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http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/reviews/healey/2004-10-07-g6_x.htm

This is not the kindest of reviews for the G6. Although he says it is a fine car overall, it doesn't match up to its similarly priced competition. He's not just naming top competitors either, but taking the ones Pontiac says it will compete with.

I was hoping the G6 would be received a little better than this. We'll see how other reviews go, but it looks like they still have some ways to go.
 

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2005 Pontiac G6

• What is it? Midsize, four-door, front-wheel-drive sedan replacing the Grand Am and based on General Motors' so-called epsilon platform, which also is the foundation for the Chevrolet Malibu and Saab 9-3. Coupe version of G6 is due next spring as an '06. A folding hardtop is scheduled next October. G6 is manufactured at Orion, Mich.
Would Pontiac really consider launching two convertibles at approximately the same time? Doesn't really make much sense to me.
 

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There's nothing wrong with having multiple convertibles. Especially since the Solstice is a roadster, and considered a totally different kind of car.
 

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This is the problem I was mentioning before about coming right out and making comparisons to competetors. The press is very sceptical about GM and for Pontiac to say "this car is as good or better than Honda, Nissan and Mazda" invites critisism. It forces reveiwers to go out of their way to look for flaws and highlight the short comings. The net result is a person reading this review will think, "yeah, I thought so, still building rental cars and making unfounded claims".

Think of it, if they had said "This is the new G6, it replaces the Gran Am, what do you think?" The review would have said "it's much better than the Grand Am." Overall impression by the consumer reading the review would be "humm.. the G6 is better, maybe I'll check it out." The way it is now, the review basicaly says, don't waste your time, go to a Japanese company.

Also of note is the bit about pushrod engines. GM insists on keeping the pushrods for cost reasons and packaging reasons. They know that average drivers won't know the difference and that there is really nothing wrong with push rods, but see the difference in marketing? The guy who wrote the review probably doesn't even know the technical pros and cons to each design, and if the hood were locked shut and he was not told what was under there, I doubt he would be able to correctly guess the camshaft location, but he does know, and he knows that push rods are "old" and OHC is "newer and high tech". GM is shooting themselves in the foot by not ponying up and going with the flow. If they're really going to compete head to head with the Japanese, don't start out with such obvious flaws.

If GM is really wants to compete head to head with the Japanese, they need to get serious and spend the money to actually build a comparable car. If they are not serious, they need to shut up about other cars and lower thier prices to at least give the consumer a great value. The way it sounds now, the G6 is neither a true competitor, nor a good buy.
 

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AeroDave said:
This is the problem I was mentioning before about coming right out and making comparisons to competetors. The press is very sceptical about GM and for Pontiac to say "this car is as good or better than Honda, Nissan and Mazda" invites critisism. It forces reveiwers to go out of their way to look for flaws and highlight the short comings. The net result is a person reading this review will think, "yeah, I thought so, still building rental cars and making unfounded claims".

Think of it, if they had said "This is the new G6, it replaces the Gran Am, what do you think?" The review would have said "it's much better than the Grand Am." Overall impression by the consumer reading the review would be "humm.. the G6 is better, maybe I'll check it out." The way it is now, the review basicaly says, don't waste your time, go to a Japanese company.

Also of note is the bit about pushrod engines. GM insists on keeping the pushrods for cost reasons and packaging reasons. They know that average drivers won't know the difference and that there is really nothing wrong with push rods, but see the difference in marketing? The guy who wrote the review probably doesn't even know the technical pros and cons to each design, and if the hood were locked shut and he was not told what was under there, I doubt he would be able to correctly guess the camshaft location, but he does know, and he knows that push rods are "old" and OHC is "newer and high tech". GM is shooting themselves in the foot by not ponying up and going with the flow. If they're really going to compete head to head with the Japanese, don't start out with such obvious flaws.

If GM is really wants to compete head to head with the Japanese, they need to get serious and spend the money to actually build a comparable car. If they are not serious, they need to shut up about other cars and lower thier prices to at least give the consumer a great value. The way it sounds now, the G6 is neither a true competitor, nor a good buy.

Very well said and I agree completely!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your right Aerodave. That makes total sense. The worst thing about the value of this car is that it competes with the Grand Prix in price too (especially with the GP’s higher rebates). It has a little more back seat room than the GP, but overall the GP has more features and is positioned in their lineup as being a “bigger, better” car. I would think it is hard to sell the “cheaper” Pontiac at the same price as the “more upscale” Pontiac.

