Friday, February 1, 2013

The Mexican Car Market: A short series that's too long.

How did Detroit blow it?  There are two problems with their mindset.

The first is their idea that America is a foreign country.  The "Imported from Detroit," Chrysler ad that rocked America a while ago was old hat to Californians.  Before the rest of the country was foreign, we were.  Ads from the (then) Big 3 tried to appeal to all of us hippie surfer dudes who could see that they were cool too!  Hey hey, would California like something imported from Detroit? No, we just wanted cars that ran.

Fast forward to 2013, and America is so foreign that it doesn't occur to them to make a small pick-up truck.  Look at the automotive fora.  Lots of people need small trucks for their businesses.  They mention that they're not stonemasons.  Many carry large, but light loads.  The funnier posts mention that there is no need for anatomical compensation.

The two small pick-ups pictured here are from VW and GM in Brazil.  They're good sellers.

Their second problem is their idea that Korea is Japan.  Ever since they got burned by the Japanese, they have been looking to align themselves with the next Japan.  They are as pathetic as the old colonizing Europeans looking for India.  Place names with variations of the word still exist all over Asia and the Americas.

Here are two pictures of Detroit at its laziest.  The Dodge Attitude has most of its Hyundai badges left on.  I didn't photograph their Verna, but that's even worse.  I also photographed the Chevrolet Chevy.  This Daewoo brings to mind old Monty Python jokes about crossing things out and writing over them in crayon.

At times, Korea beats Japan, but they do it on their own terms.  Hyundai and Kia are part of the home team.  GM not only uses Korea to alienate Mexicans, but Koreans as well.  Incredibly, they had the temerity to throw away the Daewoo name and heritage everywhere, even in Korea.

Other foreign companies in different places have managed to achieve home team status.  VW did it in Mexico and Brazil.  Ford has done it in much of Europe.

Meanwhile, the penny-wise search for greatness continues.  The Germans have found that Eastern Europe isn't Germany.  VW is paying a ton of money for the second time to find out that the US isn't Germany.  Honda has joined many other companies in finding out that China isn't Japan.  Suppliers have also learned that China isn't the US or Germany.  In 2011, Tata found out that England isn't India.

The ruse is always the same.  One country looks exactly like another, but without the disadvantages.  Short-sighted executives fall for it every time, and bad products result.

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