With all three Detroit automakers on the verge of bankruptcy, the American car market needed an injection of innovation – and government assistance – to stay afloat. But with Ford avoiding a bailout, General Motors prepping to go public again and Chrysler now under the control of Fiat, it appears the fortunes of American-made vehicles are slowly turning around.
MSN Autos recently looked at some of the models that have helped the brands reinvent themselves in the past few years. For drivers interested in purchasing a vehicle, buying American can be an important consideration. Given the latest lineups of cars for sale offered by the Detroit Three, these buyers finally have some attractive options that can compete with foreign models.
Most agree that Ford’s turnaround has been the most impressive. The automaker was the only one of the American companies to avoid a government bailout, shifting its focus to smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. That said, new editions of classics like the Mustang and F-150 have ensured that the brand’s legacy has safely transitioned to the modern era.
The news source highlighted the Ford Fiesta and Fusion as two models representative of the culture shift in Detroit. Rather than focus on big engines, the Fiesta subcompact and Fusion hybrid are the types of cars previously favored by Europe and Japan. Yet with each boasting more than 40 miles per gallon and stylish looks, the models have become winners at home as well.
General Motors has also been successful in its comeback, with its upcoming IPO beginning the process of ending control by the U.S. Treasury Department. The upcoming Chevy Volt will be one of the first electric vehicles in the country and was recently named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.
Yet the Volt isn’t the only news at GM. The Cadillac brand has undergone a renaissance as well and looks to be challenging luxury automakers with the new CTS Coupe. GM has also partially reinvented the Buick nameplate with new models like the Enclave, LaCrosse and Regal Turbo that has led to a 60 percent sales increase for the brand, according to the news source.
Chrysler is often considered to be lagging behind its two rivals, and in many respects that’s true. But hope is not lost for this classic brand, which is now under the control of the Italian automaker Fiat. The Jeep Grand Cherokee underwent a successful redesign this year, while the Ram brand has continued to sell well-made pickup trucks.
The Chrysler brand itself hasn’t had many things to cheer about, but the 300, introduced in 2005, has been a success for the brand. This version of the 300 inspired the Dodge Charger and Challenger reboots as well. With a new 300 equipped with the powerful Pentastar V6 engine slated for showrooms in 2011, Chrysler will hope to duplicate that success, and with several other new models planned over the next year, including a redesigned Sebring dubbed the 200, it appears Chrysler is on the right track.
These acclaimed models may be a bit pricey now, so drivers interested in buying American may want to wait until they hit the used car market to take advantage of savings.
James Dunsford is a New Jersey used cars specialist for New Jersey Auto Auction