SoCalCTS

Ten Cars Americans Hate

18 posts in this topic

Forbes

Times are so difficult for the auto industry that even Toyota and Honda have now experienced the kinds of double-digit sales dips that have been plaguing American auto giants General Motors and Ford all year. Sales for the entire industry were down 26.6% collectively in September as consumers grew skittish about making big-ticket purchases.

In good economic times and bad alike, however, there are some vehicles that American consumers seem to abhor outright. And they're not just the big, gas-guzzling SUVs that are currently out of favor. It turns out, the cars American consumers hate the most come in many different shapes and sizes, and they're disliked for a wide array of reasons.

In Depth: Ten Cars Americans Hate

"Buyers make the same choices and buy the safe brand," says Jessica Caldwell, manager of pricing and industry analysis at Edmunds.com, an automotive consumer information Web site. "They are not thinking outside the box and buying something that may stand out as an odd purchase."

In other words, the cars Americans seem to hate aren't necessarily bad cars. In fact, the industry underdogs are, for the most part, solid quality cars, according to J.D. Power and Associates ratings on quality, design and performance.

There are usually just one or two elements or features that throw consumers off, as is the case with the Dodge Magnum, which is a wagon (American buyers gave up wagons for minivans a long time ago, then gave up minivans for SUVs); the Audi A3, which is a hatchback (consumers never cared much for them in the first place); and the Acura RL, which is just plain, vanilla-looking, says Stephanie Brinley, auto analyst at AutoPacific, Inc., an automotive marketing and product consulting firm

Car buyers are rightfully picky. From models that have quality issues (real or perceived) to simple design elements that lack aesthetic appeal, in each major vehicle class there's at least one car U.S. consumers tend to steer clear of.

Behind The Numbers

To generate our list of the cars Americans hate, we looked at sales data for the 10 major vehicle segments defined by market research firm J.D. Power and Associates. The sales data, provided by Automotive News, a trade publication, spans 2006, 2007 and the first nine months of 2008. The vehicles with the lowest sales in their class made the list.

We then looked at J.D. Power's consumer ratings in two studies. The 2008 Initial Quality study reports buyer satisfaction with a vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership in terms of mechanical defects and malfunctions, as well as ease of using a particular feature. The 2008 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study measures owner delight with vehicle design, content, layout and performance following the first 90 days of ownership. In both studies, a ring rating is used with five rings as the highest and two rings for the lowest.

Some vehicles that earned five rings made the list, meaning not all high-quality cars are instant hits with consumers. Quite the opposite, in fact. In the subcompact car segment, the Kia Rio earned five rings in both J.D. Power studies, but only 92,087 were sold in the measured period. The Rio even earns better quality ratings than the segment sales-leading Toyota Yaris, which saw sales of 243,602 in the same time frame.

Why the snub? The major reason could be that Hyundai models suffered from quality issues with the engine and transmission in the late 1990s (Kia, a relatively new brand to the U.S., is owned by Hyundai), yet those problems were overcome slowly but surely. Today the company even offers a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty to back up its improved-quality claim. Nevertheless, some consumers still view a car like the Kia Rio as a risk. The Kia brand as a whole only earned two rings in the J.D. Power 2008 overall dependability study.

Stiff Competition

In some segments, like the midsize car, the competition is so fierce that very good cars wind up getting almost completely ignored.

The Honda Accord (1.37 million sales in the aforementioned time period) and Toyota Camry (1.27 million sales) dominate the segment. Sales of the slightly cheaper Mitsubishi Galant were a mere blip (75,089 sales) in that segment. The Galant gets slightly worse gas mileage than the Accord, 21 mpg versus 25 mpg, but according to J.D. Power, Galant owners (five rings in each study) liked their cars more than Accord owners (three rings in each study).

"The problem with the Galant and cars like it is that no one knows the brand," says Caldwell. "You pull up and people ask, 'What's this?' and then they want to know, 'Why did you buy it?' There just isn't a lot of brand recognition."

What car do you well and truly hate? Why? Weigh in. Share your experiences in the Reader Comments section below.

But then there's well-earned hatred, particularly due to quality issues, which is the case with the Jaguar XJ, of which only 10,852 were sold (the leader in the segment, the Cadillac DTS, saw sales above 135,000). The Jaguar brand was sold last year to Indian company Tata Motors (nyse: TTM - news - people ), and when Jaguar lost its British edge it also lost favor with American buyers, says Caldwell. Even though the quality problems of Jaguars, to that point, had been well-known among consumers, the idea of having a British car parked in the driveway was, for a long time, enough to attract loyal American buyers.

And that's what's missing in vehicle purchases today in general, says Brinley. The sheer emotion that persuades some buyers to choose a car they love over one that's generally acceptable to the masses.

