Detroit must be good SEO for CNN, as it continues to point to the Motor City and tell carmakers everything they're doing wrong. I imagine most manufacturing companies enjoy getting advice from the media. We're so good at it.

For the most part, the ideas just rehash things you probably already knew. Carmakers certainly do. Who doesn't want higher residual values? Who doesn't want to build and sell more luxury vehicles? Family sedans?

But what I find more upsetting are some idiotic statements, such as comparing the percentage of crossovers built by one company that doesn't have a full-size truck to one that does. It makes for some neat numbers, but unfairly so. I hate when any story makes me sound like an apologist for Detroit. Of course, no one in Detroit wants its key industry to do poorly again, and it is possible, but let Detroit win or lose on its own merits, not some made-up ones.

Anyway, much to my chagrin, CNN's list of eight reason for Detroit to still worry follows below:
1. Domestics depreciate faster than imports. This gives import buyers cheaper leases and more money back on trade-ins down the road, though residuals of domestics have shown strong improvement in recent years.

2. Old ways aren't the best ways. While Detroit may do well with sports cars and pickups, it falls behind in segments that imports compete well in, except, apparently, in sports cars and pickups. CNN names segments like small coupes, sedans and minivans, even as Chrysler, the only minivan builder in Detroit, outpaces the rest of the world combined this year in U.S. sales.

3. Detroit lags in fastest-growing segments. CNN points to crossovers and how every car maker should have 30 percent of their total volume in sales as crossovers. Only Toyota, Nissan and Detroit offer a full lineup in America. The comparison feels dishonest at best, especially when Toyota and Nissan pickup sales are abysmal at best.

4. Big ticket customers go elsewhere. This is a good point but really, CNN should reexamine this in a year. Lincoln has only started to try and gain traction. Cadillac has just launched the XTS, and the compact ATS arrives later this year. Chrysler is only now beginning to draw its identity and sales for the 200 and 300 continue to grow. But most of all, CNN doesn't even consider pickups, which cost more than many European luxury cars. And the Europeans can only match Asian luxury pickup sales in America at a grand total of 0.

5. Detroit has too many dealerships. It's bad for business, CNN says. And I couldn't agree more. If CNN knows any way to get past all of the politics and pesky laws of opening and closing dealerships around the nation, I'm sure Detroit would listen. It's more complicated than canceling your cable bill. However, CNN appears to think every car maker should run exactly the same business plan. There are a lot of Detroit dealerships in rural areas that may not turn big numbers, but they do turn profits.

6. Detroit dealers stock too many cars. CNN points out, via Automotive News, that Detroit dealers carry 68 days supply of vehicles, whereas imports carry 49 days supply. Here's an easy fix. Detroit should blow up 19 days supply of vehicles on July 4. Think of the promotional opportunities.

7. Good enough is not good enough. When CNN has nothing to say, it resorts to cliches. I think its point was that no matter what Detroit does, it doesn't matter. Kind of like rooting for the Braves.

8. What price parity? I've read this point five times and still don't get it. Basically CNN repeats No. 7 and says that by 2015, Detroit will have 45.8 percent of the U.S. market and the Asian four (which is named as five carmakers) will have 41 percent of the U.S. market. "In the past, when big, successful companies like Kodak, Sears, and A&P lost their market dominance, they quickly slid from mediocrity into irrelevance," CNN says.

So there you have it. CNN implies Detroit will quickly slide into irrelevance shortly after 2015 if it doesn't heed its business-saving advice. I'm going to disagree. Of course Detroit needs to be careful and avoid complacent bad habits. If the last five years haven't taught Detroit that, nothing will.


