2004 Smart city coupe
WJR Auto Report: Isuzu's Changing Fortunes
Following up on my recent report
about General Motors' global alliance strategy, Isuzu Motors took exception to
comments I made about their financial outlook. Isuzu officials note the
Japanese maker posted operating profits in each of the last four fiscal years,
including an 87-billion yen operating profit in 2005, and was profitable in the
TCC Drives: 2006 Cadillac XLR-V
Yet with the introduction of its edgy "Art & Science" styling theme, Cadillac showed that it might be down, but it certainly wasn't out. Though it's by no means a world-beater, the first production model, the CTS sedan, is one of the luxury segment's most distinctive designs. Then there's the angular XLR, the production version of the GM brand's striking Evoq concept roadster.
Cadillac's first hardtop convertible, the XLR was unabashedly aimed at the likes of that roadster benchmark, the Mercedes SL. Now the two-seater is being served up in a more sporting trim. Boasting a big boost in power, along with some exterior and interior refinements, it becomes the most expensive Cadillac in history, planting the flag at precisely $100,000.
2006 Cadillac XLR-v
Pushing the limits?
My impression is that Americans just don't think much of European design. You might say Mercedes and BMW are successful. They are: But their 530,000 combined sales for cars and trucks, out of a market of almost 17 million, is a limited success.
Care to look at the
failures? Start with Volkswagen and its Golf, popular in
Go to Ford. The Contour and
Mystique were American versions of the European Mondeo. They failed. There is
the Ford Focus, a European-designed small car that started moderately well in
Go to GM. Remember the Cadillac Catera, an Opel with Cadillac badges, imported here? A flop. How about the Saturn LS, a European platform with a plastic skin, a flop and now gone like Cateras and Contour/Mystique. The Saturn Ion was another of those Euro platforms used here. The most successful of the Global/European platform cars sold here is the Chevy Malibu, the fleet special, which even GM executives say is a design bore.
But this doesn't stop executives from thinking the answer to their problems, particularly at GM, is at the global approach. Whenever you bring up the failures, they just brush them aside or say they weren't done well enough. The idea that Americans really don't care for the European approach is beyond their radar.
Flint: Does Detroit Hate
Why don't GM and Ford like American cars?
FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases
Today Bluewater Network, Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and USPIRG placed an ad in the NY Times bashing Ford Motor Company's CEO Bill Ford for (among other transgressions) not being committed enough, in their view, to the issue of global warming. For the record, the Free Enterprise Action Fund receives no funding from Ford or any auto manufacturer. It is the mission of the Fund to advocate the rights of shareholders, demanding that anti-corporate and irresponsible "corporate social responsibility" be put to shareholder votes.
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