I keep hearing the old line, “Americans Aren’t Into Small Cars” from these stock “analysts” that always seem to be quoted in stories about GM, and especially Chrysler’s deal with Fiat.
As I look out my window in downtown San Diego, I just don’t see that.
What I see are lots of SUVs and lots of small cars. The good news for Detroit? I see Ford Fusions. I see Pontiac Vibes, old Saturns, a Neon here and there, an older Pontiac Grand Am. I almost never see a Chevy Cobalt. I’m seeing more and more Ford Fusions and even a few Mercury Milans.
The good news for US auto workers? I see Toyota Corollas, Honda Civics, Subarus, the Mazda 6, Nissan Sentras and Altimas, all built right here in the good ol’ USA.
I almost never see the big cars the auto “experts” say Americans want… the Chevy Impala or Malibu, Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Lincolns or Cadillacs. There are lots of Camrys and Accords running around, and they’re built in the USA too.
Management of offshore auto companies know they have to have a variety of models and have put development and marketing money into these cars. They create a brand and then keep it up. Detroit for years has done what Ford did with the Taurus or GM did with Saturn… spend billions to create and market and make it a popular item, then let id wither on the vine so it turns into a has-been. Since the 70s, Chevrolet has marketed its small car under several names — Chevette, Cavalier and now Cobalt. Honda’s only had the Civic.
So, do Americans like small cars? I’m going to look up the numbers for a future post, but my guess is a million or more subcompact cars were purchased in the US this year. Almost none of them from American-based companies. Here’s a release from Honda talking about the 1.4 million cars they built in North America.
So, “auto industry analysts” — whattya say to that?