large pick-em-up trucks and large SUV's were gonna constantly keep them in dough? What the? Come on and get a clue.

    I am not alone...more and more Americans are buying Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Kia, Hyundai, etc., etc. all the time.

    I am seeing that finally...finally American people are starting to feel that Hyundai can be given another try...yes, they remember the Excel. But they are seeing a different Hyundai now. They should. Hyundai and Kia are both worth looking at. HyunKia has decided to keep the 10 year and 100,000 mile Long-Haul Warranty for another couple of years. I bought my Sephia with a standard 5 year, 60,000 mile Warranty. The Long-Haul didn't come out until 2001 or so. So the Long-Haul Warranty wasn't why I bought Kia vehicles but it doesn't hurt. My point is is that I would buy a new Kia down the road without a Long-Haul Warranty on it. Yes I would.

    China is now a force to take notice of in the auto industry. Give them time but they'll get it right. Brazil's Obvio! is getting the bugs out of their economy car, the 828/2, which will retail for $14,000. It is going to come to America before their more exotic car, the 016. Both cars give out less emissions and get low 40's gas mileage on the freeway and 29 mpg in town. They will contain a virtual Bill Gates' worth of computer availabilities in the cabin. No kidding. Even has a camera to show you what you're backing up into. Lots of gadgets and + and - shift controls on the steering wheel. For $14,000, mind you, for their economy entry, the 828/2. We're not talking $22,000 here. We are talking about unusual looks and small cars. Small is looking more interesting all the time, though. I still would want four doors on my next rig. Wouldn't I? Of course I would, but I would love a 828/2 test drive at least. Support system for your 828/2? Good question for now. It's so new for now.

    Make no mistake about it, the direction of the auto industry is changing, whether the American people are seeing it or not.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Former congressman will face issues including auto emissions and fuel economy regulations. /AUTO01

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    MUMBAI, India — It may not look like much of a stretch limo by U.S. standards, but in India, it's intended to be a "true limousine at affordable prices," according to Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Motors.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Managers at government-owned automaker Proton are quite busy these days, talking to some of the world's biggest carmakers.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Fuel efficiency drives consumers as overall purchases in January are expected to be up 1%. 1148

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    ROME -- Fiat SpA has invested a total of $454 million in developing its new Bravo car, which marks the Italian automaker's return to the profitable midsize market, the company's chief executive said Wednesday.

    The Bravo, unveiled Tuesday evening to much fanfare, is the model that Fiat hopes will help solidify the company's turnaround and represent a credible entry into the mid-size sedan C class populated by the Volkswagen Golf, the Peugeot 7, the General Motors Astra and Ford Focus.

    "Bravo is the car with which Fiat launches its offensive in the C segment," Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne told reporters in Rome. "It's been many, too many years since Fiat has been present in this market segment and now we have a chance to have our revenge."

    Bravo is the Fiat brand's only midsize car and analysts say the company needs to get a player into that market to secure its recent turnaround. Fiat has targeted the sale of 120,000 Bravo cars in the next 12 months.

    The car -- a five-door vehicle that goes on sale next month -- is one of 23 new models the company plans to roll out through 2010. The Bravo name has been revived from a previous three-door compact, but the model is planned as a stylish replacement for Fiat's disappointing Stilo.

    Fiat rolled out its new model in just 18 months, compared to an industry standard of 36.

    "Bravo is a beautiful Italian car but this vehicle represents much more: The speed with which Fiat moves today," Marchionne said.

    The new model was unveiled at a lavish party under a candlelit pavilion inside Rome's Stadio dei Marmi, a marble-covered arena that is part of the Foro Italico complex used for the 1960 Summer Olympics.

    The party included a Cirque du Soleil performance as many dark red Bravos sped around the glass pavilion, fireworks went off and dancers wielding lighted torches performed for the public. 1148/AUTO01

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    WOLFSBURG, Germany — Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn has confirmed the company plans to build compact hybrid vehicles. He tersely rejected recent media reports suggesting he has quashed plans developed under his predecessor, Bernd Pischetsreider, for the company to begin offering hybrid versions of its smaller models. A hybrid Touareg is also in the works for decade's end, sources say.

