Can Europe's generalist automakers stage a comeback in the large-car segment? It is worthwhile for them to try hard.
In the USA, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are earning billions of dollars by selling sport-utilities, pick-up trucks and minivans. But these high-volume, high-margin vehicles have never taken off in Europe. The full-line companies are forced to squeeze profits out of small cars.
Many doubt that 'smart-buy,' volume-brand luxury cars can succeed in Europe against Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo. But why shouldn't they?
Basing cars on global platforms will help by allowing more competitive pricing. But the volume makers must give big cars distinct personalities and not create mere clones of German luxury cars. The last generation of full-sized sedans from 'make-everything' companies merely re-stated Mercedes and BMW concepts. That won't do this time.