Last month I got a lot of email after pondering what it might take to get me to buy an American car. I suggested that Detroit needed to come up with some sort of marketing campaign to convince me it's the cool, hip, right thing to do.
Maybe all the news coverage about the domestic auto industry's problems are doing what no marketing campaign has accomplished.
Kelley Blue Book has released a survey of new car shoppers, and nine out of ten of them have at least one US car on their wish lists. One third of those shoppers would ONLY consider buying vehicles made by GM , Ford and Chrysler. That so-called "exclusive interest" is much higher for US automakers than anyone else. Shoppers who would only consider buying a Japanese car come in second, way back at 12 percent.
"Seeing the domestic automakers' recent struggle has ignited a heightened sense of patriotism among some American car shoppers," says Kelley Blue Book analyst Jack Nerad. "People are pulling for the Big Three to survive and thrive."
Nearly all of those surveyed (97 percent) plan to buy rather than lease their next car, and nearly 70 percent are looking for new vehicles, not used. "Consumers are being more fiscally conservative in the midst of the recession," says Nerad, "opting to buy a car they can afford versus leasing a car that may realistically be out of their budget."
GASOLINE WATCH '09
Today's price of the cheapest gas at the ConocoPhillips station I pass every day: $1.95. That's up two cents from yesterday and up six cents, or three percent, since New Year's.
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