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HarleyEarl

'Turkeys'

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http://www.forbesautos.com/news/headlines/...autoturkey.html

Automotive Turkeys 2005



by Dan Lienert
Forbes.com


NEW YORK — The word "turkey" is like the word "lemon," appealing if you're sitting down to dinner, troubling if you're talking about investments.

Bankers and theater producers call failures "turkeys," and each year Forbes.com applies the term to cars as well. We do this, naturally, around Thanksgiving. The 10 vehicles in the slide show that follows are the ones that have seen the biggest declines in sales in the American market in the first 10 months of 2005, compared with the first 10 months of 2004.


The Land Rover Freelander SUV is among the top automotive turkeys for 2005.

When you read the slideshow, you may find yourself asking, "Now, where do they get off calling a $96,000 Mercedes a turkey?" Our response is that the Mercedes in question, the CL-Class, is one of the hottest coupes on the market — one we would give an arm and a leg to own. But with a sales decline of 53 percent this year, the CL has been a showroom dud for parent company DaimlerChrysler — the third-biggest flop in the business, in fact.

Joining the CL on the list are Audi's TT sports car and other amazing vehicles. In the past, we have reviewed the CL and TT favorably and the cars in the slideshow do not reflect our personal opinions about which cars are turkeys and which are not. But the list does feature such wastes of steel as Ford Motor's Mercury Monterey minivan and Mazda B-Series truck. Unloved, pathetically low-selling copies of Ford vehicles, these two cars have virtually no reason for existing.


View Automotive Turkeys Slideshow
For more than half the cars on the list, the sales declines have to do with aging models. A car typically goes seven years between overhauls, and sales tend to decline near the end of what manufacturers call its "life cycle." A healthy model line, however, can remain popular until it is replaced — and can be a tough act to follow. General Motors put out an overhauled Chevrolet Corvette in the later part of 2004, but in 2005 Corvette sales have actually decreased.

In fact, not only has the new Corvette not lived up to the dying days of the old Corvette, but the dying Corvette’s sales actually improved as the car was dying. From January to July 2004, just before Chevrolet released the overhauled Corvette, the outgoing model line managed to post a year-over-year sales increase, according to Automotive News.

For some of the cars in our slideshow, such as the Mercedes CL, the parent company has deliberately slowed production to prepare for a replacement model. Such manufacturers might object to our calling such models "turkeys" — but if Chevy could find a way to make a dying Corvette go up in sales, just to give one example, then it is fair to consider an older model that goes down in sales unsuccessful.

While we expected older models to have prominent places on the list, we also expected to see many SUV sales plummet due to higher gas prices. Surprisingly, only two SUVs are on the list despite all the news out of Detroit that the SUV business — the bread and butter for American automakers — is in ruins.

But don't forget that the Detroit automakers rolled out sweetheart deals in the summer, in which they were peddling SUVs with employee discounts. In many ways, comparing year-over-year sales for the first 10 months of 2005 does not paint a complete picture of the auto business. With the employee-discount programs gone, sales of all kinds of American cars slowed to a trickle in October, and SUV sales will fall off the table in the fourth quarter. In January, look for our annual feature on the best and worst-selling cars and be prepared to read about more SUVs than you will see here.

This story's slideshow features major automakers only and excludes such blue-blooded companies as Bentley and Maybach. This is because the ultra-pricey brands tend not to release monthly sales figures and often release sales data only once a year. To focus the piece on major automakers, we also excluded such tiny specialists as Panoz and Lotus from consideration.

We also did not include vehicles that have been sold in 2005 but are headed for discontinuation, such as Pontiac's Aztek SUV. In some cases, it's hard to tell whether an automaker plans to keep a car around or not, so our rule of thumb was this: If the automaker is still selling the vehicle on its website, we considered it in our tabulations for the list. But if we had official confirmation that a car is to be discontinued, we excluded it from consideration even if it is still being advertised (example: Lincoln's LS sedan).

Please note that our definition of "discontinuation" does not include model-year changeover. Volvo, for example, has stopped building its current-generation C70 convertible in preparation for the arrival of the overhauled, 2006 C70 next spring. Because a replacement is on the way, we did not consider the C70 that has been sold this year to be a car headed for discontinuation. It is simply a car headed for an overhaul.

For the results of our research, please follow this link. This Thanksgiving, automotive investors need to be on the lookout for two kinds of turkeys. The bad turkeys are in the slideshow.

Note: Forbes.com contacted every major automaker to verify the sales data we obtained from the companies' media websites. At publication time, the following automakers had not confirmed the data despite multiple requests in email messages from Forbes.com: Audi, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor, General Motors and Volkswagen. Edited by HarleyEarl
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I think Dan's gotten into the eggnog early again...

We also did not include vehicles that have been sold in 2005 but are headed for discontinuation, such as Pontiac's Aztek SUV. In some cases, it's hard to tell whether an automaker plans to keep a car around or not, so our rule of thumb was this: If the automaker is still selling the vehicle on its website, we considered it in our tabulations for the list.

Okay, oh, wait...

But if we had official confirmation that a car is to be discontinued, we excluded it from consideration even if it is still being advertised (example: Lincoln's LS sedan).

Um...okay, I guess that's reasonab...oh, wait...

Please note that our definition of "discontinuation" does not include model-year changeover. Volvo, for example, has stopped building its current-generation C70 convertible in preparation for the arrival of the overhauled, 2006 C70 next spring. Because a replacement is on the way, we did not consider the C70 that has been sold this year to be a car headed for discontinuation. It is simply a car headed for an overhaul.

Oh...okay...I guess that...wha...?

Mitsubishi will sell a Montero for model-year 2006 but will not offer a 2007 model in the U.S. However, the company will continue to sell the Montero in other markets, and a next-generation model appears to be in the works. We therefore felt the Montero merited inclusion in this story.

But...but you just said...

Among vehicles that have been on the market for the entire year, the Monterey has had the lowest sales of any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury.*

*Excluding cars headed for discontinuation and Ford's ultra-low-volume GT supercar.


So...The C70 and Freelander are turkies because the cars themselves are being discontinued, but the line is not...but the Montero is also a turkey even though the car and line are being discontinued, but only in the United States...and the Monterey is a turkey even though Ford has announced that they won't be making them after the next year or so, so its been all but discontinued...yet the Phaeton is also a turkey in spite of the line being discontinued in the US...

Can I buy some pot from you? 'Cause it sure sounds like you have plenty...
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What a clusterF of a article!!

Nice job FB; kudos to you for wrapping your brain around that double- & triple-talk.

This one is outrageous tho:
>>"This story's slideshow features major automakers only and excludes such {faux} blue-blood brands as Bentley and Maybach. This is because the ultra-pricey brands tend not to release monthly sales figures and often release sales data only once a year."<<

What in the blue blazes does a lack of monthly sales numbers have to do with anything? The parent companies released projected annual sales numbers, both failed to meet them markedly. Turkey, end of story.
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Turkey, what ? Who ? I couldnt read it, passed the Corvette part. I guess the boy dont know C5 Corvette sales were up because they had great deals on remaining inventory at years end? Every Chevy dealer even in the boonies had 2 or 3 of them sitting out front. Then we all know these companies make thses kinds of cars to sell to..... Bob Well I guess thank goodness for turkeys or we'd all be driving silver camrys and smilin and waving to everybody we meet. Meet Bob ! Bobs a good boy, he takes his pills everyday. He smiles all the time and always says "yesem massa" "if yous says so massa" Hi Bob, you can call me Bob :D
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