As many of you know, I travel a great deal. I can spend four weeks a month in up to eight different places (towns, states, countries). Also, I smoke. It is a bad habit, sure, but it allows me the opportunity to spend a lot of time in parking lots worldwide. I have taken that opportunity to do a little unofficial and not-so-scientific observing of the driving habits of our fellow man. I am limiting my observations to the US market (and not anything I have seen overseas).
I usually can see about 40 vehicles in an average parking lot (as I stand outside puffing away), and what I have noticed is that almost all of the vehicles I spy in these corporate parking lots are not American made vehicles. The most I have ever seen is five (out of 40) American-made vehicles…which would be approximately one-eighth of all the vehicles I see. This 1/8th of the market are vehicles made in the good old US of A (assuming, of course, that they are not being made in Canada, as many of “our” vehicles are).
Further, I notice that of those American cars, there are slightly more Fords than General Motors cars, and significantly less Chrysler models overall (I have been in parking lots with NO Chrysler or Dodge vehicles at all). Conversely, of the foreign made models, there are slightly more Honda’s than Toyota’s, with Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi combined close behind. Of course, there are smatterings of Lexus (the high-end Toyota brand), Acura (the high-end Honda brand), BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the like. Surprisingly, this holds true no matter which region of the country I am in (deep south, California [where I am now], New York, or where have you.)
That begs the question: Why are there so few American cars? Where did the American automakers go wrong? I have some thoughts.