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Discussion Starter #1
Decided to start this as an offshoot of my rantings on the Mustang "styling sells" thread.

As I thought this out more and more - many of the more distinguished cars seem like they are coming from GM. Yet, their market share is barely holding by fingernails, and Toyota is fast approaching (after having surpassed Ford globally and taking the #2 Global Vehicle Manufacturer spot) GM's heels.

I found myself asking - what is missing? Is it quality? Interiors? Styling? Are they out of touch with their consumers? Do their cars and trucks underperform? Are all their cars and trucks more expensive? Is their quality REALLY worse than all the others?

Is everyone biased against the big corp?

Or did GM just allow the foreign manufacturers to gain a loyal customer base, not realizing that customer loyalty is one of the main reasons that people buy certain nameplates repeatedly - and recapturing these loyal sales requires three times the effort as finding new buyers?

Or, did they not realize that you can generate anti-loyal customers from a bad experience. This negative experience, whether from a crappy dealer, bad service, or bad quality or durability has the potential to generate a negative sales wave (remember, bad news travels thrice as fast and six times as wide as positive news).

What is it? What are they missing? What would YOU fix at the General, or do you think it's too late?

Do they have too many offerings? Too few? The wrong ones? Are they putting research into the wrong areas (like fuel cells) and missing potential opportunities (like hybrids)?

Lets hear (read) your thoughts...
 

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I'll get it started:

Please name some GM cars to ponder. Actually, maybe that's part of the problem, how many can the average Joe name. I can't name many off the top of my head, but I'm not a car buff (that is until recently), and not everyone out there is. So maybe a list of them would help as I can only name a handful without doing a google search.
 

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You asked 2 questions:

Here is my answer to what GM should do, though I admit to being about the car business.

I have always felt the different GM divisions should be very distinct and very well defined, with little cross-over.

Cadillac should be making ultra-expensive luxury cars for the elite ala Mercedes. They are close to doing that now, but drop the SUVs. Cadillac does not need to make SUVs.

Buick should make upscale near-luxury cars ala BMW. Not affordable by every Tom, Dick and Harry but well worth the premium required.

Pontiac should make performance cars ala Audi. If they offer an SUV, it damn well better be like the BMW X-5 or forget it.

And Chevy should be the entry-level, economy and bread and butter car, truck and SUV division.

I can't even tell you where the new Saturn division fits in here. I think I would close down Saturn and only have the 4 divisions (Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac).

I can remember a day when you bought a Chevy, hoping to be able to afford a Buick or Olds when you moved up to it. GM still thinks they have to have entry level models in almost every divisions. GM needs to clearly define the MISSION of each separate division, keep those products true to its division and minimize the overlap between division.

Cadillac = high performance luxury.
Buick = affordable luxury
Pontiac = performance
Chevy = everything else


Question 2: Where did GM go wrong?

The made crap for a long time right when Japanese car quality was peaking. Before this, many people swore they would never buy Japanese. After a few annoying drivetrain problems in their Camaro, S-15 or Buick (I even remember seeing the paint on mid-80's buicks
going to pot in a couple of years!), many people swore they would never buy American.

GM violated rule 1 above (made lousy products). And they had no definition of their different divisions, lots of badge engineering.

If GM is losing market share now, it is not because today's products are so poor. You ask what do they need to do to their vehicles. I am not a "Chevy guy". My 2000 Silverado is the 1st GM product I've ever owned and I can tell you I could not be happier with that product. It is comfortable, powerful, smooth, quiet, gets 22mpg on the highway (unheard of in the 90's with a 290 HP motor!) and has been PERFECTLY reliable.

GMs products are getting very good. They need to really emphasize beautiful styling the way Chrysler has been doing the past 15 years. They need to define the products of each division and minimize overlap. I want Ford and Chevy to sell strong relative to Honda and Toyota. But you are right in saying that Honda and Toyota now have a very loyal following with most people, at least on the coasts. And convincing them to buy a domestic car over their beloved imports is not going to be easy.

Once upon a time the Big 3 had almost no foreign competition and sleepwalked to large profits. Those days are gone. All 3 companies made some pretty bad cars in the 70s and 80s. The Japanese companies turned up the heat and we are just now feeling the full effect of that competion. At the same time, the domestics are responding very well indeed.

Changes occur on a very long lead. Inertia takes a long time to overcome. You fear that Toyota will overtake GM's market share. Look how long it has taken, yet they have been building outstanding products for over 20 years. The Germans and Japanese have earned a reputation for making very well built reliable cars. Americans slacked off a bit and now make very well built reliable cars. (Well, I can't vouch for Chrysler, and I'll tell you right now I have a bias against Chrysler quality which shows in my opinions). As I was saying, Ford and Chevy make very well built reliable cars. As soon as that reputation spreads, they will reclaim some of their lost market share, but you know they will never reclaim it all. There are too many good choices now competing for our dollars.

