Domestic carmakers continue to fight a negative-perception battle born during the Great Malaise. That was a time when shiny new Pintos dropped their engines on the New Jersey Turnpike, when five variations of the Chevy Nova fought an inter-brand battle for the title of alpha shitbox, and when executives were too busy fleeing from downtown Detroit to notice some Barbiturate-popping moron had stuck Cadillac badges on a Chevy Cavalier. When asked, Big Three veterans rattle off plenty of reasons, from innovation-stifling union contracts to oppressive emissions laws to the OPEC stranglehold on the oil supply. But despite the excuses, the world's turned a few clicks since then. And, nearly to a maker, cars are better than they've ever been.
These days, 15 percent of consumers polled in a CNW Marketing Research survey say they'll never again buy a General Motors, Ford or Chrysler nameplate again. It's quite a drop in the right direction. Three years ago, the number was 25 percent. And there's more good news for the domestics: Consumers who say they'll never buy a Toyota, Honda or Nissan again rose from 2.7% three years ago to 3.5% today. What's the deal? Better cars, better marketing, a rise in jingoism? Who knows? But now's not the time to quit; there are still quite a few points still on the table. [via Kicking Tires]