Jaguar, Suzuki and Volvo Automobiles Could Be Extinct by 2020
Now you see them, now you don’t. That’s the way of many cars who’s shelf life can last as little as a couple of years. According to the Motley Fool, three major automotive brands could possibly be disappearing before 2020. They are Jaguar, Volvo, and Suzuki. Here’s why… Volvo
The Swedish car company known for its staunch lines and rigid safety standards is nowadays just a distant memory in the minds of American and global consumers.
In recent months, Volvo has found some moderate success in China, where its redesigned models sent sales up by 62% in July.
Ultimately, though, Volvo is no longer a global player. About half of its sales come from Europe, where austerity measures are putting the kibosh on the entire industry, while its sales in the U.S. have been on a more or less steady decline since 2004. In that year, Volvo sold close to 140,000 units in the United States. But through the first eight months of 2013 Volvo has sold just 44,005 units, a 6% decline from the previous year.
Volvo lacks a true identity — and any sort of swagger whatsoever. Known previously as the “safe” car, Volvo has seen numerous other automakers make its models irrelevant by spending quite a bit of R&D on improving safety in their own cars. Think of it this way: When was the last time you heard anyone excited about the arrival or redesign of a new Volvo?
With no differentiation and a loss of previous its comparative advantage, Volvo’s days could be numbered.
Speaking of cars that fail to excite the American consumer, how about Suzuki? Whether or not you realize it (because it’s not as if Suzuki cars were all that prevalent on the road in the U.S. to begin with), Suzuki made the decision in November to pull out of the American marketafter three decades.
Hitting a high of 102,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2007, Suzuki was able to muster only 26,266 units sold in the U.S. in its previous fiscal year.
It isn’t hard to understand why Suzuki failed to excite the American consumer: It focused on compact cars with low price points. That’s the same area all the majors now focus on, including Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota (NYSE: TM ) .
Unfortunately, Suzuki offered little to no differentiation on fuel-efficiency or cabin room from similarly priced compact U.S. vehicles. And it stood near the middle of the pack when it came to vehicle dependability ratings from J.D. Power and Associates in 2013, while trailing well behind Honda and Toyota. In other words, there was no reason for the American consumer to ever choose a Suzuki, since better options were almost always available.
In the interim, Suzuki will focus on its core Japanese market, where it and Toyota’s Prius dominate. But even in its home market, its market share may not be safe. If Suzuki is to stick around and remain relevant, it’ll need to add some pizzazz to its lineup and improve upon its vehicle dependability ratings. Otherwise, it, too, may just vanish.
Jaguar’s had a steady ride downhill for roughly the past decade. Since Ford sold it to Tata Motors (NYSE: TTM) , Jaguar’s U.S. sales have declined from the 61,204 units it sold in 2003 to its current pace in 2013 of approximately 16,700 units.
Unlike the previous two automakers, Volvo and Suzuki, differentiation has never been Jaguar’s issue. Instead, its vehicles’ dependability, and the way the company has typecast them to appeal to a narrow audience, have always held back its sales.
According to the same J.D. Power and Associates vehicle dependability report, Jaguar places sixth from the bottom in dependability ratings, yet is among the priciest car brands on the list. The value-to-dependability ratio for Jaguar has been skewed for a long time, and it’ll need to be fixed if the brand has any chance of a global turnaround.
In fairness, Jaguar’s new F-Type looks pretty sharp. It’s a stark departure from the brand’s stoic and almost archaic car lines in the past.
Can you imagine a world without these cars? Would you miss them? What was the best car you ever owned that they don’t make anymore?