I've found a new blog that focuses on the automotive world, Autoguy, and it's nice to see a site like this. Ride could be considered similar, but there's fundamental differences between the two blogs, and that's a good thing. Autoguy's latest post is about rhythym, or what the Japanese auto industry calls the 2-4-6-8 plan.

 What this translates to is that every two years, you make some kind of change to a model. Year 2 is a mild style refresh, year 4 is a major style change, year 6 another mild restyle, then year 8 you bring out a new platform. The Japanese have used this model very successfully, keeping their cars looking up to date and fresh, while the Big Three tend to postpone updates to their models as long as possible, because the 2-4-6-8 plan is very expensive.

 There's another effect tp the domestic brands that autoguy alluded to, and I'd like to expound upon it. Honda has the Accord, Toyota has the Camry, but what is Chevrolet's bread-and-butter sedan? Right now it's the Malibu, which used to be the Lumina, and before that it was the Celebrity. Why three names in the same period that Honda and Toyota have only needed one? Image. The Celebrity was competent but uninspiring, as was the Lumina, and in an attempt to avoid the stigma of the previous model from affecting the next model, Chevy changes the name.

 That may work well on a household cleaner, but it gives no continuity to the brand at all. The Accord and Camry are nearly legendary names in the marketplace, representing style, value, and quality that has been built up over several years. If Chevrolet really wants to compete against these cars, then they need to spend the time and money to build a really good sedan, wgive it a name, and keep that name, and commit to a 2-4-6-8 plan.

 All this is great, but I've learned to expect very little from GM. A company that large is not very nimble in the marketplace, and trying to radically change the way it operates is like trying to fight against an undertow with your arms tied behind your back. This is the company that is killing Saturn right before our eyes, after all.


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