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Chinese Automakers Need The West As Much As The West Needs China

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Well, well, well… how the turn tables. Chinese automakers represent an existential threat to the West and, yet, if you look at the Beijing Auto Show that’s going on right now, it’s fairly clear that the West also represents an existential threat to them. What fun.

Due to various snafus with visas and the like, we are not at the Beijing Auto Show this year and will instead be going to a different show later in the year. No worries, there are a ton of reporters there and I’ve been reading through what they’ve filed and the common theme seems to be: How is this going to work?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Speaking of things working or not, the NHTSA investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system has been closed following a Tesla update that was supposed to clarify to drivers how the system really works. To celebrate the closing of this investigation NHTSA immediately opened up a new investigation into Tesla’s revised Autopilot system.

The file management system at a Kia dealership in California apparently wasn’t working, because the staff there allegedly called the cops on a customer who legitimately had a loaner car. Is there a lawsuit? Of course, there’s a lawsuit.

And, finally, The Morning Dump remembers Donald Petersen, the CEO who turned Ford around with the Taurus.

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China Could Use Some Help

Byd 2
Photo: BYD

There’s a great scene in the James Brooks film Broadcast News where the Albert Brooks character describes how another journalist, his romantic rival, is the devil. Specifically, he talks about how, when the devil comes, we won’t recognize him:

He’ll be nice and helpful. He’ll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He’ll never do an evil thing! He’ll never deliberately hurt a living thing… he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along flash over substance. Just a tiny little bit.

I don’t try to be proactive here for the sake of being proactive. I don’t try to hide my views and, specifically, I don’t try to subtly win you over to my side by slowly eroding your standards. Instead, my goal here is to give you some information and use it to challenge conventional beliefs. You and I may disagree, which is fine. All I ask is that you provide a well-reasoned argument for why I’m being a dummy.

This, I hope, means that I’m not the devil. Besides, I think you and I have the sort of relationship where, if I were the devil, you’d be the only person I’d tell.

That’s a lot of throat-clearing to say that the coverage of China in The Morning Dump can sometimes pinball around a little. For instance, I’ve argued that if we’re so worried about China we could just let China bankrupt itself by absorbing its overcapacity at a low cost and thus greenify our nation. At the same time, I’ve shared the argument that China could demolish our domestic car industry if we did so.

The safety net I have, other than the obvious one of not actually being a legislator or policymaker, is that I know policymakers and legislators exist and, presuming a minimum level of logical behavior, will usually end up somewhere in the pragmatic middle. What I’m going to say below is going to hew a little closer to that pragmatic middle than usual because I think the context itself is what’s interesting.

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Auto shows in the United States have been a little sad as of late as automakers have shifted resources into different marketing venues and no longer feel the need to show off in a big public venue next to their competition. I think this is shortsighted, but that’s what’s happened.

The Beijing Auto Show is exactly the opposite. It feels like an early 2000s Detroit Auto Show, with every business trying to take the spotlight and prove to the world that they’re the best. It’s awesome.

There’s one minor issue, though, and that’s the growing awareness that China has subsidized the market to the point that there are too many automakers, too many cars, and too many barriers to selling those cars globally. This has led to a massive Chinese EV price war that’s causing issues for automakers of both the domestic and foreign variety.

In most cases, the obvious solution would be to sell globally, but the richest Western nations seem hell-bent on not letting that happen. At least, the West doesn’t want that to happen without some concessions.

Reuters sums this up fairly well in its auto show overview:

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The last thing China needs is more electric cars crowding a market, driving down prices at the expense of profit. But while there is a peril in China’s overcapacity, there is also a power in the hyper-competition it has unleashed.

Exporting that overcapacity, however, has brought EV makers to authorities’ attention. XPeng said a European probe into Chinese-made EVs could steer it to invest in plants or suppliers abroad, as the spectre of higher tariffs looms.

There are a lot of cars. So many cars. I cannot keep track of all the cars that are being shown at the Beijing Auto Show. And not just EV crossovers! There are cool plugins like the Equinox+ and Nissans with interesting lights.

