: What's Wrong With GM?



ktills45
05-14-05, 05:40 PM
It's not the product, across the board the quality of GM cars is excellant. (Hummer and Saab are exceptions)

It's not the people. Bbob is a testament to that.

It's not the marketing.

It's not the styling.

Any guesses?

Ralph
05-14-05, 05:44 PM
Simple, I've said it many times, they build too many factories and too many cars. Then they can't sell the cars and they shut down the factories with thousands out of jobs! THAT negatively effects the economy and contributes to inflation, etc. They need to produce in more limited numbers and that would help fight depreciation also.

It's NOT Lutz imo....that's an easy "out."

http://cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39909

I'm also really sick and tired of people complaining about their new Cadillacs not having a cupholder big enough to accomodate their Super Big Gulp! (little things like that) You can give them heated and cooled cupholders like in the Escalade and people STILL would complain! Not everyone will be happy but people need to start having faith in the product because they are good cars comparing.

Playdrv4me
05-14-05, 05:59 PM
Too many brands, too similar models among those brands, Market saturation, competition from the east and europe. Some vehicles have not had an early track record for reliability (STS, SRX), though some have been very good (CTS, Deville), but above all else... extremely high Union healthcare costs (more than 1700.00 per car is unionized costs)...

I could go on.

Ralph
05-14-05, 06:01 PM
Too many brands, too similar models among those brands, Market saturation, competition from the east and europe. Some vehicles have not had an early track record for reliability (STS, SRX), though some have been very good (CTS, Deville), extremely high Union healthcare costs (more than 1700.00 per car is unionized costs)...

I could go on.

Good point about the union!

Speaking of market saturation, just wait until the Chinese start selling all their new cars in NA!

Playdrv4me
05-14-05, 06:04 PM
Good point about the union!

Speaking of market saturation, just wait until the Chinese start selling cars in NA!

I think alot of the problem could be fixed A. with fixing the Union problem, and B. with fixing the dealer structure which is so spotty in some places its terrific and others the dealers are downright diplorable and not only the buildings, but the sales tactics and approach to service are stuck in the 1970's. (Conjure the image of pot bellied salesmen in Flannel jackets and greased back hair.)

Ralph
05-14-05, 06:07 PM
I think alot of the problem could be fixed A. with fixing the Union problem, and B. with fixing the dealer structure which is so spotty in some places its terrific and others the dealers are downright diplorable and not only the buildings, but the sales tactics and approach to service are stuck in the 1970's. (Conjure the image of pot bellied salesmen in Flannel jackets and greased back hair.)

I don't know if a greedy union problem can be "fixed" unless it's killed entirely. GM is happy to build cars in Canada because health care is already covered by our taxes so it isn't a demand here with the union, etc.

I don't care how they dress, as long as I get a good deal LOL! :yup:

ktills45
05-14-05, 06:26 PM
Simply put, the problem is that they don't sell enough cars atm.


The question is why?

There are alot of car factories, many do well, many do poorly.

Most automakers have unions. European Unions are certainly no better then American Unions.

So, what else is going on?

Ralph
05-14-05, 06:36 PM
Simply put, the problem is that they don't sell enough cars atm.


The question is why?

There are alot of car factories, many do well, many do poorly.

Most automakers have unions. European Unions are certainly no better then American Unions.

So, what else is going on?

For the most part, I think you just answered your own question. The unions are getting much too greedy and that's a major problem at this time for GM.

Think GM has problems, look at Ford!

"excess capacity; the rising cost of raw materials; and the burden of so-called legacy costs, had undermined Ford's ability to meet many of the milestones set out in its 2002 turnaround plan."

http://www.thecarconnection.com/Industry/Daily_Edition/Daily_Edition_May_13_2005.S173.A8603.html

Because of the demand from China and India for fuel effecting the price of the world's supply of oil and steel (increasing the price because of demand) the push for smaller better fuel efficient cars might become greater now. Traditionally, GM built large vehicles and they have had to adjust to the success of the likes of Toyota and Honda, etc. I think they've done a decent job offering more fuel efficient vehicles but GM will get left behind on hybrid technology. They are leaps behind Honda in this regard!

malcolm
05-14-05, 06:55 PM
Too many brands, too similar models among those brands, Market saturation, competition from the east and europe. Some vehicles have not had an early track record for reliability (STS, SRX), though some have been very good (CTS, Deville), but above all else... extremely high Union healthcare costs (more than 1700.00 per car is unionized costs)...

I could go on.

