Putting the final nail in the collective image and reputation coffins of GM, Ford and Chrysler, industry trade icon Automotive News announced this week (subscription required) that it will no longer refer to the trio as "The Big Three."
Instead, because Toyota has passed by Ford as the number two global auto maker, and other international manufacturers are circling the three top U.S automakers like vultures, Automotive News will henceforth describe the Big Three as "The Detroit Three."
How sad. How the mighty have fallen. All the lay-offs and all the recalls and all the bad press can’t possibly hurt as much as this image demotion from the bible of the automotive media.
So, where do The Detroit Three go from here? From an image and reputation standpoint, the troika are decades away from recapturing their once lofty brand reps. That’s because Americans have given up on the erstwhile Big Three from a product quality standpoint. It will take years and years of outstanding cars before GM, Ford and Chrysler can ever hope to be once again seen as the pinnacle of automotive image and excellence. In fact, in my mind, they should be called "The Detroit Debacle." It’s a more fitting descriptor.