Sure, there are many local automakers showing cars, and even Huawei, a Chinese electronics company essentially banned from the United States, was touting its ADAS software (set to appear in the Audi Q6L e-tron according to this article). But there were also a lot of Japanese, European, and American brands on display.

The situation that these automakers once feared is happening, and only through local tie-ups are most Western brands holding onto any market share in China, a country that was once a profit factory for these same brands. Would they love more Chinese customers? Absolutely.

Simultaneously, many of these same automakers are arguing that the heavily subsidized Chinese cars shouldn’t be let into their home markets (and even promoting retroactive tariffs). Is there a way that everyone can benefit without creating a China Shock-type result where domestic manufacturing gets wiped out in all of these markets? Maybe.

BYD is a good example of how this could work. The company is so vertically integrated that it is best positioned to keep fighting a price war in China, but profits have to come from somewhere. As this analysis points out, that somewhere is outside of China:

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Take the BYD Atto 3, a compact electric crossover. In China, the midrange version sells for $19,283. In Germany, the little SUV is priced at $42,789 — a price that’s still competitive with comparable electric vehicles in that market.

BYD did not respond to a request for comment. Company Chairman Wang Chuangfu in March told investors in a private meeting that BYD expects exports to help shore up profitability this year as a domestic price war weighs on its margins.

It’s common for automakers to charge slightly different prices for exports of the same or similar versions of a vehicle. But the sheer size of BYD’s upcharges for overseas markets is rare, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting at market research firm AutoForecast Solutions.

If Chinese brands need profits, and we want cheaper EVs (but ones that are not too cheap) then a pricing strategy wherein we get slightly more affordable EVs is theoretically beneficial to everyone.

Of course, we’re helping China get out of its overcapacity problem at the potential risk to our local manufacturing. Here, too, there are some benefits for the West. BYD is already planning to build a plant in Hungary, which is technically in the EU.

Polestar is a Swedish-Chinese automaker and it wants to sell more Chinese-built cars abroad but it’s also planning to build cars in the United States and maybe it would just be easier to ship more American-built Polestars to Europe and avoid the hassle.

I’m merely proposing that there is a world that could exist wherein Chinese automakers can make a little more money and compete more “fairly” with Western automakers, while also making it easier for Western automakers to compete in China.

When NHTSA Closes A Door, It Opens A Window

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Source: TESLA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cajoled Tesla into updating its so-called Autopilot system last year in order to make drivers behave better. Here’s what Tesla said it would do, even if it wouldn’t admit anything was wrong:

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The remedy will incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway.

Having rolled out this update, NHTSA closed its investigation into the Tesla system.

::Deep Breath::

[NHTSA] is opening a new investigation to evaluate whether the Autopilot recall fix that Tesla implemented in December is effective enough.

That’s via Sean O’Kane over at Techcrunch.

Time is a flat circle, et cetera.

Kia Dealership Allegedly Screws Up Paperwork So Badly That An Innocent Guy Got Arrested At Gunpoint

Car Pros Kia Screenshot
Source: Google

I have never purchased a Kia but, anecdotally, I feel like I hear more complaints about Kia dealerships than any other brand’s dealer network. Reading this piece from Nick Bunkley over at Automotive News that details some alleged bad behavior definitely is not changing my mind:

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A Kia dealership in California gave Jamie Rodgers a loaner to drive while his vehicle was being repaired.

But the store misplaced the loaner agreement and errantly reported the 2019 Sportage that Rodgers was driving as stolen.

Soon, Rodgers found himself being handcuffed at gunpoint by members of the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force. Deputies quickly figured out that Rodgers was no thief, but he was traumatized by the June 2021 incident.

There is really no situation in which getting pulled out at gunpoint from your car isn’t traumatic, though for a black man in the summer of 2021 that’s gotta be extra terrifying.

The reported reason why the paperwork was lost?

Employees couldn’t find the vehicle, and the paperwork allowing Rodgers to drive it had fallen behind a filing cabinet, so they concluded that it had been stolen.

That’s pretty awful.

