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Old 06-17-2009, 05:44 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Problem is, that ain't exactly so :-) What happened was that the automakers (for a lot of reasons, including getting around a bunch of regulations) decided to build SUVs. Then they spent a lot of money on advertising to convince a small part of the driving public to buy them. (Remember the line about how you can fool some of the people all the time...) But most of the North American public in fact didn't buy them: they bought smaller, more efficient Japanese and European cars instead. The Big Three were two self-important to pay attention to this market signal, and so their market share kept getting smaller & smaller. Now two of them are bankrupt, and the third would be if it hadn't pawned everything it could.
Right. So. The market works.

And now GM is going to have to refocus themselves. GM didn't have the chance to do that because they were cut short by the OTHER market collapse. I think we owe them the chance. The government agrees with me.

Also: Japanese and European marques can/do sell SUV's just as much as the N/A brands did. Witness, the Land Rover and the Toyota Sequia. And Mercedes can and does sell lots of big brutes. With Big Burly overpowered V8's. They're ALSO loosing a pile of money. Are they at fault equally? Because they should be.


EDIT: from http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyl...227_325615.htm

Sales of small SUVs, the segment that includes the Wrangler, totaled 301,625 year-to-date through November, an increase of 22.7% vs the year-ago period, according to AutoData.

At the same time, the midsize SUV segment was down 13%, to 1,027,831 (BusinessWeek.com, 12/14/07), and large SUVs were down 7.8%, to 510,417, AutoData said. That includes a drop-off not only for the Chevrolet Tahoe, but also import-brand models like the Nissan (NSANY) Armada and lame-duck Toyota (TM) Sequoia, which is being replaced with an all-new model based on the new Toyota Tundra pickup.


So, 10% of all sales were SUVs. and this is well AFTER the boom for SUV's because gas prices were climbing quickly. I can't find the numbers but i think it was closer to 20% of all sales, during boom times, were SUVS. Clearly, this is not a market to advertise to. Especially since it was profitable! And you know... 20% is such a small market share! They should have ignored it.

note: was. I do realize they missed the queue to start making smaller more fuel efficient cars.

RE-EDIT: From http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12393

SUVs exploded in popularity during the 1990s. Annual sales more than tripled between 1990 and 2000, when a record 2.98 million were sold.

That's roughly 20% of all sales were SUV's in 2000. You can't fault the companies for catering to such a large, and profitable segment.

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Old 06-18-2009, 11:20 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Right. So. The market works.
Maybe after a Rube Goldbergish sort of fashion. But GM & Chrysler are bankrupt and sucking up my tax money, and I STILL can't find a decent new car - unless I shell out $100K for a Tesla.

"And now GM is going to have to refocus themselves. GM didn't have the chance to do that because they were cut short by the OTHER market collapse."

Oh, crap. GM had fifty effing years to "refocus" themselves, but never bothered.

Quote:
That's roughly 20% of all sales were SUV's in 2000. You can't fault the companies for catering to such a large, and profitable segment.
If 20% of all sales were SUVs, basic arithmetic says 80% of sales were NOT SUVs, no? So if you want to run a large & successful car company, do you ignore the 80% in order to cater to the 20%, like the formerly-Big 3 did? And then, when gas prices take a long-predicted jump, watch your 20% shrink to 10%?
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:53 AM   #73 (permalink)
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Maybe after a Rube Goldbergish sort of fashion. But GM & Chrysler are bankrupt and sucking up my tax money, and I STILL can't find a decent new car - unless I shell out $100K for a Tesla.

"And now GM is going to have to refocus themselves. GM didn't have the chance to do that because they were cut short by the OTHER market collapse."

Oh, crap. GM had fifty effing years to "refocus" themselves, but never bothered.
50 years ago, GM was the biggest thing around. Why would they have re focused themselves? And the decline in market share was inevitible as more viable car manufacturers started selling cars in North America. And GM did start refocusing. They have offered the Cobalt for sale since 2005. It has a bullet proof engine, and has always had very good highway fuel efficiency at a low price point in the market. Lots and lots of people bought them. They had plans to launch the Cruze, which will do better in the city and the highway before the market fallout. Ford had this whole water-cooled turbo lineup of engines called eco-boost before the market fallout although it was called something else...

