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What will it take for consumers to buy American brands??



  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I wonder how long the memory of bad domestics will keep some buyers away from their products. Import lovers get mad when people talk about the fact that they dont like cars from Japan and Germany because they were against us in WW2. Import people will say that is irrelevant and ancient history and yet they will gladly repeat horror stories about american cars from 1985 (or 1975) and use that as justification for why they will never consider a domestic car. Perhaps when those cars are ancient history like WW2 people will change their minds.

    The bottom line is that there is little the Big 2.5 can do to convince die hard domestic car haters to consider their products. If they add discounts to make the pricing more attractive they get criticized. If they add hp they get criticized for not focusing on fuel economy. If they improve their interiors they get criticized for poor materials even if the design is great. If they add a V8 they get criticized because Honda can get almost as much hp out of a V6. I dont see why some people insist on trying to justify the fact that they have no desire to buy anything that isnt Asian. If that is your preference that is fine, but its silly to act like your decision is based strictly on facts and figures. Over the last decade or so the domestics have improved quality, safety, interior design, engine output, productivity and feature content to the point where IN GENERAL (there are exceptions) they are on par with comparable imports and yet many people are still talking about the bad tranny on their 1987 Olds. The big 2.5 need to make more progress on hybrids and in GM's case more 5 and 6 speed autos are required, but beyond that there isnt much more to do to be equivalent to Toyota and Honda. resale value cant be built overnight so those seeking high residuals will continue to buy imports.
  • gteegtee Posts: 179
    Japanies are not leaders in anything? Are you kidding. How about they are leaders in Customer satisfaction. How about they are leaders quality control. In case you missed it that is what most people want. They want quality automobiles at reasonable prices. That is what Japanies build. That is why people in droves go a buy their products. Japanies companies stand behind their products unlike American companies. Japanies car companies understand the idea of "Satisfaction Guaranteed."

    You know what American car companies are leaders in? How about creating a new Fire Sales. What innovation will GM and Ford come up with after the Employee Discount. Hey I got an idea, How about "BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE" sale.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Interior innovation. The Civic's interior is risky (might not take off), but I bet we'll see that pattern in increasing use. The Prius did it first, so Toyota and Honda are both hand-in-hand this time.

    Then there's mileage in non-hybrids. 40mph with 140hp... that alone will sell a lot of Civics.

    Honda's the leader in greenery. Generally high mileage per segment, but what they are more unique in is their low emissions scores across the board.

    But those might not be all that important to you. The fact that Honda's sales have been increasing for 12 straight years might be. If they can sell cars that a lot of people think are ugly, they must be doing something right.
  • fljoslinfljoslin Posts: 237
    Many arguments have been made in this discussion topic.
    The bottom line is that if you believe that capitalism is alive and well in the country, as I do, then the best products will win and lesser ones will die out. People exercise their free will to choose the vehicles that they want and no amount of whining or crying will change that. It is the job of the auto makers to give the people what they want. In my case, sometimes that is a big 2.5 product (mostly 0.5) and sometimes an import. Competition is wonderful unless you can not compete and certainly the public benefits.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Please point out some other areas where they are clear leaders

    Marketing, marketing, marketing.

    As good as the bland bread and butter vehicles are that form the basis of HonYotaNiss's sales the marketing is probably even better than the vehicles.

    Did any of the 3 here realize that there were over 100000 highly-educated, well-to-do buyers annually for an odd-looking, vehicle with off the wall technology? The Big 2 +C were busy with trucks so they missed this little segment. At full sticker price. This is a to-kill-for demographic segment.

    Did the Big 2 +C misunderstand or not even see that 80% of the US market for appliance sedans only want 4c bulletproof people movers. Affordability and reliability are of much more importance than performance or handling.

    How in the world does Scion sell nearly 150000 units a year with a 'toaster' a 'bug' and one cool sport model? At full sticker.

    What if the new Yaris/FIT just grabbed ALL the first-time and economy-minded young buyers in the US?