RIP Donald Petersen

Ford Taurus

Donald Petersen is one of those car executives who doesn’t get talked about as much these days, which is strange given that his work to turn Ford around in the ’80s and introduce the Taurus is legendary.

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Keith Naughton over at Bloomberg has a great obit:

The Taurus represented Ford’s most successful response to an onslaught of competition from Japanese automakers when it debuted in 1985. Its aerodynamic look, which some called “jelly-bean styling,” sprang from Petersen challenging designers to come up with a car they’d be proud to have in their driveways.

He sought the counsel of W. Edwards Deming, the renowned statistician and quality expert whose ideas heavily influenced Japanese manufacturing after World War II. That led to a push to improve the reliability of Ford’s cars to try to compete with higher-quality offerings from Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

Under Petersen, Ford’s ad slogan became “Quality is Job One.”

What I’m Listening To This Morning

Tom Maxwell, formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, finally seems to be on Apple Music, so enjoy this song featuring the Ani DiFranco.

The Big Question

Was the Ford Taurus or the Dodge Caravan/Chrysler T&C/Plymouth Voyager a more important car?

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Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
25 days ago

Under Petersen, Ford’s ad slogan became “Quality is Job One.”

If only it were…

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
1 month ago

I live down the street from the Exhibition center, I hope to get to the show in a few days. If any one has any requests I’ll do what I can!

Interestingly enough I was just listening to Squirrel Nut Zippers yesterday, I didn’t know the members were still making music. Got to check it out now.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Marquardt
Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
1 month ago

Very much appreciate the reference to my all-time favorite movie. “I say it here, it comes out there” is a heavy-rotation quote in our newsroom.

Anders
Anders
1 month ago

Isn’t what we’re seeing in China right now another example of the Chinese hyper-capitalism darwinism? 5 years ago I tried to navigate the streets of Guangzhou but there were basically sharing bikes everywhere. So many competing companies land grabbing and fighting for market shares led to a huge overproduction of bikes and the infamous land fills of thousands and millions of cheap bikes. The Chinese government encouraged the free competition without regulation, and only later went in and regulated the market after the dust had settled. Might be a good way to speed up development and innovation, but it has huge sustainability implications.

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago

Definitely the minivans.

Sure- the Taurus was a clear sign of change for people who nerd out over stuff like automotive styling trends, and was obviously perceived as a futuristic car by the general public at the time.

But regular people of a certain age still talk about what a big deal the minivan was. The minivan legacy- The death of the family sedan- is still evolving to this day.

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
1 month ago

Two things on the China front.

China subsided all the auto makers to push innovation quickly. They are happy if the strong survive, the good but poor get amalgamated, and the rest disappear.

I also think bashing China in to submission isn’t a game you win. Work in with them, but with some reasonable rules. Ie no child or forced labour, fair wages etc on cars sold overseas etc. Maybe even try for some tech sharing!

Jon Myers
Jon Myers
1 month ago

China bans Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Wikipedia, ect. China Forced foreign auto companies create joint ventures where they could only be minority owners to sell cars in the country until the domestic industry grew large enough to compete. Now China complains when Tik Tok is threatened in the US and Western countries propose to limit imports of Chinese cars. I’m not really feeling bad for China. The Western world needs to realize China is not going to “liberalize” and play fair. China will continue to be an autocratic country that plays by its own rules. The West should act accordingly to protect our way of life.

James Carson
James Carson
1 month ago

Had a gen 1 Taurus wagon. It was rolling garbage and the dealer was a crook.

Madewithgenuineparts
Madewithgenuineparts
1 month ago

The Taurus and Sable showed that, when they care, American cars can compete with the best from the world (reinforced by the Neon, Saturn, LH cars, Aurora, and if you’re being charitable, certain modern RWD GM cars) but light truck profits eventually killed that will in every case. Families started buying those light truck classified cars en masse directly because of how revolutionary the Chrysler minivans were, showing that abandoning the wagon for minivans/SUVs/crossovers was the new norm rather than irresponsible weirdo behavior (see: buying a Suburban, Travelall or Grand Wagoneer before, like, 1990)

Therefore the Chrysler minivan is the more revolutionary vehicle by having shaped our roads today and killing the wagon, and later, putting the sedan and hatchback on life support.

