It will be as long as GM isn't being original. I mean, yeah, they're coming out with new products, but they're just bad copies of what was hot 5 years ago (i.e. the Chevy HHR) or they're trying to catch up to bland cars from Japan but fall short of their mark (i.e. the Pontiac G6).
Of course, their roadster program is looking excellent (Solstice and SKY) but its just a shame that their bread and butter cars (the Malibu, Cobalt, etc.) aren't nearly as exciting. And they're starving Buick of decent product. I mean, come out with the Velite already!
I think youre right. GM seems to run a play of banking alot on select products at any given time while allowing the rest to be mediocre. The problem with that is you always run the risk of catching a trend too late or at the wrong time. Its working with the Sky/Solstice because they hit at just the right time... cheap to run 4 cyl engines with great fuel economy along with top down fun and terrific performance and handling.
On the other hand, I think GM is going to have its ass royally handed to it on this SUV strategy. It doesnt matter what kind of fuel numbers these things return at this point in the game, the consumer mindset in all but the deepest pocketbooks is swaying away from those vehicles. Even I whom for the longest time was a huge proponent of ignorning fuel prices and driving what you want, have sort of changed my stance a bit recently.
They may be nice trucks, but they are not going to save GM.
Yeah, the best thing they can do is just come out with some kickass coupes and sedans. Period. If I was in charge, I'd give:
Cadillac a coupe version of the CTS
Chevrolet/Pontiac both an affordable ($20-25k) performance car - use that Impala V8 and get 300 HP and 28MPG! Drop the Aveo completely (GM doesn't need to degrade itself that far) and replace the Monte Carlo with a real sports coupe, maybe a new Chevelle???
Buick - Drop the SUVs and rebuild Buick into the classy, chromed out brand it used to be - Move the Buick Velite concept into full production.
Hummer - well...this is a toughie, i guess since they sell so well anyway, there's no need to do anything to them. just keep downsizing and use more efficient engines...
GMC - Make GMC do ONLY commercial trucks, let Chevy have all of the consumer pick up trucks. IMHO, The current GMC is badge engineering at its worst...
Saturn - Keep it going upscale, and let Chevy fill in for the economy cars with the Cobalt. If GM could devote all of their subcompact car money to the Cobalt, it's better (IMHO) to have one really great car than to have a bunch of mediocre badge-engineered cars spread across the brands (i.e. the minivan, aka the Pontiac Montana, Saturn Relay, etc.)
Saab - From what I hear, Saab is pretty good right now, with the exception of some blatant badge engineering (the 9-3 is supposedly just a Subaru WRX in disguise...)
7 year low is not a surprise. The economy was already stalling and then massive incentives and employee pricing got everyone off the fence that could be coaxed into buying. Now we enter the holidays with reports that consumers will be dialing back their spending this season. This is a good time to put money in the bank. As car companies get anxious the deals will be back. I'm waiting for a Z06 at GMS pricing. I may have to wait a year, but when I can get one at $59K vs. $80K I'm a fool not to wait.
They're paying this month for the giveaways over the summer. GM and Ford do this all the time. Whenever they throw out huge incentives to artificially spur sales, they realize that they're going to eventually suffer a decline.
They do it every year and whine when it's time to pay the piper.
It's just like fishing. You have to put bait on the hook that the fish wants to eat. You can give it away, and they'll come to the surface and bite at it, but then they won't be hungry for a while afterward.
The American car buyer always goes for style, in the absence of that they go with reliability. Right now they're efficiency-minded. The Japanese have been winning that war for a long time, and that's why Toyota and Honda didn't get hurt last month.
Come to think of it, the Japanese eat a lot of fish. They probably know what they're doing better than we do.