10 cars that sank Detroit?

Vtr_Racing

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The guy that wrote that should have re-phrased it but....Im not sure if thats the trut and nothing but the truth but somebody s perspective on this...
http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/923/10-Cars-That-Sank-Detroit
10 Cars That Sank Detroit

By Rick Newman

The global financial crisis is suffocating the Detroit automakers, but the problems at General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have been festering for years—even when the mighty "Big Three" were earning billions. Aging factories, inflexible unions, arrogant executives and shoddy quality have all damaged Detroit. Now, with panicky consumers fleeing showrooms, catastrophe looms:

There will be plenty of business-school case studies analyzing all the automakers' wrong turns. But, as they say in the industry, it all comes down to product. So here are 10 cars that help explain the demise of Detroit: GM and Chrysler need a multibillion-dollar government bailout to survive, and both could be in bankruptcy by summer if they don't meet tough government demands. Ford hasn't asked for a bailout—yet—but it's bleeding cash and racing the clock to turn itself around.


Ford Pinto. This ill-fated subcompact came to epitomize the arrogance of Big Auto. Ford hurried the Pinto to market in the early 1970s to battle cheap imports like the Volkswagen Beetle that were selling for less than $2,000. Initial sales were strong, but quality problems emerged. Then came the infamous safety problems with exploding fuel tanks, which Ford refused to acknowledge. Message: The customer comes last. "The problems for the domestics really started in the '70s when they were offering cars like the Pinto up against higher-tech, better-built Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics," says Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book.

Chevrolet Cavalier. GM sold millions of Cavaliers in the 1980s—and decided the thrifty car was so successful the company didn't need to update it for more than a decade. To milk the model, GM even added some lipstick and high heels and tried to peddle the upgrade as the Cadillac Cimarron—a legendary flop. Honda and Toyota, meanwhile, were updating their competing models every four or five years, and grabbing market share with each quality improvement. A new Cavalier came out in the mid 1990s—then languished for another decade, while GM put most of its money into big trucks and SUVs. GM has since improved its small cars. "But they have to be miles better than the imports for Americans to forget how bad their small cars used to be," says Jamie Page Deaton of U.S. News's Rankings and Reviews car-ranking site. Even if they are better, many Americans wonder why they should give Detroit a second—or third—chance.

Chevrolet Astro. While Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda were refining their minivans in the 1990s and coming up with innovations like hideaway seats and electric sliding doors, GM was offering an old, truck-based van gussied up with carpeting and cupholders. "It showed GM's repeated failure to market competitive products based on styling and packaging," says Tom Libby of J. D. Power & Associates. The Astro drove like a bread truck, and consumers noticed. It also earned the worst safety ratings in its class. Before long, GM was effectively out of the minivan segment. No biggie—those were just mainstream American families the automaker decided to ignore.

Ford Taurus. Try to explain this logic: After its 1986 debut, the Taurus became a perennial bestseller. So for the next 20 years, Ford let quality decline and neglected the family sedan, while pouring love and money into trucks and SUVs. By early this decade, the Taurus had become a dowdy, rental-lot staple. So Ford simply retired the Taurus in 2006 and replaced it with the 500 sedan—which went on to set records as one of the most short-lived models ever. A year later, Ford revived the Taurus name and applied it to a bastardized 500. But by then, the damage was done.

Ford Explorer. This breakout vehicle helped launch SUVs and drove record profits at Ford in the 1990s, as Americans flocked to big utilities that could take them off-road if they ever got adventurous. It also blinded Ford to the future. "Executives could not see beyond the green piling up at their feet," says David Magee, author of How Toyota Became No. 1. "The Explorer helped create an addiction that lasted 15 years." GM and Chrysler followed right behind, with SUVs like the Chevy Trailblazer and the Dodge Durango—lockstep moves that reveal how the Detroit automakers focused on each other rather than the broader marketplace.