Church
Church
1 month ago

This isn’t what I was going to say, but I find your argument well stated and convincing.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
1 month ago

I definitely agree with you but want to throw in a different perspective. While the Caravan changed all automobiles from that point forward, it didn’t really change Chrysler and only made them more complacent it almost seems. On the flip side the Taurus and follow on cars really did change Ford and turned them into a force to be reckoned with for people that were already burned out by percieved American vs Japanese quality and reliability. Despite a few successes, Chrysler never seemed to get rid of its poor quality reputation except on the cars people considered “built by Mitsubishi”

Madewithgenuineparts
Madewithgenuineparts
1 month ago

Ford also has spent the post-Mullaly era squandering that reputation for being the only American automaker to care about quality – the last passenger car they built that was a genuine segment leader was the Mazda6-based 2006-2012 Fusion/Milan – the powershift Fiesta/Focus, uninteresting and flawed Freestyle/Five Hundred/Taurus/Montego, the Aston Fusion which was left to wither on the vine selling only to fleets, and the Mustang, which is only a segment leader because you can see out of it.

Ford, and Chrysler, and to a large extent GM, have all been transformed because since the dawn of the minivan, all of them went from being at or near the top of the sedan segment in sales (dunk on them all you want, but the A-bodies, Taurus/Sable, K-Cars, LHs, and early W-bodies all sold) to collectively being reduced to 3 sedans (Malibu, CT4, CT5). Chrysler still builds cars of openly horrible quality, but has profited handsomely from no longer having to pretend to care whether the Dart and 200 are any good.

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago

I’m team minivan. 7 people road trip in comfort (did it to go see the full eclipse 4/8 in Ohio) strip out the back and lay a tarp down to haul haul 12 bags of concrete home to fix a hole in my driveway (three months ago) furniture moves etc. etc.

Minivans are nearly perfect for anyone with a home and family. And pretty good if you don’t. They can also be affordable housing for a couple in a pinch as well.

’04 Odyssey if you’re wondering.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Auto shows in the United States have been a little sad as of late as automakers have shifted resources into….”

…one boring and overdesigned Truck and SUV after another.
Oh – and Million-Dollar, 1000hp Supercars.

Yawn.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 month ago

Dodge caravan for sure.

As for China and selling EV’s look no further than doing a Google search for E-bikes. It is a flood of cheap crap that you cant tell what’s decent, and what’s garbage. Also look at what happened with the subsidized city bikes did a few years ago. If we want the problems that came from that, then sure, let China in.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

He’ll be nice and helpful. He’ll get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation. He’ll never do an evil thing! He’ll never deliberately hurt a living thing… he will just bit by little bit lower our standards where they are important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along flash over substance. Just a tiny little bit.

This sounds like the religious version of the boiling frog analogy, which turns out to be nonsense from a scientific POV.

Also, at this point I think it’s pretty clear that the devil is going to play to people’s basest fears and emotions while behaving so badly that decent people get tired of fighting against him. Turns out evil doesn’t need to be all that subtle to be effective.

(All characters and events in this post are entirely fictional. Any similarity to actual persons or events, living or dead, is entirely coincidental)

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

while behaving so badly that decent people get tired of fighting against him

This is the part that bothers me most. In your theoretical scenario.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

‘The banality of Evil’ is the phrase that comes to mind. Not sure if the actual words are in The Screwtape Letters, but the concept has been with me since I read it about aged 10.

Username Loading...
Username Loading...
1 month ago

The narrative around China with non Chinese automaker seems to be that it is a market which generates a large portion if not the majority of profits, the reality is this isn’t the case at least not to the extent I would’ve thought. Take GM for example, I always see it emphized how important China is for them but the financials don’t really paint that picture. Per thier full year earnings they made a profit of 446m in China. Definitely not nothing, but far, far lower than the North American EBIT of 12.3b. We have consistently heard how crutial a market China is to outside automakers but I question how much it really is.

