In this column, I’d like to talk about cars and trucks. As an automobile enthusiast, I have a healthy respect for all vehicles. I have to say that I was really impressed with the vehicles touted by North American manufacturers at the Detroit auto show.
It all started with the new rear-wheel drive cars from Chrysler. Finally, Detroit is getting back to what it does best–bold vehicle design. I’m a big fan of the “retro” look, and the good news is that quality is getting better, vehicle design is getting better, and there is still a lot of value in domestic vehicles.
I like German cars and I like Japanese cars, but mostly I like American cars because of the overall package they offer. BMW’s are great, but like many German cars, the electronics don’t tend to last as well as either Japanese or American vehicles. Not only that, they are very expensive to fix, especially out of warranty.
My sister drives an older Honda Civic and she has never had a problem with that vehicle. It’s a solid, reliable car, but it just doesn’t stir much in the way of passion for me. My father owned vehicles from just about every manufacturer out there. He isn’t brand loyal because he likes to try different makes for the variety. Right now, he likes the Infiniti lineup, and many people say you get a lot more bang for your buck with these cars over a BMW or a Mercedes.
One area that I’m really excited about in terms of the domestic industry is CUVs. These crossover vehicles are smaller, more fuel efficient SUVs and the new designs from Detroit are awesome. Although it isn’t on the market yet, I really like the new Ford Edge and its Lincoln equivalent. The proportions are right and it just looks great. With available all-wheel-drive and a great new V6 engine, I think the Edge will be a solid winner for Ford.
This is what Detroit needs to do to in order to turn around the domestic industry. Bold new designs that offer comparable reliability to Japanese vehicles. American manufacturers have always been good at building trucks and SUVs, and I really think that the success of the CUV market will bring domestic manufacturers back into the game.