    How does HonYota keep improving on the Ody/Sienna squeezing out GM and prolly Ford shortly.

    Toyota and Nissan produce diesel trucks all over the world. What if the bulk of the new Tundras and Titans utilize all that expertise and start eating into the Big Rig profit center of the Big 2 +C? The combo of power and fuel economy could be the next marketing coup. What about a 30 mpg truck bigger and more powerful than any Ram/150/Silverado-Sierra on the road? What is being cooked up in San Antonio?

    The small-truck segment has passed already to Toyota and Nissan.c.f. Edmunds comparo's. Only the Dakota is a viable challenger to either of these two.

    Give the market what it wants, keep it fresh and buyers and profits will come in due time.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Further to the foregoing post, I do actually do agree with 1487 that all manufactures now are roughly equal in quality until proven otherwise. The errors of the 80's are in the past. SPC, better parts from SPC knowledgable subcontracors and better materials give all automakers a higher build quality than in the earlier 20 years.

    It would be a shame if the benefits of having very solid competitive vehicles were to be lost to panic and lack of depth on the commercial side.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,206
    Give the market what it wants, keep it fresh and buyers and profits will come in due time.


    I think this is where the "domestics" - particularly GM & Ford - miss the boat, though Ford has some hits. It seems that GM really doesn't have a marketing strategy for it's vehicles, or know/understand the market, just pumping in new-name replacements for bad-memory cars without presenting the vechicles as being better, more refined, improved ergonomics, more standard features. It's kind of like "here's something new, take it". It seems their message is kind of muddled.

    For example, the G6 and the Cobalt are obviously to you and me replacements for the Grand Am and Cavalier. But yet half the time they're presented as that, while the other half they're presented as totally new, fresh, not replacements for the previous vehicles. What are they really? And when the cars are intro'd they are not the segment busters they need to be, but "almost" competitors.

    Then Ford is trying to present itself as the "green" domestic, focusing on hybrids, but is bringing out the Expedition EL and Navigator L, longer versions of the vehicles. So the public could perceive that as while they're big on hybrids, they are still churning out gas-guzzling hogs?? :confuse:
  • I've explained it already. Look at the Infiniti G35 and original Lexus LS400 for how to penetrate a market:

    Better product
    Better standard content
    Better or as good performance
    Good resale
    Lower MSRP when matched for content.

    When the Big 3 price at the same level as Japanese competitors they're out of the game immediately. They need to price 3-8k (depending on segment) lower than the Japanese/euro competition while giving users cars that are better for the money.

    As it stand now if one buys a lincoln zephyr at 35k loaded, that buyer is going to be looking at huge depreciation vis-a-vis the euro/japanese competition. Incentives and rebates from Ford will ensure this! If Ford priced the car at 30k fully loaded then people would see VALUE in the Zephyr. They'd realistically get the car at 27k (no rebates) and thus save a good 5-6k v. the lexus/acura/etc.
  • gteegtee Posts: 179
    The bottom line is that there is little the Big 2.5 can do to convince die hard domestic car haters to consider their products.

    You know I take offense to that comment. I was true blue Ford Man. I grew up in Detroit and drove nothing but domestic cars. My experience with GM car was horrible. So I switched to Ford cars and trucks and IMO they were much much better then GM cars. I owned a 1986 Ford Escort, 1988 Old Cutlass, 1994 Ford Thunderbird, 1997 Ford Expedition, 2003 Ford Expedition. Until the 2003 Expedition Ford products were fine, but the 2003 Expedition was a lemon. I had many problems with this truck. Air Cond compressor had to be replaced, rear axle is new, wind noise, tire noise, rattles, power steering problems.

    Don't tell me that people talk about 1987 Olds. I am talking about a 2003 Ford purchased new. I feel like I purchased a prototype and not a finished truck ready for consumers. I am sick and tired of reading posts about people who don't buy domestics as being not patriotic. How about some posts about American car companies being not patriotic. To me its much more unpatriotic for an American company to produce an inferior product. And yes now I drive a Honda Odyssey. I drive Honda not for any great love of Honda, but because Ford forced me to buy a product that I would feel safe for my family.

