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OK. I got back earlier this evening. 11+ hours drive (730 miles one way). I have tons of photos, although a lot of similar photos were already put on the forum. I have pictures of the engineers - we had some beers and good discussion on Friday night at Tom’s oyster bar located across the street from the GM worldwide headquarters. I have video of the entire presentation from Bob Lutz, Lori Queen, etc. Total of about 40 minutes. I’ll post that on the web, hopefully tomorrow night (Sunday). I will also try to post an audio only version. I have other video of the cars coming and going during the test drives. I have a video of my maiden Solstice drive!!!! (not that anyone would really care to see it). I will do a full brain dump tomorrow on the forum. One big thing that was obvious: Everyone was talking about solsticeforum.com. It’s a big deal. They look at it every day. Okay…on to the Q&A:

I tried to get as many questions answered as possible. One thing came out loud and clear. They were all very tight lipped about production rates, etc. They were all reading from the same script, so we didn’t get any solid answers. They are concerned about information getting to competitors – I totally understand this. Also, I could be wrong, but I think gmlinedog may have been reprimanded in some way. To what extent, I don’t know. So, let’s try not to get upset if insiders won’t provide information even if they know it. Here’s what I was able to piece together. When they are up to full production, they will build 7 cars per hour. There will be two shifts. Total of 112 cars per day (7*16). They would not indicate when they will be going at full production. “Soon” I’m told. Maybe beginning in October?

I didn’t ask the following questions because I felt that I wouldn’t get an answer because of their very strong stance on not talking about production or allocation (see notes above):
Q1) What is the current build rate?
Q2) Would you care to discuss any initial production problems encountered and their solutions? How Many cars are allocated to Canada for calendar 2005
Q3) How many in the first allocation
Q4) How many have been sold already
Q5) Are Canadian cars being built in accordance with allocation placing or date of order?
Q6) Is climate being taken into account in delivery in Canada, and for that matter at all.
Q7) Will GM fill all the Pre-orders for the Solstice by year end 2005?
Q8) Could GM please reinstate the Tentative (we promise to understand that it's not guaranteed) Production Week status update, or at least give us some idea where we fall in the queue for being built?
Q9) How many Solstices will be built for the 2006 MY?
Q10) Are there discussions taking place to increase Kappa production capabilities and if so how (production at other locations, changes at Wilmington, other)?
Q11) Could you tell us how many vehicles are in each of the two (2) make up groups, Zero Zip and Free Maintenance?

Q12: What seems to be the key factor in determining build order?
A: Sorry, didn’t ask specifically, but others asked about the first 1000 and were told by color.

Q13: Are they building first 1000 by color?
A: I didn’t ask that question, but looking through the message threads, other members asked this question and the answer is yes.

Q14: Any plans for a GPS system? (additional question clarification needed)
A: This is not planned.

Q15: Trunk design details. Take us through the thought process. What was the constraint not to make it bigger
A: Several reasons why the trunk is the way it is.
a) Cost and manufacturing complexity: The gas tank is where it is because it would be costly and complex to change the design of the fuel tank and placement. Remember the $20k limit Mr. Lutz put on the car.
b) Packaging (space): The size of the wheels and tires, geometry of the bushings, gas tank location cut into the amount of space available as storage.

Personal comment: There are several inches of space in the back of the trunk. It had more space than I thought. Two sets of clubs: yes, small sets. I bet you could pack a good amount of clothes in there for along weekend using a quantity of small duffle bags. Obviously, you couldn’t use standard luggage. Idea: Solstice trunk designed luggage!!!!

Q16: Is there another meet planned for a later time with more notice?
A: No

Q17: Can you please consider bringing the Opel brand back to the US? For some reason, I can’t find the notes on this question. I will try to write down what I remember:
A: Lori told me that there is a Speedster in Europe and there are not plans for that coming to the USA. She also said there was an Opel at an auto show, but that was a concept car and not a production car. If I remember correctly, and I’m sorry if this is incorrect, but there isn’t an Opel production car anywhere. Does that sound right?

