If you listened to Paul Eisenstein on NPR this morning, you might think Japanese car companies and in particular, Toyota, are on the way down. Eisenstein is publisher of The Car Connection and a commentator on NPR. Check out his site's conclusions about what he and his editors took away from the Detroit Auto Show last week. My patriotic side hopes his affinity for GM is justified. But Eisenstein isn't alone in his belief that a reinvorated GM is at hand. The company's Saturn Aura (which looks like an older Honda Accord) took the top car award and its Chevy Silverado won the top truck honors against stiff competition from Japanese rivals. This was according to the 49 auto writers who vote on their favorites. And a restyled Chevy Malibu (my first car was a 1965 Chevelle 300, one step down from the original Chevelle Malibu essentially from Chevy) got high marks, too. When Eisenstein was talking about GM's comeback this morning, I prayed he would ask how much wishful thinking and patriotism figured into the voting. I wondered.
So who do you trust? Well, maybe it's these auto writers. But the real test is Consumer Reports, which has long favored Honda and Toyota models across the board. CR buys the cars its tests and has long been the most objective and squeaky clean reviewer of vehicles. Who doesn't check out the CR reports before plunking down big bucks for a new car?
Lo' and behold, even CR seemed swept up with domestic models taking the top three spots among its "Show Standouts." Nary a Toyota made the list! Let's hope the GM buzz coming out of this big show translates into sustainable progress.