I do think the natural tendencies of Americans to want to buy American will help. But there are so many people now that don't care about it, who can say. And when American cars are filled with foreign content, there isn't much incentive to go out of your way to buy mixed car from an American company vs. a car made in America by a Japanese company, is there?

Don't count GM, Ford and Chrysler out yet. They have only just begun to fight. They need to keep doing what they are doing. I still think great styling, ala Chrysler, will go a LONG way to reclaim sales.

As a final thought, I think the Japanese automotive industry must be ruthless. With the dollar's very low value, the Germans have a tough time competing in the US such a poor exchange between the dollar and euro. Yet every year, Japanese cars stay very affordable. I know that building Accords in Ohio (for example) helps alot but I think Japanese auto production is very heavily subsidized by their government or you would see large price increases on their cars. And I think that is unfair. I think that is why their cars are so affordable - the Japanese government eats the loss. We don't do that here, so GM has to compete not only with Toyota and Honda, but with Tokyo itself. I don't know this to be true, but I don't see any other way we can see the dollar continue to slide against the yen and yet you don't see a corresponding price increase with Japanese cars.
 

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It all comes down to products and patience.

Audi's mid- to late-90's revival, and Nissan's recent turn-around can both be credited to the excellent automobiles they started producing. GM's salvation lies in producing cars that are the complete package: quality interiors, desirable exterior styling, captivating driving dynamics, pleasurable ownership experiences, etc. And they must do so CONSISTENTLY for at least a generation or two of automobiles before the public takes note.

In other words, don't be surprised that the Buick LaCrosse, Pontiac G6, and Chevy Cobalt aren't exactly flying off dealers' lots (and in some cases can be had with generous $1500 rebates). The Cobalt is getting some great reviews but this is only the first baby step for GM. If GM continues to produce truly great products then they will be rewarded for their efforts in 10 or 15 years. Unfortunately, heads will probably roll at GM before then because of unrealistic timeframes for success.

The Japanese currently have far too much momentum to stop and Toyota WILL surpass GM as the world's largest automaker before long (people will be shocked when this happens, as if they didn't see it coming). The thing that interests me is where the equilibrium point lies (or when the marketshare pendulum will begin to swing back in GM's favour).
 

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I'll jump in here and share my thoughts.
I think three very distinct things have been missing regarding GM for sometime now and those are Design, Pride in Workmanship and Pride in Ownership.
Gm's quality is quickly improving to be sure but the fact that they made so many boring, plain, and badly built cars has made them lose credibility that they are now fighting to regain. Fit and finish on those cars was laughable.
Remember the commercial about the car with the steel bearing rolling along it's seams? My brother whom was working as a mechanic at Cadillac told me once, 'Oh we can do that at Cadillac, we just use a basketball.' 'Don't buy one...' he told me.
And I didn't.
The exteriors had no personality making them distinct from other lines in the GM family.
The interiors in most all GM cars were always great looking, then they became almost generic to each line. There was no personality, only function, take it or leave it.
And if you had a problem with the car? The dealership didn't work with you, they chose instead to either say the problem was within the manufacturer's parameters, or you continued to complain and bring the car back over and over until the problem was resolved.
Few will still be proud of an automobile like that. You paid a lot (or even sometimes not a lot) of money for something you would end up not loving, enjoying, and feeling good about. The stories you shared with your friends became considerably less than positive.
I myself bought a horrific Cadillac in 84 and I have friends that still laugh and tell stories about it. It was an embarrassment. And the dealer did little to help me. It was so bad that when I went to trade it in, I took a friend with me in case it broke down on the freeway, as it was, the car began to overheat so I turned off the ac and put on the damned heater full blast (and this was in August here in California!).
I got to the dealership, found a parking space and the car destroyed itself right there. My friend and looked at each other in surprise and he said, 'Well let's go pick up the new car!'
I left there with a Honda Accord, the LXi, and it ran like a swiss timepiece. And I had no problems paying 2,000 dollars over sticker price. When I sold it to a friend later on, I had seven others mad at me because they wanted it.
Okay... that part was a rant... lol.
But I believe GM desparately needs some individuality and style. They need to make beautiful enviable cars again, cars that that bespeak their brand, handsome interiors using better materials, and engines that offer both reliability and power. The cars that GM produces should look like the marque they are, not one another.
GM would be wise to invest in dealership education in taking car of customers thereby ensuring customer loyalty.
Cars don't have to be practical to have a following, but they must incite something in a buyer that says, 'Yeah... this is me... I gotta have it!'
And for me typically, that is style, interior, engine, and reliability.
They're on the road back, but they've got a long way to go before they regain the hold on the market they had once.

