Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Do you think GM made a mistake by releasing details on the Solstice as early as it did? It seems there are many people frustrated by the delays and longer wait time to get a Solstice, so they are giving up and purchasing other cars. Do you think this is in part to having too much official information about the car too soon and so making the wait time seem even longer? Would it have been better for them to keep it more under wraps until closer to launch date?

I personaly have enjoyed thinking about this car for the last year and a half. Others seem to be fed up with the delays that seem to plague all new product launches. I realize that there are weather issues for many of you, but would it have been better to know nothing about this car until say, last month?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
I did notice that the guys at the miata forums seemed to be pretty inactive during the times where we were having our best discussions. I really don't know what is better. Mostly I think they let too much out of the bag early, but then you're right, where would this forum be without the early info.

Prolly best to chalk it up to the universe unfolding exactly as it should...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
Switching because of the wait? Well maybe not...

I am not convinced that the long lead time and early information has CAUSED folks to switch in frustration with the wait. I tend to think that the early information attracted many many more fans salivating over the machine than a traditional black project development cycle would have. I argue that the "I would rather switch than wait" set are at the margins who would have bought the other car anyway because they would never have known about the Solstice.

In short, the early information has "chummed the waters" and attracted more folks to the car, forming a ready made market.

Are there folks who are switching because they thought the car would be out sooner? Sure. Would they have switched if they had only heard about the Solstice for the first time in June and at that same moment learned that it would not be available until later in the year? I suspect that YES, they would have switched all the same, early information or no. They want a roadster for THIS summer, and they are not willing to wait. I submit that those who have switched were more willing to compromise on the design/styling AND were willing to pay a higher price (exception made for discounted pre MX-5 MSMs). In other words, they wanted a roadster, and weren't strongly bonded to the Solstice in the first place. Are they the majority of folks who have been drawn to the Solstice by the early information? No, I don't think so.

The early information did broaden the market, and may have substantially expanded the roadster market by making more of us sit up and say, "Hey, that looks great, and WOW! I can even afford it. Maybe I could drive a roadster instead of a sedan.... I think I'll wait until I can get a Solstice." Within that group, sure there will be those whose impatience is too great to wait for the Solstice and will switch to another brand.

I posit that the numbers of folks drawn in by the early information is far larger than would have been interested with a black program development and big "You can get it now!" campaign.

Marketing is about getting the word out. Advanced information could be a big problem if the manufacturer decides to issue the unit at a higher price, or with less features/performance/quality than originally rumored. The delays, as I have said in other posts will not matter in the long run. If anything, the delays will weed out the fence-sitters who would have been only marginally enthusiastic about the car, and hence would have reported opinions more like, "Yeah, I got one. It's OK. I think I might have liked brand x better, though." Those, to whom the design and styling speak, will be more than willing to wait--when they finally get one in their driveway, they will grin from ear to ear and say, "Ain't it nice? I'm sure glad I waited."

Now, nay-sayers will counter, "Yeah, but what about the folks who after waiting for it are disappointed?" Sure, there will be quite a few of those, but you'd have more of them if the impatient hadn't been weeded out by the longer lead time.

Was it a good thing to let people know about the car? Yes, I would say it was. I will go further and say that it was essential. It allowed the teams working on the car to show the top level Execs, "Yes, people really do want this car." Bob Lutz said it too, that the response to the car at the auto show was what got the project green lighted in the first place.

So, on balance, I think early information release was smart--very smart.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I agree with Crimson Avenger. The knowledge of the Solstice's pending release has buyers salivating for the car. The wait will likely turn off some buyers who want to buy a car soon, but GM wouldn't have gotten those buyers anyway if there wasn't any knowledge out about the Solstice yet.

Instead, GM has managed to get a fairly decent sized group of people who will wait for the Sol to come out. If they were not aware of the Sol, they might all be driving something else already. So for GM, I think letting out the info is a plus.

On the negative side, I think the recently announced delay by the press hurts a little. They got people to order one thinking they would have it this summer, and now all of a sudden the delivery will be in the fall. That could be a turn off, but again, those who really want it will wait the extra couple months. Its not that much more time, and when the car is released the weather will still be nice in the south anyway where roadster sales are generally stronger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
A three month delay for quality assurance seems resonable to me. No need to rush and have a Ford Focus type launch. On the other hand, if this is followed by another delay, say first quarter of 2006, then I would begin to worry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
If the Solstice was going to be my main car I would be a little :cuss: . The car is a pleasure and will be used for fun. I was glad GM told us early - can you imagine the amount of people wanting the Solstice next spring and how much they will pay for it. If you have one of the first 1000, is any amount of time to long to wait? I just consider myself one of the lucky ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
Repost: Look beyond the short time horizon...