Q18: Oh, and "THANK YOU for building an actual concept car!"
A: This was said by many people. When I said my thanks to Bob Lutz and mentioned that I liked the center exhaust on the concept. He told me a couple stories.
1) The center exhaust was moved to the side because the car can be used to tow small items (he didn’t get into specifics as to what someone would want to tow on a Solstice). Since its possible that the car can tow something, the exhaust had to be moved. (Personally I think they should nix the tow option and put the exhaust back in the center….Oh, maybe not…see trunk space comments above!).
2) Lutz really liked the original door handles on the concept car. He asked Lori to keep them on the car. She said it wouldn’t be cost effective. He said it would be cost effective if she looked to Italy where the handles were made. Well, she came back and explained that the handles were made by hand. The supplier was some guy that was a contractor. He only had one mold, poured the liquid into the mold by hand. After it hardened, he hand polished the handles. Apparently it was a rather complex task and not automated. Lutz agreed with Lori that the costs would be too high, so they took off the shelf handles.

Q19: Will Pontiac add Serene (steel blue) to the Solstice color pallet?
Q20: Why aren't you building all color cars?
Q21: Will the rumored Orange color for 2007 be called Marmalade?
A: These questions Lori wouldn’t discuss. She said that they are looking at lots of colors and you will see more in the future.

Q22: Are the MPG numbers (20/28) based on 91 octane or 87?
A: I think the answer was premium. I think they also said there wasn’t much of a difference in MPG between 91 and 87. Lori also said that she uses 87 octane and there is no performance difference between 91 and 87. She said if you had stop watch and timed the 0-60, you may notice a small difference. She said that 87 is fine with the car and you shouldn’t focus too much on getting the 91 octane gas.

Q23: What kind of performance increase can we expect from exhaust or airbox?
A: Not much, if any. The engineer I talked with said that it would add more sound to the exhaust and that the airbox was also designed for future applications…I assumed turbo, but he would not elaborate.

Q24: Have all problems with the leather interior's availability been worked out?
A: I was told all leather availability issues have been resolved

Q25: Do you think chrome wheels will be available during the 2006 model year?
A: I think they are available now …someone said $695.

Q26: Any possibility of adding "at plant pickup" and plant tours for the Solstice to something similar to how Bowling Green does for the Corvette?
A: Lori said No. She said that the Corvette started doing that after several years of production. We should see a similar time frame for the Solstice, if at all.

Q27: Did you have any idea it would be so successful that 6500 people would all be clamoring for one of those prized spots on the "First 1000"?
A: They didn’t expect the turnout that occurred. They thought maybe 100 or so. They were shocked that the first 1,000 went in 40 minutes.

Q28: What IS the difference between first 1,000 and the later cars other than a plaque, a hat, and a t-shirt?
A: None

Q29: If you are going to crush all the pre production cars, why not send them for crash tests?
A: A couple engineers told me that they keep a lot of the pre production cars around as test. They tear them down and rebuild them. They make modifications to them, etc. They say that eventually they get crushed and that some get crushed a lot earlier than others. I didn’t ask specifically about crash tests, but I think crash tests need to be done using production cars, not pre production cars. I don’t know. But, anyway, there was some insight into what they do with the pre-production cars before being crushed.

Q30: Seeing that this car is being marketed differently than any car that I can think of, instead of waiting for reports of quirks from the service departments of the local Pontiac dealer, why not be proactive and set up a feedback site that we can give direct comments and suggestions for improvement?
A: All the speakers during the presentation of VIN #1 mentioned the solsticeforum.com as a place where they get feedback and use our input to help drive the product. Mark Richer and Lori Queen said they look at solsticeforum.com most every day. I know the engineers do. We need to keep posting the way we always have been. They listen. Maybe the moderators could add a “feedback” section to the forum specifically for GM/Pontiac to quickly look through. Although I doubt they would provide feedback on our feedback!

Here are the questions from the list I didn’t ask. Sorry. Maybe some of the other forum members asked these questions:
Q31: Will GM Performance Parts be offering a supercharger or turbocharger upgrade for the Ecotec 2.4L 2006 Solstice?
Q32: What other performance upgrades are planned for the 2.4L Ecotec Solstice? (other than the air box and exhaust already announced)
Q33: Any further comments on additional dealership markups above MSRP?
Q34: Will GM Finance be offering any great rates (ie., 0% for 36 months, 1.9-2.9% for 60 months, etc. for the 2006 Solstice? when will they publish the rates? Any info on leasing (residuals) or Smartbuy.
Q35: What kind of interest rates and incentives can we expect?