As they say- Success has many parents, failure is always an orphan. ;)
 

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To me GM has far too many divisions. Most people I talk to have no clue all these car companies are GM at first, and wonder why all these cars look exactly the same. I mean really, who the hell needs 4+ varations of the same SUV/Car/Truck with some slight badge variations, and in general some very small platform changes/tweaks. Since I'm not very old, in my lifespan the Solstice is the first Pontiac i've EVER been interested in. Their cars have been hideously designed to my tastes, I don't see an once of this supposed "performance brand" they're supposed to be besides some of their models have hood scoops and a couple more HP then their better looking Chevy counterparts. What the hell is a minivan with "performance handling" anyways?

I really think Olds should have died and GM left the spot empty. Saturn should have been moved even farther down into their Scion esque line since that and Lexus are where Toyota is hitting the hardest. And Pontiac either needs to be axed or they need to give it some cars that really make it the performance line. Because the only real performance cars I view GM selling now are the Chevy SS (and some of those I'm still not even thrilled by) line and the Corvette. Pontiac to me just seems to be some left over brand that's lost it's mantra along the years. Chevy has become the catch all for pretty much everything and anything. I think they've done a good job of fixing Cady though, but Buick really needs something to remind people of where it sits in the GM line-up.
 

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I have to agree with most of what has been posted here. The problem is as I sit here trying to come up with my response, I realize you can't pinpoint one poor decision, model, quality issue, dealership experience, etc. I think it is a whole bunch of small missteps over many years.

There has been many GM vehicles that have piqued my interest over the years, however often the interiors turned me off. I prefer a cockpit style and even the models that were supposedly of a sporting nature did not have this feature. I remember really wanting a Lumina Z34, but the dash reminding me of '86 LeSabre stationwagon.

In my case at 35, I have been a GM loyalist for most of my life even though most of those vehicles I owned had many flaws. Now that the domestics are producing some of their best vehicles, I don't care much anymore because none of them really stir any passion in me. Til the Solstice that is.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Holy Model Lineup, Batman!!!!

When you look at it this way, there seems to be a bit of redundancy:
(from autos.msn.com)

Model, Description, Retail Price Range, Expert Rating, Consumer Rating

Passenger Cars
Century Buick's midsize 4-door sedan $22,040 Not Reviewed 10.0
LaCrosse Buick's all-new midsize 4-door sedan $22,835 - $28,335 7.0 9.7
LeSabre Buick's full-size 4-door sedan $26,725 - $32,385 9.0 9.9
Park Avenue Buick's flagship 4-door sedan $35,555 - $40,730 7.0 9.6
Park Avenue Buick's flagship 4-door sedan $35,555 - $40,730 7.0 9.6
Luxury Cars
Park Avenue Buick's flagship 4-door sedan $35,555 - $40,730 7.0 9.6
Park Avenue Buick's flagship 4-door sedan $35,555 - $40,730 7.0 9.6
Sport Utilities
Rendezvous Buick's midsize SUV $26,780 - $38,415 6.9 9.3
Rainier Buick's luxury midsize SUV $33,785 - $35,610 6.9 9.9
Vans & Minivans
Terraza Buick's crossover sport van $28,110 - $33,855 Not Reviewed 8.9

Passenger Cars
CTS Cadillac's sport sedan $30,190 - $49,490 6.9 9.2
Luxury Cars
STS Cadillac's luxury performance sedan $40,525 - $47,025 8.0 8.8
DeVille Cadillac's luxury 4-door sedan $46,045 - $51,600 7.0 6.5
XLR Cadillac's high-performance luxury roadster $75,835 9.0 8.8
Sport Utilities
SRX Cadillac's midsize crossover SUV $38,340 - $50,135 8.3 8.9
Escalade Cadillac's luxury full-size SUV $53,155 - $70,175 7.5 8.4
Pickup Trucks
Escalade EXT Cadillac's luxury pickup truck $53,335 6.0 9.5

