Thursday, July 24, 2008

Globe Trotting

Back in the day it was said rather famously that what was good for General Motors was good for America. The Big Three were in the driver's seat of the US economy and oil poured into America's fleet on one end and spewed out the tailpipe at the other. When the Japanese began to make credible and virtually unbreakable passenger cars the Bigs all but gave them the small car market and sat by while they relentlessly grew larger and stole more market share. Sometime in the Carter years they hitched their wagons to SUVs and pickup trucks and began a very profitable 25 year ride. Size was everything, fuel economy irrelevant and using truck platforms insured development costs were low. A true cash cow. Now their indolence and lack of investment has come full circle and lots full of vehicles languish like dinosaurs in another era of climate change.

Fortunately Ford and GM have had to develop cars for a European market that had no interest in trucks. Adversity has forced them to fill their US market gaps with cars from overseas and to get those idle truck assembly lines back to work making 5 door hatchbacks (YEAH). Perhaps this explains the absence of my favorite Chevrolet Malibu Maxx from the newly remodeled lineup. These models are also figuring in the rebirth of the Saturn and Mercury lineups. You can read more about that here.

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