1959 Pontiac Catalina
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Over the last 2 years I have been writing this blog and the last 25 years I have been fascinated by car sales around the globe, there has been a few things I haven’t got my head around. Simple things, odd things or stupid things. They have been like a nagging voice in the back of my head. So I decided to put them all in one article on here. Now the tone is definitely tongue in cheek, I know most answers to these questions are commercial and financial, but that’s boring. So enjoy!
1. Why are the Americans not stuck in the fifties?
In the late fifties and early sixties, American cars were the biggest, boldest and baddest. Oldsmobile Super 88, Pontiac Bonneville, Mercury Park Lane, Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Coupe DeVille, Pontiac Catalina (pictured above), Plymouth Belvedere and Ford Thunderbird: legendary nameplates that have almost all disappeared. Heck, even the Chevrolet (Bel Air) Impala looked good back then. Today what we have to deal with is a Chevrolet Cruze designed in South Korea… Please Detroit, along with importing cars from Detroit, take us back to 1959 all over again!
2. Why does Lada take so long to launch a car that already exists?
In 2006 Renault launched the Dacia Logan MCV, then bought Avtovaz (aka Lada) in 2011 and decided it would rebadge the Logan MCV as the Lada Largus for the Russian market. It was unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show in August 2011. But we had to wait almost an entire year to see the model go on sale in the country in July 2012… Why oh why? It is exactly the same car. Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro does even ‘better’ and waited 3 years between the presentation of the Iran Khodro Runna in April 2009 and its on-sale date in Iran in April 2012, whereas the model is a thinly disguised Peugeot 206 sedan dating back to 2006…
You don’t like the new Hyundai Santa Fe? That’s ok, a new one should be here in 3 years…
3. How does Hyundai do it?
On the other end of the scale, in the same time it takes Iran Khodro to launch an already existing model, Hyundai has decided they would revamp their entire range… I don’t mean just facelift, I mean totally revamp their models, like the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe, i30 and i40 to name just a few, and also throw in a quirky coupé, the Veloster. And it goes the same for sister brand Kia with a constant flux of all-new models being churned out of the Korean car maker’s factories all around the world. But how do they do it?
1963 Panhard 24 CT
4. Where has French luxury gone?
While Louis Vuitton bags, Moët & Chandon champagne, Hermès scarves and Louboutin heels continue to rack up stratospheric sales and churn billions of dollars, keeping the French economy afloat in the process, in the automobile world French luxury has gone missing. Renault Vel Satis anyone? Surely if Victoria Beckham can design the interior of a Range Rover Evoque, the French should be able to do wonders. Bonus points to Citroen for its DS range, but please, someone bring back Panhard already!
1957 Fiat 500
5. What is wrong with Fiat making (very) small cars?
Fiat Bravo, Stilo, Marea, Croma, Ulysse… Rather forget about them? That’s right. Fiat doesn’t do medium or large cars very well. Fact. Fiat Topolino, 500, 600, 850, 126, 127, 128, Uno, Panda, Cinquecento, Seicento, Palio, Punto, Grande Punto, Nuova 500, 500L… Fiat does (very) small cars. And does it (very) well. And there is nothing wrong with it. So get over it and bring more on!
See the next 5 things I don’t understand below…
I also published this article on American website The Truth About Cars. Check it out, there are fascinating comments there as well from people within the industry.