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Emotional cars

My girlfriend just purchased a 2008 Mercury Sable “loaded” for $21,500.

It is large on the inside but not the outside.

It is one of the safest cars in the World and is top rated as a best buy by Consumer Reports.

Yet it is not a best seller.

As I drive “around town” I see lots of cars that are more expensive, more expensive, ,less safe, and get worse gas mileage.

Why?

In my opinion cars purchases are about emotions. Does my car make me feel sexy.

In light of the present bail-out discussion what should Ford (Detroit) do to make cars more attractive?’

Paul in Napa

Like so many cars…the name plate doesn’t match the product. If Ford still owns enough of Volvo to plant their name on it, it would be an improvement for both lines. An identity delema right now.
It takes a while to build a reputation. Ask Honda. Their first Civics were junk.

My guess is that if you totaled the combined sales of the Taurus and it’s clone the Sable (AKA the Taurusable twins) their sales would be in the top five across the country. The Mercury is somewhat more expensive than the Sable, and has less dealer saturation. That makes its sales less than those of the Taurus. I’ve had SEVERAL of them. It is my belief that their supposed transmission woes are a myth. First of all, IF one goes out, it is usually at high mileage. The myth is exacerbated by the fact that there are so MANY MILLIONS of them out there that darned near everyone knows someone who has had one take a dive. I’ve had them them with well over 150K miles, and a couple with over 175K that never had their transmissions overhauled. A friend has one with over 300K that’s never had a wrench on it for anything other than routine maintenance.

Yes cars can be about emotions. They can also be for getting from point A to point B and back.

Quick frankly the Taurus/Sable are boring cars, they are like appliances. Sure they are competent in almost every way. But they just aren’t exciting. Their styling is mundane, their performance, while perfectly adequate, isn’t particularly great. With a more expensive car like a MB S-Class for example you know you are getting cutting edge technology, incredible luxury, and basically the pinnacle of automotive engineering, all built by uptight Germans. Whereas with the Sable you’re getting a car based on an old Volvo platform built by some guy in Chicago.

Many car purchases are about emotions. If they weren’t we’d all be driving around in Trabants.

The truth is the best sellers are not that much more or less exciting nor safe than your beloved car. Perception and need sells with a bit on product itself.

2008 Sales by mid year
1 Ford F-Series P/U 235,924 290,282 1 -18.7
2 Toyota Camry 198,309 193,900 3 +2.3
3 Chevy Silverado-C/K P/U 197,030 265,941 2 -25.9
4 Honda Accord 166,158 153,431 6 +8.3
5 Honda Civic 164,994 137,288 8 +20.2
6 Toyota Corolla 152,308 165,722 4 -8.1
7 Nissan Altima 133,465 114,318 9 +16.7
8 Chevrolet Impala 122,281 144,541 7 -15.4
9 Dodge Ram P/U 112,795 154,143 5 -26.8
10 Ford Focus 105,499 77,732 15 +35.7

“Emotional cars” are one of the reasons that the general populace can not drive properly. They spend WAAAY too much time and money buying the looks and feel as if it were furniture ( and the stinkin’ industry caters to this ), then never bother to learn the operation and function of the MACHINE they’re driving.
. When you’re inside the car, The outside look is only for showoff to everyone else. First, Buy function and fit ( utility ),learn to operate the machine and how to make it last, then worry about how it looks ( unless that is your primary alfa-personality reason for buying a car with “looks” )
. Apparently your girlfriend had that one figured out already.

I’m going to take a gamble here and suggest that while emotion is always a factor in people’s choices, the primary “drivers” of the decision are utilitarian need, budget, personal experience with a particular brand, and perception.

I had some less than stellar experiences with GM and have always had excellent service from my Toyotas and my Honda. Not only do I choose from Toyota and Honda products, but both of my children do also. They’ve learned from their environment.

Other folks have had good GM experiences and stay with GM. I’d guess that their kids favor GMs.

And I always choose from the models that meet my needs for utility.

Again, I have no studies to back me up, just my own experiences.

You might one to pick up your car of your dreams for a literal steal. Ford dumped the Mercury Sable today. The cousin Ford Taurus remains.

With a more expensive car like a MB S-Class for example you know you are getting cutting edge technology, incredible luxury, and basically the pinnacle of automotive engineering, all built by uptight Germans.

Do you think it is fair to compare a Taurus/Sable to Mercedes? This comparison is apples to oranges. Also cutting edge technology does not mean cutting edge quality. European vehicles are thought of as better quality than domestics but IMOO this is not true but this horse has already been beat.
Even in WWII our military vehicles were better quality than that of Germany.

all built by uptight Germans. Whereas with the Sable you’re getting a car based on an old Volvo platform built by some guy in Chicago

I do not mean to disrespectful to your post but the way this is worded is leading the reader. You are implying the uptight German is focused on quality and whom ever is building a domestic is nothing more than a lazy slump. Please remember that people are people no matter where. There are good people overseas and in the states and there are people overseas and in the states that want nothing to do with quality other than a nap.

Yes, it was announced by Autoweek on 12/5. The last Sable will roll off the line in April. The Taurus X, formerly known as the Freestar “minivan”, will meet a similar demise. It looks like the long overdue belt tightening has begun.

There are entirely too many makes and models offered by car makers today. Look for GM to drop a line or two as well.