:madtalkin I must disagree with your opinion about the reliability of the STS. Mine as well as others that I know have been solid. It's by far the best Caddy I have owned and I have been a loyal owner since 1989 and can honestly say that I have never had a bad experience with Cadillac regarding reliability, sales or service.:yup:

ktills45
05-14-05, 06:58 PM
Ralph, that's mostly what I believe, however it comes from neglect of 30 years ago, not today.

I think GM lost it's way by abandoning the small car market to the imports back in the 70's. The company that developed the N* could certainly have come up with a reliable, smooth running 4 cylinder that could compete with the Toyota's and Hondas of the world, however GM in the quest for profits chose to abandon that area of development.

Again, simply put, GM is now being forced to compete. All the markets that they once dominated have been successfully attacked by other manufacturers. They no longer have a profitable line of vehicles which they can depend on to supply market share. It's telling that the highest profits from within GM come from financing and spare parts.

ktills45
05-14-05, 06:59 PM
:madtalkin I must disagree with your opinion about the reliability of the STS. Mine as well as others that I know have been solid. It's by far the best Caddy I have owned and I have been a loyal owner since 1989 and can honestly say that I have never had a bad experience with Cadillac regarding reliability, sales or service.:yup:

You have to forgive Playdrv. He reads the "I have problems" posts, and ignores Cadillac's VDS numbers. :D

Ralph
05-14-05, 07:31 PM
Ralph, that's mostly what I believe, however it comes from neglect of 30 years ago, not today.


Remember, 30 years ago there wasn't much competition for GM and everyone still wanted to drive a large car. I remember 1975 when my parents had a Gulf service station and I only recall a Volvo and an occasional MG Midget as competition for the American brands in my city. Sure there was the occasional Toyota Corolla but they weren't considered a threat at the time. The economy is directly related to what type of vehicle GM builds for the most part ie. rising gas prices...despite this, there will always be a demand for large trucks, etc.

Sure market saturation is another problem like Playdrv said but considering the population is increasing at the same time, etc. it's not that GM "doesn't sell enough cars," it's everyone else taking a piece of that pie and that's where unions come in also.

Playdrv4me
05-14-05, 07:42 PM
I have already come across a few buyback STS's and you can not deny there were alot of initial problems with that vehicle (most of them niggling small things related to the implementation of the vast array of technology in it which is understandable). The embarrasing engine idle/stall/no start problem which also plagued the SRX finally fixed with a "software update" that basically raises the idle speed, inoperative seat heaters/coolers not functioning in concert with the remote start as they are supposed to, keyfobs not being recognized over and over, etc... SRX had problems with the ultraview roof, Navigation system screen and other components.

Certainly these problems are par for the course with luxury cars, as Mercedes isnt doing any better right now, but I cant call the STS a "reliable" car at this point. My domestic luxo-barge cars, both the 96 Continental and the 2001 STS were the most problematic cars I owned, followed by the BMW 740iL, and closely by the two Jeep Grand Cherokees I owned. I think the 2006 model year of the STS will be MUCH MUCH better than the 05. They fixed alot of issues with the 05 SRX.

This truck, the LS430, and the 330i were the least problematic, so Ive experienced the myriad of problems with that segment with my own eyes.

Brett
05-14-05, 07:52 PM
product drives the car business. make cars people want to own.

ben72227
05-15-05, 01:47 AM
I think that 2 of GM's main problems are that their "bread and butter" cars (Cavalier, Malibu, Sunfire, Saturn) aren't too impressive and are at best, marginal. Also, the others have had (for the most part) the same models for the past 30 years. The Honda Civic has been around since the Chevy Nova, the corrolla has been around FOREVER. Nobody knows what a "Cobalt" is, but if you ask what a Civic is...well, you get my point.

IF GM cared about their budget cars as much as they do their expensive cars (i.e. Cadillac and Corvette), then they would be alright. I also think that GM really needs to get some good engineers to design these cars. I mean, the new cars aren't even American designed, they are from Europe - the Cobalt is an Opel and the Saturn Sky is a Vauxhall. Maybe that's a good thing though...

Merle Corey
05-15-05, 11:12 AM
I don't know much about the automotive trade, but I have heard with regard to personally holding stocks: diversification helps over tough times. Somewhere along the way, the General started selling off some of those assets. Hughes and it's daughter operating units come to mind. Some of those were cash cows. Not massive influx to the bottom line, but still a hedge for fluctuations in GM's primary markets.
I understand the concern - getting out from under the potential drain their satellite manufacturing unit was demonstrating - some of that new tech was becoming very expensive on failure. The Boeing deal was a godsend. But DirecTV,Hughes Network Services, Hughes Government Systems, and PanAmSat were all stable earners and nice feathers in the General's cap.