Jaguar X-Type. Ford bought the British luxury brand Jaguar in 1990, when all three Detroit automakers were seeking ways to expand their global reach. Eventually, Ford decided to build an entry-level Jaguar starting at around $30,000 for people looking to move up from, say, a Mercury Marquis. The down-market move "represented everything that Jaguar is not," says Libby of J. D. Power. The X-Type was built on an ordinary sedan platform from elsewhere in Ford's lineup, and the front-wheel-drive system underwhelmed enthusiasts used to rear-drive European makes. Jag purists were horrified, and aspiring luxury buyers shunned the X-Type in favor of BMWs, Lexuses, and Acuras. After fumbling the luxury brand for nearly two decades, Ford sold Jaguar to an Indian conglomerate in 2008.

Hummer H2. It sure seemed cool back in 2003, when gas was less than $2 per gallon. And it sure seems gaudy now. This supersized SUV clearly had a heyday, but it also helped paint parent company GM as an enviro-hostile corporation that sold only gas guzzlers. Sales collapsed as gas prices rose toward $4 a gallon in mid-2008, and GM has been trying to sell the division for six months—with no takers, so far. "GM wanted to make Hummer a signature company brand," says Magee. "Instead, it showed the company was out of touch with the needs of the 21st century."

Toyota Prius. While GM was spending $1 billion to build up the Hummer franchise, Toyota was spending $1 billion to develop a high-mileage hybrid—even though gas prices were still low. After the Prius debuted in the United States in 2000, GM execs seized yet another opportunity to display their intimate knowledge of American consumers, arguing that hybrids didn't make economic sense and that only environmentalists would buy them. Today, Toyota can barely keep up with demand for the Prius, and it has plans to start building them in the United States. GM, meanwhile, is scrambling to rush hybrids and other high-mileage cars into dealerships—far too late.

Chrysler Sebring. Did Chrysler engineers set out to build the world's most boring car? Of course not. Yet Chrysler still produces this blandmobile to keep assembly lines running and maintain a presence, however weak, in the sedan market. In the new Darwinian auto industry, this model seems destined for extinction, since the only way to sell marginal cars is with steep discounts, which money-losing automakers can no longer afford. In fact, if Chrysler ends up being carved into pieces and sold to competitors, as many analysts expect, most of its passenger-car lineup could get the axe, since there's little to distinguish it. Besides—what's a sebring, anyway?

Jeep Compass. Quick, what's the difference between the Jeep Compass, the Jeep Liberty, and the Jeep Patriot? The bosses at Chrysler, which owns Jeep, could explain, but the real answer is that Chrysler has oversaturated its strongest brand lineup in a desperate attempt to boost sales. "The Compass is not needed," says James Bell of Intellichoice.com. "Just the Liberty, please." The Compass has the same mechanical underpinnings as the Dodge Caliber, which helps illustrate one of Detroit's favorite tricks: Create multiple versions of every product under a bunch of different brand names, hoping that if buyers shun one, they'll take a more favorable view of another. Message to Detroit: Consumers aren't that stupid. Give them a bit more credit, and you might have a future.
 

Vtr_Racing

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Then you have this same guys blog titled, 10 cars that could save Detroit, one of which is non-existant. The blog is kind of dated....I think you can figure out which way this guy leans.
http://www.usnews.com/blogs/flowcha...-could-salvage-detroit.html?s_cid=yf:2detroit
10 Cars That Could Salvage Detroit
November 14, 2008 03:07 PM ET | Rick Newman

The road to recovery in Detroit is so long and pitted that General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler might not all make it. Billions in federal aid will help. But the government doesn't build cars, and without top products in the most important segments, the Detroit Three will continue to flounder while the Japanese and Europeans surge ahead. Here are some of the cars that are key to the revival of the domestic automakers (Click here for photos):

EV-1. GM famously spent $1 billion trying to build this electric-powered two-seater in the '90s, only to scrap the project because of range limitations and other shortfalls. Critics dubbed the EV-1 a huge flop. But hold on: One of GM's top priorities right now is the Chevy Volt electric plug-in, due in 2010. And much of the technology comes straight from the EV-1. If electric cars catch on and GM ends up a leader, it will be largely due to lessons learned from this failed experiment.