Passenger Cars
Aveo Chevrolet's new entry-level car $9,455 - $12,865 7.0 9.1
Cavalier Chevrolet's entry-level sedan and coupe $10,325 - $17,710 4.0 8.4
Cobalt Chevrolet's new compact sedan and coupe $13,625 - $21,430 7.0 9.6
Malibu Chevrolet's midsize sedan $19,200 - $24,060 7.9 9.3
Malibu Maxx Chevrolet's midsize 5-door sedan $21,465 - $24,610 Not Reviewed 9.5
Monte Carlo Chevrolet's midsize 2-door coupe $22,280 - $28,355 6.0 6.7
Impala Chevrolet's midsize sedan $22,350 - $28,555 7.0 9.3
Sports Cars
Corvette Chevrolet's flagship sports car $43,710 - $51,445 10.0 9.3
Sport Utilities
Blazer Chevrolet's midsize SUV $21,305 Not Reviewed 7.9
Equinox Chevrolet's new compact SUV $21,320 - $24,660 7.0 9.0
TrailBlazer Chevrolet's midsize SUV $26,465 - $32,515 8.0 8.9
Avalanche Chevy's ultimate utility vehicle $34,010 - $38,420 6.4 9.6
Tahoe Chevrolet's full-size SUV $35,915 - $39,515 Not Reviewed 6.9
Suburban Chevy's full-size extended SUV $38,765 - $42,840 Not Reviewed 9.8
Vans & Minivans
Uplander Chevrolet's new sport van $20,700 - $31,385 Not Reviewed 8.5
Express Cargo Van Chevrolet's full-size cargo van $22,860 - $27,885 Not Reviewed 10.0
Astro Chevrolet's heavy-duty minivan $22,930 - $26,430 Not Reviewed Not Reviewed
Venture Chevrolet's minivan $23,165 - $30,760 7.0 Not Reviewed
Express Chevy's full-size passenger van $25,915 - $30,819 Not Reviewed 10.0
Pickup Trucks
Colorado Chevrolet's midsize pickup truck $15,095 - $28,550 7.0 8.2
Silverado 1500 Chevrolet's 1/2-ton pickup $18,190 - $39,490 7.5 8.7
Silverado 2500HD Chevrolet's full-size 3/4-ton pickup $24,405 - $40,730 Not Reviewed 8.6
Silverado 3500 Chevrolet's heavy-duty 1-ton pickup $28,665 - $41,345 Not Reviewed 8.5
Silverado Hybrid Chevrolet's hybrid 1/2-ton pickup $32,550 - $35,890 Not Reviewed 7.8
Avalanche Chevy's ultimate utility vehicle $34,010 - $38,420 6.4 9.6
SSR Chevrolet's high-performance pickup truck $42,555 7.0 7.9
Hybrid Vehicles
Silverado Hybrid Chevrolet's hybrid 1/2-ton pickup $32,550 - $35,890 Not Reviewed 7.8

Sport Utilities
Envoy GMC's premium midsize SUV $28,525 - $40,235 7.4 8.3
Yukon GMC's full-size SUV $36,405 - $39,905 Not Reviewed 8.3
Yukon XL GMC's extended-length SUV $39,455 - $43,230 7.8 9.5
Yukon Denali GMC's luxury sport utility $50,285 - $51,935 Not Reviewed 9.4
Vans & Minivans
Savana Cargo Van GMC's full-size cargo van $22,860 - $27,885 Not Reviewed Not Reviewed
Safari GMC's minivan $22,930 - $26,430 Not Reviewed Not Reviewed
Savana GMC's full-size passenger van $25,915 - $30,819 Not Reviewed Not Reviewed
Pickup Trucks
Canyon GMC's midsize pickup truck $15,425 - $28,385 Not Reviewed 9.4
Sierra 1500 GMC's 1/2-ton pickup $18,190 - $41,735 Not Reviewed 9.8
Sierra 2500HD GMC's heavy-duty 3/4-ton pickup $24,405 - $41,090 Not Reviewed 9.1
Sierra 3500 GMC's heavy-duty one-ton pickup $29,155 - $41,705 Not Reviewed 6.6
Sierra Hybrid GMC's hybrid 1/2-ton pickup $33,135 - $36,500 Not Reviewed 7.4
Hybrid Vehicles
Sierra Hybrid GMC's hybrid 1/2-ton pickup $33,135 - $36,500 Not Reviewed 7.4

Sport Utilities
H2 Hummer's new SUV $52,430 - $52,485 6.9 9.2
H1 Hummer's full-size rugged SUV $105,160 - $116,483 Not Reviewed 8.6

