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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Grading Daimler Chrysler

Pros: The Chrysler Group. The 300 is obviously doing fantastic, Dodge trucks are selling well, the Hemi is selling well (though that will change soon with gas prices), and the Magnum is doing decently.

Cons: The Daimler side of things is another story. Mercedes looks like the German version of GM, with too many overlapping models competing with each other and sapping profits. Also Mercedes just doesn't have good reliability anymore. They need to combine models, and simplify things, like BMW. It's a shame they don't sell manual transmissions on many of their American cars. Also the Charger should have come out before the Magnum. As nice as the Magnum is, hot rod station wagons are more of a European thing, than an American thing. If they could just get both sides of the company to work together, they would do great.

Grade: B-. Mercedes is worrying, but some of the smart moves DCX has made include, selling their Hyundai shares, ending investment in the mess that is Mitsubishi, and reinventing the American car in the form of the 300. American car companies have never, and will never sell cars that handle like European cars, nor be as reliable as Japanese cars. However they can make vehicles that look great, and fit the American personality. Big cars with swagger. The 300 is one such vehicle, and hopefully more will be on the way.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Grading Honda

Pros: Great lineup, every car and SUV they make is at the top of its class. Fantastic reputation for reliability, lock on the youth market. Strong leader in hybrids.

Cons: Didn't market hybrids correctly, Insight, and Civic sales not the greatest. The youth market is slipping, and a new Civic is needed. Styling can be a little bland at times.

Grade: B. I think of 2004 as an off year for Honda. They didn't really have any new releases. They're the first company to offer a mid-size sedan with a hybrid, which makes me wonder if Ford and Toyota made an agreement to make hybrids for certain classes, or not. The Civic, the S2000, these vehicles need to be updated. Scion is gaining market that the Civic once ruled over. That's not good. They have a lot of talent, so I'm not too worried. But it goes to show that even media darlings can make mistakes.

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