If you want to point a finger at someone, point it at Chrysler. Gas prices go sky high. And they launch??? A Hemi - V8 in virtually their entire lineup. WTG guys.
Quote:
If 20% of all sales were SUVs, basic arithmetic says 80% of sales were NOT SUVs, no? So if you want to run a large & successful car company, do you ignore the 80% in order to cater to the 20%, like the formerly-Big 3 did? And then, when gas prices take a long-predicted jump, watch your 20% shrink to 10%?
50% of passenger vehicle sales are light trucks. SUV's are an important part of that. I remain firm on the fact that you can't blame them for selling a vehicle the market liked. Most especially, you can't blame GM for that, when everyone was doing it.

I'm not letting GM off the proverbial hook. I think the missed the boat on having a vehicle with a halo-effect like the Prius did. Even selling the EV1 for $50000 (at a loss) would have been good advertising. And the Volt when it gets here, will be amazing. Most people will never burn gas.

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Old 06-18-2009, 07:16 PM   #74 (permalink)
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50 years ago, GM was the biggest thing around. Why would they have re focused themselves? And the decline in market share was inevitible as more viable car manufacturers started selling cars in North America.
That declining market share wasn't enough reason to refocus? It wasn't inevitable: the reason US car makers lost significant market share is because they just couldn't be bothered to build the kind of cars a lot of Americans actually wanted.

"And GM did start refocusing. They have offered the Cobalt for sale since 2005. It has a bullet proof engine, and has always had very good highway fuel efficiency at a low price point in the market."

35 mpg or so highway is what you consider good fuel efficiency? And it's still a medium sized car. As for Ford, what did they put their EcoBoost engines in? Small cars? I got stuck with one of their "small" cars once, as a rental. Felt like driving a bar stool, it was jacked up so high.

Quote:
50% of passenger vehicle sales are light trucks.
Sorry, but the formerly Big 3 don't even bother to build light trucks. Medium (Ford Ranger &c) to grossly oversized is all. They've even poisoned the market so that the Japanese barely build light trucks any more - one reason the most common truck on the roads around here seems to be the '80s to mid '90s Toyota.

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I remain firm on the fact that you can't blame them for selling a vehicle the market liked. Most especially, you can't blame GM for that, when everyone was doing it.
Except that the market didn't really like them all that much, first as evidenced by declining market share, second because the demand was an artificially-created fad. You see, that's the real problem with the market these days. It works fine in what you might call a state of nature, but when you get marketing professionals involved, they manage to twist it far out of that natural state. That's just what happened with SUVs: the automakers started down the marketing path so they could avoid the hard work of meeting emissions & mpg standards, then got sucked into the trap of believing their own marketing.
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Old 06-19-2009, 03:55 PM   #75 (permalink)
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You can't fault the companies for catering to such a large, and profitable segment.
Sure ya can, at least in terms of how they cater to it. Plenty of other manufacturers offered large gas guzzling SUVs, and they weren't hit nearly as hard as GM was. The problem wasn't large SUVs, but the all-in approach GM had towards them and other guzzlers. They bet big and they lost big.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:01 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Sure ya can, at least in terms of how they cater to it. Plenty of other manufacturers offered large gas guzzling SUVs, and they weren't hit nearly as hard as GM was. The problem wasn't large SUVs, but the all-in approach GM had towards them and other guzzlers. They bet big and they lost big.
This sentiment, I agree with. I just dislike how angry hippies say something along the lines of "GM MADE BIG SUV. SUV BAD. GM BAD".
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:06 PM   #77 (permalink)
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There's a (small) part of the market that really wants those big SUVs & pickups (at least absent $4/gal gas), and would want them if they weren't pushed by fad marketing. If you're a large automaker, like for instance Toyota, you can build a product or two for that market segment. But you don't, if you're rational, start believing your own marketing and make those your entire product line.

That was the problem with GM. It's not that they bet big, but that they weren't even aware that they were making a bet. They were gazing into their own navels, chanting "Americans want big cars", and ignoring the real world.

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