Carmakers Hope to Cut Cost with Fewer Trims
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"The industry has way too many brands, too many models, too much choice, to be efficient," Mike Maroone, president and chief operating officer of AutoNation Inc was quoted as saying by detnews.com. In the case of a 2008 Ford Fusion for instance, customers can choose from a 2,600 range of extra-options. It is obvious that some of the extra features developed for the any given model will never generate as much money as it was invested in, for the simple reason that not enough people will buy each and every feature available.
That is no longer the case. In a time when saving money has become a full time job of its own, everybody realizes it's better to have fewer trim levels that work than a whole bunch of them that don't. Ford got the idea and for its 2010 Ford Fusion has cut the extra-feature combination number to 104. A good example of how it should be done comes from Honda, which only offers three trim levels for its CRV crossover, the LX, the EX and the EX-L.
As an extra feature, consumers can choose to install a navigation system in the EX-L model only. "The reason we do that is to keep manufacturing simple, but we work within that theory to make sure customers still have that choice," said American Honda spokesman Chuck Schifsky.
At the opposite side, Chrysler offers more than 10,000 different vehicle combinations and is now struggling to get that number down to 1,000.
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