Went car shopping today.
While I am usually all for market selection and capitalism, sometimes I wish that car companies were more like media companies -- that you had one Google and maybe two or three other major manufacturers, all of them on the brink of merging with the first.
Instead there's at least 20 brands. All of them I associate vaguely with quality. There's not a Yugo among them. Even though it would be fun to laugh at Skoda, even this turns out to be a respectable company, like an Eastern cousin of VW, nor do the trams and trolleys Skoda made for the city of Tallinn ever break down.
All of the brands have a minivan type of car, now also known as a leisure activity vehicle, and a couple other names, none of which I can remember off the top of my head.
All of them are similarly priced. None is especially unique, as far I can see. One will be 10 cm longer, or there will be a couple mpg difference. They're all efficient, with the diesel models pushing 60 mpg. They all pretty have an jet-plane-like snout and a big ugly back end, almost like the door of a house. They're a little too high and the clearnance is a little low, but on the inside they could be fun family cars.
While we were driving back, my wife pointed out cars -- "look, there's a Citroen Berlingo" (this being the car-LAV we are leaning toward). One in fact turned out to be a Ford Tourneo.
The Berlingo is made in partnership with Peugeot, which markets its own version, called the Partner.
It seems it would be less confusing just to merge. Instead of the Berlingo, the Partner and (Renault) Kangoo, just have a Berlinpargoo.
This is another phenomenon -- proliferation of silly names. What on earth possessed the French to name a car after that foreign capital, anyway?