We were unable to make it to S&P's presentation but they have placed a ton of information out on their site that we've examined. There is a short video interview of S&P's head of Global Automotive Ratings Team, Scott Sprinzen. The interview centered on the state of U.S. automotive manufacturers, including GM and Ford. Most of what he has to say is not really news to us, but hearing an analyst say what we've been saying all along is encouraging. We loved it when the interviewer asked Mr. Sprinzen, "Why are U.S. manufacturers losing market share?" The response, this is "largely a question of perception, the American consumer looks at their product quality as sub par." Mr. Sprinzen goes on to say that according to the product quality surveys like J.D. Power, the quality difference between U.S. makes and imports has largely disappeared, but years of poor quality has burned a legacy into the minds of consumers. He did not mention this, but we will. The opposite is also true; imports have been producing high quality vehicles for so long that many manufacturers have an untarnished reputation with consumers.
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