Alex W
Alex W
1 month ago

Maybe look at earnings in China over the years from the 90’s or 00’s to now, and maybe look at BMW instead of GM. From what I understand, everyone was super excited about “hockey stick” growth, but that all ended around the time Xi became Chairman. (I’m sorry I’m not sure how to quickly pull up this information, and don’t really have the time to figure it out.)

Username Loading...
Username Loading...
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex W

Perhaps, I just picked GM since it seems like I commonly see people making comments that it’s “basically a Chinese company these days” I’d be interested to see if anyone other than Chinese oems are making a large portion of there profits there.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago

Donald E. Petersen’s insistence that Ford execs actually get hands on experience behind the wheel of their cars is what directly led to my car, the 1984-1985 Ford LTD LX, to be born.

At the time the Bondurant school of performance driving was using LTDs swapped with Mustang powertrain/suspension as 4-seat trainer cars (and later famously did the same with their “Cobra Vics”), and after some execs had driven them they liked the concept so much that they greenlit the LTD LX for production using Mustang bits (minus the 5-speed, sadly). RIP Donald!

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/66/4d/6d/664d6daf63deb477d04d8ac154a67387.jpg

First Last
First Last
1 month ago

Minivan or Taurus? Neither. It was the Explorer that came along 5 years later that really mattered.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago
Reply to  First Last

I would argue the S10 Blazer was more important than the Exploder due to it being first, but the exploder was very much a big deal, and sold billions.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago
Reply to  Parsko

According to Wikipedia both the Explorer and 4-door S-10 Blazer debuted in March 1990. But regardless I don’t think either of them were more important historically than either the Taurus or Chrysler minivans.

First Last
First Last
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Ehh maybe — they certainly got more press, but ultimately the Taurus was significant mostly just for its styling. The Caravan created a whole new segment, but that segment in hindsight was fairly short-lived as most of it was cannibalized by descendants of….the Explorer (and XJ).

Madewithgenuineparts
Madewithgenuineparts
1 month ago
Reply to  First Last

The Explorer and XJ/ZJ killed the minivan by essentially becoming the minivan in structure with SUV style.

06dak
06dak
1 month ago
Reply to  First Last

LOL…. the XJ becoming popular was way ahead of the Explorer or S10 Blazer in terms of importance. Both were created based on the success of the XJ.

First Last
First Last
1 month ago
Reply to  06dak

You have a point with the XJ. It was the first midsize suv to have four doors all the way back in the early 80s, so it probably inspired the rest of them (xploder, s10, Pathfinder, 4Runner etc), which all sprouted another set of doors around the same time in 89-90.

I say Explorer because in my memory it was the one that really caught on specifically as a 4-door sedan replacement for families, with a better ride and more car-like interior. It outsold the XJ and S10 by a significant margin.

Jeep was there first but Ford nailed the formula.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

Minivan, FTW. Taurus did not have the impact that the minivan did to the world. The Taurus was just another car. The minivan was another paradigm.

Jatkat
Jatkat
1 month ago
Reply to  Parsko

The Taurus was absolutely not just another car. It was a completely radical departure from what Americans considered a family sedan. That being said, I agree with you that the minivan was still more important. Even if both categories are now sadly hanging on by a thread.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

Yeah, but it’s just another sedan. I mean, yeah, a cool new design, but still a Sedan. It was the first of a new design language, for suresies.

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago
Reply to  Parsko

I mean, if it was just another sedan would it have been in Robocop? I don’t think so.

AssMatt
AssMatt
1 month ago
Reply to  Strangek

I can’t tell if you’re serious (I love the movie, too, and Paul Verhoven definitely has that same is-he-joking sensibility), but doesn’t that almost makes the argument in the other direction? It wasn’t selected because it was awesome, it was because it was readily available. Literally just another sedan.

On the other hand, maybe you meant that it was so generic and available because of its impact; like “it became just another sedan because it was a game-changer.”

Huh, you’ve paradoxed me.

