Sunday, November 07, 2004
I'm going to be making more and more updates based around personal opinions, rather than articles. I'm very picky about finding articles to write around, and I feel that merely writing around an auto article is somewhat like plagiarism, and takes away from my true opinions. Also, creating links is tiresome, and I am basically a very lazy person.
A poster below commented on MINI being another small car that is of high quality in the US market. They're totally right, and I overlooked them. That was a mistake. But I still have to stand by the fact that VW is the only car company that is committed to making high quality small cars. Whether they're committed to making high quality small cars that are reliable like Honda is another matter altogether.
Before the current fuel crisis erupted, and continues to erupt, I was rather uninformed on the fuel dilemma this country faces in the short term and long term future. When BMW announced that it was bringing the 1-series to our shores, I jeered. Now I cheer.
You can count on one hand the 4 cylinder cars that offer DVD navigation. The Mazda 3, and the MINI are the only ones I can find. Let's throw in the Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid as well. They don't have DVD navigation or leather interiors, but they have a gimick that adds considerably to the price of the vehicle. And that's about it.
All the other high end small cars that are expensive, are expensive because they offer large engines that give them increased speed. Those are high quality small cars, but they will not sell well because of increased fuel prices.
So as the American market slowly morphs into the European market, only those car companies that are offering small cars that are of high quality are going to enjoy these turbulent times. Mazda, BMW/MINI, Honda, Toyota, and VW are companies to watch. I've seen jpegs of the Euro versions of the VW lineup, and know that the Jetta and Golf of the near future have DVD navigation. Whether they'll be offered in America is another matter. But they're probably engineered for those deluxe options, and could be easily transported over if the need arises. VW's adventure with turning a company famous for the 3rd world fun rides of the Beetle into a luxury brand is now coming to an end. As middle class families refuse to pay 3000 dollars a year in fuel costs, and downsize their vehicles, they'll want small well built cars. The companies I've listed above are already there. Certainly people in Los Angeles are already ahead of most of the nation.
As "Rocketboy" noted below in the comments section, Ford made a terrible move with the new Focus. The Euro-Focus, in the pictures I've seen, looks amazing, and has a great interior with all the amenities. The 2005 Focus for North America, is uglier than the vehicle it replaces, and has a Cavalier interior. Not a smart move. Why couldn't the Ford Focus continue to be a a world car, made the same for every market? For a company that makes an intelligent move with the Escape Hybrid, they make a dumb move with a vehicle that is going to sell in much higher numbers. Not smart.