Playdrv4me
05-15-05, 12:26 PM
I think that 2 of GM's main problems are that their "bread and butter" cars (Cavalier, Malibu, Sunfire, Saturn) aren't too impressive and are at best, marginal. Also, the others have had (for the most part) the same models for the past 30 years. The Honda Civic has been around since the Chevy Nova, the corrolla has been around FOREVER. Nobody knows what a "Cobalt" is, but if you ask what a Civic is...well, you get my point.

IF GM cared about their budget cars as much as they do their expensive cars (i.e. Cadillac and Corvette), then they would be alright. I also think that GM really needs to get some good engineers to design these cars. I mean, the new cars aren't even American designed, they are from Europe - the Cobalt is an Opel and the Saturn Sky is a Vauxhall. Maybe that's a good thing though...

Yea, you know this is a good point as well. Ford for better or worse has at least tried to stick to some of its names... Taurus, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and as such people know them and usually have good things to say about them.

I think another thing GM might want to experiment with, is doing something similar to what Toyota did with the aging and boring Avalon. Take the Impala for example, give it a little nip and a tuck here and there (this is already happening and it is getting the V8 so thats a start), and then introduce a model that COMPLETELY breaks the boundaries of blahse family cardom...

Put things in it no one expects... Navigation systems, Heated and cooled seats, Xenon headlamps. Like Brett said, give people a REASON to gravitate toward the vehicle, TRICK the public into believing they are getting something for nothing. Its hard enough to get people interested in those cars to begin with, and then if they ARE interested, they almost ALWAYS buy the BASE MODEL with few features and least profit potential. Toyota took a huge risk to its Lexus operation by infusing the new Avalon with so many hugely unexpected features in a Buick fighter. Do the same with Buick or Chevrolet, and I think youll see sales pick-up and profits increase because people will gravitate to what they perceive as a steal. Mazda/Ford has also proven this formula WORKS with even such an insignifant car as the Mazda3, you can get a Navigation system and Xenon lights in a Mazda3 for cryin out loud! And they sell!

And for those who will bring it up... Cadillac already has an established customer base, so like with Toyota and Lexus, I dont see any real threat to them.

Jesda
05-15-05, 02:57 PM
It's not the product, across the board the quality of GM cars is excellant. (Hummer and Saab are exceptions)

It's not the people. Bbob is a testament to that.

It's not the marketing.

It's not the styling.

Any guesses?

I thought it was all of the above, actually.

Blackout
05-15-05, 03:21 PM
I thought it was all of the above, actually.Thats what I was thinking as well

davesdeville
05-15-05, 08:57 PM
Its the people who think "It's an import so it must be awesome."

tomm
05-15-05, 09:24 PM
INCENTIVES... This is one of GM's problem. When sales slow instead of slowing production they kept building product and use incentives to keep the cars moving. I have seen GM offer huge incentives $4500+ on many cars and once they started offering the incentives they have not been able to stop. Look what this has done to the resale value as well.

ktills45
05-15-05, 09:37 PM
GM builds the most reliable American cars, with the least problems. Of the 20 or so world wide marques, GM is 4th.

As Cadillac demonstrates, they can design and build cars of world class quality.

Styling is subjective, but they do have cars equal to any of the imports.

Ben is correct, they need their own Civic and Corolla. They have to beat Honda and Toyota at the entry level to win back market share. The new Saturn looks like it might have a chance, but the Cobalt and G6 needed to be homeruns, and they are only doubles.

Forget dumping divisions, but organize them right.

Saturn - 22k max. Nothing fancy, but build a silky smooth 4 cylinder at 150hp, and put it in everything.

Chevy - 33k max. Mom and Pop cars. Commuters. Trucks. Nothing real sporty, nothing real fancy, but great value and Buick reliability.

Pontiac - Boy racers paradise. Any performance mod you can dream up, put it on a Pontiac. Shoot the designer of the GTO.

Buick - Take it upscale, beat Lexus. This can and should be done.

Cadillac - Continue to beat up the Germans with better product of better quality. Just watch the agressive pricing, or Infinity and Lexus will eat your lunch.

My formula for success.

Playdrv4me
05-15-05, 11:02 PM
Buick - Take it upscale, beat Lexus. This can and should be done.

Not gonna happen.

