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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New sales lead takes over at GM. Looks like they will be looking to Solstice to begin lifting GM out of it's doldrums.

The automaker needs a Chrysler 300 to get people to sit up. Instead, it has the Cobalt, G6, Caddy STS and LaCrosse, none of which analysts expect to appeal as much to people outside of GM's existing customer database. On top of sleepy introductions of the Chevy Malibu and Equinox, and public indifference to the SSR and Pontiac GTO, GM simply needs some product mojo outside of a niche product like the Corvette. That could come in the form of the Pontiac Solstice in the 2006 model year, but that car will have to achieve Mazda Miata-like stardom to lift GM the way the 300 has lifted Chrysler and the way H2 briefly lifted the General last year.
Article:
http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?n=156,175&sid=175&article=7416
 

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I have heard that the equinox is selling very robustly. So much so that they are working six days a week at the CAMI Plant that produces them to keep up wiyh the demand. The dealers I have talked tell me if they can get them they are sold.
 

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:agree That article is pretty much spot on. GM needs a couple of smash hits right about now.
 

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I agree that GM could use a hit, but I disagree that the Solstice is the hit it really needs. Although, it does need the Solstice to be a hit. :crazy I'll explain.

The Solstice will get tons of attention. If its a hit, then GM gets a lot of good press which will improve its image with consumers. At 20K units a year, it won't sell enough to make GM a ton of money or turn around its declining marketshare, but it will be worth it from a marketing standpoint. But if its not a hit, it will be because the car is lacking, and GM can il afford the bad press it would receive if the car is a dud. So they need it to be a hit.

But the hit they really need is a high volume vehicle that pulls in a lot of import buyers. The 300 is doing that for Chrysler right now, but based on its styling I am willing to bet its a flavor of the month car and will not have long term staying power. Thats not knocking it, but GM would could use a car with long term staying power to really help its marketshare.

The car GM needs is something along the lines of a Camry, Accord, or even the Taurus in its hayday. It doesn't really need to sell in those high volumes, but it needs to be fairly high. To get this car, GM needs a really good reputation for making quality products, and they need a car near the top of its class in all concievable ways.

The G6, Malibu, Equinox, Cobalt, etc are not that car. But the knock has been whether they should be, and GM has failed. I do not think that is the case, but rather that these cars are the beginning steps for GM in reaching the top of their class.

To get to the top, GM needs to close the gap between them and the people at the top. That takes a lot of engineering work, and money, to accomplish. Its probably not financially possible, or logistically reasonable to expect them to take what is the Cavalier now, and apply their knowledge to designing a new vehicle (Cobalt) and ending up with the best compact in the market. That is a long way for them to go. Instead, they go part of the way, make a competitive compact that is very much improved. Then their next generation car can build off that and reach even higher. Same for the rest of their lineup. The Equinox may not have the refinement levels of a Honda CR-V, but its not that far off, and certainly light years ahead of the Tracker it replaced. Good selling family sedans, compacts, SUV's, etc generally do not sell because of stand out styling, but because they stand out where people will notice daily, confort, refinement, reliability, etc. It appears to me that GM is closing ground in these categories quickly, and only needs to keep it up to eventually get the hit it really needs. That hit may come off the upcoming Zeta platform in a couple years. They have a number of interesting RWD models scheduled for that platform, and RWD seems to be making a big comback.
 

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Fformula88 said:
To get to the top, GM needs to close the gap between them and the people at the top. That takes a lot of engineering work, and money, to accomplish. Its probably not financially possible, or logistically reasonable to expect them to take what is the Cavalier now, and apply their knowledge to designing a new vehicle (Cobalt) and ending up with the best compact in the market.
Unfortunately, the automotive press and a demanding public do expect them to come up with the best or at least equivilant of their compitition. Anything less and it's just another GM dissapointment. The public and the press are very unforgiving. Not too many people buy cars that are stepping stones in GM's plan for market domination just to help them out. If Cobalt doesn't stack up to Civic and Corrola, well they'll have to do what they have always done, discount them and make them a good consumer value. To bad this the reason GM isn't very profitable. They do need a stunning success against their rivals, right now.

I totaly agree with you that the success has to come in the form of mass produced family sedans and coupes, not exotic halo cars. The halo cars help with image and get people to showrooms, but the sedans have to make them stay and sign paperwork. Years ago people would go to Chevy dealers to check out the new Corvette, but it was the strength of the Impala, Malibu, Monte Carlo, Nova, Camero and even Vega that made them drive home in a Chevy. Now when you go to the Chevy dealer most say, "Sweet car, but I can't afford it/it's not practical, and there's nothing else here worth looking at. Let's go."

They're working at it though. The new Malibu/Maxxim, Cobalt, G6 and others show promise that maybe they can hook a few more. Only time will tell. While I'm definately getting a Solstice, most people entering a Pontiac dealer will not, so they really have to put alot of effort into the rest of the product line to make sales. There's really no reason that a family sedan can't be interesting. The 300 illustrates that. How many people went to look at a Crossfire, but got hooked on a 300? More than one I would guess.
 

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ood point Aerodave, the public and especially the press are very demanding of GM at this point. I guess that is what happens after 20 years of mediocre products. But I think it can be seen as a good sign too. People go out of their way to bash GM's products, so at least they seem to care about them. If they can get their products turned around, maybe all that hatred can be turned back into love and sales!

Your also right that people won't buy a stepping stone car just to help out a company, but GM's I think are competitive with everything except maybe the top couple cars in their class. The Malibu may not be up to the standards of a Camry or Accord, but I think it matches up favorably to other similar offerings (Altima, Galant, etc). (I know it cannot match the Altima 3.5 for power, but that car is a low percentage of overall Altima sales, their 4 banger is the volume car). With stepping stone cars that are competitive, they should be able to at least stop their market share slide and hold onto what they have. They won't grow share, but why bail on GM when their product is now as good as most of the other cars on the market anyway.
 
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