As if discovering that the American car industry has become somewhat of a joke is not enough, a recent survey asking buyers how pleased they were with their recent car purchase, confirmed the dire position of the US domestic car industry. Out of 17 categories, US manufactured cars filled only three of those spots. The survey carried out by JD Power also revealed that 9 of the 17 “APEAL” (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) categories were taken up with German manufacturers and a further 5 were Japanese or Korean. It really gives no pleasure to witness the demise of a once great symbol of American status, and some of the iconic cars which came out of Detroit have cemented their place in history. The problem is that in the last 10 or more years the industry has almost stood still while car makers have just looked at different ways of marketing and re-packaging the same products. By making ownership a dirty word they have managed to kid everyone that they are in good shape when in reality badly designed and built cars have been left well and truly in the slipstream of far superior, aspirational cars produced in much more efficient car plants in Germany, the far east and to a lesser extent the UK.
Britain may not have many of their own car makers, but they do know how to operate a successful production line for European and far eastern manufacturers. The likes of BMW, Mercedes, VW Audi and Toyota (and perhaps even Hyundai and Kia) are in a great position to fill the void left by the decimated “big 3” and will use the US as a launch pad to increase their power and strength in the world markets over the next few years.
Either way, expect to see many more of these cars driving around the states as Americans get to experience the pleasure of driving decent cars which, dare we say it, make ownership a joy and not a chore.
Results of “APEAL” quality study:
Subcompact: Smart fortwo
Compact: Mini Cooper
Compact Sporty Car: Volkswagen GTI
Midsize Sporty Car: Dodge Challenger
Compact Premium Sporty Car: Mercedes-Benz SLK
Entry Premium Vehicle: Volkswagen CC
Midsize Premium Car: Hyundai Genesis
Large Premium Car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Midsize Car: Volkswagen Passat
Large Car: Nissan Maxima
Compact Crossover: Volkswagen Tiguan
Midsize Crossover: Ford Flex
Large SUV: Nissan Armada
Midsize Premium Crossover: Porsche Cayenne
Large Pickup (tie): Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Avalanche
Midsize Pickup: Honda Ridgeline
Minivan: Honda Odyssey