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Old 09-07-2008, 02:54 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Since when has mpg been a big selling point? June, maybe? On experience to date, it takes a LOT longer than 3 months for auto executives to pull their heads out of their butts. Then consider how many years they've spent going in front of Congressional committees and saying that they couldn't POSSIBLY meet those CAFE standards. So now they're supposed to turn around and say "Gee, it looks like we could have done it all along"?

When I think about the actions of the auto manufacturers since the '70s oil embargo, and even before, I can only conclude that they simply don't WANT to make cars that get good mpg.
They want to make cars and trucks that will SELL. They give the public what they want. How can you sell somebody an item they don't care about? You can't. In a free market economy you can't change the buying habits of millions, unless you are the federal government and want to tax that behavior. The problem you have to watch out for is who really takes the hit for higher consumption taxes? The poor and middle class, who can least afford it.

Until the day comes when automakers can design and produce cars in a very short cycle we will have this; chasing the likes and dislikes of buyers based on what they told us YESTERDAY(i.e. 2 or more years ago). In the early '80s we got downsized cars with decent MPG because of the fuel shortages of the '70s. Then, for the next 20 years with low gas prices and no shortages, the race for more HP and bigger vehicles was on. Now the pendulum swings back, but who knows for how long? For the next few years we'll see a continuous increase in fuel efficient models. Enjoy it while it lasts

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Old 09-07-2008, 05:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=SuperTrooper;59546]They want to make cars and trucks that will SELL."

Sure, and that explains why Detroit has been losing market share to the Japanese for decades? (And lately the Koreans, too.) The small, fuel-efficient cars that Honda, Toyota, &c made SOLD. Detroit didn't want to make or sell them, so it spent a lot of effort on spreading the "Americans want big cars" meme, and got it believed by a lot of people, even though sales figures (or a look at passing traffic) would easily disprove it.

Quote:
How can you sell somebody an item they don't care about? You can't.
Sure you can. All you need is a bunch of money to spend on marketing. Create some catchy TV ads that associate the product to status, sex appeal, or whatever, and wait for the money to come rolling in. Face it, most people are gullible, and will go along with whatever they perceive is popular.

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In a free market economy you can't change the buying habits of millions...
Then why do companies spend multiple billions every year on advertising to do just that?
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:20 PM   #23 (permalink)
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In a market with cheap, plentiful gas you can shout "FUEL ECONOMY" at people until you are blue in the face, or broke, and they won't care. Looking at the car market research from a year ago finds fuel economy fifth or lower for buyer importance. Now it's first, so the advertizing changes to reflect it. 3 years from now the focus might be elsewhere. We'll have all these great cars getting good mileage so the selling points willl switch to cabin technology or size or power. The direction of advertizing doesn't appear out of thin air, it's based on millions of $$$ being spent on market research asking the people what they WANT and then trying to make what you have for sale fit that desire.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:30 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SuperTrooper View Post
In a market with cheap, plentiful gas you can shout "FUEL ECONOMY" at people until you are blue in the face, or broke, and they won't care. Looking at the car market research from a year ago finds fuel economy fifth or lower for buyer importance.
Then why have the Japanese (& others) consistently gained market share by selling cars that are smaller and get better fuel economy than what Detroit has chosen to produce? Why did small cars like the Mini & the Miata - not to mention the Prius - become sales hits? Why do people keep running the smaller late '80s - early '90s Hondas & Toyota pickups, and put money into customizing them?

I'll grant you that it may not be fuel economy that sells these cars. The higher mpg is simply a consequence of their small size. It's the same argument, though. Detroit has so successfully spread its "Americans don't want small cars" meme that people will believe it even when faced with the undeniable fact that a lot of Americans do.

Quote:
The direction of advertizing doesn't appear out of thin air, it's based on millions of $$$ being spent on market research asking the people what they WANT and then trying to make what you have for sale fit that desire.
In fact, it's more often the other way around. Advertising more often attempts to change people's desires so that they want whatever is being marketed. I'm sure you can think of many examples of completely useless products that were successfully marketed: remember the Pet Rock? Or consider the fashion industry, and how jeans with a designer name on the butt, or running shoes with a swoosh, can be sold for much more than the identical product that doesn't have them.

Who ever asked people if they wanted SUVs? There had always been a small niche market for SUV-like vehicles such as the Jeep Cherokee, Land Rover, and Toyota's Land Cruiser. Then Detroit found a legal loophole that'd let them sell passenger vehicles that only had to meet the lower truck standards, so they could go on building the big vehicles they wanted to sell. Then they spent the money on advertising to sell the idea of the SUV.

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