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GM is currently operating as a welfare state thanks to some very bad negotiating with the UAW. The retirement and health care plans are eating GM alive and they are currently negotiating with UAW to restructure those plans.

I hate to see GM resort to cost cutting measures (discontinue Oldsmobile) but I am sure there are some things they could do to increase the sales of their products or even bring over some of the Euro-GM cars (Opel) to appeal the the ricer market and satisfy higher fuel mileage buyers.
 

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There is also some speculation on one of the Corvette forums about GM having to get out of racing. I'd like to see them continue the Corvette and CTS-V racing programs, but they must be an easy target right now for cutting.

- Mark
 

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What they need is a younger, sharper marketing team comprised of those who actually know what's hot on the market today. They're not catering to the demands of the generation of buyers who have all the money nowadays and are going to be spending big in the next decade. The racing divisions must stay; to eliminate them would be the last move for GM before the breed dies out completely. Sadly, for the same prices, even most Americans are going out for imports who do a better job of bringing the product to the people. Just my thoughts.
 

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This is a really complex and multifaceted issue. GM is not going away, they just need to change some things to improve the situation.

There are a couple of problems with GM marketing, the biggest of which is that they listened to the American public when designing and marketing their autos. Everyone wanted a GM gargantuan SUV because they are "safer" and you can see over smaller, more fuel efficient cars or the other part of the market wanted ridiculous power. Now that gas is $3/gallon, people are bailing from their gas hogs and there is not a whole lot in the GM stable that screams fuel efficient, at least not when compared to the Honda or Toyota hybrids.

That slowed GM's sales, and the company was stuck with the huge inventory. In order to unload the inventory they had to slash profit margins. With the otherwise sizable profits from the SUV and truck lines eliminated, GM has not historically made as much profit on most of their cars, they had to take a loss or be stuck with unsold inventory on dealer lots as the new '06s were arriving. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

As FSU_Noles has noted, the problem is really driven by the condition of the pension and health care burden from their massive employee base. Yesterday, it was announced that there had been some agreement reached between the UAW and GM, but there is still speculation that there will be plant closings.

Companies do what they have to do to survive or they end up dead. Just like any other business, they will tighten their belts, refocus the management team to ceate better synergy, shift a few paradigms around, then lay off 50% of the work force so they can stay afloat. Who could blame them? Wall street and the American investors won't because layoffs = stock price going up, and we all want our mutual funds and portfolios to rise, don't we?
 

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I personally have a lot of respect for GM as a company but an equal amount of disrespect for the upper management and the UAW (throw in the relationship between them).
GM has always been a company that has allowed people to realize the American Dream. It has always been a "welfare" state. However when GM needs its customers the most and the support of their UAW the most...they are getting neither.
The transplants (Toyota/Honda/Nissan) while providing jobs today did not bring the US to the state it is today. They came in since they saw potential for sales...not to maintain the standards of living.
The way I look at it GM is paying the price for their their goodness in the past (of course this can be debated).
UAW has to help GM out and there needs to be a way that GM can transfer fuel and decent looking efficient cars (like Opel of Germany) in the US.

I could go on but I will stop here.
 

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Marketing & UAW/healthcare woes are big items, but the General also has to do some serious work in the styling & engineering divisions...

They've offered us some beauties over the years, but lately there have been far too many blunders such as the Pontiac Aztek, Buick Rendezvous (not as bad, but clearly a couple cuts below the competition), Chevy Malibu (innocuous, but come on - here was a chance to one up Honda, Toyota, et al - and what's with these stone-age engines & 4-speed transmissions???), their whole series of minivans sucks big time, etc.

The Buick Lacrosse & Pontiac Grand Prix are a bit better (4-speed auto again...), but not nearly up to the competition. Same is true of the new big Caddie.

The CTS is a ray of hope (wonder if they'll update it on a timely basis - the competition certainly updates their offerings on a regular basis), as is the Pontiac Solstice, but then there's the nearly 3-ton SSR - what an albatross!
 

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I'm not so bought on the idea of importing fuel efficient Opel's. They're pieces of junk, hands down, no question about it. You might actually lose customers. I owned a Catera for a good half year; hard to call that car a Cadillac. Now I'm a bit younger so I don't have all the solutions, but there must be a better way than tapping Opel for some of their products?
 

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Now check out these compacts that Chevy obtained out of an overtake of Daywoo:

http://www.chevroletlocal.co.uk/baylishainesandstrange/accueil/default.asp?codconc=DWGB0161&lg=uk&sessID=1910200592540-6624567

These are the Chevies that are offered in Europe. Interested??? Hahaha
So you don't necessarily have to hope or fear for an Opel. Though the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra VXR looks pretty cool for a ricer (240 HP!):
http://www.autocarmag.com/Car/Vauxhall/Astra/27155555391.jpg

Now, anyone heared of this one before?:
http://vauxhall.co.uk/gallery/images/Monaro/exterior/5.7i_V8/NEW_MON_06473.jpg

See, that might also be a problem of GM. They don't let you know what they have to offer. In other words their advertising sucks! At least in Europe.
 