    Sometimes I have a feeling that there are two types of people on this thread:

    1) Normal consumers who switched from Domestics to Imports because of problems.
    2) People who work and live in Detroit.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    What will it take for consumers to buy American brands??

    Just one word:

    NOW, and for the next 15 YEARS !!! See 1989 Volvo 240 wagons reliability. Copy the damn thing !
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Yeah, the same kind of reliability I got from my 1989 Cadillac Brougham and all my other GM cars.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    Someone said that American companies use cheap parts in their cars--I won't take time to find the post...

    Those same cheap parts, in some cases, are being used in your wonderful foreign brand cars. Check Delphi. I saw air compressors for Jaguar and Volve when I was in the Harrison plant making air conditioning compressors. My coworker never knew she had a GM 5V compressor powering her air conditioning in her Jaguar (years ago when they were Jaguars).

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Heck, BMWs and Rolls-Royces use GM Hydramatic transmissions!
  • townhometownhome Posts: 104
    Could you please add a third type of person on this thread; Normal consumers who switched from imports to domestics because of problems.

    I counted 4 Ford products in your history and 1 was bad. So you switched to Honda. Ok. My friend bought her first Honda (a new 2003 Accord) and had problems with it, the biggest of which was it needing new engine mounts at 15,000 (TSB issued). Since this was the third time it would need warranty repairs in the first year, should she swear off all and every Honda as bad vehicles, or is it possible she got a lemon? We are talking about machines here, and yes, they break -- all of them. Interestingly, she traded it in for a new Magnum this weekend. I personally went from a Toyota truck to a Ranger because the Toyota kept stalling, and no one seemed to know why. As I mentioned earlier, my Ranger has had 84,000 trouble-free miles.

    Of course you are free to think all Fords are crap, just as my friend will probably never trust Honda again. But, I think this would be an enormous generalization and short-sighted of either of you.

    On the other hand, I totally agree with you in thinking that it is the American car companies -- or rather their executives -- who are the true unpatriotic people here. They are the ones who don't redesign a product for 11 years (Ranger for example) while their Japanese competition goes through two complete redesign! Does this effect their pay? Absolutely not. Shame...........

    (Oh, I am born and raised in Los Angeles and have no connection to Detroit, so I don't fit into type #2 either.) ;)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,159
    Import people will say that is irrelevant and ancient history and yet they will gladly repeat horror stories about american cars from 1985 (or 1975) and use that as justification for why they will never consider a domestic car. Perhaps when those cars are ancient history like WW2 people will change their minds.

    I'll use my experience as an example.

    1. Friend buys Vega in 1974, car rusts and engine goes at 55K. Horrible GM impression is established early on.
    2. I buy my first new car, a 1985 VW Jetta. Comparable American car at the time is a Ford Topaz. I even look at one. Seat is flat. Headliner is peachfuzz. Engine is rough.
    3. In 1992 I sell the Jetta with a trouble-free 143K miles on it. I buy my second new car - Honda Accord EX.
    4. During the 1990's I drive many rentals. Cheap American interiors. Loud Thrashy engines.
    5. In 1994 we need a minivan, as the kids are coming. We narrow choices down to Mercury Villager and Ford Windstar. Like the Windstar but it is new and unproven. Villager has a Nissan engine and transmission in it, so we trust it more. End up buying the Villager. Still driving it, 196K miles.
    6. Brother buys 1995 Windstar. After a few years, transmission goes. Headgasket problems. Well known Ford problem, also affects Taurus.
    7. Honda and Villager motor on, no problems.
    8. I buy a 1998 Audi A4. We give the Honda to wife's parents with 100K miles on it.
    9. Sell A4 in 2004 with 90K miles on it, buy Acura TL.
    10. Drive 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee rental. Cheap interior. Thrashy engine. Poor ergonomics, space, and fuel economy.

    I'd be happy to buy an American car. We bought the Villager, and guess what? It is the interior quality that was fairly poor, the mechanicals have been quite good.

