- Jul 31, 2008
- Reaction score
You are assuming that there will be ANY manufacturing here, should Japan Inc win. The only reason they bothered to build factories here was to avoid the union-organized backlash that happened in the early '80s. Should Ford and/or GM fail, what's to stop the rest of the manufacturers from shuttering their North American plants, too? Toyota has already wound down its 1.3 billion dollar truck plant in Texas and is re-thinking its new Woodstock plant, due to changing market conditions. They have 'free' healthcare in Japan and are a lot less exposed to pension/healthcare issues.
I am skeptical that all manufacturing will simply be moved offshore after the Japanese automakers beat out their American counterparts. That's a rather alarmist point of view. Just like I am skeptical that you will see a total demise of the the big 3. They will simply become stable at lower market shares.
FYI, the Cobalt/G5 twins are the #2 selling vehicles in Canada right now. GM has had to add a 3rd shift in its plant to keep up with demand. The newly redesigned Aveo/G3 are now being built in Mexico, at an all new plant, to keep up with demand, as the Korean plants now focus on Europe and Asia. The Chevy Astra is the #1 selling small car in Europe.
If that's the case, then why the crisis? I guess the big 3 don't need help after all.
However, the fact that they make more fuel efficient cars now still does not explain the decline in CAFE in the 90s.
Google Toyota Tacoma and see all about Toyota quality. Dealers are quietly buying up the Tacomas because the frames are SNAPPING in half. The FRAMES. The strongest part of the truck. Even Consumers Reports finally issued an apology last year, after problems with the V6 Camry, Avalon and Tundra forced them to admit that in the past they have given Toyota a free pass on the quality front. When GM farts, it is on the front page; when Toyota has diarrhea, it's buried int he business section.
Sure Toyota has quality problems. Nobody here is giving them a free ride. However, what's also neglected is things like service. Toyota/Lexus routinely rank near the top for service. They don't hassle you on warranty, etc.
As for quality of the big 3. That's a story as of late. They had their issues in decades past and that's what dented their reputation. If Toyota keeps up, they will get the same labels in a few years.
Nobody failed to adjust to any reality. Wall Street is very unforgiving. Toyota and Honda do not have to answer to Wall Street.
No but they do have shareholders at home in Japan. IMHO it's the difference in American and Asian corporate cultures. Asian leaders just take a longer view. American leaders look at quarterly earnings. Hence the push on SUVs in the 90s and the returns for shareholders instead of r&d into more efficient vehicles. The way I see it, this is simply a hang over from their party in the 90s.
What marketing planner could have made a business case for the Aveo in 2000 when GM and Ford were building every truck they could. Interestingly, the Cavalier/Sunfire outsold everything, including the Civic, right up until their cancellation in 2005.
Again, if that's the case, then why do they need help? Sounds like they are doing alright...
WardsAuto.com did a wonderful piece in April '06, entitled Tyranny of the Enthusiasts, which illustrates the point exactly: Road and Track, Motor Trend and others have been setting the tone for decades: their clear disdain for economy cars succeeded in convincing consumers that we 'need' 300 horsepower minivans.
On this I agree, though I still don't see what stops companies from offering smaller engines. I drive an IS 300. I was saddened to see that in Europe an IS 200 is available. I would have gladly bought that if it was offered.
Likewise, for the dearth of diesels among the big 3 (changing only recently...). And now that they do offer diesels, how many of them are cars? And I won't even mention how much they are lagging behind on hybrids.