Here is a post about where I think the US Big 3 is heading.
GM: the bankruptcy model
I don’t like this company for reasons above and beyond the political rhetoric laden stuff. I find GM to still be confused at best about where it is and where it is going. The autos they’re producing seem to be missing something and for sure they have not recovered from a well earned reputation of making crappy or at least undesirable and uncompetitive cars. Although GM is not the first choice of those that like to point out a US manufacturer that is being beaten by the foreign based competition I think they are hands down the biggest loser in this category. Every car they make has a better competitor and nothing that sets it apart from them when the race is close. Seriously fucking Onstar ? No I don’t like GM’s chances to avoid bankruptcy in the future. Heaven help us if they pull the chord and unleash their unholy China alliance upon the domestic market.
Of course it has to be said that the government bailout/bankruptcy deal has done as much to assure future demise issues as anything resembling saving this legacy company. The side deals that came out of the pseudo-pork laden scheme cost GM billions and locked them out of the potential to possible control a China based assist.
Chrysler: the split personality disorder model
I think the model title really captures it for them. Their FIAT ties are showing in the new version of the Dart and are now coming in the commercial sector via the Ram Pro Master (Fiat Ducato). With an eye on taking the competition on with some of its own capabilities shining through Chrysler threatens to make some worthwhile products even if the buyers don’t materialize. Chrysler isn’t going down without a fight. I will say this though. It is disheartening that the Pro Master will be made in Mexico not the USA. People can get silly about China Jeep all they want but this one is for real.
The split personality disorder comes into effect with the apparent competing alter ego of the company. The release of the continuing reincarnation of the muscle cars. These 40k + machines are shit being gobbled up by shit heads,there is no other way to put it. Pure penile replacement therapy here and shoddy at that. Not unlike GMs foray in this arena the cars have shitty suspensions,brakes and transmissions. They are classic American half measure vehicles compared to the truth if you take a plunge of another ten grand or so you are driving superior European engineering down the road. I don’t know what side of the brain will win the battle at Chrysler. I do think they are showing some signs of doing the right thing stressing their divisions pro’s though. Ram,Jeep,Dodge. Market share may well favor them providing they make quality important.
Ford: the universal car & driver model
I don’t own one and doubt I’d count them in the top three makers I would look to for my next auto but ironically I call Ford the best US maker- hands down. Putting aside the political partisanship stuff in which Ford is the superior entity they are in fact making strides to thrive not just survive. The plucky bastards have decided to embrace the one car model. Essentially Ford is taking steps to assure its future in a very interesting manner. A Focus for example in America is the same as Europe or elsewhere. Ditto the Transit Connect, which is in fact from Turkey and commonly found in Europe. Ford is also finally doing something about its Econoline commercial van line. Releasing a new van line under the Transit banner Ford is entering the competition globally that the Mercedes Sprinter has near monopolized. The thing for Ford is that manufacturing,sourcing and ongoing R&D will streamline. This has to be good news in the hyper competitive yet shockingly fickle auto market. Establishing a level of determination and vision can only have positive benefits,providing the quality is there. I do indeed believe Ford is the best positioned of the 3 to have a profitable crack at the coming auto market. The product line consolidation as well as the use of turbo charger technology (eco boost) will give Ford a leg up to attaining the next level of niche position. The next safe harbor as it were in the storm.