    I bought the Audi even though we knew it might be less reliable. But the car was buttery smooth - engine, shifting, braking - and handled excellently. Its interior was beautiful. I can't imagine any American car like that. If there was one I'd give it a try. But I don't know of any American car that exudes quality in the driving and interior as the Audi, or the TL, or the Accord. I don't like big cars. What would compete in this segment?:

    - Grand Prix?
    - Malibu?
    - Focus?
    - Cadillac?
    - Maybe Fusion is getting close, haven't seen or driven one

    After almost buying the Windstar, it is not unreasonable for us to think - wow, we almost got bitten in the as* by that American purchase - need to be extra careful next time...
  • I haven't been following this particular forum, so bear with me if this has already been stated, but the thing I have noticed the most is not the car company, but WHERE the car was produced.

    I have had considerable experience driving many cars. This is just a short list of some of them:
    1987 Accord (Japan) - Absolutely bulletproof, quality was perfect. FIRST repair (other than minor things like brake pads, light bulbs) was the radiator at 230,000 miles. I ended up selling the car at 260,000 miles. The quality was still flawless and the engine was perfect. Even went 13,000 miles without an oil change once.
    2000 CR-V (Japan) - Extremely solid car. No repairs and it is at 90,000 miles. Not one single rattle or squeak.
    2002 Civic (USA) - Well built, but has lots of rattles from inside the dashboard, and the rear defroster failed. No major repairs however.
    1991 Corolla (USA) - Currently has 40,000 miles (garaged and driven very little in the first 10 years). So far the starter and alternator have failed. Ceiling upholstery is coming off, door handles, trunk opener have broken, window opener is messing up, factory speakers are a disaster, the driver's side door lock has failed. Oh, and the paint actually comes off when the car gets wet. The list goes on. This is a Toyota! Yes, they are minor issues, but I could have never even imagined these stupid little problems in my Japan-made Accord. Even some of the Honda technicians have openly admitted the major quality differences between the Japanese and US-built Hondas.

    My next car will be the new Honda Fit coming in Spring 2006. One of the highlights that Honda has already publicly announced is that it will be made in Japan!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    >End up buying the Villager. Still driving it, 196K miles.

    Neighbors bought the Villager. Didn't have the same kind of longevity you had. May have been better than Windstar-agreed. I don't recall what they had to fix but there were some major repairs and maintenance needed.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    You: You know what American car companies are leaders in? How about creating a new Fire Sales. What innovation will GM and Ford come up with after the Employee Discount. Hey I got an idea, How about "BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE" sale.

    gtee: They have already done that gimmick down here. A Chevy dealership had a gooden. Buy a Chevy Tahoe or Suburban, get a Chevy Cavalier for free. :confuse:

    Sadly your new incentive idea has already been done
    by dealers down here. :P

  • gmfangmfan Posts: 188
    It's simple. Offer a 5yr/60K mi "bumper to bumper" warranty and a 5yr/100K mi drivetrain warranty. Someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but last time I checked the big Japanese players (Honda, Toyota, Nissan), only offer 3yr/36K mi warranties. I even think when we bought my wife's Lexus back in 2002, all that was offered was 3yr/36k mi "bumper to bumper" by Lexus. I remember being extremely agitated at Lexus because I felt they should have higher warranty for a $45,000 vehicle. Last time I checked, BMW, Audi, VW, Jag warranties were not any better. Good warranty = increased sales. I do not want to be scammed at the dealership buying an extended warranty for $1,500. Come on, the manufactuers need to automatcially include the warranty in the price of vehicle. HOWEVER, I do NOT think a higher warranty should be transferrable. I think that is fair and will solve the problem!!! ;)

    So what if some foreign manufacturers follow, the consumer will remember GM and Ford offered it first!!!
  • altair4altair4 Posts: 1,469
    VW's is 4 year/50,000 miles. Audi's may be the same, but I'm not sure.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    it is the same pal. ;)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    WOW, did ya'll see the edmunds test on this cool vehicle ???? :D