Vesicant
05-15-05, 11:07 PM
There is no clear cut reason for Buick's life. Oldsmobile had one. Turn Buick into Oldsmobile and then we'll talk.

90Brougham350
05-15-05, 11:09 PM
The day a GM product beats a Lexus product on quality or refinement is the day when pigs fly. Sorry to any GM employees searching the internet for marketing research, but it's the truth.

Brian

Ralph
05-15-05, 11:26 PM
There is no clear cut reason for Buick's life. Oldsmobile had one. Turn Buick into Oldsmobile and then we'll talk.

What was Oldsmobile's reason for existing?

If I recall, Oldmobile was often GM's technology division, where they tried out new things like front-wheel drive (the 1966 Toronado, for example). Sort of like how Audi fits into VW Group's brand portfolio. But that was GM in the 1960s.

Cadillac was the low-volume, high-end luxury brand (like the 1957 Eldorado Biarritz, which cost $13000 and only about 100 were built).

Buick was therefore the more afforable luxury nameplate, with lots of style and chrome and power.

Pontiac was the Wide-Track division with tire-squealing horsepower, big engines, and good handling.

Chevrolet was the entry-level division and GMC sold trucks.

That's how it used to be, and it worked just fine. But then Cadillac went for volume, and the other brands got diluted in cost-cutting plans which were pure short-term thinking. Chevy Cavalier, Pontiac J2000, Oldmobile Firenza, Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron. Need I say more?

Vesicant
05-15-05, 11:42 PM
Things have changed back from the 50-60 even 70's. Now, the market right before and right after Oldsmobile left, I think it could have taken off. Buick turned itself into an old people only type of company. Id like to see the expirimentation part from Oldsmobile (Sports luxury - Grand Touring one offs) go into Buick. Its just so hard to find something Buick could be useful for other than what Oldsmobile did. They're not good enough to be Lexus competitors and Cadillac already has that part taken care of. The question remains though what Buicks purpose is. Would they be able to compete with hi-end VW or maybe take on Chrysler's luxury models (for some reason the 300 sticks out in my mind).

Ralph
05-15-05, 11:52 PM
Buick turned itself into an old people only type of company. Id like to see the expirimentation part from Oldsmobile (Sports luxury - Grand Touring one offs) go into Buick. Its just so hard to find something Buick could be useful for other than what Oldsmobile did. They're not good enough to be Lexus competitors and Cadillac already has that part taken care of. The question remains though what Buicks purpose is. Would they be able to compete with hi-end VW or maybe take on Chrysler's luxury models (for some reason the 300 sticks out in my mind).

If GM's brand philosophy from the late 1950s were around today, Cadillac would be competing ABOVE Lexus in near-Bentley territory, and Buick would be a Mercedes-Benz/Lexus challenger. Buick was never traditionally associated with technological innovation, instead they adopted it after it was proven in other GM divisions. But a good, solid stylish competitor to the Chrysler 300 would be a great idea for Buick. The Lucerne is not it.

Playdrv4me
05-15-05, 11:54 PM
Yea, if anything Buick is strictly a Chrysler fighter. Chrysler eliminated two of its brands in the past 10 years to the point where now theyve pretty much guaranteed themselves success with the sole Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands because all three of those brands can be tightly focused on their demographic. GM Doesnt have that luxury because they still have so many brands in the portfolio.

Ralph
05-16-05, 12:14 AM
Yea, if anything Buick is strictly a Chrysler fighter. Chrysler eliminated two of its brands in the past 10 years to the point where now theyve pretty much guaranteed themselves success with the sole Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands because all three of those brands can be tightly focused on their demographic. GM Doesnt have that luxury because they still have so many brands in the portfolio.

Chrysler was not traditionally the corporation's luxury brand. That was Imperial. So yes, Chrysler, just like Buick, was entry-level luxury, and that has long been a main rival.

Chrysler's decision to kill Plymouth would've been a big mistake if they had still been an independent company, but it wasn't them who did it, and it wasn't them who made the Chrysler brand a success. It was the Germans (Daimler-Benz). Chrysler, was therefore moved downmarket so as not to compete with Mercedes-Benz (and in the 1950s, it sort of did). I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence.

But DaimlerChrysler currently has 6 brands (Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Dodge, Smart, Jeep, Maybach). So they're not far behind GM who has 10 (11 if you count Isuzu). FoMoCo has 8 (Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Volvo, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Daimler, Land Rover). Technically speaking, the company that has more brands is better positioned to cover all ends of the market. But they have to be savvy enough to exploit that potential. So far GM hasn't yet.

