Reading the review on the Chevy Spark in the NYTimes this morning and I like this assessment of the big American automakers,
Currently earning billions as the “new” G.M., the company is not out of the woods. But while this 1.2-liter 84-horsepower urban runabout is about the slowest thing on wheels — and as much a niche car in America as any Hummer — its very existence says something good about G.M. On all fronts, the company is at least trying to anticipate market trends, rather than propagate an action-movie fantasy worthy of Michael Bay.
That is not to say there isn’t room for cinematic Camaros or modern S.U.V.’s. What it does mean is that the parochial Midwestern bubble that once surrounded G.M. — and in which Chrysler and Ford happily floated as well — seems to have popped for good.
Seems like a pretty fair assessment of the past state of American automobiles. Even just five years I wouldn’t consider an American automobile, not out of some weird reverse patriotism or something, but simply because they didn’t offer anything good in the type of car I was interested in. Today, however, there are tons of great models from domestic automakers that are appealing to me. In fact, the next NYTimes article delves into this.
I’m also always weirded out by how vain and single-minded the car magazine writers are. First, the assessments of vehicle styling are always written from a very traditional perspective. Anything slightly out-side-the-box is criticized or mocked by these writers. Yet, fortunately, most American buyers have much more varied tastes and the roads are filled with a huge range of vehicle styling. And second, these reviewers always seem to focus on power. That those two criteria (styling and power) drive most of the reviews almost certainly hurts the domestic automakers each time they try to step out said that “Midwestern bubble” described above.