One of the things that really pisses me off about the North American car market is that, there are other cars available. Other markets around the world, owned or co-owned by the Big 3 offer much more down to earth, function before form cars.
Let’s take for example the Nissan Bakkie:
The Bakkie…errr I mean, the Datsun Sunny pickup, not only was sold in Japan up until 1994, basically unmodified from it’s original design, but they still sell them BRAND NEW in Africa. Not only are they a no-frills vehicle, but they are also extremely reliable. You may ask why?
Consider this, let’s say your mother has a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It was passed down from her mother who got it from her mother. On the recipe card are a series of corrections, times change, so do the ingredients and cooking devices, so slight changes are made to the cookies. Over time and each time the cookies were made, your mother, grand mother, and great grand mother, learned a bit more about the process of creating them, and eventually found ways to make improvements and make them tastier.
One day, your kid walks into the kitchen, having never tried the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and refuses to eat them. “I don’t like Oatmeal” He protests. So your mother, makes him something new from scratch. Has this been perfected over time? Is she just experimenting?
The biggest question is: Should these new experimental cookies be the only cookies available to the family, or should they be allowed to pick between the tried and perfected oatmeal chocolate chip, and the experiments?
In north America, we rarely see the continuation of a body style. Manufactuerers claim it’s an improvement, or an upgrade over the previous models. Is this really the truth? Mexico, Africa, India, Brazil and many other countries in the world seem to think different.
A great example is the B13 Nissan Sunny…Sentra….no wait….Tsuru. That’s right, they still sell them in Mexico. Why? Because people there liked the B13 so much they didn’t even really want the B14 and above. Smart people, find the car that seems the best and stick with it…..now wait, Mexico had something else like that didn’t they?
That’s right, the original beetle continued production up until….drum roll……2003. You could go into a VW dealer in mexico and buy a BRAND NEW original beetle up until 2004. 21,000,000 Beetles were sold world wide. But why? Was it their cute looks? sure, was it there seating for 4? sure. What really sold the beetle though, was their price, mechanical simplicity, and the community supporting the car. You knew as a Mexican with no car knowledge, that someone on your block, not only knew how to rebuild the engine, but probably had a spare one sitting around just in case.
Surveys have shown that at least 70 per cent of Mexican families have owned a Beetle.
So why can’t we have Bakkies in North America? Why don’t we stick with one car? Money.
We as North Americans have the money to spend to buy new cars. We want the best value for our money, and for some reason or another (a whole other topic) we think that a whole new design is better than a revised design. Rolling hotels are the ultimate in North American car culture, so much so that the days of Coach building are dead. There’s no need to customize a car for a user if it already comes equipped with piles of random amenities.
A question I can’t answer is: Do warranties come on cars in poorer countries? I sure wouldn’t buy a new model if I was unsure of how sound the new design is. There’s no fall back, I’ve only got a little money to spend on a car, and I want to make sure it will last, be easy to fix, and be an enjoyable ride.
Do you love the MK1 VW Golf? Why not buy a CitiGolf?
They are still in production in Africa, updated interior and exterior, the rest of the vehicle basically remains the same. Why is this not offered in North America? Well again money: You make to much of it: As a company selling cars, your looking to make the most amount of profit per-car as possible. So, you need to offer something that at least appears to justify a high profit margin. However, another factor is, you make to much money…wait what….It’s true, because there is such a high living cost in North America in relation to these other countries, people require good paying jobs. Many of those jobs are in the manufactuering sector, producing machinery and often automobiles. To produce such an affordable, low cost car in North America would result in very low or almost nil-profit after paying for the tooling and assembly, and because people NEED good paying jobs to pay for these expensive new ‘experimental’ cars, the wages are high, and you can’t outsource for cheaper into other countries.
The conundrum is, that you are stuck building expensive crappy cars for a high wage, because you buy expensive crappy cars because you receive a high wage. So, what now? Do you accept a lower wage and start allowing better valued cars, more realistic cars (back to the roots yo), to be produced by you for a low price wage, or do you continue with your current loop of illogic?
The current trend now is to lay everyone off from the factories, and start fresh, no unions, no severance packages, no crazy wages. Just to get back to making cars, and nothing else. The problem is, they are still producing these terrible hunks of crap, like the Acadia, Fusion, Nitro, etc because they now can’t afford the Tooling to re-produce an older body style, and North America as a whole will refuse to buy imported Big 3 cars from other countries.
Does your greed make you less money? (not the number of dollars but what those dollars are worth)
Bakkie for life.