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  • Re: Can VW Overtake Toyota and GM To Become #1?

    GM's reason, not excuse, is that it deliberately reduced sales to fleets, to, (1) enhance residual values and, (2) to improve profit margins. The outcome was that GM just posted better than expected financial results, while Ford, which didn't restrict fleet sales, posted disappointing results.

    Mary Barra, GM's CEO, has stated that GM's goal is to deliver great products ("no more bad cars") and remain on a sound footing even when industry sales weaken. Retaking world sales leadership isn't a goal, although it could eventually happen.
  • Re: Cars That Could Have Been Great, But Missed

    An xA might look like a Mini, but it's not fun to drive, performance is middling, and there's not much that's luxurious about it.

    I like the xA, for the reasons you mentioned. Andre had a point, though, when a few messages back he said for a little more than the price of a xA you could buy a basic trim Corolla. The xA is indeed a niche vehicle. Each appeals to a different market. For the single or two person urban household, where parking space is at a premium, the xA-type car may be more appropriate than the Corolla. I'm referring to neighborhoods where the parking spaces aren't defined, and where a xA could squeeze in, but not a Corolla. For more general use, the Corolla is more appealing, which is why it sells in such large numbers around the world.

    Twenty three months ago I bought a new 2013 Fiat 500 Pop 5-speed manual, as an extra car in our two person household. I was well aware of the brand's Fix-It-Again-Tony reputation from the '60s, '70s and '80s, but the concept suited me perfectly, so I bought it on impulse. I was influenced by the fact that my next door neighbor had recently bought a 500 Abarth, and he loved it. He chose it over a MINI S because the Abarth rode better and was higher off the ground. I cross shopped the MINI Cooper, but chose the 500 because it was easier to enter and exit, and was cheaper. My priorities were for a practical, economical, reasonably comfortable, easy-to-park-almost-anywhere runabout. Fast acceleration and sport suspension weren't priorities for this purchase. I love the car.

    When I bought my 500 I assumed that Fiat had learned form the past, and had fixed its quality problems. Had I known that Fiat was going to be rated as the least reliable brand by Consumers Reports I would have passed on it. Fortunately, I've got 22,000 miles on it, and no problems so far. So, maybe I've been lucky and got a good one, or maybe problems lie ahead. Time will tell, but so far I'm very happy with it. It's even good on the highway, due to the tall 5th gear. If reliability becomes an issue I'll get rid of it. In the meantime I've got the 4 year/50,000 miles warranty.