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  • 157 Comments
      EBW
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not being considered a favored news source anymore, at least CNN is qualified to speak of sliding into irrelevance.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yea - and CNN's ratings are so far in the tank, it is fun that they tell Detroit how to improve. What is it now - like ratings at a 27 year low? More people go to the Daytona 500 than actually watch various CNN shows.
        inthelv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        I am a died in the wool liberal and I couldn't agree with you more. CNN needs to do this little list for itself.
      Donny Hoover
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about something fun? I don't have kids so I don't need a sedan or SUV. I go for small, fun, flickable cars, which Mustangs and Camaros are not (except the fun part), and make sure they're either fast and RWD or super efficient like a TDI Golf or CRX. Where is the Fiero? The Nova? Something to compete with the MX-5 and the FR-S? Anything really. They've completely left out an entire section of the market. The only car they make that appeals to me is the Corvette, and that's the frickin' expensive flagship. The few "pocket rockets" that they do offer are all 2xx horse, front wheel drive (that's the main problem), modified economy cars. No thanks. Detroit has stepped up their quality and their reliability. They're doing quite a good job on what they are producing. I just can't buy one of their products because they don't make anything I want. Just gonna stick to shopping in the 1990's because the 240SX, Del Sol, 300ZX, Supra, MR2 and many others like them are so much more appealing than what Detriot is putting out today. Heck, what the whole auto industry is putting out for the most part.
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think domestic brands have improved dramatically in the past few years, and there's always a couple on my short-list of cars I'm willing to pay hard earned money for (Mustang, Corvette, F-150, etc). I do think that domestics have missed out on a couple great opportunities that would make other car makers play catch up... 1. Bring more small diesels here, in the form of small cars (Fiesta-size cars in Europe with diesels get 60+mpg) 2. Develop a small truck (preferably with a diesel and small gas powertrains and 4wd) that gives customers an option below the F-150/Ram/Silverado and gets great mileage. 3. A properly competitive large SUV (a replacement for the Expedition/Navigator/Tahoe/Escalade) that gets great mileage (again, diesel I think works best here) while maintaining high levels of luxury. I certainly wish domestic manufacturers well, I just wish they'd try something new that would make the other imports sweat.
      WINNER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I couldnt care LESS what CNN thinks about Detroit. I purchased a Chevy Traverse (08') and I drive it DAILY. It now has over 144K miles on it and it still starts, runs and drives like a NEW car. Build quality is great, Nothing fading, peeling or cracking. Only thing I have done is a Tuneup, Oil changes and New tires. I had purchased a Honda Pilot previously to my Traverse and the Honda was a nightmare! Headliner falling down, Lights shorting out, Paint peeling around doors and the interior quality was horrible. The ONLY good thing I can say about that car was that it hadnt rusted (YET). Weak, Underpowered, Overpriced, Low quality and Overrated Hondas! YUCK! Give me a GM anyday!
      Lunch
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dee-troit will fail because they are Dee-troit. They are stuck in the 50's and the culture is too deeply ingrained in the ways of the old. Dee will move forward 3 steps, but the competition would have already moved 10, so they r forever behind. It's just the way it is and it won't changed unless u burn all that is old and start from scratch.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lunch
        [blocked]
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lunch
        Cool story bro. Okay, story time is over. The fact of the matter is that the Big 3 have gone to great lengths to close the gap in the last few years with the focus of competing on a global scale. The Fusion, Focus, Cruze, new Impala, Malibu, Charger, ATS and the up and coming Dart are all proof that they are serious about the sedan and compact segments again, key areas in terms of sales, where the Japanese once ruled. They have a ways to go, but they are definitely headed in the right direction, so to say they are "stuck in the 50s" is beyond moronic.
          design eye
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          @aaronm_mt...You're stuck in the 90s if you think GM is stuck in the 50s. You haven't been paying attention as Chris explained. Also, sit up and look around to see that every global OEM leverages their global product development assets to create local vehicles. It drives the cost down, quality up and insures new offerings quicker to market.
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Nice try aaronm_mt, but the Charger, 300, Focus, Fusion, Cruze, Impala, Malibu, and ATS are not rebadged FIATs!! I don't know where you got that impression.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          [blocked]
        Juffinstuff
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Lunch
        What?
      Pbindesign
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dear CNN, please come test drive my supercharged Corvette and tell me it's crap...
        clquake
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Pbindesign
        The Corvette is a great driving car, but the interior and build quality is not up to par with the rest of the crowd. Since you have one, you tell me if the space between the rear tail lights should be easily pushed in and out, like those jar caps that pop after you open the jar. It just has a feel of cheapness to it.
          Pbindesign
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          Yeah, I don't think of the interior much when I'm behind 680HP, but that's just me...
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          It's also significantly cheaper than the rest of the crowd. Attainability is part of the car's appeal. Not too many can name a $300k supercar, but everyone knows what a Corvette is. That said, you are comparing apples to oranges because the Corvette is not meant to compete head to head with those cars. You also must take into consideration that the current Corvette has been around since 2005. Interiors have improved immensely since then, and the next generation is right around the corner. Even the Cruze is pretty nice inside, so if that is any indication, then it's a safe bet that the next Vette will be a vast improvement inside as well.
          rlog100
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          If you never saw Jeremy di that on TV, would you have known? The reason that region is flimsey is to comply with low speed bumper crash requirements. US cars need to be able to recover from a 5 mph impact with near negligible damage. That is Corvette's way of meeting that requirement. Imports however seem to get exempted or pay the fines associated with those details.
          design eye
          • 2 Years Ago
          @clquake