    Looks like VW wants to get enviromentally friendly ;)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — Little-known U.S. supercar maker SSC is aiming to put its name in lights with a crack at the top speed record for road-legal production cars. The title is currently held by the Bugatti EB Veyron 16.4 at an independently verified 253 mph.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Analysts wonder if automaker can roll out new models fast enough to keep its comeback going. theme=Autos-Ford-finances

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I don't even need to read the article. The answer is, they can't. :sick:

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    I'm optomistic they can and will. They are one company that needs to make automobiles more competitive. ;)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    LOL! They are one?

    And Chrysler is another.

    And obviously VW needs to do SOMETHING, as even with their bargain-priced lower models, they can't get more than a trickle of sales in the world's largest market.

    And Nissan is heading back into dark times financially. Lay-offs, sales declines, seems like they could do with having more competitive product too. :-P

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I think we're in for a rough patch, as volatile gasoline prices and slumping housing prices take the wind out of new vehicle sales. The weaker companies will feel it first.

    I noticed that the Honda dealer is offering 2.9 percent financing on new Civics...and virtually every dealer seems to have a lot overflowing with new cars.

    We're on the verge of a shakeout, and certain brands - or maybe even entire companies - aren't going to be around within about five years. I look for Dodge and/or Chrysler, Mercury, Pontiac and some of the smaller Asian players - Suzuki and Mitsubishi - to be gone by 2012. People can say, "GM (or whatever company) won't abandon that brand."

    Guess what - sometimes the market makes that decision for the company.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Hmm, I'm intrigued, that's a bold prediction. I strongly agree we are going to experience a stagnation in the market, that already began last year and will get a little worse this year and next, at the very least.

    I think Mercury will still be here, even though it shouldn't be, simply because they are all combined with Lincoln dealers (my local Ford dealer carries all three - I say, why bother?) and they get some overflow business from the folks who say "the cheapest Lincoln is HOW MUCH????".

    I think despite all the rhetoric from the top, and the fervent, heated, almost manic defense from the fans, either Buick or Pontiac will be gone. I'm not convinced yet as to which one it will be however.

    Suzuki and Mitsu are both on their big "expansion plans" right now, so I will agree with you that five years should tell the story. Mazda had better stay firmly on its game during that time, because it seems that Mitsu wants to become the new Mazda, with a line-up that totally imitates its rival (and the highly successful niche Evo substituting for the highly successful, not-so-niche Miata) and styling that's good, if not all that original.

    Hey you didn't mention Isuzu - are they still technically in business in the U.S.? :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Buick will be the one that goes...they're a pseudo-lux brand at best...kinda like Mercury. They'll be gone too...they're both too much an "in-between" nameplate, not quite Ford/Chevy, but not quite Lincoln/Cadillac. Pontiac probably will stick around so long as it remains the "sporty" plate, which always sells (Kia is basically becoming Hyundai's sporty nameplate, kind of like Mazda has been for Ford. Except that Mazda is drifting away from Ford these days...).

    Suzuki isn't going anywhere. They might not sell cars soon, though a lot hinges on the new GV and SX4 right now, and the SX4 is a very bright and unique idea that may just catch on, especially, if they "WRX" the thing. But Suzuki has enough other businesses (Bikes, ATVs, etc) where they can actually stay in the car market at a loss just to maintain presence.

    Mitsubishi is in an interesting position, because they are the ONLY small, independent car manufacturer left besides Honda (and Honda ain't that small). Targeting Mazda is a good idea, since Mazda has been very successful lately (sport always sells, but especially if you can make it practical too). Might be too much to take since Mazda has Ford backing, where as Mitsu only has a loose relationship with DCX and Hyundai, but it could really increase their sales if they can be a successful Mazda competitor (the Eclipse will need major surgery to do that though). It's a much better idea to target Mazda rather than Chevrolet and Toyota though; loyal niches are easier to carve out (Mazda and Subaru have already proven that).