In other words, the overall driving experience probably isn't all that different from car to car within a segment. But all it takes is one design quirk or one long-since-overcome quality issue for consumers to develop a negative perception of a car. Taking a risk on an overlooked model within a segment may be a better choice, but consumers make logical, safe purchases rather than ones that might be more fun and stand out a little.

"Many car buyers are still buying cars like they buy appliances," says Brinley. "They buy a car that fits their life needs but they are not purchasing it for the design or style. There's no emotional attachment to it."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Sky, A3, Rabbit, and Magnum all make the list, and all are cool, creative cars. No wonder everyone seems to drive a Camcord. Americans must want really bland cars.

Glad to see the RL make the list, though.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a bogus list. Sports cars and Luxury cars aren't designed to light up the sales charts, so basing whether or not American's "hate" these cars on sales is dumb. The only vehicle on that list I agree with is the Kia.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Want to know what vehicle I hate? The Jeep Commander. I saw one the other day and wanted to punch it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Want to know what vehicle I hate? The Jeep Commander. I saw one the other day and wanted to punch it.

That would hurt your fist. Keep it to punch other things.

Forbes is a publication that lacks "responsible journalism".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bah. Ridiculous list.

Even my VW is on there. My car isn't hated, it's just that Americans don't care for hatches even though the rest of the world recognizes their great packaging layout.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure Americans don't buy McLarens over here in large numbers, but I don't think that translates into "Americans HATE McLarens".

Pretty dumb stuff.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bah. Ridiculous list.

Even my VW is on there. My car isn't hated, it's just that Americans don't care for hatches even though the rest of the world recognizes their great packaging layout.

Maybe they don't realize the GTI is pretty much a hopped-up Rabbit. I see plenty of GTIs out there, sometimes more so than Rabbits.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think plenty of Americans hate the prius.

as for the magnum, rabbit, A3, all very good cars. I severely doubt anyone hates them. Jaguar is a good car. The Galant is even a very good fun car. Jeez.

this is pure and simple, piss poor journalism.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In good economic times and bad alike, however, there are some vehicles that American consumers seem to abhor outright. And they're not just the big, gas-guzzling SUVs that are currently out of favor.
Funny... For americans to hate those "big, gas-guzzling" SUVs so badly, they sure bought a lot of them. In fact, if I remember right, until VERY recently, those "big, gas-guzzling" SUVs made up 60% of new car sales.

"Buyers make the same choices and buy the safe brand," says Jessica Caldwell, manager of pricing and industry analysis at Edmunds.com, an automotive consumer information Web site. "They are not thinking outside the box and buying something that may stand out as an odd purchase."

Homogeny... But this also goes against the big 'product is everything' mantra that the media has been pushing for 5-6 years now.

In other words, the cars Americans seem to hate aren't necessarily bad cars. In fact, the industry underdogs are, for the most part, solid quality cars, according to J.D. Power and Associates ratings on quality, design and performance.
Nope.. People are just too ignorant and lazy to do a little research.

There are usually just one or two elements or features that throw consumers off, as is the case with the Dodge Magnum, which is a wagon (American buyers gave up wagons for minivans a long time ago, then gave up minivans for SUVs)

The Magnum is too 'billy bob' for most american yuppies to be caught dead in.

and the Acura RL, which is just plain, vanilla-looking, says Stephanie Brinley, auto analyst at AutoPacific, Inc., an automotive marketing and product consulting firm
It amazes me how people bitch about Pontiac styling, yet never mention this monstrosity or the Element or any modern Mitsubishi or Subaru in the same sentence.

Car buyers are rightfully picky. From models that have quality issues (real or perceived)

So the media admits to advncing their fraudulent claims now.

to simple design elements that lack aesthetic appeal, in each major vehicle class there's at least one car U.S. consumers tend to steer clear of.

And that's supposed to mean that consumers hate them?!?!?!

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To generate our list of the cars Americans hate, we looked at sales data for the 10 major vehicle segments defined by market research firm J.D. Power and Associates. The sales data, provided by Automotive News, a trade publication, spans 2006, 2007 and the first nine months of 2008. The vehicles with the lowest sales in their class made the list.
Which means that, theoretically, americans COULD hate Lambos or Lotuses simply because of their low sales.

Give me a break... If a company is somehow limiting sales (via production, phase out, exclusitivity, whatever) it could completely skew the results?!?!

Forbes needs to STFU. They are the most uninformed, ignorant (when it comes to the REALITY of the car business) publication I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

We then looked at J.D. Power's consumer ratings in two studies. The 2008 Initial Quality study reports buyer satisfaction with a vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership in terms of mechanical defects and malfunctions, as well as ease of using a particular feature. The 2008 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study measures owner delight with vehicle design, content, layout and performance following the first 90 days of ownership. In both studies, a ring rating is used with five rings as the highest and two rings for the lowest.

