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As evidenced by the growing number of nameplates in America, the US market is not going in one direction. The tastes of automobile consumers is heterogenous, and that is reflected in the wide variety of vehicles people purchase. There will always be hedonic consumers for whom a Prius will never do. And there will always be environmentally-conscious consumers for whom a Escalade ESV will never do. Granted, the technology that powers our cars may at some point change, but I would hardly consider Honda as sensing the pulse of the entire American car consuming public. Ditto that sentiment for Ford, DCX, GM, or Toyota. That's why I find it curious that some people proclaim one or two makes to be clearly superior.

Many of the products at a variety of auto companies, both foreign and domestic, appeal to a wide variety of people. One glance at a sales chart reflects that point.
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Jun 17 2004, 02:55 PM
consider, however, the companies who have expanded with new brands over the past couple of decades, and those who have lost divisions. Chrysler (who got bought out by a foreign company, no less) lost Plymouth and Eagle in the past decade. GM, of course is bidding farewell to the Olds brand after well over 100 years. meanwhile, Acura and Lexus have only grown, as has Infiniti, and Scion is emerging. funny how the Japanese brands just continue to gain ground if they don't know what this market wants. i don't think they are all encompassing, but they do a really good job at hitting the sweet spot in the marketplace. besides, look at the top selling midsize sedans (very important, very lucrative) and tell me what they are. Toyota and Honda. all i'm saying is that instead of hiding and watching, GM needs to be ahead of the game some time, and once again, they're not.
When I speak of ever-growing nameplates, I'm not referring to divisions; I refer specifically to models. Since WWII, the number of nameplates has been growing, both from a domestic and import standpoint. As an example, Cadillac's portfolio is growing. Though it lost the Fleetwood, Allante, and Catera, it gained the SRX, CTS, XLR, and Escalade: two sedans and a roadster have been replaced by a sedan, a roadster, a crossover, and a large sport utility. I see that as an example of a continued splintering of the market.

Of course, there will always be large selling vehicles (as you pointed out, the Accord and Camry which each capture 400,000 units in sales per year). Lest you forget economies of scale, GM and Ford certainly have found the sweetspot in trucks: GM moves over 650,000 Silverados per year, and Ford moves close to 850,000 F-series.

There was a recent article (posted on GMInsidenews?!), in which an author correctly identified the growing nameplates in the USA. If you divide the total number of vehicles sold in the USA by the total number of nameplates offered in the USA, you find that each model averages about 85,000 units per year (of course, the standard deviation is whopping). By 2010, with the anticipated number of new nameplates to be added to automakers selling cars in the USA (close to a total of 280), the average unit sales per nameplate should decrease to about 65,000.

I think both the domestics (finally and thankfully) and the imports are playing a role in the continued heterogeneity of the US auto market.
 
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