    Oh, and no Isuzu doesn't exist anymore. ;) These days they're just another Chevy Truck division, selling rebadged Trailblazers and Canyons. They no longer count. Neither does Saab if they keep going the way GM is taking them.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMPosts: 7,615
    and they actually have to produce profits but don't have a gun to their heads while waiting, if I interpreted the reading on them I did a few months ago correctly.

    Mitsubishi shipping is a huge, huge business for them and is very successful. They make electronic equipment as well. The automotive division is very busy building products Americans will want to buy and I think they're on the right road to gain profitibility in the business.

    Engineering-wise they are very solid and driving excitement-wise I know they are right on target as well, having personal experience of ownership with a '08 Lancer GTS. It is a very solid vehicle build-wise and a very fun to drive car with some nice gadgetry available, too. The Outlander is a good new SUV product for them and the Lancer is a great new design that hints of big popularity possibilities for the upcoming EVO 10.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994

    So this guy believes their will only be five, six, or maybe only seven, major automakers. I disagree with him as I think the big 3 will still be around along with Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Geely, Chery, Brickland, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen/Audi

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Really the only two properly established automakers in China with any hope of globalizing before they get wiped out are Chery and SAIC. Geely? Uh uh.

    In addition to those two, I figure VW/Audi/Porsche will get big enough (remember Porsche now owns much of the VW Group), with enough old money to back it, that it will hang in there. So that's three. Add in Daimler and BMW, now you have five. (Can BMW remain independent? I could go either way with that maybe we are only at four so far)

    In Japan most of the small players will get gobbled up once the government loosens restrictions on that sort of thing, which they will do to avoid losing revered names like Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Toyota will remain. Will Nissan get gobbled up, sold off piece by piece? Will it ever regain its independence? Honda is the BMW of the East: too small to be safe even though it is currently thriving. Will it be able to remain independent? I don't think there will be more than two automakers in Japan that survive this final phase of globalization while remaining independent, and there may only be...Toyota.

    I figure the HyunKia empire will only continue to grow: they mimic many of Toyota's moves and have a favorable cost structure, so they can undercut the competition in price. OTOH, they had better get their act in gear with respect to China in short order, or they may yet fade away.

    As for the U.S., there is no way the "Big 3", already a distant memory in all but name and nostalgia, will make it. Chrysler is as good as gone before 2010 even gets here, let alone another decade or two out. Now what about Ford and GM? Both are still teetering right now: GM is driving slowly away from the cliff, Ford has temporarily taken its hands off the wheel as it drifts ever closer to the abyss. Either could still be done in by bad management decisions in the next few years. But if the board at GM has truly learned its lesson, then I am confident GM will still be with us. Ford has yet to demonstrate that it knows the meaning of the term "global market" and can apply itself to serving that market effectively. It could be a count of one survivor in the U.S., it could be two.

    So what does that add up to? Ten at the most, six at the least, I would say. And I can't say much about Tata, because I don't know much about it, but an Indian car company being ready to sell cars around the world so early in the development of the auto industry there tells me there may be one more global player at the table in 20 years.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I have to disagree on GM and Ford. Both not only know what the global industry is, but they tend to be very successful so long as they aren't selling their American cars to Americans. ;) Their AMERICAN operations are in trouble, not their European ones...keep that in mind. Both are starting to let their European divisions influence American operations more (Opels becoming Saturns, Ford making Euro-style cars now). If that penetration makes it to Chevy, then GM will be OK (That's still an IF though). If Ford successfully downsizes they'll be OK too. That's a better "if." Using European platforms and just duplicating them here will seriously cut down on their R&D and development spending, since they don't have to engineer 2 sets of platforms for each side of the Atlantic.

    Mazda and Mitsubishi aren't going anywhere. Mazda because it's simply a runaway hit right now, and Mitsubishi because it's a representative brand for one of the old kereitsu/zaibatsu names (SP?) and there's no way Mitsubishi Group (which already owns it) is going to give it up. Part ego, part tradition. You're right on Suzuki though, and possibly Subaru as well (Toyota already owns a stake in Subie). Honda is diversified enough that they may be safe (more so than BMW). They're a smallish car company but cars are only a portion of their business. They also manufacture generators, ATVs, motorcycles...anything with an engine, and they manufacture engines too. I figure Honda might buy Suzuki.

