Having lived in both the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt in the last few years, it became very obvious to me that, outside a small sliver of the Midwest, no one has any affinity at all for cars from GM, Ford or Chrysler.
Of all the troubles the Big 3 face, perception is the biggest one. Because there’s nobody under the age of 30 who can associate domestic automakers with excellence. They simply don’t remember a time when it was cool, or even worthwhile, to buy American cars. The generation that’s buying new cars for perhaps the first time is totally lost for domestics.
As BusinessWeek reports, the Detroit automakers realize it. Maybe:
By now, anyone who can see lightning and hear thunder is aware that Chevrolet is advertising the redesigned 2008 Malibu on TV, in print, in outdoor advertising, online, and generally everywhere as “The Car You Can’t Ignore.” But young people have roundly ignored the Malibu for years and, pickups and SUVs aside, it isn’t the only U.S.-made car that should be feeling snubbed.
Domestic brands like Chevrolet have to “disrupt” that pattern and get themselves noticed, said Ed Peper, Chevrolet’s general manager, in a presentation to the International Motor Press Assn. on Oct. 18 in New York. In plain English, that means U.S. carmakers must figure out a way to get, and hold, the attention of younger buyers with models that offer the looks, quality, reliability, pricing, performance, and fuel economy coming out of Asia and Europe.
The Malibu???? That’s not the answer. We had a Malibu station wagon when I was growing up and it was a piece of crap with sticky seats. I’ll go more in-depth on this someday, but Detroit needs, well, to get out of Detroit.