Passenger Cars
GTO Pontiac's new high-performance sport coupe N/A 8.0 7.8
Sunfire Pontiac's entry-level passenger car $10,895 - $15,205 3.5 7.5
Vibe Pontiac's new sport wagon $17,130 - $20,455 7.8 9.2
G6 Pontiac's new midsize sedan $20,675 - $23,300 7.0 9.6
Grand Am Pontiac's sporty coupe $22,500 - $23,750 6.5 8.3
Grand Prix Pontiac's sporty midsize sedan $23,060 - $26,730 6.9 9.6
Bonneville Pontiac's flagship sedan $27,965 - $35,585 7.0 9.4
Sports Cars
GTO Pontiac's new high-performance sport coupe N/A 8.0 7.8
Sport Utilities
Aztek Pontiac's sport-utility vehicle $21,530 - $24,445 7.0 6.9
Vans & Minivans
Montana SV6 Pontiac's new performance-oriented van $24,520 - $30,210 Not Reviewed 8.0
Montana Pontiac's minivan $26,040 - $30,420 7.0 9.5

Passenger Cars
9-2X Saab's new premium sport compact $22,990 - $26,950 7.0 8.8
9-3 Saab's sport sedan and convertible $26,850 - $42,600 7.4 7.7
9-5 SportWagon Saab's sport wagon $32,550 - $40,750 Not Reviewed Not Reviewed
Luxury Cars
9-5 Saab's flagship sedan $36,250 - $39,950 7.0 Not Reviewed

Passenger Cars
ION Saturn compact sedan and coupe $11,430 - $20,885 6.5 8.6
L300 Saturn's midsize sedan $21,370 6.3 Not Reviewed
Sport Utilities
VUE Saturn's compact SUV $17,055 - $24,315 7.0 9.5
Vans & Minivans
Relay Saturn's family utility vehicle $23,770 - $29,855 7.0 9.0
 

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Ah, the million dollar question... what should GM do? Someone with the right answer could be CEO! :)

On the number of divisions. If I were to kill one, I'd select Saturn. However, I think killing any of them is a bad decision, and lilling Oldsmobile was an extremely bad decision. Worse was taking 5 years to really kill it off.

Here is why. Each division has a group of loyal buyers, and you certainly don't want to lose them because you can bank on them buying another car. However, what happens to those Oldsmobile people now? You hope they buy a Buick, or a Cadillac, Saturn or Pontiac, but do they? Maybe they get angry you killed their favorite division, so now they start cross shopping all kinds of makes, find they like Toyota, Honda, Ford, whoever and start buying over there. You just lost a loyal customer. This is especially true of Saturn. Saturn owners are extremely loyal to Saturn, and although they only number a coupld hundred thousand a year, killing Saturn would run them all off. They buy Saturns because they are not typical GM.

Killing long standing nameplates is doing the same thing IMO. Grand Am fans go to Pontiac dealers and do not find any Grand Ams. How many Century's are on the road, but now there is this wierd named LaCrosse at Buick. Pontiac wants to draw in new blood with the name change, but are they receiving a backlash from loyal buyers of the outgoing nameplates who are not buying the new vehicles? I think so, at least to a point.



Differentiation: There is always going to be some overlap between divisions, and some similarly styled cars. Its the name of the game. GM must capitalize on platform sharing, drivetrain sharing, secondary component sharing, etc. You can try to create brand images, but even that can be tough.

Right now Chevy is poised to be the volume leader, and it should be. That essentially means they are the value leader. Thats fine.

Next up is Pontiac. They are the performance division. However, ironically, GM's best performance car, the Corvette, is over at Chevy. Thats still ok, but you still need to nurture Pointiac's performance division. I think this division as much as any is hurt by lack of styling distinction. The move away from body side cladding got rid of the magazine writers complaints, but it made Pontiacs look like Hondas too. G6's and Grand Prix's are becoming more anonymous, more bread and butter, and less sporty from a visual standpoint. Pontiac needs some more flare in its vehicles. High performance versions that are truely competitive with the competition at the highest trim levels will help (they are working on this), but ultimately, I think more aggressive styling is what they really need. Pontiac should grab your attention!

Buick: This division should be all about budget luxury. Top notch interiors, consertave, high class styling. Cars that look rich, drive sporty but also comfortable, plenty of standard content, etc. Buyers need to think they are getting a lot for their money. A budget Lexus is a good description. Make it feel like a Lexus inside, drive like one from behind the wheel, and let it sell for $5000 less.

Cadillac. They are doing well here. The Escalade has been a cheap way for GM to really make inroads, thanks to Pop culture that embraced it. The styling of all vehicles is competitive, they have a well rounded out lineup, and are competitive with the competition. Interiors still need to be better to match the best luxury nameplates, but they are doing it right here.

Saturn: Keep it different. Yeah, badge engineering is a necessity, but really break out of the mold here. Ion's center IP failed, but I still think that is the outside the box thinking Saturn should be doing. Try to keep some plastic paneled vehicles. Maybe sell more vehicles on non North American platforms. They can use Saturn more as a testbed for new and different styling, features, things of that nature.