Chevy Volt. Unlike the EV-1, the Volt has a gas engine that kicks in once the battery runs down, so you can't get stranded away from a recharging outlet. Since it's a sedan, the Volt will appeal to families, too. Initial sales will probably be low, thanks to a high price tag and wariness over the technology. And it could be years before GM recoups its investment. But if the Volt succeeds, it will help re-establish GM as a technology leader and provide some badly needed environmental cred. The technology will also get cheaper over time, and it could spread to many other GM models.

Ford Fiesta. All three domestic automakers need to recapture small-car buyers who have fled to imports like the Honda Civic that offer better quality and cachet. The European-built Fiesta, due in the U.S. in 2010, will make the case with crisp styling and gas mileage in the mid-30s. Ford could also import the C-Max and Kuga into the U.S. from Europe. If they succeed, "the impact of all three of these Euro Ford vehicles will be huge," says James Bell of Intellichoice.com.

[See our list of 10 Cars That Sank Detroit, and photo gallery]

Chevy Cruze. If this subcompact debuts as planned in 2010, it will be a spirited and welcome replacement for the middling Cobalt. A small turbocharged engine could produce high mileage and a bit of excitement, a combo that's been missing from GM's lineup. That might help grab a bit of turf from hot newcomers like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.

Cadillac Escalade. That's right, there's still a market for huge, gawdy SUVs, and even with sales down, the Escalade remains one of GM's most profitable vehicles. GM became far too reliant on big SUVs, and it's begun the arduous process of retooling assembly lines to build fewer SUVs and more passenger cars. But the Escalade and its downmarket cousins, the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, still appeal to families with gear to haul, boats to tow, and little fear of gas prices.

Ford F-150. This work truck has been Ford's bedrock vehicle, and a perennial bestseller. The housing bust has torpedoed sales, since contractors are prime buyers. But once there's a recovery and building activity picks up, the F-150 will help lift Ford, too.

Jeep Wrangler. Part of Chrysler's problem is a stable of indistinct vehicles that can't get traction in the marketplace. But not the Wrangler. This iconic Jeep remains popular when other off-roaders seem excessive and unnecessary. Some analysts think that deeply troubled Chrysler, which owns Jeep, should rally around its strongest brand, and maybe even rechristen itself as "Jeep Corp."

[Tell us what cars you would add to this list, and why: flowchart@usnews.com.]

GMC Acadia. This crossover has been a hit since debuting last year, and GM has covered all its bases by rolling out a Saturn, Buick, and Chevy version. Drivers like the carlike ride and SUV-style amenities, plus it carries 7, which makes it a minivan alternative. Once the economy rebounds and sales pick up, the Acadia could help GM reclaim a lot of turf seized by competitors like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Chevy Camaro. With gas prices falling, the timing could be just right for this revived muscle car, due in 2009. A new Ford Mustang is coming, too, which could offer car buffs a bit of excitement to balance all the bad news out of Detroit. "A good ol' pony car battle will bring smiles," says Bell.

Chrysler Secret. There's no model by this name, but one of the mysteries in Detroit is what Chrysler has planned for the future. The company has talked about electric cars and imports from China, but there are few official announcements. And a new hybrid version of the Dodge Durango hybrid was canceled just weeks after it debuted this summer. That's a bad sign. With the company hoarding cash and seeking a buyer, Chrysler's future is more uncertain than the price of gas in a year.
 

JEFFRPM

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They forgot the VEGA, PACER, GREMLIN, AZTEC, GRANADA, CIMERRON, TEMPO, TOPAZ, ESCORT, FIESTA, ANY 1980 FORD TRUCK,
 

Racer21(Roberto)

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Isn't it ironic that the Hummer H2, and the Prius are claimed to be responsible?
 

MattV

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Truthfully, I think that if the US auto industry is to be "saved", they need to concentrate on making the vehicles that actually sell. These would of course be trucks, suv's, etc. Even though many of them are better than the foreign competition, their cars simply don't sell well, and should perhaps be abandoned altogether.
 

woundedyak

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What killed GM(IMO) is that they tried to make a certin car for every person in the world. Competing with themselves.Too many dam reasons to go buy foreign. Stick with what you know! Trucks/SUV'S,muscle cars and four door family cars. that's it. Not 5 versions of a family vans,not 3 versions of a rice rocket, and not 12 versions of a station wagons. "Well Geeez Yak, It's not a station wagon, It's a cross over!" What ever the hell it is; Selling 1200 units a yr doesn't cut it.
 

