Originally Posted by Jonathan
Unfortunately now that the price of gas has gone up so much the market for these vehicles is greatly reduced so GM is on a crash course to produce a cost-competitive fuel-efficient vehicle.
Originally Posted by ReubenH
Hehe, that's Japanese car territory, they will never survive if they try doing what the Japanese have done for the last 40 years. There will be a Japanese car for every creation they come up with, which will be better.
The late Henry Ford II promised to "drive the Japanese cars from our [US] shores" some 25+ years ago with the introduction of the US-built Ford Escort back in 1981. :LOL:
While the Escort wasn't a bad car, it was just basic unremarkable transportation. It was certainly pleasant enough, comfortable, generally reliable (although at first it was one of the most recalled vehicles in history), and easy enough to work on. Unfortunately, for Ford, their profit margin on the Escort was rather small. Ford's "joint ventures" with the European Ford Fiesta, the Korean-built Ford Festiva and Aspire quickly taught them a few important lessons and they learned not to attempt to out Japanese the Japanese. While their Ford Focus is a very decent (if not outstanding) European/American designed car, I think it is Ford's close relationship with Mazda that will be a key factor in getting their company turned around and profitable with in the next two to three years.
Chrysler had a similar relationship with Mitsubishi until Mercedes pulled the rug out from underneath them and royally screwed up their company before dumping them. The "New" Chrysler Organization has an uphill fight but at least their management has their heads on straight and knows what it needs to do to succeed.
While GM made an honest (but very brief) attempt with the original Saturn, they have apparently given up on engineering a decent small or even a "mid-sized" car and have resorted to marketing other companies small cars -initially with GM's "GEO" brand name- and manufacturing inferior small cars that are outright unpleasant to own and operate such as their latest example, the "Chevrolet Cobalt". I have nothing but contempt for Mr. Bob Lutz (the Klutz) and their entire out of control "organization". The sooner they start selling off whats left of their company and firing the bulk of their excessively large numbers of mid-level marketing "wizards", the better off we will all be.
Oh, and back ON TOPIC...
Todays cars are designed to maximize passenger and storage space and to minimize power train and suspension intrusion into the "people" parts of the cars. As cars have become far more reliable and generally need only basic oil and other fluid changes along with other basic maintenance the need for good access to major systems and general ease and accessibility has become greatly reduced.
One of the better cars for doing mechanical work is the full-sized Ford Crown Victoria - designed in the late 1970ies and now evolved to the point where it is exceedingly reliable (There is a reason why police and taxicab companies love these cars), however considering the basic questions as to its overall size and its very limited rear-seat space and awkward rear-seat ingress & egress it is something of a dinosaur and is unlikely to remain in production to the general public longer than the next five years. The Ford Taurus/Ford "500" offer much more interior space and fuel efficiency.
I suspect that the Smart Cars that are just now starting to sell in the American marketplace represent the future in car design... complex, largely in accessible without a lift, a true nightmare to do major mechanical repairs on but exceedingly well-built, reliable, fuel-efficient and roomy for the occupants.
While I really do like the layout of the Legacy, I suspect that a large part of why it is fairly easy to work on is because it hasn't been subjected to a major mechanical redesign in the last 15+ years. Had Subaru placed greater engineering effort in maximizing the percentage of the cars footprint to be used for people and minimizing the powertrain and suspension intrusions in to the "people space", I suspect it would be just as hard to work on as many of todays more "modern" car designs.