The badge, huh?
Reminds me of the old story where Lee Iaccoca was talking about the difference between a Mitsubishi Starion and Dodge Conquest. They were the same car with different badges and slightly different taillights, etc. Built in the same plant on the same production line by the same employees from the same parts. But the Japanese car was perceived by the public as a much better car: it sold for thousands more and was rated as more reliable, even though there was no difference. Except the badge.
Which car was more reliable? Toyota Corolla or Geo Prizm? Consumer Reports said the Toyota. Of course, they were the same car, built on the same production line, by the same people. Obviously, the vehicle with the Toyota badge is better! But Consumer Reports data comes from the public. It's self-reported. The public believes the Toyota is superior, the public believes Geo (GM) is junk, therefore it is. The badge was the most important part of the car as far as perceived value goes.
Perception is king. American car marques lost the perception war in the 70's and never got it back.
Years ago I had a Pontiac Grand Am. I bought it the same month as a co-worker bought his Toyota. The Pontiac got Consumer Report's lowest reliability rating, the Toyota among the highest. Every month, my co-worker had me pick him up at the dealer while he had them fix something. He never had to do the same for me. And he truly, honestly believed his car was more reliable than mine, even though the empirical data was obviously in my favor. He knew
, like everybody knows, Toyota makes a better car. The Grand Am is junk, the Toyota is the best car available. It didn't matter that I could drive my car every day, every month, while his was in the shop at least a day a month. I was nuts to even suggest my car was more reliable than his. GM lost the propaganda war to Toyota and has never recovered.
I own a 1999 Chrysler 300M. I bought it new, had to special order it to get the equipment I wanted. It's by far the best all-around car I've owned and I can't imagine any other car I could have bought back then that would have been better. It's reliable, comfortable, and more economical than you'd believe. But it gets no love - "ew, it's a Chrysler
!" I've put about 155,000 miles on it and it's never once left me stranded. It doesn't leak any fluids and I've only had to do one mechanical repair that's not regular maintenance as outlined in the manual. It'll do 145mph and handles quite well. (I say "She moves well for a fat chick"). I have big wheels and tires on her, as well as Eibach springs.
And I have had it on the track. I'll go out on a limb here and say it will outrun a Crossfire :-)