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Old 04-12-2006, 08:59 AM   #1
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AutoExtremist: Exotics from Detroit

DeLorenzo, jsut posted a very very well written cheer for Detroit... coming from a man that often has a very critical eye for Detroit


Quote:

by Peter M. DeLorenzo

Hey, New York, check out the exotic "imports" - from Detroit.

Detroit. Now that the media din has successfully canonized literally every import brand imaginable, no matter what the pedigree, and instilled a Detroit = Bad, Imports = Good mentality in the American car buying public, New Yorkers attending the New York Auto Show this week owe it to themselves to check out the "exotic" import offerings from the Motor City. And if they would take their import-oriented blinders off long enough, they would be shocked at the sheer number of competitive offerings from GM, Ford and the Chrysler Group.

The state of the domestic auto industry in this country is such that Detroit-sourced brands should be viewed as exotic imports at this point, because too many in the media (who should know better) and in this country's current administration, along with the various lightweights in Washington (who are incapable of knowing better) are so blatantly biased against anything that Detroit comes up with that it would be laughable - if it weren't so tedious and flat-out wrong.

In many respects, now that the imports have gone mainstream, thanks to ill-informed tirades from such automotive "experts" as The New York Times' Thomas L. Friedman, who officially anointed Toyota as "America's Car Company" last summer - Detroit collectively has a shot as the alternative brand for American consumers. As a matter of fact, it's amusing to see some of the import brands veering to the staid and stodgy end of the automotive spectrum, while the Detroit automakers continue to push the envelope, coming up with some of the industry's most expressive designs.

After documenting this industry for the last seven years, it's no secret why this has happened, and I'm not going to rehash it here, but suffice to say Detroit played a large role in the predicament they find themselves in today and have gotten almost everything they've deserved. But some of my lesser colleagues out there have so bought into the imports-are-automatically-better way of looking at the world that they're not only incapable of seeing anything positive come from Detroit - they wouldn't know if it ran over them in the street. And the American consumers have followed right along with the program, now so conditioned to the notion that Detroit = Bad, Imports = Good that they're incapable of giving anything with Detroit overtones even a minimal shred of consideration.

With that in mind, I'll offer up a list of worthwhile offerings from Detroit that New Yorkers should check out at the show - on their way to picking out which shade of Beige to order their Camrys in.

Stop at the Chrysler Group exhibit and check out the Dodge Caliber and the Nitro. We like the Nitro better, but these are compact vehicles with a real point of view. Rear-wheel-drive fans shouldn't miss the Charger, the 300C and, of course, the bad-ass Viper sports car. And if you're into Jeeps, there are so many variations on the floor that you could spend an hour just sorting them all out. Trucks? They got plenty of 'em, so you won't be disappointed if trucks are your thing.

At Ford, the Fusion is a perfect example of a mainstream domestic car that deserves far more attention than it's already receiving, so investigate it further. And if branding exercises are your game, there are Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr versions too. The Ford Edge is the kind of crossover vehicle that should get a lot more attention once it hits the streets, even though it's not our particular thing. But so far it's getting lost in the din of import canonization. The Ford display is Truck City, so I won't even bother talking about the endless variations on the theme, although if you don't revel in the sheer presence of the "Super Chief" F-150 Concept you're truly missing out.

And for those of you out there who equate euro "sophistication" and technological overkill with desirability, don't go see the new Shelby Cobra Mustang GT 500. As a matter of fact, just keep right on walking, because its raw visceral appeal would be completely lost on you. For the rest who have the remnants of an open mind, you'll also enjoy checking out the milder Ford Shelby GT-H, a throwback to when Shelby and Ford actually sent a few Shelby Mustangs to Hertz rental lots in the 60s.

As for GM, they're the one domestic car company that has put more emphasis on product in the last few years than anyone (after ignoring it for so long they certainly needed to, desperately) - and it shows. In GM's display, you'll see good stuff everywhere you look. If you're looking for a sedan that has more character in one wheel than most other sedans have in total, the new Saturn Aura has mainstream "hit" written all over it, and it will be available this summer. For those needing something right now, check out the Chevy Impala SS with a small-block V-8 and displacement on demand. It's one of GM's "quiet" hits that continues to sell extremely well. Or the tasteful new Buick Lucerne, which packs more style, luxury and value in its package than the Lexus ES350. Then, there's the Chevy HHR, another of GM's "quiet" hits. Or the Pontiac G6 hardtop convertible. Or how about the Pontiac Solstice roadster, or the Saturn Sky, if sharp creases appeal to you more? Or the new full-size SUVs led by the Cadillac Escalade. Or the Hummer H3. The new Corvette. Or the Corvette ZO6 - one of the best sports cars in the world, period.

You get the picture. The New York Auto Show is a snapshot of the automobile industry right now, the most competitive it has ever been in its history. Detroit has been so out of it for so long they're now coming back around as the quintessential "outsiders" in a business that has become overrun with preconceived notions, accumulated biases and a confluence of relentlessly ill-informed weasels hell-bent on witnessing the outright destruction of the domestic automobile business - even though the consequences of such a scenario would have a profoundly negative impact on every single citizen in this country.

The "exotics" from Detroit are now worth a serious look, and this week, New Yorkers will get an eye-full. I believe they'll be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks for listening, see you next Wednesday.
Source:http://autoextremist.com/page2.shtml#Rant

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Old 04-12-2006, 09:59 AM   #2
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*clapping*

thats exactly what needs to be done.....

i mean honestly.......
why NOT support your own economy???
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:12 AM   #3
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I read autoextremist every Wednesday when it is updated. I love reading DeLorenzo's stuff. He calls it like he sees it - agree or disagree - and I respect his opinions. Many think he has gotten too negative towards GM, Ford, and Chrysler lately, but I disagree. He simply wants to see them do what they need to do to not only survive, but start growing market share again.

He also points out that the companies are largely responsible, through past neglect, for many consumers not even wanting to consider their products now. However, he correctly asserts that they (manufacturers) are starting to get the message now - and to not at least look at and consider their new offerings would be a mistake, as they are actually bringing out attractive and competitive products now.
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:13 AM   #4
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"With that in mind, I'll offer up a list of worthwhile offerings from Detroit that New Yorkers should check out at the show - on their way to picking out which shade of Beige to order their Camrys in."

Couldn't agree more. I love the stuff thats coming out around here, it's all so fresh now.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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Source: autoblog.com

Why GM just can't win
Posted Apr 12th 2006 7:33PM by Joel Arellano
[Detroit Free Press via Indianapolis Star]

Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press tries to answer what seems to be a very common question about General Motors: if the automaker's vehicles have improved, why is it still losing market share and scoring low on independent surveys from sources like Consumer Reports?

Consistency seems to be the answer, writes Phelan. Or lack of it on GM's part. According to his article, while some of GM brands, such as Buick, and even some models, such as the Chevrolet Impala, score high on surveys by JD Power & Associates. But too many also fall below average. Toyota's vehicles, from its compact cars to its largest trucks, are consistent in their quality levels according to Phelan. The Japanese automaker, who may surpass GM this year as world's number one automaker, also has fewer platforms which is part of its philosophy in quality maintenance.

But GM's rising scores--despite some cynicism from Consumer Reports found in Phelan's article--indicate it has learned from its past mistakes. Now, for example, GM tests parts until they fail instead of a pre-determined limit. New vehicles especially, like the Chevrolet Malibu, have already seen benefits from these changes. Unfortunately, the public continues to remember the lower performing brands and models, like GM's minivans, and associates the entire automaker's line up with their past experiences.
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