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Contributions from Automobile Magazine, ConsumerReports.org, Edmunds.com
Cyclical motion
Cyclical motion
Posted by Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports

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.

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