One other thing, the $1500 accordion sunroof. Now that is a neat feature that only GM has. It creates a mamouth roof opening, gives the car a unique look when opened, and could be a popular option. However, at $1500 it doesn’t provide much advantage over a much cheaper standard sunroof. GM should have put these things in for the same cost as the standard sunroof, even if it was at a slight loss. At least it would have given the car an easily seen and experienced advantage over those competitors. However at that price the only cars that will show up with the roof will be the low mileage used GM “Executive” cars that will be on sale in a few months.

Making a Convertible G6 and the Solstice is ok. Neither will compete directly with each other. The G6 ragtop I would assume will primarily compete with Sebring, V6 Mustang, and Toyota Camry Solara convertibles.
 

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At least $1500 for a unique sunroof is much better then what Mitsubishi is doing with the 2005MY Lancer EVO VIII GSR (base car). You have to buy the Sun, Sound, and Leather package. $3300!!! That's the only way to get the sunroof. You have to get the HIDs+Leather+Uprated Stereo.
 

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why should GM invest tons of money into an outdated tech like OHC? especially when the gains are so minimal?

instead, i'd like to see GM embrace and lead the way to cam-less, rocker-less, lifter/pushrod-less, etc-less valvtrain.

i dunno bout you guys, but i'd love to be able to do a "cam swap" in 15 minutes with only my laptop. :jester
 

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"instead, i'd like to see GM embrace and lead the way to cam-less, rocker-less, lifter/pushrod-less, etc-less valvtrain."

Sorry, GM cancelled the Wankel program in 1975.
 

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Lotus is currently working on a camless engine. I think the prototype is supposed to be available by 2007.
 

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padgett said:
"instead, i'd like to see GM embrace and lead the way to cam-less, rocker-less, lifter/pushrod-less, etc-less valvtrain."

Sorry, GM cancelled the Wankel program in 1975.
solenoid valve actuation!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
GM’s problem with OHC engines vs using OHV engines is that they simply do not see the cost benefit of offering overhead cams in every vehicle they sell. If people would give their OHV engines a chance, they would find them to be very refined motors that run very smoothly and offer very good throttle response at nearly all RPM’s and maintain good fuel economy. They also help keep vehicle costs down for GM because they are cheaper for them to produce. GM has also argued in the past that they are lighter and more space efficient.

For a plain midsize sedan, there really isn’t anything wrong with OHV.

Now, the problem is media perception. They trash it as low tech. Is it as smooth and silky as a Honda DOHC V6? No, I’d say not. However, I have always felt GM’s OHV’s of recent years have been just as smooth and refined as Ford’s DOHC V6’s and many other companies. But, the media still sees OHV as a sign of being inferior, whether it actually is or not. So that feeling gets watered down to the buying public when they read reviews of the cars.

I am afraid GM may have to move to more DOHC motors to avoid the negative OHV stigma. But I do not think it will really be an improvement for GM. Just a way to get the press off their back so they sell more cars.

PS, the other criticism I see labeled against GM is that they don’t make good motors (meaning DOHC motors) and they won’t/cannot make them. These people cannot see the forest from the trees, since they always ignore the fact that GM makes some very good DOHC motors, the Ecotec 4 bangers, the High Feature V6 motors (currently the 3.6L DOHC Cadillac/Buick engine) and of course the Northstar V8’s.
 

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Bizz said:
why should GM invest tons of money into an outdated tech like OHC? especially when the gains are so minimal?

instead, i'd like to see GM embrace and lead the way to cam-less, rocker-less, lifter/pushrod-less, etc-less valvtrain.
The way I see it, the GM car division is fighting for it's life right now. It is currently losing several hundred dollars on each car it sells overall. With those kind of losses, they can't keep building cars forever. With rising gas prices, SUV and Pick up sales are likely to slump, and those are things that have been keeping GM alive. Now is not really the time for them to be spending large amounts of cash on experimental engine development that won't pay off for years, if ever. Toyota and Honda, (who earn $1200 to $1500 on every car they sell overall) have the luxury of spending that cash if they want.

You're right, it's probably not even the time to be spending money on OHC development either, the OHV engines will have to due short term. They need the OHC engines mostly for marketing reasons, to make them more comparable to other brands, but I believe they should be dumping what ever money they do have into styling and packageing. This is where many competetors are weak. Hot looking cars, great performance, unique features and competitive prices will out weigh old technology and less than stellar reputation during the transistion period. When they start making money on their overall car line, then they should be thinking about new engines.