MattV

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What killed GM(IMO) is that they tried to make a certin car for every person in the world. Competing with themselves.Too many dam reasons to go buy foreign. Stick with what you know! Trucks/SUV'S,muscle cars and four door family cars. that's it. Not 5 versions of a family vans,not 3 versions of a rice rocket, and not 12 versions of a station wagons. "Well Geeez Yak, It's not a station wagon, It's a cross over!" What ever the hell it is; Selling 1200 units a yr doesn't cut it.

I'm sure that making 5 different versions of the same thing didn't help, either.
 

manicmechanic

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I know all of these cars very well, they put a roof over my head, food on the table and beer in the fridge for me for many years.!!!!!!!
 

manicmechanic

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How's that working out now?

So far so good. Having survived a couple recessions as a dealership mechanic it seems the dealers that have invested in their service departments are the survivers.
The stealerships that consider it a nessesary evil and a pain are failing.
A dealership owner once summed it up. "In good economic times the showroom carries the shop, in tough times the shop carries the showroom."
 

Mark Newhan

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All of the cars mentioned in the article are from the 1970's and '80's. There was surge in european imports as well as a love affair with the euro life style. I am not sure why it is so cool to buy european, afterall they produced cars like the Renault Alliance, Renault LeCar, Several Audi models, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat (who can forget the X-19. There was the Hundia from Korea. The fact is that perception is reality. The eropean imports made the statement that you were somehow inferior if you drove a domestic car. Dont get me wrong though, Detroit did make some unappealing cars. I think that it was a hang over from the 1960's and through the 1970's. The baby boomers that were running the country were to busy experimenting with with drugs and drinking the reality of grown up life to pu much effort into their occupations. This is also obvious in products like T.V.'s, radios and mostly home construction. My house was built in the late 1980's. I did a room ad and remodel a few years ago and the quality of the construction is pretty bad.
 

RL Detroit

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All of the cars mentioned in the article are from the 1970's and '80's. There was surge in european imports as well as a love affair with the euro life style. I am not sure why it is so cool to buy european, afterall they produced cars like the Renault Alliance, Renault LeCar, Several Audi models, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat (who can forget the X-19. There was the Hundia from Korea. The fact is that perception is reality. The eropean imports made the statement that you were somehow inferior if you drove a domestic car. Dont get me wrong though, Detroit did make some unappealing cars. I think that it was a hang over from the 1960's and through the 1970's. The baby boomers that were running the country were to busy experimenting with with drugs and drinking the reality of grown up life to pu much effort into their occupations. This is also obvious in products like T.V.'s, radios and mostly home construction. My house was built in the late 1980's. I did a room ad and remodel a few years ago and the quality of the construction is pretty bad.

I could not hace said that better myself!
 

manicmechanic

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All of the cars mentioned in the article are from the 1970's and '80's. There was surge in european imports as well as a love affair with the euro life style. I am not sure why it is so cool to buy european, afterall they produced cars like the Renault Alliance, Renault LeCar, Several Audi models, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat (who can forget the X-19. There was the Hundia from Korea. The fact is that perception is reality. The eropean imports made the statement that you were somehow inferior if you drove a domestic car. Dont get me wrong though, Detroit did make some unappealing cars. I think that it was a hang over from the 1960's and through the 1970's. The baby boomers that were running the country were to busy experimenting with with drugs and drinking the reality of grown up life to pu much effort into their occupations. This is also obvious in products like T.V.'s, radios and mostly home construction. My house was built in the late 1980's. I did a room ad and remodel a few years ago and the quality of the construction is pretty bad.

Well said mark! The mention of the "X one nine" made the old scars on my hands itch.
I remember the maintanance schedule. Water pump, water pump, head gasket, clutch, oil change, repeat. However these things were a ball to drive.
 
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