So what is happening to the American automotive industry? Once the envy of every even-slightly manufacturing based economy in the world, it is now on a road to suicide slowly being administered through doses of bad design, bad manufacturing, bad marketing and a total lack of understanding of where people's heads are headed.
This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the foreign competition (at least that part that hasn't been gobbled up by the dying giants) seems to get the idea. All they have to do is sit back, working on refining their product offerings, and watch these meatheads try and kill each other off. (more inside)
The latest evidence of the frenzy that is eating up every ounce of profit and imagination in Detroit comes in the package of the Employee's Price promotions. Buy a car now and heck, you don't pay any more for it than Delores, the secretary in rubber allotment does. We may not have the car you want, we may have forgotten what excitement in driving means, we may not even care that our cars are falling apart years earlier than the competitions', but we are cheap.
And how are they going to get out of this mess? No one has set a deadline on the offer. They're just going to sit there and try and stare each other down, offering everything they have at a lower price, telling the American consumer that they've been overcharged for years. What happens when you go back to the “regular” price? Do you want to be the first airline to drop a frequent flyer program?
This offer feels like walking into a typical Chevrolet showroom (or Buick, or Pontiac, or Saturn…). The sales people attack. They ask you how big a payment you can afford. Then, they try and stick you into the car that the dealership has the most of in inventory.
The website feels the same way. Don't think about what you're buying--just buy something. If you go into a website for an Asian or European car, the idea is to sell you on the value of the car and make. You feel happy that you're spending your money well. American carmakers simply must get out of the idea that people are going to trade in their cars every few years. They aren't. They can't. And deals based only on a good price make a Toyota, or Nissan, or even Volvo showroom look pretty good.