I didn’t ask the following questions because they sounded like someone just wanted to vent or was just frustrated and anxious about getting their car.
Q36: What kind of marketing plan treats one group of purchasers like royalty (First 1000), and basically ignores all other customers on both sides of the 49th parallel.
Q37: What does GM think of the large number of First 1000 Solstices being sold on e-bay?
Q38: Who came up with the brilliant marketing strategy?

ok...that's it except for one last bit. Mark Richer said that he would be more than happy to have an online interview/Q&A with solsticeforum.com. I will send a PM to Troy about this. I'm not sure if this site has capabilities to do a live internet conference call. I was told that Lori may also be available to do this, but I didn't hear that directly from her.
 

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todd_raleigh said:
Also, I could be wrong, but I think gmlinedog may have been reprimanded in some way.
Personally, If he were reprimanded at all I would be pretty ticked at GM. He's really provided us some excellent info, nothing that I could possibly imagine providing any useful info. to competitors, but information that could very well have saved many people from cancelling their orders.

I think they ought to give him a fat raise and put him on their PR or Customer Relations team. After hearing about the event and that they do read the forum I'm not so negative about GM PR any more but they could certainly use someone who communicates with the customer on their staff. Of course, there's always the theory that Linedog is already on the management team (I think I've heard people allude to him possibly being an alter ego for Lutz or Lori.)
 

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I'll bet I'm not alone but when I see a post from the likes of GMlinedog or SmallDealer I really perk up and appreciate what to me has proved to be excellent info. They really increase the value of this forum. And btw, I don't get a sense that they are in any way breaking confidences, crossing any lines or sharing embargoed or sensitive stuff.
 

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Thanks for the info T_R! :thumbs:
todd_raleigh said:
I know the engineers do. We need to keep posting the way we always have been. They listen. Maybe the moderators could add a “feedback” section to the forum specifically for GM/Pontiac to quickly look through. Although I doubt they would provide feedback on our feedback!
Over time we'll be introducing new forum sections. A technical area where these types of discussions along with recall/repair information can be found easily. We've been batting around layout ideas with Troy.
 

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TerpFan said:
In case you haven't figured it out yet - who are the moderators of this forum? GM knows very well what information is being posted here - somebody at headquarters is getting the memos...
??? :rolleyes: Terp sorry if I'm misinterpreting what you are saying here but if you are implying that this forum is somehow connected to GM you are wrong. Anything GM gets for their internal memos is from reading a public forum which they admitted they do on Friday.
 

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Lori said they build in color batches, that they probably wouldn't build just one car of a color at any time, but they can switch colors easily and quickly, so I don't think she indicated that they would build all of one color before building the others. The first VINs indicate they are building dark colors first for some reason, but they are building different colors.

Thanks Todd for the attempt on the list. I was there when he went through the list and Lori explained she ALREADY had our list. They got it from the Forum. The PR guy was at her elbow and even he was impressed at how she avoided the production questions and competition sensitive questions.
 

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Great work Todd!

If you want me to host the files I will be happy to do so. There is a place in the gallery where you can upload pics. The vids you would need to send to me or post them somewhere that I can download them. Let me know if you would like me to do so. :cheers:
 

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Reprimand

solsticedreamin said:
Personally, If he were reprimanded at all I would be pretty ticked at GM. He's really provided us some excellent info, nothing that I could possibly imagine providing any useful info. to competitors, but information that could very well have saved many people from cancelling their orders.

I think they ought to give him a fat raise and put him on their PR or Customer Relations team. After hearing about the event and that they do read the forum I'm not so negative about GM PR any more but they could certainly use someone who communicates with the customer on their staff. Of course, there's always the theory that Linedog is already on the management team (I think I've heard people allude to him possibly being an alter ego for Lutz or Lori.)
I asked every Pontiac exec I spoke to not to kick GMLinedog's butt and Mr John Larson said "We are not going to kick anybody's butt"
 

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Great Job!
Thanks for putting all the answers in one place
:) :) :) :)
 

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TerpFan said:
Thanks for the forum that helps us help you.
Just to clarify - GM is not associated with this forum. It is owned by me. GM does not pay the bills, I do (hopefully they will be paid by supporting vendors soon ;)).
 

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solsticedreamin said:
Personally, If he were reprimanded at all I would be pretty ticked at GM. He's really provided us some excellent info, nothing that I could possibly imagine providing any useful info. to competitors, but information that could very well have saved many people from cancelling their orders.
Well, personally I could see it happening weeks ago. There were too many posters pushing too hard, (in my view) for information from GMlinedog. There were questions being asked that in no way could he answer without getting into trouble. Production numbers were certainly an example. We have seen from other posts of this weekend’s event that the GM execs do not want certain information being released.

