Posted by Dale Buss on December 2, 2009 06:31 PM
As U.S. auto sales continued their slow creep back toward recovery last month, yet another glimmer of hope emerged from the industry’s long period of carnage: hints of revival of hot products and torrid vehicle brands in a very old-fashioned display of pure consumer passion, as well as modern-day practicality.
Remember a couple of years ago, when new vehicles like the completely overhauled Chevrolet Malibu and the Honda Fit routinely created brand excitement among American consumers? The industry’s epochal collapse and the nation’s long-running recession quenched such fires for a while.
But in the details of the November sales results reported yesterday – with industry-wide results about flat with a year earlier – it was possible to find some encouraging returns about individual new vehicles that honestly have little to do with stratospheric fuel-economy numbers or low monthly payments.
Take the Lexus RX, for instance. Earlier versions of this rakish SUV established a design template for the segment that competitors are still imitating. And yet a recently introduced new version of the classic model is leading a renaissance at Toyota’s luxury division, which had been suffering for many months along with the rest of the high end of the American automotive market.Continue reading...