This is a guest post from an Australian automotive blogger who has an interesting perspective on the US auto industry. I hope you appreciate this post as much as I did. — Jason
Many consumers in Australia and around the world continue to view US cars as overweight and poorly engineered when compared to similar offerings designed for Europe.
While certain cars indeed have rightfully gained the nickname “yank tank”, the reality is that from the time of the Model T, the US auto industry has been a market leader that the rest of the world has much to thank for.
So (in 5reasonreviews.com tradition) below is a list of 5 great things that we have the modern US auto industry to thank for:
1. Lexus: Lexus may seem like an odd choice to head this list. Most people will of course recognise Lexus as a Japanese brand, but many may not realise that LEXUS actually stands for Luxury Export to the US and was originally a US specific brand. For whatever reason during the 80’s, the auto industry in the US allowed this significant new brand to prosper and was it not for this set of unique conditions, we may not have the Lexus brand that we have today. So in many respects, we need to thank the US auto industry for allowing Lexus to exist.
But why is Lexus so important? Well the biggest factor is not so much the excellent cars they produce now like the GS, but rather the fact that for 20 years Lexus has vigorously competed with Germany and seen them lift their game in many ways. In fact, would it not have been for Lexus, we may not have seen so many market leading products come out of the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
2. Infiniti: For the same reason above as Lexus, except that they have not yet reached the same pinnacle of achievement. The hope is that they will also drive further competitive tension and lead to even greater products in the automotive field going forward.
3. Electric cars: The US has long been (and remains) the centre of innovation for much of the world. While others continue to compete, the US remains the most significant generator of new, game changing ideas such as Google and Facebook.
Unsurprisingly, we are seeing the same thing happen in the automotive industry with Silicon Valley start-up Tesla. This company is focused on producing the best cars in the world and has managed to achieve this in many ways with its new model, the Tesla S. What is surprising though of course, is that this car is all electric.
I am as much of a traditionalist as anybody else, but for me, the rise of the electric car is in many ways inevitable. The world will eventually run out of oil and a new form of transportation will need to evolve. Almost all the traditional car companies are now beginning to embrace this fate, but it seems like it will be Tesla (and companies like this being created in the US) that are going to drive this change in a way that leaves consumers with products that they desire, rather than need.
4. Compact SUV’s: The most hated of all vehicles for some, but this is the fastest growing segment worldwide. SUV’s now represent the almost perfect combination of size, safety, fuel efficiency, driving position and status and in many markets have been driving car sales to record levels. The truth is that this is a good thing, as higher sales mean more profitability for car companies and higher quality for consumers on all products (just look at the Porsche Cayenne for an example).
So who do we have to thank for this invention? Defunct US auto company AMC and their aptly named Eagle
5. The Consumers: The US auto industry remains one of the largest in the world. Its brands, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are enormous supporters of many foreign auto industry and workers. For example, in Australia, General Motors provides significant assistance to the local manufacture Holden and has allowed a local industry to prosper (in ways it may not have otherwise). The same goes for Ford and Chrysler and their respective offshoots. The truth is that without the support of the US auto industry many countries may not in fact had a car industry to call their own.
Steve Fox is a contributor to AccurateAutoAdvice.com and the creator and founder of 5reasonreviews.com, a website all about simple fun car reviews written for new car buyers and enthusiasts