So, if GMlinedog got reprimanded, it was our own faults for prying too much. Now, I don’t know exactly what happened and maybe reprimanded is a bit too strong, (this was Todd’s words) but it is entirely likely that he was spoken to and told what to, and what not to post. We all must remember that GMlinedog is an employee of General Motors. Like it or not they have the right to control the information given in a public forum by their employees. GM (like all companies) wants to control the information beginning released for accuracy, consistency, and for competitive reasons. I play this game every day and you can’t fault GM for that.
 

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mceb said:
??? :rolleyes: Terp sorry if I'm misinterpreting what you are saying here but if you are implying that this forum is somehow connected to GM you are wrong. Anything GM gets for their internal memos is from reading a public forum which they admitted they do on Friday.

Please discard this thought, as it was late and I had a lot bad food and little sleep. :frown
 

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PubliusE said:
Well, personally I could see it happening weeks ago. There were too many posters pushing too hard, (in my view) for information from GMlinedog. There were questions being asked that in no way could he answer without getting into trouble. Production numbers were certainly an example. We have seen from other posts of this weekend’s event that the GM execs do not want certain information being released.

So, if GMlinedog got reprimanded, it was our own faults for prying too much. Now, I don’t know exactly what happened and maybe reprimanded is a bit too strong, (this was Todd’s words) but it is entirely likely that he was spoken to and told what to, and what not to post. We all must remember that GMlinedog is an employee of General Motors. Like it or not they have the right to control the information given in a public forum by their employees. GM (like all companies) wants to control the information beginning released for accuracy, consistency, and for competitive reasons. I play this game every day and you can’t fault GM for that.
Well stated, PubliusE. :cheers:

I'd like to take the opportunity here to add a few words, and I believe I speak for the other moderators and Troy here.

As someone who has a high interest in keeping and maintaining all my contacts (one might say my job depends on contacts throughout the whole industry), I certainly hope that GMlinedog is ok (which it seems he is). I've laughed at the "Solsticeman is... " speculations, but when it gets right down to it, some of the info (while I am definitely not Bob Lutz) may have come directly from him - and he didn't even know it... along with small tidbits thrown to people like me "off the record," but allows people like me to "facilitate" discussion. Pry too much or post something you were expressly told not to, and those contacts could be lost forever - and a source of information "scared away".

This is a new thing - forums work with a decentralized form of organization, and it is possible to piece together bits and pieces from the tidbits and combined deductive skills of many people. Much more effective than the traditional automotive publications. I doubt that Pontiac ever realized how effective a forum (as opposed to a "blog") can be in buzz generation. I wonder if such an internet format has factored so much in the pre-introduction phase of any car as this forum has for the Solstice (and Skyroadster will undoubtedly factor in the Sky).

It is exactly that decentralized organization that scares traditional companies like GM. They (as Troy Roberts has said multiple times) don't own nor control this forum. Even Troy, nor us mods really "control" anything - the best we can do is "moderate" things, short of closing the site down or locking every thread.

The ONLY place GM can control this info is at the source of the posting or contact. That means finding where info gets out and closing such leaks. (this means finding out who at GM said what, and FIRING them).

Keep it in mind, the info that people like GMlinedog, and the handful of other GM people that occasionally send me e-mails, or PM's or I talk to (or go for rides with) are really risking their jobs - their livlihoods - to get a bit of buzz and give hungry people information they seek. There is the competitve risk too.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong - it IS what it IS. I, Troy, mceb, brentil, fformula88, can't change the situation. So just think a bit before really prying - and if someone says "don't post what I'm going to tell you" or "I can't say", try and respect it. You may be rewarded in the future tenfold for it. Don't respect it, and you could at best lose a contact. At worst you could get a friend of yours fired.
 

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mceb said:
??? :rolleyes: Terp sorry if I'm misinterpreting what you are saying here but if you are implying that this forum is somehow connected to GM you are wrong. Anything GM gets for their internal memos is from reading a public forum which they admitted they do on Friday.

Again, sorry for the confusion. Maybe the information of the board is causing a circular effect with GM. A post on something somebody thought gets looked at and the information is change and reposted. Not sure if this how other media is manipulated or not. The information on the boards see to be evolving recently.
 

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TerpFan said:
Again, sorry for the confusion. Maybe the information of the board is causing a circular effect with GM. A post on something somebody thought gets looked at and the information is change and reposted. Not sure if this how other media is manipulated or not. The information on the boards see to be evolving recently.
All good. Glad the air is cleared. :cheers:
 
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