The UAW strikes GM; how GM got the union it asked for

I haven’t been following the GM-UAW negotiations, which might explain why the strike that was just called took me by surprise. This strike will probably end up hurting both parties. Sales will be lost, and the launches of the promising new Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Malibu could be stunted. Many people blame the “outdated” union. But it’s not that simple.… More →

Ford to finally get decent marketing with Steve Wilhite?

Note: Toyota’s Jim Farley ended up with the Ford job. The Wilhite rumor turned out to be incorrect.  Ford has long had some of the worst marketing in the industry. Their brand identity has been broad and vague. Their product lineup has been full of overlaps and gaps. Their targetting has been somewhere between imprecise and non-existent. And their advertising has… More →

Stacey L. Childs: Putting things into perspective

Operating a website with thousands of members is hard work. No matter how much you give, you’ll still receive many complaints in return. The experience has made site admins a generally cantankerous bunch. I know this from what goes on inside my own head, and from my communications with other admins. And then there’s Greg of Nissan and Infiniti forum… More →

J.D. Power’s misplaced emphasis

J.D. Power withholds repair rate data from car buyers, but does provide ratings in the form of dots. In addition to the normal problems with dot ratings–they’re quite vague–J.D.’s have an additional, serious weakness: they only go down to two. These days, most cars are at least fairly reliable. There’s not a huge difference between the most reliable cars and… More →

How large can the Honda Accord get?

Back when I first became interested in cars, the second-generation Honda Accord was one of the hottest products on the market. People liked it because it was thoughtfully designed, well-assembled, agile, and compact. What it was not: fast or roomy. Owners looked down on Detroit iron as unnecessarily large and wasteful. For 2008, Honda has introduced an eighth generation Accord.… More →

Does no-haggle pricing still make sense for Saturn?

For the first decade of Saturn’s existence, “no-haggle pricing”–the sticker price is the price everyone pays–made sense. It made Saturn dealers very easy to work with, and the brand’s reputation benefited. But today, despite an all-new product line-up, Saturn is falling short of its sales goals. The products are solid. The problem: no-haggle pricing. Why did no haggle pricing work… More →

Note to Ford: Chrysler hiring Jim Press is what a “Bold Move” looks like

I was just stunned to learn that Jim Press has been lured away from his top position at Toyota of North America to take charge of sales, marketing, and product development at Chrysler. Like Tom LaSorda, who remains in charge of manufacturing and supply, he’ll be a vice-chairman and president. Both will report to recently hired CEO Bob Nardelli. Press played… More →

2008 Chrysler minivans — the most kid-friendly vehicles ever

The new Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan have exterior styling dictated by interior packaging (i.e. they’re very boxy) and their interiors look and feel lower in quality than those of many competitors. But if kids were making the buying decision, Chrysler’s minivan market share would probably be close to 100 percent. Kids don’t care about exterior styling or interior… More →

MyGig Quagmire – or, why I hate pricing Chryslers this year

In three 2007 models (Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Nitro, Jeep Wrangler) and in most of its 2008s Chrysler offers what it calls a “MyGig Infotainment System.” It looks like a great system for media-savvy car buyers. But it’s pure hell for those of us maintaining a car pricing database. The miracle of MyGig is that it can combine a large number… More →