Sunday, January 29, 2006

GM, Ford in Trouble Because Their Cars and Trucks Last Longer?

When I was growing up in the 60s, cars that made it to the 100,000 mile mark were the exception, not the rule. Cars like my family's prized 55 Chevy, which made it past 250,000 miles on two engines, were especially rare.

Nowadays, according to a report last weeky released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is becoming common for cars to last beyond 150,000 miles and trucks to approach the 200,000 mile mark.

Okay, so everybody is driving more and their vehicles are lasting longer because they are better engineering and assembled with greater precision and care. What's the news here, other than the extended mileage?

Rob Port at Wizbang offers a novel idea:

"This makes me wonder...if cars are lasting longer in the market wouldn't it be logical to conclude that this would drive down demand for new cars? And if that's true, couldn't it also be true that this increased durability has played into the woes faced by Ford and General Motors of late?"

Put another way, have GM and Ford done such a good job of improving their products, at least from the standpoint of durability, that they have driven down the demand for those same products because people can keep their vehicles longer?

But then why hasn't the same been true of Chrysler nee DaimlerChrysler? I don't know but I do think there is something worth pondering in Port's speculation.

Go here for the rest of Port's explanation of his theory.