Strangek
Strangek
1 month ago
Reply to  AssMatt

I was mostly kidding. At the time, in that movie, it looked like a very futuristic car. That particular Taurus was a huge success, but the minivan gets the win.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago
Reply to  Jatkat

One could argue that Audi really opened the door for jellybean styling with their early 1980s 5000, but the Taurus made it mainstream.

MEK
MEK
1 month ago

I guess “Quality is Job One.” sounds better in the marketing world than the reality of “Quality is Job Fourteen” that Ford has been working under for the last decade or two.

I used to be a Ford fan, I’ve owned several and currently drive a F150 that is a company truck. But if I was spending my own money, I wouldn’t touch anything they currently make with a 10 foot cattle prod now. This F150 just has too many crappy design decisions, repair issues and recalls. Not impressed anymore.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago
Reply to  MEK

Quality is Job One
Problem being, they STILL haven’t recalled & fixed that particular one.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 month ago

If you’d asked which car was more impotent, that would have been an easy answer. As asked, to me, neither, they were equally easy to ignore.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 month ago

China’s price wars are a good correction for everyone else’s gouging. The cheap cars have disappeared, and the Mirage has doubled in price over the past few years.

LOL quality has NEVER been Job 1 at Ford

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I still think that quality has been job one. But they screw it all up in jobs two and beyond.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

So many problems with that Kia situation.
Keep your paperwork and be sure it’s organized. Preferably, keep a digital copy and a physical one, and maybe a log beyond the collected agreements. There should be few chances to misplace it and backups if something goes wrong.
Do a little bit of research before calling the police. I’m sure there was more to the paper trail than the loaner agreement. And someone might have remembered loaning it out. And maybe you check any security footage and see whether it looks like theft or shoddy paperwork.
Don’t draw down on someone who was likely confused and compliant. Rapid escalation leads to worse results for everyone.

I hope he gets a good payout from his lawsuit.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

That’s what I want to know – nobody at the dealership remembered “oh yeah, we gave it to that guy, his car’s still sitting out back by the service bay” or, nobody thought it odd that the car was apparently “stolen” along with its keys, when most people who steal Kias just use a gas station phone charger?

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Yeah, with the missing keys, if you do think it’s stolen, you’d expect that you’re looking into employees for the “theft.”

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Paperwork doesn’t matter when the first response of the police is to drag the driver out of the car. Paperwork is for the desk weenies to figure out later, not the Real He-Man Officer at the scene making the scary black man respect his authoritah.

Alexk98
Alexk98
1 month ago

Town and Country. As much as it’s not ideal to say, it was one of the biggest reasons the shift to crossovers kicked off the way it did. Before T&C station wagons were the way to go, but people quickly gravitated to the more upright and high driving position with a more commanding view we get in minivans, and the marketing teams saw the opportunity to upsell everyone on higher riding “oFf RoAdErS” and the public took the bait.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

Was the Ford Taurus or the Chrysler Town & Country a more important car?

The T&C, because it was the first vehicle in the history of autos that broke the paradigm of “default family vehicle = sedan”. We obviously see the legacy of that today, even after the minivan has mostly come and gone.

In that respect, the Taurus was evolutionary, the Chrysler minivan revolutionary.

Also, someone tell that Bloomberg columnist that the 1985 Taurus wasn’t the one referred to as a “jellybean”.

Last edited 1 month ago by V10omous
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Well, more the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan, because the Chrysler Town & Country version didn’t arrive until the 1990 model year. When the minivans first launched, the T&C name was still being used for faux wood paneled LeBaron convertibles

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Yes, I interpreted the question charitably since I knew what he meant, but you’re right.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Agreed. The Taurus was important for Ford at the time, and the Town and Country was important for the industry in lasting ways.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Yes, please! The first Taurus was aerodynamic, but it was the third gen (blerrrgghhhh – a car not even Gossin could love) which was a jellybean.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

But the Chrysler minivans eventually became even more jellybean shaped.

Bendanzig
Bendanzig
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

My parents bought a new Taurus in 1986, and my grandparents hated the styling and definitely called it a jellybean. Granted, they couldn’t compare it to the later generation that was more jellybean-like, since it didn’t exist yet.

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