How many vehicle models would you guess are produced by Ford, Chrysler and GM for the 2008 model year?
Take a moment and think about it… I’m talking all of Ford’s offerings, Chrysler’s stable including Jeep and Dodge, and all of GM’s brands that are sold in the U.S.
If you guessed 94 different models across all of their brands, congratulations!
But here’s the part that really shocked me: Over 60% of those are trucks, SUVs or vans. Is it any wonder why U.S. automakers are collapsing?
I can’t figure out why it’s literally taking an act of Congress to figure out the problem here and how to solve it. Instead of congressional hearings and talk of spending $35 billion, let’s just whittle down the combined product offerings to about half the current levels. We’ll still offer trucks and SUVs, just less of them while increasing our supply of more economical vehicles.
Sure that probably means there’s only room for a Big 2, but I don’t see a problem with sending Chrysler to the liquidation aisles. GM can shed Saab and Saturn along with the problematic Envoy and Trailblazer without too many tears being shed. Ford can start with dumping the Explorer and Expedition.
Ford and GM would then be free to continue down the path of restructuring. They’ll produce significantly less F-150s and Tahoes while ramping up the production on Fiestas, Volts and Malibus.
In the end we’d have two strong, lean and competitive companies leading the United States into the new era of vehicle production.
What do you think: Is there room for three auto manufacturers in the new U.S. economy?