  • gmfangmfan Posts: 188
    Just read GM is increasing bumper to bumper warranty to 4 yr/50,000 miles on 2006 Buicks and Hummers, which is better than Toyota, Honda, and Nissan bumper to bumper warranties, and ties your German VW/Audi warranties. GM needs to do better and apply to ALL models, and hit the air waves!!!
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,585
    Well Rocky not sure about you but in my opinion that is way to much power for that type of vehicle.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Well it worked for the short lived GMC Typhoon. I however respect DC for having enough "hair" and offer such a cool vehicle. If anything, I think they need to turbo it for a few more pony's :P

  • I agree, GM and Ford need to put the money where there mouth is. They claim better quality, then it should not cost them to up their warranty.

    In addition, they need to market their cars better. They have been relying on this blue collar, patriotic American message for far too long (think Chevy), when the percentage of Americans fitting this bill has declined considerably. Not every American is white, blue collar, and lives in the heartland. In fact, whites are a minority in Cali. How about selling to those of us who are black, Hispanic, and Asian?

    By the way, as many others have noted, the domestics have let us down in the past. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That is the "domestic" problem. You need to alleviate the risk of the American buyer being fooled twice.

    Here is my family's car experiences (notice the upward mobility by the way):

    The 70s
    Mom and dad: one car, the VW bug. Ah the romance.

    The 80s (the buy mostly American period)
    Dad: Chrysler Cordoba - engine failure
    VW Rabbit - destroyed in a crash
    Mercury Sable - transmission failure
    Mom: Oldsmobile wagon - traded in after 6 years
    Ford Taurus wagon - given to me after 5 years, no problems

    Result: Ford and Chrysler let us down, GM did OK, VW needs to build safer cars.

    The 90s (we go back to the homeland)
    Honda Accord - no problems, traded in after 8 years
    Nissan Maxima - given to my sister, no problems
    2 Acura Legends - no problems, traded in after about 5 years each

    Result: Japanese cars rule. No major repairs for a decade in four different cars.

    The 2000s
    Lexus 300? - no problems
    Isuzu SUV - so forgetable that I cannot recall what it was.
    MB M series - some electrical problesm which were fixed under warranty

    Result: The Germans entice Daddy again. The autumn romance blooms.

    1991 Honda Civic: no problems after 2 years, but crashed by my sister
    1985 BMW 528e: lots of parts worn out (car was 10-20 years old), but I loved this car. It was built to last. You may notice these 5 series cars on the road - they are the only ones this old still on the road. First car to be named.
    2005 Saab 9-2x (the Saabaru): no problems (yet). Sadly, I don't see this car much since my wife took it.
    1997 Altima (my wife's car): now my car, some electrical problems.
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    Ford, GM and Chrysler made the Jeeps, Trucks, Tanks, Planes that kept the America safe from foreign tyrants such as Hitler with his Nazi's, Mussolini with his Fascist's and turned the tide after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

    If we have all the manufacturing shift to oversees or under foreign control and they dont like what we decide as our foreign policy or at the United Nations, or what our Congress votes, they can cut us off at the knees. They can do like the French or other countires and go against us directly and in the international forums and pass laws to harass or intimidate directly Americans, or indirectly through trade and commerce.

    If you think it could never happen, it already has, the Japanese kept back vital guidance system electronics from us because of political considerations. We already have seen how Oil can be used as a political weapon so what is the difference if productions of sensitive or vital goods that are manufactured in or by other countries is used as a political weapon.

    It's our choice, do we hand over our manufacturing sector to foreign domination and depend on their benovolence, their politcal direction and their laws in a national emergency??
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,585
    This I don't understand you say your parents had a Taurus wagon that they gave you after 5 years and had no problems then you say Ford let you down.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

  • Uh, the Mercury Sable broke down. 50% does not make a reliable car manufacturer.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,585
    Its just that the car and engine just don't match. A Jeep is not the type of vehicle to have such a performance engine.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

This discussion has been closed.