We are at the dawn of a great time for American automakers. If you haven’t considered adding an American car to your shopping list, this post will help turn you in that direction.
Let’s face it, American cars haven’t been all that great for a very long time. They simply weren’t competitive with the products from Japan and Germany. You could argue and say that the American car you’ve owned sometime in the past 40 years was good, and I won’t argue that. Some cars were good, but very few were great, or even truly comparable on a quality and value level with the products sent from overseas.
As a marketer I’m generally not easily swayed by advertising and marketing. I’m able to read between the lines and maintain objectivity in my own purchasing decisions. I was also raised in an area where domestic cars were less desirable and less popular than imports from Germany and Japan. I’m also a gearhead who understands design and engineering. Put all of this together and I had a strong bias against domestic vehicles, assuming that they were inferior to foreign brands. While some folks would say that my opinion was harsh, it was based on my observation that Detroit went through a decades-long period that lacked innovation, style and quality. That said, I don’t think I’ve been swayed by fancy ads. I believe that I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for us car makers.
I feel the tide has turned and we’ve entered a new golden era for American automakers. I believe that the Internet and social media in all of its forms is to thank for getting the Big 3 to realize that they could do better than they’ve done. They’re still not perfect and cars like the Chevy Malibu, Chrysler 200, Chevy Impala and a number of other vehicles are clearly built to suit fleet spec, and not to compete with many great products in their category.
I’m a car guy. I truly love cars and their impact on American and Pop culture through the past 100 years. Some of our most influential business leaders came from this industry. It is an industry that once had hundreds of competitive brands, and now just a few. It is an industry that has produced what is considered to be some of the best in modern American design. If you’ve ever seen a 1963 Corvette, or a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, or a 1993 Dodge Viper, you know what I mean. America can do great things, but for a number of reasons it hasn’t done so on a large scale, in a long time.
I thank the Internet and social media for helping Detroit to raise standards, but I also thank the economic collapse of 2008. To see big companies like GM nearly go out of business was a wake up call. It was at that time that they could no longer produce the cars they wanted to produce, they needed to produce cars that could compete at a global scale. That’s where we are now.
Recently this has all changed, and thanks in large part to two amazing cars. The SVT F-150 Raptor truck by Ford and the CTS-V in all of its variants from Cadillac. As a gearhead I like horsepower and an level of ridiculous in a car. These two vehicles push ridiculous to the limit, and I love that. On top of ridiculous, these two cars seem to offer the fit, finish and quality that match their hefty price tags.
While I’m praising the virtues of two very cool cars, I thin it is also important to note the success of Tesla. I believe in Tesla and everything they’re doing to change transportation. As a gearhead I like gasoline powered cars with big, boomy internal combustion engines. I like fast and brash. Tesla is none of this with the exception of fast. They build a world class car in a market in which they were expected to likely fail.
I’m proud to say that one of my next vehicles will be an American car. I’m also proud to say that I’m not buying an American car because of blind patriotism, because while I love this country, I’m also a smart consumer. I want to buy the best I can for my money and now I can do that again.