Cyclical motion
Product cycles -- the time a particular design stays on the market -- play a big role in the competitive automotive market.

Some trends have emerged: Japanese marques redesign vehicles like clockwork every four or five years. On the other hand, some American cars stayed on the market far too long. Consider the last-generation of the Ford Taurus (1996-2006) or the Chevy Cavalier (1995-2004).

But there are signs of hope.

GM, in particular, is showing signs of squelching this trend. They've just unveiled an updated Cadillac CTS, which was first introduced in 2003. The Saturn Vue, introduced the same year, thankfully gets a big redesign for 2008. The current Chevrolet Malibu will have an even shorter lifespan (2004 to 2007).

Product is everything in this business, and fresh product is even better.
Posted by Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports 1:43 PM 11 Comments comment | Add a Comment

Your observation is spot-on. GM's product development cycles seem to be matching the leaders and is starting expose the true laggards in the industry... i.e. VW and Ford.
Posted By ThriftyTechie, Jersey City NJ : 11:14 PM  

Regarding the Ford Taurus specifically: Production of the Ford Taurus has ceased as of November 2006 after 21 years. The Taurus was the second-best selling car in Ford history with production volume of more than 7 million units, second only to the Model T. And let me add that millions more Mercury Sables (Mercury�s Taurus clone) were sold as well. It�s really a bit shameful what Ford did to the Taurus in terms of neglect. They didn�t stick a knife in it in the 90�s, but instead just put it in a corner and stopped feeding it, letting a great nameplate slowly starve to death. Ford could have used some of the immense profits generated by their truck and SUV lines in the 90�s to keep improving the Taurus and maintain the brand as the meaty middle of their car lineup, a la the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, VW Passat, etc., and thereby kept it competitive, but of course they didn�t. Yeah, why bother? It�s amazing it lasted as long it did, frankly. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the Ford Five Hundred was not the new Taurus, except I guess the marketing people at Ford figured that there was just too much negative brand equity attached to the Taurus model name. Which, BTW, they themselves caused. Shoulda, woulda, coulda - that's the story of the Taurus, unfortunately. A great model name left to wither away.
Posted By Brendan Moore, Editor -, San Francisco, CA : 4:29 PM  

I have always asked "Does GM know that the Razor Edged Cadillac looks like a Tank", It's way too out of proportion, plus the sharp edges look terrible.
Posted By Iain McKay, Ontario, Canada. : 4:46 PM  

Good Look for Cadillac...I like the bold edged look...Push the enveloope a little on design..Make people look at your product...BUT PLEASE DON'T OVER DO IT like the PONTIAC AZTEC...i hope someone got a pay cut for that crap...Good Job Cadillac.
Posted By Ivan Dixon Gahanna, OH : 12:08 PM  

Regardless of our likes and dislikes in car looks, is there any consumer that would not appreciate improvements in car ignition key systems?
There's at least one way to allow owners to remake their own keys anytime they want. And to make additional keys, anytime they want. Cost can be from near free per key to whatever the key medium dictates. And it's simple. Is that why we don't get it? Is it too simple? Or as one dealer conjectured, the general population could not handle it... As in insult.
Posted By Any Consumer, Detroit, Michigan : 8:28 PM  

Whether or not you like the current generation Cadillac CTS/STS sytling,one thing for sure it is distinctive and you know its a Cadillac. These days I can't tell a Lexus from a Camry from an Accord. They all look the same. Bring on the new styles GM !
Posted By Tommy, Pompany Beach Florida : 10:27 AM  

Gm is trying to kill their name.
People who buy cat's want someing more than just another small car they want it comfortable with room and style. Why not they have the money to buy what they want. Gas and money are just a things to them. Been there and done that when money was loose and I wanted to show my good fortunes.
Posted By J. thompson Saluda, va : 9:00 PM  

Of course they need to change it. The car was ugly. If something does not work, you better change it. Unfortunatlely they do not know what works any more. They have a reputation for poor quality, reliability, and resale value.
Posted By John - Denver, CO : 10:16 PM  

Ford needs cars and trucks that will a big splash on the Auto Show circuits. Ford had to GREAT LOOKING ALL AMERICAN vehicles in 2003 International Auto Show. The first was the gorgeous Dodge Charger competitor the Ford 427 Concept. It looks like a Ford Fusion with hormones. Talk about HOT! Have Joseph Baker, the Chief Designer on stage with this baby. Put in the 5.0 litre V8 with 400 bhp or the all new 3.5 litre V6 with 275 bhp and move over Chevy and Dodge. The all new Ford Galaxy 500 or 500 is back!!! Also, bring back Coletti and the SVT program.

The next car the MUST be shown on the auto circuits is the other concept for from Lincoln. The 2003 Lincoln Continental Concept. Talk about a Chrysler 300 battle. The Lincoln has all the grace and elegance of the 1960's models, but, with current technology. What suspension should they use? Lincoln's LS platform. Talk about a GREAT car that Ford let die. The Lincoln LS was a great car Ford never cared about. Use that platform for an all 3 series competitor. The MKZ is not a competitor that segment and Lincoln needs one. The same stretche platform for the Continental and a larger version for the Town Car replacement.

Bring some of the Australian brands over here. The Falcon could be the all new Taurus. YES, Taurus. Bring the name and a new model back.

The Fairlane could be another model for Lincoln as well.

On the commercial side, why hasn't Ford replaced it's large vans with the all new Traffic that sell in Europe and Asia. Talk about a Dodge Sprinter competitor.

Ford has some good products. The Fusion is hot. The F series need an upgrade or two and a clean burning diesel. The Focus is lost and needs an upgrade. If Mazda can do it, so can Ford. The Ford 500. By by. Must be replaced withe rear and all wheel drive platform. Australia is calling. Bring the Ranchero looking vehicle from Australia here as well. For the B class the Fiesta could compete with that segment and build them in Mexico.

Ford needs to compete more with Honda, Toyota, etc.

Lincoln MUST compete with Cadillac, Chrysler and the European and Asian markets.

They need to sit down and do damage control. The Union management and employees need to come together and bring Ford Back.

Thanks for taking the time
Posted By Steve Lopez, Gardiner, New York : 7:32 PM  

This simply looks like a Camry clone, not a Cadillac. I want a sedan with a long hood and tail, not a car that looks like a hatchback. Thankfully the Lincoln Town Car is still around. Adios Cadillac.
Posted By i8pikachu, Houston, TX : 9:45 PM  

Hey, why can't they wait until Oct to show next year's models? That used to be a big deal. It was all secretive. Dealers would take delivery of the next years' new cars and actually hide them from the public until the second week in Oct. It was neat. I couldn't wait to see the new cars. Now, we see them almost 2 years in advance. As BB King sings: "The thrill is gone".
Posted By Dave - MO : 12:38 AM