Saab: Forget making its vehicles more mainstream, and concentrate on keeping them Saabs. This may prove to yield more sales than going mainstream.

That is how I would handle each division. Give each one a specific, single mission to meet. That gives each one a unique feature or two to set it apart (a competitive advantage) and then strive to make that feature the best in the industry, and not just at GM.

Other than that, keep quality up at a high level, make their interior design and quality competitive with the best in class for each vehicle, and be patient because it will take time to win back buyers that have been lost.
 

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Fformula88 said:
Ah, the million dollar question... what should GM do? Someone with the right answer could be CEO! :)
Get me on the board and you got my vote. Solman's listing was interesting. Why does a Cavalier have a higher rating from industry and consumers than an absolutely idential under the skin Sunfire? Is there a perception that Pontiac is a lesser car company than Chevy? Is Saab superior to the other brands, and if so, why? I teste drove a Saab and it could not hold a candle to my Pontiac so when it came time for a new car, guess what I bought, another Pontiac. No division can be without something performance related. No division can be without whitebread family cars and grocery getters either. Pontiac still needs to sell a small compact like the Cobalt (Cavalier/Sunfire) Pontiac doesn't need a pickup, just cars with pickup.
 

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I'll admit upfront I didn't read everyone's posts as I don't have the time right now... but I will go back later. Sorry if I post nothing but what has been said.

My problem with GM is they don't know who they are, and who they are competing with.

What is the compeition for a Caddy? GM would like to think it's Mercedes and BMW, but I don't see them pushing the right cars in the markets where Mercedes and BMW's are sold (Europe).

What is the competition for Pontiac? I seem to recall someone (Lutz?) at GM saying that Pontiac was taking on higher end European brands. Sorry Bob.. that isn't the case.

When I look at the GM lineup of cars, NONE of them (outside of Caddy's) can hold a candle to a European or Asian equivalent model in my eyes. Why do I (have I) buy/bought GM cars. Because I can get one heck of a discount on them usually.

Try this out... go to the Acura site, and do a comparison of what I think is one heck of a car in the Acura TL (I picked the 6 speed w/o Nav. system). I love that Acura is condient enough to allow you to compare side by side by side (yes, you can compare two cars at once to an Acura) on every feature of the car. Now, I looked at the GM line up of 4 door mid to upper $30,000 cars. Best comparisons I could find was the Buick Park Avenua Ultra and the Caddy CTS 3.6L Sedan.

Take a look at those three cars and see what you get. The TL comes in 5 speed and 6 speed combos, and AT or MT. You get everything the Caddy has, (well, FWD instead of RWD so maybe not the best comparison there) PLUS in standard options, a 270 hp engine (vs. the 255 in the CTS), better gas milage (20/29 vs 17/27 in the CTS), all of that at a price over $6,000 less than the CTS.

C'mon.. it's easy to see why GM is loosing sales, they build a $33,000 car and charge $40,000 for it. They do this all over the map. Why does the Cobalt sell well... not because it's replacing the Cavy.. that's for sure.. because it's a $15,000 car that sells for $15,000 instead of $21,000.

You don't get the value from a GM (car for $$) that you do from many other cars. And you certainly don't get your dollar back on resale down the road. Are GM's cars any worse than other car companies... no, I don't think so. But other car companies offer what you want in a $20,000 car for $20,000 when GM seems to offer a $20,000 car for $24,000. There's something wrong with that in my book... but as long as I can buy GM's $24,000 car for $18,700 with discounts, inventives, and special financing... I'm going to do it. Problem is GM has to be loosing money like crazy with people like me who have never bought at GM without a discount.
 