I originally posted this at the following thread: GM's Next General: Look beyond the short time horizon..., but it bears repeating here:

mikefred1952 said:
Let's hope they get someone that can get the top fixed on the Solstice and get it delivered by June 21st! :lol:
As a field "engineer" type my self, once there is budget and sufficient staffing for a project (which there has been for Solstice), adding more pressure from the top to get the job done more quickly can often yield longer schedules or compromises in quality. Basically, you can't dictate innovation and clever engineering; it can be encouraged, but not forced.

I believe GM is taking the right approach here. Yes, they are getting some bad press for the release delay, but it is an encouraging sign that they care enough about the product and their own quality standards to take the time to "get it right".

Marketing always wants the product before it can possibly be ready; management always wants it for less cost; customers want the absolute maximum possible quality and features; and the guys caught in the middle of this maelstrom of conflicting requests are the engineers, technicians, machinists, line workers and others.

Now, will the delay infuriate the impatient? You bet. Will the Press feast on the news? Sure, bad news is far more interesting than good news. Is that press coverage bad in the short run? Yes, it can pull downward on the value of the stock.

Is the press coverage for a choice by GM to delay the product in order to produce a product commensurate with their quality standards bad in the longer run, say 2 years from now? NO! Actually, this event may well be recalled in 2 years time by saying that in the face of fit and finish quality issues, GM made the tough choice to delay a widely publicized release of a wholly new platform until the product met their quality standards.

Now if GM let impatience dictate, and a new top level Exec "forced the release" despite the quality issues, what would happen? Well, the press and popular opinion would be ruthless and never ending. Quality problems could seriously mar the corporation's credibility far into the future.

Does the delay frustrate some people? Sure, there are always impatient folks who make plans based on optimistic schedules. Over the long term, however, the quality and qualities (including outstanding design) will be a far better choice. Will they lose market share to folks who decide they can't wait? Some. Will they gain back market share over the long term with high quality products? YES, provided those products are priced well and have appealing designs.

Personally, I laud GM for making sure it's right, and will patiently continue to drive my current car. Looking long term, folks who do buy the car in the late autumn will have it ready and waiting to throw back the top and enjoy that first beautiful spring day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
EmmoJoJo said:
A three month delay for quality assurance seems resonable to me. No need to rush and have a Ford Focus type launch.
Usually, I would agree. But launching a convertible in the dead of winter just isn't the best idea in the world...

Flagg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
Crimson Avenger said:
Actually, this event may well be recalled in 2 years time by saying that in the face of fit and finish quality issues, GM made the tough choice to delay a widely publicized release of a wholly new platform until the product met their quality standards.
Uhh, since when has GM had tremendous quality standards? This is a BRAND NEW platform, using a brand new and untested manufacturing process on a model that was rushed into production faster than any other car in GM history. Make no mistake, quality is going to suck.

Now if they would just give me my crappy, unreliable car already, no one will get hurt... ;)

Flagg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,041 Posts
GM has to to it right the first time. I'm just not happy with the manner in which they have approached their delay issues. By profession I am an Architect. Every building I design is different. It is my job to make certain that all the parts and pieces fit and that everything works correctly. I understand problems and how they can hurt schedules. My experience tells me how to budget my time and how to build "problem" time into the schedules I give my clients. The thing that bothers me is that in my profession, if I make promises and don't keep them I don't continue to get work. GM has been making cars for enough years to understand the delays present with a new model. They definitely pushed this car from concept to production in record time. For this I applaud them. Their blunder was selling a car when it wasn't really ready to be sold. I think they hurt themselves by trying to sell their car before the new Miatas hit the streets while in actually the new Miatas will be tooling around possibly for months before a Sol is actually available. The new Miata, IMHO, lacks good styling. It is an attempt to "Americanize" the previous design and I think they missed the boat. The new Sol has beautiful styling, this will be a real problem for Mazda. GM needed to be realistic with their marketing and deliveries and if anything bring the car out earlier than planned, not later. Spring of next year should have been the release date they published, a perfect time for on open air roadster to hit the market. If it were available earlier than that everyone would have considered it a present. Now it's just potential delay after delay. GM needs to be smarter than they are. Some people who are going to jump ship are doing so because they don't want to place an order and wait six months. If they couldn't place their order until after the first of the year and then get their car six weeks later they would have been happy and many would have waited. Anticipation is great, disappointment is disaster. We have waited for this car for a long time and we will continue to wait until it's delivered. The problem is with missed promises. From a company with no experience, you can cut some slack, for a company who has done this for as many years as GM you have to wonder what they were thinking. I'm waiting for my 1 of 1000 regardless of how long it takes. I'm just very disappointed with the marketing hype that appeared to made promises that could not be kept.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,206 Posts
Ex-Miata Man said:
...I think they hurt themselves by trying to sell their car before the new Miatas hit the streets while in actually the new Miatas will be tooling around possibly for months before a Sol is actually available. ...
Actually, the advertisement in Car & Driver this month for the new MX-5 says it is being introduced on September 1 of this year. While technically that is still summer, it sure is darn late in the summer.