Playdrv4me
05-16-05, 12:19 AM
The difference is people still perceive Mercedes, Smart and Maybach as Foreign brands, and technically they really are for the most part foreign built and foreign engineered vehicles. Same with Ford and Jag/Volvo/LR/Aston Martin et al... all perceived as foreign brands. The problem with GM is that ALL of its brands have domestic roots and therefore cause confusion for the consumer because they seem to almost compete against eachother and cannibalize eachothers own sales. When you throw inflated MSRPs and drastic discounts (something MB, Jag, Volvo, LR dont do) into the mix, it only serves stir the pot even more and ends up being more of a hurt than a help.

In other words, the customer walks into the neighborhood Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealer no longer LOOKING FOR a Buick, but rather just telling the salesperson "I dont know what I really want, just a solid 4 door family sedan", and which car ends up being sold? The one with the biggest cash back and discounts. No one really goes in WANTING a Buick anymore, they just get steered around the dealership based on price and incentive. This is a bad way to do business, but this can be corrected by reigning back some of the ridiculous MSRP's to start with. 28000.00 for a fully loaded G6 is ludicrous.

Ralph
05-16-05, 12:35 AM
[QUOTE=Playdrv4me]The difference is people still perceive Mercedes, Smart and Maybach as Foreign brands, and technically they really are for the most part foreign built and foreign engineered vehicles. The problem with GM is that ALL of its brands have domestic roots and therefore cause confusion for the consumer because they seem to almost compete against eachother and cannibalize eachothers own sales. [QUOTE]

The fact that they cause confusion is not necessarily because they're domestic (only people who really follow cars think about that when they go into a showroom), but because GM needs to do more to differentiate the brands.

I don't think people really are confused between Pontiac and Buick. However, they may ask what the reason is for choosing a Buick over a Pontiac. If the two were that different they would appeal to quite different customers. The Chrysler 300 after all is based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but look how distinct they are, just as is the Dodge Magnum.

Buick wouldn't cannibalize Pontiac sales if they were distinct enough.

ben72227
05-16-05, 02:02 AM
Buick could easily be eliminated right now. The Park Avenue is gone and since Cadillac overlaps Buick's price range now with the CTS - who wants a Buick when you can have a Cadillac???

GM needs to do it like this:

Chevy - Corvette and budget/family cars - cobalt, malibu, impala

GMC - trucks (or just do commercial trucks and let chevy do pickups) either way, don't let GMC AND Chevy make pickups that are essentially the same models with different badges.

Saturn - hip, modernly-styled cars in the 20k - 30k price range. Offer with I4's and V6's. Eliminate the current line-up and replace with the sky, aura, and other hip cars. especially a coupe with a v6 - something to go against the toyota solara

Pontiac - the racing division - in the 20k - 35k price range. ONLY V6 and V8s. No inline 4s. Offer a roadster (solstice), a pure muscle car (GTO), a sport sedan (Bonneville) and maybe keep the G6 as a car that will appeal to racing buffs that have kids and need a family sedan:rolleyes:

Cadillac - become THE sole luxury brand of GM. Offer cars from 30k up to 100k + (just like BMW). And for god sakes, bring back the Eldorado (or the alpha-numeric "ETC" coupe):lildevil:

Ralph
05-16-05, 04:52 AM
Actually, ANY brand, including Cadillac, could easily be eliminated. The point is whether or not that brand is valuable to attract future buyers. For instance, in the late 1990s, before the CTS came out, Cadillac was considered to be as damaged a brand as Buick. Following the division extermination logic (as was done with Oldsmobile) the most cost-effective thing for GM to do would've been to kill Caddy, and not invest the billions it took to turn around the division with new models.

Ultimately, the Cadillac and Buick lines don't really overlap, as no one who would consider buying a CTS would ever look at a Park Avenue and vice-versa. They compete in totally different size segments, and appeal to essentially different tastes. The DeVille and Park Avenue perhaps compete, but then again are in quite separate price brackets.

ktills45
05-16-05, 07:30 AM
Buick is GM's number one nameplate in China, so Buick is as safe as a nun in church.

Buicks quality rivals Lexus RIGHT NOW. They don't have to improve quality, but they have to improve ride and goodies.

Ben and I agree mostly, although I think it's a mistake to allow Saturn to offer to many high priced cars. That dilutes Chevy's appeal to families. If it's over 22-25k, it should have a Pontiac badge.

Cadillac should no longer be a cushy riding pillow. Let Buick be the Geriatric Luxury brand.