Personally I think they should keep their eye on technologies beyond ICEs. At some point it's just flogging a dying horse. There is going to be decades between transistion to Hydrogen power, and ICEs are going to be with us for some time, but Hybrid technology research is probably a better use of their money than research into new valve technologies.

To use an annalogy, Eastman Kodak once thought there was no future in digital cameras, and that film would be here for a long time to come. At a critical moment in time, they made a decision to put money into new film technologies and aborted digital research opportunities. Well, now they have to license digital technologies from other companies just to stay in the market and stay alive. They lost a potential edge to be a world leader. The same thing could happen to GM if they simply cling to ICEs just because that's what they know.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Kodak was a classic example of making a corporate blunder by failing to invest in the future. I understand they never expected digital to take off like it had, but they needed the forsight to keep the research going. Instead, they dumped it for an immediate cost savings which may end up costing their companies existence!

I do not think GM is cutting back on hydrogen and other alternate fuel vehicle development. Actually, they have poured so much money into hydrogen fuel cell development and research that the very future of the company may depend on the adoption of the technology in the marketplace. It is costing Billions over years for them to work on the fuel cells, and they really need to see a return on this investment. If it works out for them, it could be gold. But they not only have to get it to work and get it to work reliably (and not just fuel cells, but also storage of hydrogen, economical and widespread production and distribution of hydrogen by energy companies, etc). I also think they need to be first to get it on the road.

Toyota is also tossing in tons of money on this development. The difference is that Toyota makes enough money they can afford big losses on fuel cell development and survive, but if GM cannot come through on it, they will be stuck without any alternate plan for future vehicle propulsion and they will have no money left to develop it.
 

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Fformula88 said:
Toyota is also tossing in tons of money on this development. The difference is that Toyota makes enough money they can afford big losses on fuel cell development and survive, but if GM cannot come through on it, they will be stuck without any alternate plan for future vehicle propulsion and they will have no money left to develop it.
So true. This is why I believe it is in the interest of the US government to subsidize this research, or at least the research into storage and infrastructure. As they have said, what's good for GM is good for America. It's not like Toyota hasn't been government subsidized and supported by the Japanese government, most all Japanese companies enjoy wide spred support from their government at one point or another.
 

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AeroDave said:
So true. This is why I believe it is in the interest of the US government to subsidize this research, or at least the research into storage and infrastructure. As they have said, what's good for GM is good for America. It's not like Toyota hasn't been government subsidized and supported by the Japanese government, most all Japanese companies enjoy wide spred support from their government at one point or another.
Some government subsidies would be great, but it would also be good if some energy suppliers jumped on board with more interest. When GM initially went out to energy companies, they basically told GM to go take a hike because they didn’t feel developing the technology was worth it.

A little government subsidy, and GM getting closer to selling a hydrogen car could be all that is needed to spur the energy industry into throwing a lot of money into infrastructure and R&D costs. They are reluctant right now because they are skeptical this idea will get off the ground. But if it looks like a technology that will take off, they will all want to be all over it.
 

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Fformula88 said:
Some government subsidies would be great, but it would also be good if some energy suppliers jumped on board with more interest. When GM initially went out to energy companies, they basically told GM to go take a hike because they didn’t feel developing the technology was worth it.

A little government subsidy, and GM getting closer to selling a hydrogen car could be all that is needed to spur the energy industry into throwing a lot of money into infrastructure and R&D costs. They are reluctant right now because they are skeptical this idea will get off the ground. But if it looks like a technology that will take off, they will all want to be all over it.
I do some work for ChevronTexaco from time to time, and they tell me that they are the largest supplier of Hydrogen in the US now. They also say they are working on ways to produce Hydrogen much cheaper and also the storage and distribution problems facing an automotive application. However they are a publicly traded corporation, and they have to be very careful how much money they put into long term projects for the future. If anylists on Wall Street feel they are taking a big financial gamble on a questionable return, and they feel that too much potential profit is being steered away from share holders, their stock gets down graded. IMO Wall Street, in it's sometimes short sighted quest for quick profits, can thwart innovation. The Hydrogen economy is likely to happen (short of some fantastic nuclear fusion technology popping up un expectedly), and we as a country need to stay ahead of this curve. It will have to take cooporation between all sectors and become a national priorty. JMHO :cheers
 
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