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I was going to sit back and let everyone else fight this battle, but the more I read, the more I want to contribute my two cents. My father worked at a GM dealership for 27 years. I spent all of my summers during high school and college working in the body shop where my father was the foreman. I saw the friction between our Buick/Pontiac dealership and the Chevy/Olds dealership two blocks away. The friction was there because GM created it with their marketing. If one GM dealer did not have the vehicle a customer really needed, they let them walk away. They never told the customer to walk two blocks up the street and look at other GM vehicles. My father retired 28 years ago (yes he's now 93) and he still talks about Oldsmobile like they are the enemy. The Chevy/Olds dealer in my town finally bought the Buick/Pontiac dealership. This happened many years ago. To this day, they still have to market separately because there are car buyers in my town who remember when an Olds owner wouldn't think about walking into a Buick dealership. GM is it's worst enemy. It has built walls between the different divisions. It introduced Chevys that competed with Pontiacs, it introduced Buicks that used to compete with Oldsmobiles. It's a wonder GM has been able to keep it's doors open. Look around guys, the world has gotten a lot smaller than it was in 1950. Don't fight yourself, fight your enemy. It seems that when GM gets a great idea, it has to clone the idea under every other badge so every dealership has their own flavor. I fell in love with the styling of the Solstice when I first say it. I had to laugh when I found out that it would be cloned into a Sky. GM make up your mind on what you want to do. You can't be everything to everyone. Make your point and stick to it. Not everyone will love every model you design, but that's not a good reason to produce knock-offs under every badge you have in the hope one of them will be closer to what everyone else wants. All you are doing is watering down your designs and flooding your dealers with models they have trouble selling. I totally believe what many of you have said about the need for individual identity within GM, but why even continue with the divisions. Why compete with yourself? What is wrong with all models being under a unified GM badge like a GM Cobalt or a Gm Firebird instead of Chevy or Pontiac? Unified we stand, divided we fall. Think about it GM. You are your own worst enemy but you still have the power to stop it. There is a great Volkswagen commercial on television where a Beetle tries to haul a trailer. The Beetle can't do it so VW shows their larger vehicle as the better option. If GM had written the commercial they would have told the viewers to either buy two smaller vehicles and tie them together in an atempt to haul the trailer or to buy a smaller trailer instead of telling the viewers to look at one of their other badge's vehicles. Foreign vehicle manufacturers recognized this long ago, why doesn't GM?
 

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What is missing? Money to spend on development. Why? The UAW and "legacy" costs of retirees.

Japanese car companies do not have contracts with the UAW and therefore do not have to pay workers to not work. The UAW is choking GM and they need to wake up before there is no more factory to staff. :banghead:

Cost cutting is the reason behind pushrod V6s and 4 speed automatics. The reason they need to cut costs is because their expenses are sooo much higher than the competition and there is NOTHING they can do about it.
 

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I agree with the "division" of divisions concept. However they need to be sincere about it. When they say "we are going after BMW, Toyota and Mercedes" they need to back that up with more than words. Thus far they have not. They need a major overhaul in the way they look at styling and product planning. Back to the roots, lead the way and stop trying to copy or catch up to competitors. Stop trying to second guess what people want and what focus groups say, just make cars that you would be proud to put in your driveway, and not have to tell your neighbor "well, I got a really good deal on it anyways".

Here's word to the divisions and how they should look:

Chevrolet- entry level to mid level, great value, affordable, bang for the buck. You're not far from that now, you just need better styling. Just because it's budget doesn't mean it has to put them asleep reading the brochure. Make people feel good about getting a great bargin.

Pontiac- The performance division. All your offerings should say and mean performance. V8s, superchargers, turbochargers, 5 speeds and 6 speeds available in all thier offerings, tight suspension, great fitting seats and of coarse hot rod looks. Stop offering mushy cruisers and econoboxes. If you're going to offer a minivan, make it one that would keep Mario Andretti interested, not just different cladding on the Chevy. Every Pontiac should be designed for track and highspeed highway use whether people will use it that way or not. Get back to the track and get serious about kicking ass.

Buick- You're the division that should really be the one bringing home the bacon. Affordable luxury and style. Nice cruisers that look stylish, deliver a nice smooth ride, stay out of the shop and hold their value. Sort of a cross between Lexus, Jaguar and Riviera. Back to what you used to be many moons ago. Saying "I own a Buick" should trip off the tongue as easily as "I own an Acura" or Audi. Don't get me wrong, you at Buick should never try to simply copy or aspire to be those cars, a Buick has to be 100% American inspiration but with international sensebilities. The Chrysler 300 is a could clue as to direction, dig into the past, find your roots and build it on world class underpinnings.

Cadillac- Simply put, be the standard of excellence. Get out of the bargin luxury cars, you're stepping on Buick and stunting your grouth. Forget about trucks no matter how bad it hurts innitially. GM has GMC for that. Build amazing cars like the Sixteen that are so cool people with money will pay for it. Consider a high end super car to rival Ferrari in performance, style and craftsmanship. Make cars that people asipre to own, but most never will. Cadillac needs to be the flagship that shows to the world what GM is capable of, not how low they'll go. What you lose in volume can be made up in profit margin.

Saturn- You guys should be the niche division. A good place to bring out hybrids, electric and hydrogen cars. Maybe cars like the Mini and Scions too. Cool, hip, cutting edge urban cars. This doesn't mean make them ugly, just unique. People loved you when you were the un-GM division, but more and more you're getting simply redudant. Break out, be the brat in the GM family. Think Mini crossed with Prius or PT Cruiser crossed with Element.

