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Direction of the auto industry....

graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,143
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 SH AWD ASpec


  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Interesting article.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,613
    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.

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  • 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 SW OhioPosts: 10,143
    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 SH AWD ASpec
  • 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: 13,993
    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: 13,993
    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: 13,993
    Fed regulators want to know about dealings in Syria, Sudan, which are being sanctioned. :surprise: - 1148

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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 Manson, WAPosts: 6,929
    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: 13,993
    Former congressman will face issues including auto emissions and fuel economy regulations. /AUTO01

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    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: 13,993
    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: 13,993
    Fuel efficiency drives consumers as overall purchases in January are expected to be up 1%. 1148

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