Remember, we still don't know when the Solstice is really going to make it to the street. I suspect that once they start shipping cars to dealers, they will be getting to full line speed very quickly. To meet an October delivery for the first 1000 cars, they absolutely HAVE to start producing near the same time or slightly ahead of the MX-5 September 1 date.

I guess I'm looking at it this way: if they promised an October delivery to every first 1000 customer, and 1000 is about 3-4 weeks of production, then October is when the LAST of the 1st 1000 customers get theirs - meaning the FIRST of the 1st 1000 must be getting their cars 3-4 weeks before that.

I'm with you, I know it must be frustrating to see something like this "delay". Best laid plans of mice.... (HHGTTG obsure reference)

Remember, too, that the Pontiac site for the longest time DID SAY AVAILABLE FALL, 2005. Or have we all forgotten that? My interpretation is that they started out with Fall, 2005 as a worst case, then as the car matured it looked more and more like they could pull the production start date ahead. BUT, there are a ton of things that can halt an assembly plant startup (in this case it appears to be fit and finish). And within most of the major companies, there are a minimum number of cars that MUST be built as if they were being produced for production (like a production trial run).

So, it looks like they tried to get it out earlier, then correctly realized it might compromise quality, and are now back to their original timing. It's funny how we forget that and now call this a "delay".

I'm just glad that GM didn't:
-build 'em and ship 'em anyway, or
-absolutely promise it would come out this summer

I think they've played it to the best of ability and circumstance - they haven't over-promised, and have been relatively forthright with the delays - as unpalatable as they may seem. They have given more information on the Solstice (one could argue too much) then is normal. Remember, the NC MX-5 information is only about 6 weeks old, where we've had pictures of the chassis, suspension, engine, and a darn good look at the styling of the car (top notwithstanding) for over a year now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,248 Posts
GM's quality is better than you might realize

Flagg said:
Uhh, since when has GM had tremendous quality standards? This is a BRAND NEW platform, using a brand new and untested manufacturing process on a model that was rushed into production faster than any other car in GM history. Make no mistake, quality is going to suck.

Now if they would just give me my crappy, unreliable car already, no one will get hurt... ;)
Well, the J.D. Power 2004 Initial Quality Survey shows that the number of defects for cars upon first delivery has dropped dramatically over the last several years for ALL manufacturers, foreign and domestic. There is a graph on the above linked press release shows the story, but perhaps more interesting is the actual numbers from 2004:
  • 123 Domestic
  • 122 European
  • 117 Korean
  • 111 Japanese
This has an average of 119 defects per 100 vehicles, and notice that the numbers are very close to one another and tightly clustered around the average. In truth, differences between the manufacturers of a given region are essentially statistically insignificant.

Further, the numbers by Manufacturer tell a surprising story. GM is right in the middle at 120 near the industry average with the surprise standout companies:
  • 141 Volkswagen
  • 147 Nissan
  • 159 Porsche
coming in with substantially lower than industry average quality. So, as your post demonstrated, the long memories of the consumer and public perceptions don't match current reality.

Further down in the article, GM won the top two of the three plant quality awards for North America, and neither Honda North America nor Toyota North America appear in the list. And GM's Grand River Michigan plant beat both Honda Sayama, Japan and Toyota Higashi-Fuji, Japan.

You are correct that, in the past, GM hasn't been known for quality, but that is an outdated perception.

Your desire to have GM release the Solstice with known issues, so that you could have a roadster for THIS summer, places you firmly in the impatient camp which I talked about in my post. Again, as I said, this is a short sighted view. While you might not mind having to go back to the dealership to address quality issues, there are many who will have a field day in the press and popular opinion forums like this one. This would stand to further the misperception of GM's actual quality.

GM has wisely decided to make the tough choice and delay the release of the Solstice until it meets their demonstrated and measurable high quality standards. You are right to point out that the new platform will have more issues than a vehicle which has been in production for more than a year, however bear in mind that, given GM's current quality performance levels, the delay may well be that they are taking a very close look at this model prior to release and reducing the number of issues on a brand new platform to mitigate the low initial quality that you predicted.