Hummer- on the right track, you just need smaller product to get you through fluctuating gas prices and consumer trends.

Saab- You need to be more Swedish or scrapped all together. I admit that I have never liked Saab, but many have, so what ever it is that attracts Saab buyers, you need to get back to that. Maybe let the Swedes have more say. Either that or GM needs to take what ever you bought them for in the first place to other divisions, and close up shop.

GMC- Not too bad, but there has to be a reason to buy a Jimmy over a Chevy. You have always been too similar. You're the division that should be offering the Escalade. GMCs need to stand out more from the Chevy trucks and bring more content for the cash.

I realize that once all the divisions have become more specialized, many of the divisions volume might drop, making it hard on the individual dealerships. I would propose offering dealerships multiple brands and perhaps swapping with other dealers in the area. Maybe like this, Chevy stands on it's own, Pontiac buddies up with Hummer, Saturn and Saab group together and of coarse Cadillac and Buick fit well. GMC fits in where ever there's a gap.

There is definately work to be done, and it won't be easy, but the only alternatives are to start axing divisions to get them down to a manageble 3 or so and accept smaller marketshare but higher profit maybe, or just continue steady as she goes and wait for the bankruptcy.
 

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Miata Man, could you be referring to "mission creep"? The tendency of GM to make every vehicle everything to everybody - and ending up with a compromised vehicle in the end?
 

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Solsticeman,
Sorry I missed your post last night. I agree with the "Creep" between GM models. My Miata is only one vehicle. It doesn't show up as any other name in the Mazda line up. GM has tried to make one vehicle meet too many requirements, to match the desires of too many people. The end result is a line of lack luster vehicles under diferent badges that don't really have much difference between them. How would GM market a Saturn Corvette knock-off or a Buick Corvette knock-off? Corvette is a Corvette, it's a Chevy and only a Chevy. Why does GM have to clone everything else they make? All it does is confuse customers and make their decisions more difficult. My wife owns an Alero. It's a great car but we could have gotten a similar vehicle through Chevy. The Alero was our choice due to GM's aggressive price marketing after they announced the closing of the Oldsmobile line. GM needs to sell their vehicles on their own merit and design, not on deals made because divisions are closing. I remember a day when you ordered a vehicle to the options you wanted, you waited 6 weeks and your car arrived. The thing that went wrong with this concept was the introduction of too many similar vehicles and the cost to have different options for each badge. Offer a comprehensive line of vehicles with a full line of options. Don't overlap models from one badge to another. People have been waiting for over a year for a Solstice, people would gladly wait for 6 weeks to get the options they want on the single vehicle GM has marketed to them. Let the options be the difference not the badge. By the way, on one of the equipment lists I have printed, it does not list the Steel/Sand leather as available on the Envious (Green ) Solstice exterior. Why? Green and Sand have matched for years, why is GM making the choices for its customers instead of letting the customer decide. I worked with my dad for years and remember servicing a pink buick with a green interior. It was not my idea of a great color combination, but the Owner loved it and drove it until the wheels fell off. Let the clients choose within a specific set of models with many options in lieu of many models with limited options. 'Just my thoughts. Give it some consideration, I think you will see that there is merit in what I suggest.
 

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Miataman, and a Caddy XLR is not a Corvette knockoff? Only difference seems to be the body. BTW why does Cadillac need the Escalade? Because of the Lincoln Navigator. Why does Ford need the Navigator? Because of Lexus and BMW and Porsche and don't forget GM's own Hummer. A $40000 SUV is just not enough for some people. Now where is the Cadillac Avalanche and Silverado? (Hopefully the same place as the Cadillac CObalt and Aveo, in the circular file)
 

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AeroDave said:
I agree with the "division" of divisions concept. However they need to be sincere about it. When they say "we are going after BMW, Toyota and Mercedes" they need to back that up with more than words. Thus far they have not. They need a major overhaul in the way they look at styling and product planning. Back to the roots, lead the way and stop trying to copy or catch up to competitors. Stop trying to second guess what people want and what focus groups say, just make cars that you would be proud to put in your driveway, and not have to tell your neighbor "well, I got a really good deal on it anyways".

Here's word to the divisions and how they should look:
Damn Aero, that is an absolutely perfect roadmap for GM, IMHO.

Here is my visual representation of the problem. :lol: And I haven't even included, Saturn, Saab,GMC

 

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Jeez, I must be out of step with the rest of North America.
6 months ago we traded our 2001 Toyota Rav4 for the 2005 Saab 9-2X and next year I plan to trade my 2003 BMW Z4 in for a 2006/7 Saturn Sky.
GM's starting to build vehicles I want and/or need.. :rolleyes:
 
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