30 October 2009

The Best In 2009

In various motoring fields, there are those that stand out for some reason. To celebrate these successes, this is my 'Best' list:

Most Reliable. I would say Lexus. It seems to get top spot whenever this feature is rated. As for an affordable, regular hack, Toyota have always been viewed as very reliable. Pity they are so boring with it.

Best Value. Both Hyundai and Kia. They sell very strongly on their price advantage. They are now offering more and more class with each new model, yet still seem to undercut the opposition on value for money. It baffles me as to why Korea continues to protect them with high import tariffs on imports in their domestic market. They don't need it any longer.

Most Beautiful. Aston Martin. Each and every variant within the range is like a super model, gorgeous. As for more affordable marques, none seem to get it right across the board with all their models.

Strongest Brand. Toyota. According to Interbrand, it came in 8th for all categories and top in the automotive field.

Biggest Selling. Toyota in 2008, just pipping GM. VW Group is closing in though, while GM is falling away. Toyota's two main markets are the US and Japan, both in bad shape. Toyota has the broadest success overall of any car maker though.

Best Prospects. VW Group. It's strongest markets are China and Germany, both doing well. It has also saved costs cleverly through it various brands, without getting complaints about Audi sharing a Skoda platform.

Most Underrated. Jaguar. The current range of XK and XF along with the new XJ equals or surpasses anything the competition has. Yet Jaguar are struggling to sell cars. British industry has incredible design talent and lousy marketing skills. People would buy a turd if it had a BMW badge on it, such is the German marketing machine. Watch how they do it and learn, Jaguar.

Safest. Volvo have led the way with safety over the years and still seem to lead, although the gap may have narrowed.

The bottom line: Toyota may be best overall, but I get the impression they have faltered of late for the first time ever, and for once have a air of vulnerability.

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