Detroit Gets It--Finally

For a long time there were a lot of people running the car companies in Detroit who had a Field of Dreams-like approach to the market: “If you built it, they will buy.” Note that there is no modifier like, “build it well” or “build it superbly” or “build it so good that they’ll tell their friends and neighbors.” No, just “build it.” As they discovered, of course, it took more than a little encouragement to get that buying to happen.

For a long time there were a lot of people running the car companies in Detroit who had a Field of Dreams-like approach to the market: “If you built it, they will buy.”

Note that there is no modifier like, “build it well” or “build it superbly” or “build it so good that they’ll tell their friends and neighbors.”

No, just “build it.”

As they discovered, of course, it took more than a little encouragement to get that buying to happen. They had to pile on the rebates and incentives and deals and sales and. . . and finally throw in the floor mats. (Presumably some were still offering bogus undercoating, too.)

So people bought. They would have been economically foolish not to. But they didn’t necessarily feel so good about their purchase. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a car is just a car.

The July sales numbers are in. And the guys in Detroit—mainly new people, by the way—ought to be feeling pretty good. Because they earned it. They’re building some truly solid, desirable products. They’re selling more of them with less greasing of the wallet.

2  SRX sales are up 783%

Overall this year, Ford sales are up 22.6%, Chrysler is up 11%, and General Motors—with four brands instead of eight, as was the case a year ago—is up 31%.

Let’s hope they keep making the cars and trucks that people really want to buy.