So, the Hummer H2, because of both it's slow sales AND it's bad score in J.D. Power a few years back over CUP HOLDERS would feasibly qualify it as a car that americans "hate"

Why the snub? The major reason could be that Hyundai models suffered from quality issues with the engine and transmission in the late 1990s (Kia, a relatively new brand to the U.S., is owned by Hyundai), yet those problems were overcome slowly but surely.

Oh, what the f*ck ever... Talk to any Kia/Hyundai owner and most will tell you of VERY bad quality.

You know what... I wish the media would give Detroit the HUGE ammunity that they seem to be willing to give the Koreans. Oh, wait, I forgot, the media is now trying to boost the Korean manufacturers above the domestics in the market.

Detroit makes a bad car in the 80s... We must hear about it for 25 years. Kia/Hyundai make bad cars and improve marginally and all of the sudden they're the 'cats meow' just because J.D. Power survey respondents are happy with their cup holders.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Today the company even offers a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty to back up its improved-quality claim. Nevertheless, some consumers still view a car like the Kia Rio as a risk. The Kia brand as a whole only earned two rings in the J.D. Power 2008 overall dependability study.
Yeah, GM AND CHRYSLER tried the extended warranty as well. But they didn't have cheerleaders in the media to help fan the flames of sales.

The Honda Accord (1.37 million sales in the aforementioned time period) and Toyota Camry (1.27 million sales) dominate the segment. Sales of the slightly cheaper Mitsubishi Galant were a mere blip (75,089 sales) in that segment. The Galant gets slightly worse gas mileage than the Accord, 21 mpg versus 25 mpg, but according to J.D. Power, Galant owners (five rings in each study) liked their cars more than Accord owners (three rings in each study).

Yet again, statistics at it's best. Nice effort to try and prop up a failing Mitsubishi though.

"The problem with the Galant and cars like it is that no one knows the brand," says Caldwell. "You pull up and people ask, 'What's this?' and then they want to know, 'Why did you buy it?' There just isn't a lot of brand recognition."
Maybe that's the reason they bought it.

But then there's well-earned hatred, particularly due to quality issues,

Que the domestic bashing...

which is the case with the Jaguar XJ, of which only 10,852 were sold (the leader in the segment, the Cadillac DTS, saw sales above 135,000). The Jaguar brand was sold last year to Indian company Tata Motors (nyse: TTM - news - people ), and when Jaguar lost its British edge it also lost favor with American buyers, says Caldwell.
What British edge?!?! Jaguar had WORSE quality when it was British than even now. Ford ownership actually improved the quality.

And that's what's missing in vehicle purchases today in general, says Brinley. The sheer emotion that persuades some buyers to choose a car they love over one that's generally acceptable to the masses.

2 unrelated comments:

1) This is NOT GOOD for us, as this means (along with electricity and poverty) that cars are increasingly becoming appliances.

2) This is where GM and Detroit can cash in BIG TIME with their extremely talented group of designers.

In other words, the overall driving experience probably isn't all that different from car to car within a segment. But all it takes is one design quirk or one long-since-overcome quality issue for consumers to develop a negative perception of a car. Taking a risk on an overlooked model within a segment may be a better choice, but consumers make logical, safe purchases rather than ones that might be more fun and stand out a little.
Because increasingly, americans CANNOT AFFORD to NOT play it safe.

"Many car buyers are still buying cars like they buy appliances," says Brinley. "They buy a car that fits their life needs but they are not purchasing it for the design or style. There's no emotional attachment to it."

:bs:

Emotion plays a role in everything.

Ask any Toyota owner why they bought a Toyota and their reply will be a passionate "Because of the good quality" Ask any Toyota owner why they did not buy a domestic car and their reply will be equally passionate in a negative way.

In the traditional form (Design, feel, drivability) the emotion isn't there. But make no mistake that emotion WAS involved in the purchase.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Saab 9-7X is on the list... Seriously?

The Sky is on there because of limited volume... last I heard, the Sky is very popular and everytime I talk to anyone about it, they LOVE it (Even over the Solstice, sadly)

i think plenty of Americans hate the prius.

OH YEAH! But they wouldn't dare piss off their pompous reader base like that.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, where was the category for least liked Hybrid? I'm sure the goofy Honda hybrid would have made the list.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The author used quite a few words to say absolutely nothing.

Drivel.

+1

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the traditional form (Design, feel, drivability) the emotion isn't there. But make no mistake that emotion WAS involved in the purchase.

right...because if a person just wants to get from point a to point B, a two year old Cobalt or Corolla will work just fine. For someone to pay the premium for a new car it usually has to strike an emotional cord.

Chris

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

Loading...



  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room