In his latest rant, Forbes column"> In his latest rant, Forbes column">
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In his latest rant, Forbes columnist Jerry Flint questions the design strategies of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.  He thinks their global-strategies for new models will fail, as much of it is based on slapping domestic badges on their European models... not unlike what the companies did with the Contour/Mystique and Catera. This philosophy even extends to trucks, usually considered the last bastion for the domestic automakers: GM developed the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon from one of its trucks marketed in Thailand.

But Americans don’t want European cars from American automakers, according to Flint... they want 'American' cars. And they're getting them from foreign automakers. The blatantly big and bold Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum were developed by German-owned Chrysler. The Tacoma pickup had been developed by Toyota for the American market from scratch and, Flint points out, currently outsells the above trucks two to one.

With all the new vehicles rolling out of Detroit in the coming years, though, does Flint's still have merit? Or is he right on target?

[Source: The Car Connection]



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  • 41 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Chad,
      Isn`t life grand at Toyonda blog?
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM and Ford are like Kodak. Get with the program or go the way of the dinosaur.

      We are able to produce reliable Toyota's and Hyundai's here in the US. The lazy, overfed, moronic labor unions are killing good...excuse me great American icons. The autoworkers should stop getting paid $50/hour for doing nothing. If you made a decent car, then maybe your wages and healthcare cost would be worth it.

      As for the healthcare costs, its killing GM and Ford b/c have you seen a healthy factory worker? No, they smoke on the their breaks and rush out of work to the happy hours to get liquored up (ie obesity, hypertension, diabetes).

      Truly sad when the same American workers are producing great quality cars in Ohio, the Carolinas, Alabama, etc. Help us help you GM and Ford autoworkers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not like it matters anyway. They constantly play the rebadge game with themselves here in the states. Just look at the Fusion. They stopped making Taurus' and started making Fusions(Zephyr/Milian). Now why does anyone need three versions of the same car. That's like trying to chose between generic, Kellog's, or Post raisin bran. If you need a better example, look at the Nissan Quest and Mercury Villager (old rebadges though). How the hell did that happen?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Flint is a blathering fool. The 500/Montego which are based on a Volvo platform are selling well. The Focus is 6 years old and hasn't been drastically changed in that time. So of course it's starting to slump but it has nothing to do with it being based on a Euro platform.

      He's a freakin idiot.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #30 - Robino-- yes!

      Back to Flints article, and GM importation of the Opel/Catera and lack of American Enthusiasm...I *was* excited, until I realized that it was neutered by only being available with an automatic transmission. A quality "medium-small" car with a "fun to drive" element would still do well in the market, I feel. Playing to strengths is effective in sporting events and also in auto business. Imagine BMW trying to make a pickup! They won't bother, but rather focus on what they do best, a range of sedans (with some coupes/convertibles/SUVS/wagons) that have technology, comfort, and driving dynamics as a primary objective. I would be much more enthusiastic about American offerings if there were some attention paid to the ergonomics and technology, rather than the pinstripes and chrome. Example that continually makes me shake my head: Cadillac Escalade. Over $40k for a *truck* with leaf spring live axle drum brake rear end and pushrod V8. "Upscale" (European) cars in the 60s and 70s were more advanced than that! Yeah, I agree that "most" of the buying public seems to want rolling laz-boy recliners with cupholders and a thumpin' stereo, but those same "john q. public" folks *do* notice when they try (or just ride in) another car "Gee, your car handles really well. The ride sure is quiet." These kind of details seem all to regularly ignored in pursuit of a "low bottom line" and a "features = quality" mentality from the American makers. Frankly, I don't want (or care) if the stereo volume goes up with my speed...I would rather have a steering wheel that feels good and provides a confident sense of connection and control. (Chevy Malibu) Electronic seat controls matter less than a suspension that actually provides some damping over undulations. Okay, rant off.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not every American car needs to look like it belongs in a rap video.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Ford F150 outsells the Camry over 2 to 1. Any of the 'Big 3' trucks outsell the Accord, Civic or Altima, in some cases again 2 to 1. Total sales for the F150, Ram and Silverado = over 2 million. Total sales for the Camry, Accord and Altima = ~1 million. Many Americans don't want a doofy Camry or Accord. Now you know.
      • 8 Years Ago
      43. The Ford F150 outsells the Camry over 2 to 1. Any of the 'Big 3' trucks outsell the Accord, Civic or Altima, in some cases again 2 to 1. Total sales for the F150, Ram and Silverado = over 2 million. Total sales for the Camry, Accord and Altima = ~1 million. Many Americans don't want a doofy Camry or Accord. Now you know.

      -----------------------------------

      This data is for Jan-Sep 2005... if anyone has more current stats, that would be appreciated:

      1 Ford F-Series pickup 694,690
      2 Chevy Silverado-C/K pickup 570,278
      3 Toyota Camry 336,349
      4 Dodge Ram pickup 318,812
      5 Honda Accord 292,398
      6 Toyota Corolla 265,426
      7 Honda Civic 233,838
      8 Nissan Altima 205,145
      9 Ford Explorer 196,878
      10 Chevrolet TrailBlazer 190,964
      11 GMC Sierra pickup 187,371
      12 Chevrolet Impala 182,279
      13 Dodge Caravan 179,307
      14 Cobalt 166,331
      15 Jeep Grand Cherokee 163,821
      16 Chevrolet Malibu 162,891
      17 Ford Taurus 161,667
      18 Ford Focus 155,072
      19 Chrysler Town & Country 141,301
      20 Ford Econoline 135,801

      The fullsize pickups on there add up to 1,771,151.

      The front wheel drivers' come up to 2,358,274.

      Add the RWD/4x4 SUV's and the Econoline to the Fullsize pickups, and toss the Chrysler minivans onto the FWD list, and you get this:

      RWD/4x4: 2,113,967
      FWD: 2,678,882

      This still doesn't tell us much. Many of the trucks are either used for work (shit-shoveling farmers need hauling power), and many of the cars are for fleets, both commercial and rental. What really shows is the conspicuous absence of high volume RWD, V8 powered cars on the top 20 list. Where are the Crown Vic, GTO, Mustang, and Chrysler LX cars? The late Camaro, Catera, and Caprice have long since kicked the bucket, unable to even compete. Why?

      Maybe Americans... actually DO... like driving around in Doofy Camrys and Accords, eh bud?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Did it really take a financial columnist saying this to get attention? Hell, I've been saying it for years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Toyota used to sell the Camry in Europe but doesn't any more. And while the Scion tC does have the same platform as the Avensis, they're not really the same car. Granted, making an European model desirable to Americans might be as simple as turning a hatchback into a sedan, but the difference is still there. American cars sold in Europe are even more of a niche model, having no brand value beyond being American.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Overlooked is the production potential of flex fuel vehicles. GM, Ford, and DCX are way ahead of Nissan and Toyota; we just need to see more stations built or convereted before this alternate fuel source takes off:

      http://thearticlewriter.com/autowriter/us-manufacturers-lead-in-ffv-production/
      • 8 Years Ago
      "If 'American' means big, dumb and ugly, then no. That isn't at all what I want."

      Like the new Tundra?
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