Thursday, January 27, 2005

2004 in Review

For most of us, reviewing the previous year means filling out tax forms. But for those who write for a living, or wish they were writing for a living, sigh, it means an inane look at the past year's events.

Jerry Flint, an auto writer who I disagree with strongly and agree with strongly in basically every column he writes, talks about the year 2004, and sets up high hopes for Chrysler and Ford. But not for GM. I agree.

What's really interesting in his synopsis is how the sales figures for niche sporty vehicles, like the 350z, S2000, Miata, were all doing poorly. Why is that interesting? From what you probably have read in magazines like Car and Driver, Autoweek, etc., is that these are the cars companies should be making. They see them as halo cars, cars that help the brand name as a whole. But the problem is, the buyers of these are finicky, and jump from sporty vehicle to sporty vehicle with regularity. It's mainstays like the Accord, Impala, and Camry that are important.

All in all, a good read, and Flint readily admits his mistake at thinking the youth market was a joke, i.e. his prediction that Scion would fail. No market is a joke, as long as the cars you make for it are high quality. And Scions are very high quality.

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