    Toyota and Honda will eventually run into problems with their American platforms. By some point in the future, as mentioned above with GM and Ford, car companies will not be doing separate "American platform" development (Many already aren't). Honda and Toyota will have to follow suit or they'll find they're spending too much on development, putting them at a disadvantage. Toyota, being "#1 super car maker!" may have a little trouble getting the message.

    Nissan is an odd duck, as it's owned by Renault. That in itself may make it safe. It'll probably remain distinct too, since the Nissan name is much more successful here than Renault, so even if Nissan ends up 100% owned, I figure it'll still be the American brand name for the cars, who ever ends up owning Nissan and/or Renault (I can see BMW attempting to buy both, but probably failing, probably stopped by the French government).

    Chrysler is as good as gone, but Jeep will survive somehow. Not sure how, but the Jeep name is a moneymaker. Perhaps it'll be bought by Ford to offset GM's ownership of Hummer.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I don't think Jim Press's remarks were directed towards individual BRANDS, but rather towards who is calling the shots, IOW the number of conglomerates/corporate owners. While Nissan will probably stick around a while longer as a brand, it is being run from top to bottom by Renault now, and becoming less and less Japanese by the day. Watch financial decisions be made in Europe, and model and platform sharing with Renault increase as originally Japanese models disappear a little each year until they are all gone.

    There is no way Suzuki will survive as an independent, but if Honda can manage to take it on it has a shot, and gives Honda a crucial "in" it currently does not have: a kei-car business for the home market (and eventually other Asian markets too).

    I would say the same for Mazda, and I am sure Ford, if it has any sense, will steadily increase its share in Mazda until it calls all the shots (then, if it is wise, it will let Mazda have a lot of autonomy in designing and building cars, and tweak many of them to be Fords, much as they have already started doing).

    Mitsu and Subaru are part of larger corporate operations as you mention. FHI's commitment to continuing the Subaru brand has faltered once or twice over the years as times got rough financially, and I could easily see Toyota taking over a lot more of Subaru once (if) the laws are changed to permit it. As for Mitsu, it doesn't have one single strong market or model anywhere in the world, and niche sales of the Evo certainly aren't going to ensure the future success of the company. Would Mitsubishi corporate sell off its car brand? "Alliances" (part ownerships) with (by) foreign carmakers (Chrysler) have been pretty intensive in the past, and could be again if anyone thinks Mitsu is worth partnering with.

    I hear what you are saying about Honda being diversified, and I think it is likely it will survive as a stand-alone. A lot is staked on this new venture into building personal jets. If that doesn't work out, it is going to hurt.

    As for Toyota and Honda spending too much on American-only platform development, I think America will stay a big enough market for the next 20 years to allow that to continue, and don't forget that the emerging Chinese market tends to like a lot of things about some of the big American cars, notably the Buicks, so in the future "American only platforms" could become "American and Chinese platforms". My last word there is that Toyota in particular is HYPER-careful about amortizing R&D costs, so I don't think it is a pit they would allow themselves to fall into.

    As for Ford, ask yourself where they are in China. Pretty much nowhere as far as I know. Ask yourself how much of their sales are in North America, where their business is faltering badly. I don't know the exact figure myself, but I would feel pretty confident guessing it is at least 2/3, and may be as high as 75%. They still haven't figured out the urgency of globalizing their model development like GM has, and if anything actually happens with respect to this new call for CAFE increases and big fuel efficiency increases, they are going to be caught flat-footed AGAIN, while they are still suffering from being caught flat-footed when the market moved away from big trucks.

    I have no doubt that when Chrysler gets swallowed up, at least the Dodge and Jeep brands will survive, and you are correct that the Jeep brand would have a lot of value to any number of potential buyers.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Ask yourself how much of their sales are in North America, where their business is faltering badly. I don't know the exact figure myself, but I would feel pretty confident guessing it is at least 2/3, and may be as high as 75%.

    I read somewhere that Ford sells more vehicles in Europe than in North America lately. Alan Mulally's job isn't to save the Ford Motor Co.; his job is to save Ford's NA operations before the rest of Ford decides to cut it loose to save themselves.
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