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Old 07-01-2011, 10:45 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Automakers can't forcibly make markets...
The evidence is against you. Consider the SUV, which was designed by the automakers as a way to take advantage of loopholes in emissions &c regulations, since they were officially trucks. Or how about the pickup as daily driver, for much the same reason? Both sold to the public through massive advertising campaigns.

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Old 07-02-2011, 12:38 AM   #32 (permalink)
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...which: a marketing ploy or EPA loop-hole dodgement, or both?
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:28 AM   #33 (permalink)
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...which: a marketing ploy or EPA loop-hole dodgement, or both?
Both, of course. Automakers didn't want to spend money meeting emissions/safety standards, and saw how they can dodge them by putting car bodies on truck frames (so they only have to meet less stringent truck standards). But for the dodging to work, they had to get large numbers* of people to buy them, therefore the massive advertising campaign selling "adventure", with all the footage of SUVs tearing through unspoiled countryside &c.

*I say large numbers, because there was a small market for SUV-like vehicles earlier, like the Jeep station wagon or the International Scout, that were mostly bought by people who actually needed their capabilities.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:43 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Consider the SUV, which was designed by the automakers as a way to take advantage of loopholes in emissions &c regulations, since they were officially trucks. Or how about the pickup as daily driver, for much the same reason?
What! Are you suggesting that government regulations may actually have NOT have resulted in their intended effect? [Insert Sarcasm]

Sorry, I let a little bit of my libertarian/conservitive leanings slip out there...that and seeing firsthand the effect of EPA regs in my own work (diesel R&D).
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:32 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I see what you're saying james, but I think this might be a matter of perspective.

I mean, yes, the automakers try to advertise a product to create interest. If they succeed, a sale can be made. But consumers have to make decisions too. Are they always logical? No, but for the most part people try to weigh factors that they personally feel are important: safety, style, efficiency, creature comforts etc.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the automakers can create criteria upon which consumers may act - like constantly touting their latest safety feature or design - but ultimately a good consumer decides whether or not it's worth their money.

Now, where I think we'll really meet common ground is in the creation of a need. Kind of like the ol' saying that Listerine created halitosis.

I stand by my claim that automakers can't forcibly create markets, but I agree that their marketing can have an influence on the factors that consumers will consider important.

You do bring up a good point with the SUV emissions stipulation.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I guess what I'm trying to say is that the automakers can create criteria upon which consumers may act...
That's true, but there's a reason Madison Avenue gets its billions. Suppose the automakers had decided, back then, to devote the same amount of advertising to selling fuel economy, and had gotten people to pay the same kinds of markups as they paid on SUVs. Then when the economy collapsed & gas went over $4/gal, they would have had products to sell.

Also remember that even with the advertising, and the constant pushing of the "Americans want big cars" meme, somehow a lot of small to medium sized cars seem to get sold in this country.
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:07 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Also remember that even with the advertising, and the constant pushing of the "Americans want big cars" meme, somehow a lot of small to medium sized cars seem to get sold in this country.
...exactly! enough so that the asian car companies overtook Detroits Big-3! In other words, Detroit, literally 'gave away' their market dominance through short-sightedness and blindness.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:47 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Old Tele man -

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...exactly! enough so that the asian car companies overtook Detroits Big-3! In other words, Detroit, literally 'gave away' their market dominance through short-sightedness and blindness.
Yeah, I look at Ford Falcons and Chevy II 4-bangers in 1960 and they were *reasonably* small. By 1970 the smallest Chevy was the Nova with a V6.

But I also think context helps explain the story. We had Texas oil fields for the longest time. Japan *always* had to conserve energy and other resources because it has no raw materials. Japanese guv'ment regulations discouraged large gas hogs and encouraged thrifty Kei cars since the end of WWII.

European cars have also been influenced by via high fuel taxes, so there is *again* a guv'ment regulation encouraging thrifty small cars.

I readily admit to the huge blunders the Big-3 has made, but we could have *legislated* them into being more competitive for their own good.

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Old 07-02-2011, 06:42 PM   #39 (permalink)
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...a couple of Detroit "blunder" examples:

• when GM claimed EPA emissions couldn't be met in V8 engines, Honda modified and delivered to GM a CVCC version of the Chevy 350 heads. Honda's could meet EPA emissions standards without catalytic convertors and other addons at that time.

• GM claimed they "could've" made a 60 MPG vehicle, but didn't.

• Chrysler "dabbled" with Lean-Burn, but abandoned it; Honda instead, developed it into their HFE models.

• GM "crushed" the EV1's; Toyota developed the Prius.

...see a trend happening in the above?

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Old 07-02-2011, 08:53 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Old Tele man -

Yup, but $6-$8 a gallon would have influenced all of those decisions.

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