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Most aggravating meme of Big 3 crisis: "They weren't making vehicles people wanted!"

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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:13 AM
Original message
Most aggravating meme of Big 3 crisis: "They weren't making vehicles people wanted!"
I don't know about you all, but I remember big SUVs and pickups selling like gangbusters in the late 90s/early 2000s. Maybe it's a Red State thing (I live in AZ). But then again I made quite a few trips to CA and giant SUVs - I call them "minivans on steroids" - were all over the place. They didn't start falling out of favor until late 2004 when gas prices started going haywire (but even then they were still selling at a brisk clip). Certainly, the U.S. automakers should have had the flexibility to shift to smaller, fuel efficient vehicles when that happened but let's not revise history and act like everyone wanted an electric or a hybrid all along while the big behemoths were sitting on lots collecting dust. Hell, even today I'm amazed when I'm in the parking lot at Target by how cars are often in the minority to the SUVs.

The recent decreasing gas prices are causing renewed interest in big vehicles: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1... / How many of you saw 60 Minutes last night where the Saudis openly admitted to wanting to keep us addicted to oil and to their opposition to the development of alternatives? A few months ago I was disagreeing vehemently with DUers who thought that high gas prices were a good thing. Now I'm not so sure. Seems to be the only way Americans learn.
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'd still want an SUV, as long as it gets 50 mpg.
:-)
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. That's like demanding a lettuce picking job that pays $50/hr...
Except nobody demanded one at the time, it was offered... as a trick question, ultimately.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. You're right about the SUV's being very popular. I think the
problem most people have with "Detroit" is that it always takes them YEARS to respond to changes in the markets. The same thing happened back in the 70's. The American public responded to increasing gas prices the same way, and "Detroit" took almost 5 years to react!

I can't fault the manufacturers for making SUV's. They were very popular and they were making a NICE PROFIT on them, but a GOOD management team should have had to foresight to know that rollercoaster ride wasn't going to last forever, and they should have had "Plan B" ready to go.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. The problem now is that all they really needed to change
was their advertising.

They make great small cars. They just keep it a deep, dark secret because their advertising continues to push the gas hogs.

It would have taken a month, tops, to start an emergency campaign to push their good small cars. Instead, they just kept lumbering along, hoping there were enough fools out there to buy gas hogs and keep them in Guccis.

By not changing their damn advertising and letting the public know what was available, they pretty much handed the small car market to their foreign competition.

That's what's so unforgivable, not that they continued to make the gas hogs.
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FredStembottom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. Thank you, Catb!
That has been driving me nuts, too.

I'd revise that meme to: The Big 3 only made vehicles people wanted.

Whereas Toyota and Honda made those, too - but hedged their bets with other kinds of cars. Ones that could also be wanted - in other energy/economic scenarios.

The Big 3 bet it all on corrupting Congress to stave off ever having to make alternative vehicles. Toyota and Honda simply made the vehicles.

America in microcosm!
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
4. Not all SUVs are made by the big three
those of us who have owned both American and Japanese autos know that over the long haul, American cars are very expensive to maintain. The Big Three get 40% of their profits from the sale of parts.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Foreign manufacturers make smaller SUVs
But nothing comparable to a Navigator or Escalade. Hummers were becoming rather popular in my bedroom community a few years ago as well.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Really?
Toyota Landcruiser: $64,755 (base). 5690# curb wt, 13mpg city 18mpg hwy.
Nissan Armada: $37200 (base). 5675# curb wt, 12mpg city 18mpg hwy.
Lexus GX470: $47615 (base). 4871# curb wt, 14mpg city 18mpg hwy.
Lincoln Navigator: $51130 (base). 5936# curb wt, 14mpg city 20mph hwy.
Cadillac Escalade: $61935 (base). 5691# curb wt, optional 20mpg city 21mpg hwy available.
Porsche Cayenne: $44,600 (base). ? curb wt, 14mpg city 20mpg hwy.

Looks like foreign manufacturers build shitty cars too. Who knew?
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Okay, you're right, they do make them.
But the ratio of U.S. to foreign made behemoths is easily 20 to 1 on the roads here in AZ. I hardly ever see a Land Cruiser, Armada, or Lexus and I've never seen the Porsche one anywhere. OTOH you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Navigator or Escalade. For smaller SUVs the Japanese ones are very popular though. YMMV.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
6. Advertising works.
:think:
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Peacetrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. word......
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ellenfl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
7. the only way that americans will let go of their gas guzzlers is
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 11:39 AM by ellenfl
to price gasoline like it is priced in europe. the price of oil is currently being manipulated downward so that people forget about fuel efficiency and keep on buying those suvs. i buy a car for its reliability and fuel efficiency. this country used to be on the cutting edge, now we are just greedy.

people need to learn to live within their means and to not 'go shopping' just because some moron tells them to. :eyes:

ellen fl
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rrneck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. Here's the plan by the big three:
1.Build and sell whatever makes the most profit.
2. Ignore future trends in fuel price and avaliability.
3. Let the market collapse.
4. Close plants.
5. Send UAW workers home.
6. Deploy golden parachute.
7. Acquire federal money to retool for different vehicle.
8. Build cars in some third world country by fourth graders paid $1 a day.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. You're probably right. We can't let them get away with it.
There's an article in Huffington Post about it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/offshoring-...
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. SUVs were popular, such as the Ford Explorer. Nobody wants to remember their mistakes.
With gas prices going back down, it was a sure bet that the quickest to forget the lesson would be out there again wanting to buy an SUV.
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Some larger families can use an SUV...
When you need to transport three children, three adults and two dogs an SUV is a better choice than a small compact car. An SUV can tow a trailer or a camper.

Now might be a good time to buy an SUV. With the savings, you might be able to buy an econo car for single person daily commuting.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. If I wanted a large vehicle for a family that large, I'd buy a mini-van.
Less of a chance for roll-over with mini-vans compared to SUVs as well. Lower center of gravity.
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Not a bad idea...
A lot would depend on where you live and what you might pull.

Mini-vans might be better for safety and in town driving, SUVs for off road and towing.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. Mini-vans are great, but they don't tow. n/t
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tjwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. I traded my $4000 dollar '95 toyota in for a $250000...
...bus.

Actually a train. I bike it 2 miles to the Amaya trolley station, take the trolley to Old Town and hop the coaster, then the coaster drops me off in SV, where I jump a shuttle that drops me right off at my front office's front door.

It's awesome...my job pays for most of my train and trolley passes, I get a little exercise in there. I spend about 10 bucks a month on gas with what little weekend driving I actually do.

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demokatgurrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
20. I agree on all counts
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 06:55 PM by demokatgurrl
Gas has been too cheap in this country for too long. 25 years ago when I first went to Europe, prices were about 4 times what they were here, and cars half the size. That was just before the big SUV boom got started. I too am expecting people to have amnesia and go right back to the gas hogs once prices stay low for a while.

And can someone tell me why a suburbanite needs to drive a Hummer to the grocery store?

And there is no QUESTION the Saudis have us right where they want us, and won't let go easily. We're like junkies, they're our dealers.
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