          There is no excuse for the current Corvette's poor interior quality and rear fascia "jar caps" other than the lack of wisdom of program management in 2001, when the car's product DNA was established. It actually is an expensive interior. It just wasn't crafted wisely. That has changed dramatically as proven by the latest launches of GM product. Look for ground-breaking improvements, interior-wise with the new model.
      Mateica
      • 2 Years Ago
      to the all deniers out there, it is pretty simple - Ford and GM are losing their market-share... after the recalls and tsunamis and floods, japanese are back and steadily gaining market-share. simple truth.
      Thipps
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why would ANYONE value what CNN or any of the other main stream media have to say.... SHUT OFF your tv and get your news from independent media online and fact check everything...that and for once be skeptical about the story the media feeds you everyday
      Yang Xi Gua
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is CNN aware that FIAT has taken over Chrysler thanks to Obama?
        Myself
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        Now, we'd like you to explain how can a president have a say in which private company buys another private company. More importantly, if it hadn't been for Fiat, there'd be, at the very least, NO resurgency of Chrysler.
          Wunderbird
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Myself
          Obama appointed Car Czar Steve Rattner who oversaw and approved all of the dealings for GM and Chrysler. Fiat was not allowed to purchase a majority of Chrysler until certain criteria were met. Rattner was nothing more than a puppet for the president.
        oRenj9
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yang Xi Gua
        With the looks of the new offerings from Fiat/Chrysler, it looks like the merger was the right decision. The Dodge Dart is going to kick ass.
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Germany is the most unionized nation on earth, boards of directors of companies have half union members by law and is the world's most successful manufacturing exporter. Do any of you brain dead union haters want to argue Germany isn't the world's leader in building enthusiast cars? America's rightwing's biggest adversary isn't Obama. democrats or Marxists, the Faux News crowds biggest enemy is reality.
        CanIGetAWhatWhat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        "Do any of you brain dead union haters want to argue Germany isn't the world's leader in building enthusiast cars?" Correlation does not imply causation. Also, aren't German-made cars more prone to having problems, and when they do have problems, are typically more expensive to fix than non German-made cars?
          creamwobbly
          • 2 Years Ago
          @CanIGetAWhatWhat
          "Correlation does not imply causation." Well done. But it *is* a strong indicator. "Also, aren't German-made cars more prone to having problems, and when they do have problems, are typically more expensive to fix than non German-made cars?" Across the board, just one of those two things across. They're NOT prone to having problems. The second part of your argument is correct, because BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, are all considered "luxury" vehicles. VWs are prone to both problems—but VWs are built in North America, which tends to support the correlation between unionization and manufacturing quality. As they say in Texas: Oops.
        Micheals
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        I'm curious where you get your facts. I am willing to bet China is a larger manufacturing exporter than Germany. In terms of just pure exports Germany is behind the U.S. and China. Those German manufacturing companies also do what all companies do, they build their product globally. So while a product like and BMW is considered German it doesn't mean it comes from Germany and the difference between U.S. and German unions is their leadership sees the FACT that it makes better business sense to build cars outside the unionized plants in Germany. That is something the UAW doesn't get as they feel every Ford and Chevy sold in the world should come from a UAW plant no matter what. The BMW 3 series for example is built in over a dozen countries and the U.S. is home to all X3 and X5 production because Germany was too expensive to build in. VW just built a large plant in Tennessee and its volume model Jetta comes from Mexico, not Germany. In fact Germany only exports medium-low volume, high profit cars like the M series, 7 series, M-B S class and Porsches. The rest are built outside of Germany and more are moving in that direction as Audi is going to build a new factory in Mexico to supply the U.S. market. Yes, Germany builds many enthusiast cars but are you trying to say that's because of the unions? I don't see your point in that statement considering you are trying to tie unions into the equation. The historical presence of the autobahn and world class race circuits may have a little do with the fact Porsches, BMW's, Benz's and Audi's are rock solid at high speeds. Would say maybe even more than the unions? Also, Germany is not the most unionized nation on earth. Italy, France, Ireland, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway (all over 70% of workforce) and Canada are more unionized than Germany. The numbers may be older but I doubt the pecking order has changed. http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2006/01/art3full.pdf This is reality and it may very well be your enemy now.
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Micheals
          Well stated. To answer your questions, you must understand who you are arguing with. This guy posts under at least 3 different names, BillFromBuckhead being one of them, and can be a little irrational at times. His posts are easy to spot because when he's not praising all things Chrysler, he's going off on political rants.
        inthelv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MAX
        Amen!
      jamesa
      • 2 Years Ago
      They say on the road is form of advertisement and there are a lot of American cars on the road. On the side of the road that is. I live in Detroit and it makes me sad how bad American Quality has turned into.
        caddy-v
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jamesa
        Yer full of it. There's just as many foriegn as domestic on the side of the road, only difference is the asian brands are much newer.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jamesa
        Therein lies the problem. You live in Detroit, where pretty much everyone drives American cars, and if you live in a poorer area, you are likely to see abandoned cars, or junked ones on the side of the street. That means nothing as it really doesn't give you much of a basis for comparison, given how so few drive foreign cars there. In North Carolina, most of the cars I see on the side of the road are old Hondas.
          Gene Mack
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Chris
          This is a great point of perspective. I'm also from Detroit and if I judged what the top selling luxury brands were based on what I see on the road, then Lincoln and Cadillac would win hands down! Conversely, when I go to California for work, I'd be hard pressed to see either, let alone any domestic brand at all. Both Michigan and California are so far to the extremes, that people from either state should be very careful when making judgments on the overall industry, based on what they see on the roads around them.
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