I share your excitement; I too would not mind in the slightest having to go back to the dealership for refits, but as I said, I laud GM's decision. Just be patient, and please don't paint GM with an undeserved black brush. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,901 Posts
Also we have to remember we really don't know what the NC MX-5 September 1 date is going to mean. Are they going to have full assmbly line speed already and cars on lots, are they starting production just before that to get a couple cars here for display and announcement purposes, are they only starting production then? Who knows, Mazda might have similair issues too. They might intend to have full production speed and cars on lots, but it might turn out to be just a couple cars arriving to save face if they have issues meeting the deadline too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
Crimson Avenger said:
Well, the J.D. Power 2004 Initial Quality Survey shows that the number of defects for cars upon first delivery has dropped dramatically over the last several years for ALL manufacturers, foreign and domestic.

You are correct that, in the past, GM hasn't been known for quality, but that is an outdated perception.

Your desire to have GM release the Solstice with known issues, so that you could have a roadster for THIS summer, places you firmly in the impatient camp which I talked about in my post. Again, as I said, this is a short sighted view. While you might not mind having to go back to the dealership to address quality issues, there are many who will have a field day in the press and popular opinion forums like this one. This would stand to further the misperception of GM's actual quality.
Initial quality is just one aspect of quality. Longterm quality is still not the best at GM. Yes, it has improved, but even in initial quality, being 'in the middle' isn't exactly great!

Consumer reports still confirms that Asian brands are still more reliable than domestic. The gap may have narrowed, but it's still there.

GM recently recalled OVER 2 MILLION vehicles for across all lines for faulty brakes, engines and safety-belt problems.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing GM per se. I just find the statement "GM has wisely decided to make the tough choice and delay the release of the Solstice until it meets their demonstrated and measurable high quality standards." a bit of a stretch. I'm not saying that GM cars are bad. I've owned several GM cars, even the unreliable models and I've always been satisfied with them. It's just unrealistic to expect that this particular car will be of the absolute highest quality. At best, it's reliability will be average. I'm fine with that.

(The statement that I wanted it shipped regardless of known issues was said with tongue firmly planted in cheek BTW.)

Flagg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
Crimson Avenger said:
I believe GM is taking the right approach here. Yes, they are getting some bad press for the release delay, but it is an encouraging sign that they care enough about the product and their own quality standards to take the time to "get it right".
I really believe that GM wants this vehilce to be a shining Star and not a passing comet. Let's all hope the engineers are working without heat from above and little heat from us, below. :lol:
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
Flagg said:
Initial quality is just one aspect of quality. Longterm quality is still not the best at GM. Yes, it has improved, but even in initial quality, being 'in the middle' isn't exactly great!

Consumer reports still confirms that Asian brands are still more reliable than domestic. The gap may have narrowed, but it's still there.

GM recently recalled OVER 2 MILLION vehicles for across all lines for faulty brakes, engines and safety-belt problems.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing GM per se. I just find the statement "GM has wisely decided to make the tough choice and delay the release of the Solstice until it meets their demonstrated and measurable high quality standards." a bit of a stretch. I'm not saying that GM cars are bad. I've owned several GM cars, even the unreliable models and I've always been satisfied with them. It's just unrealistic to expect that this particular car will be of the absolute highest quality. At best, it's reliability will be average. I'm fine with that.

(The statement that I wanted it shipped regardless of known issues was said with tongue firmly planted in cheek BTW.)

Flagg
I think we are getting into two issues in this thread. The reliability of a brand new vehicle in the marketplace, and the reliability of domestic automakers.

On the Solstice, I tend to agree with Flagg, but let me explain. The Solstice will be an all new from the ground up vehicle. It is going to have a new engine not previously used in GM vehicles too. Due to these factors, it will have a greater chance of having some "issues" or "problems" that will need to be fixed or resolved by GM after they are released. Its not really a domestic issue, its just the nature of the auto business. No matter how high a companies standards, how good their engineers, a vehicle is such a complicated machine that its extremely difficult to cover every eventuality.

Then comes the second issue, GM's reliability as a whole, whether it is up to the standards of foreign makers, and whether that puts the Solstice at an even greater risk for first year teething problems. This is an issue debated on every forum on the net all the time. I'd take Consumer Reports findings with a grain of salt, from what I have seen, their conclusions, and even their survey results are biased.

GM has a earned itself a reputaion for making unreliable vehicles. In reality, their vehicles are very reliable and well built these days, but it is going to take a long time for word to spread around. So until then, we will continually see negative comments about it being a GM vehicle. However, in reality, I don' think the Sol is at any greater risk for having a 1st year problem than the new Miata will be. GM's reliability is actually extremely good these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
I have to agree with FF88. I bought my Chevy S10 new in '98 and I have had only one issue that had to be fixed (other than maintenance) recently and I just received a recall announcement on it so I will be getting my money back for the repair as well. And all the GM products that I've owned over the years have always been reliable.
My wife's '97 Plymouth Voyager on the other hand... I spent $4000 on transmissions alone, plus a variety of other repairs along the way.
I'll buy GM in a heartbeat.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top