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The last link looks just like a Pontiac GTO, prolly is the same with a different name. Consider that the Saab 9-3 is built on the same chassis as the Malibu, I think if some GM division offered that car for a lower price, maybe drop a few options they would have a valid entry-to-mid level car with nice styling that would interest new customers. The current Pontiac line looks promising, although underpowered (G6), Buick line-up is bland and most of that market (older folks) are happy with Camry's or Gran Marquis. Chevrolet is getting rave reviews for the Cobalt and the Malibu is as plain as a car can get. The monte carlo definitely could use some interior and human-factor engineer as well as the Impala. I think the introduction along the product line of the displacement on demand will help fuel mileage but GM is not advertising that well enough for anyone to know it exists. Cadillac is at the forefront of design and hopefully they continue to be forward thinking in their design and marketing. There are more young people today that make good incomes than in the past and the market has to adjust for that demographic. This is not the old days when you saved up for years to get your Cadillac, this is a want it and get it now generation and Cadillac has to compete vs the Lexus's, Acura's, and Infiniti's of this world. I still to this day do not understand the difference between the Chevy and GMC pickup lines, it would seem they could get rid of one or the other and save a LOT of money.
 

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FSU_Noles said:
The current Pontiac line looks promising, although underpowered (G6)
Yep, good old "high value" thinking... Offer a really old ohv (made in China) to save a buck & lose thousands upon thousands to others who offer state-of-the-art engines and engineering. Why not use the CTS engine? Sure, it costs more, but I'll bet sales would improve as well...

FSU_Noles said:
Chevrolet is getting rave reviews for the Cobalt
I agree, there's real hope here, though the styling isn't particularly striking...
On another line, wonder if they aren't typically behind the market with the HHR - Chrysler has sold a bazillion Cruisers already - I have one - a '05 Turbo with Mopar Stage I kit - driving is a hoot after installing Eibach sway bars & better tires. Will run away and hide from a V6 CTS without breathing hard...

FSU_Noles said:
The monte carlo definitely could use some interior and human-factor engineer as well as the Impala.
IMHO, the Monte Carlo has been and continues to be butt-ugly... (pun intended, but that's where the main problem is) - terrible styling... On the other hand, I think that Chevy did a darned good job of restyling the lastest rendition of the Impala - just wish it was rear-wheel drive with that small block option under the hood...

FSU_Noles said:
Cadillac is at the forefront of design and hopefully they continue to be forward thinking in their design and marketing.
Agree, if you're talking about within GM - outside GM, things are moving much faster...

FSU_Noles said:
I still to this day do not understand the difference between the Chevy and GMC pickup lines, it would seem they could get rid of one or the other and save a LOT of money.
Makes sense to me too, but we've too many actual & potential buyers/fans of both to drop either - Badge engineering is alive & well...and in use by many foreign competitors as well:helpless:
 

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As for the HHR, I think that GM missed the boat with the whole "retro" styling.

As for cadillac, I think they are doing fine compared to the rest of the market, the CTS and XLR are very definiitive. When the other models come up for re-design I think the progressive designs will continue.

The Impala SS is equipped with the 5.3L (327) small block with displacement on demand, and I am sure it wont take much to bump up the 303 HP.
 

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FSU_Noles said:
As for the HHR, I think that GM missed the boat with the whole "retro" styling.

As for cadillac, I think they are doing fine compared to the rest of the market, the CTS and XLR are very definiitive. When the other models come up for re-design I think the progressive designs will continue.

The Impala SS is equipped with the 5.3L (327) small block with displacement on demand, and I am sure it wont take much to bump up the 303 HP.

I hope the General sells a bundle of the HHRs, but think they're gonna have to step up real quick like & offer a bit more oats to the herd under the hood... These little wagons (HHR & Cruiser) are incredibly practical little cars, & if you tweak them a bit, they handle & run pretty darned good as well... Have some folks on the Cruiser forum that are pushing 300 hp with Mopar & a few aftermarket goodies - some are running under 14.0 qtr mile times...

Actually, I like the direction Cadillac is going too (hope they work real hard on quality control (a reliable differential would be nice - I've had too many problems with CTS) - just hope they keep the CTS, XLR, SRX & STS on the leading edge & bring along a rear-wheel drive replacement for the DTS in near future...

I've driven the new small block Impala - lots of go, but think they should go to the big tires up front as Pontiac has with the Grand Prix small block - seems to improve handling & fwd torque control quite a bit... This would be even more valuable to the owner (or GM) who invests in some of the hp increasing small block goodies already on the market...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And now for a little comparo from a design standpoint:

When I compare GM to Ford, I see Ford coming out on top. Why? The Mustang, F-150, Five Hundred, and now the Fusion...these are excellent bread and butter vehicles for Ford and it starts with the engine. Duratec: a well established global engine for Ford's sedans. Triton: a well established engine for trucks. Then comes the styling. All four of these vehicles range from handsome to sexy. Then comes the price...pretty competitive.

GM, on the other hand, has bland, unexciting vehicles less the cadillacs and the corvette. With respect to the Fords I mentioned: where's the Camaro/Firebird? the GTO is priced well above the Mustang (when comparing base models). GMC/Chevy pickups? never could run with the F-150 although the Vortec is a nice backbone for the program. Impala? I think Car and Driver said it best "Chevy aims for the middle with its spacious 06 Impala." and finally the Malibu with its plain jane to the nth power styling.

Of course Ford is not without its flaws...rebadging is a bit too overused (Mart LT pickup!!? wow.) plus most cars are underpowered and some models are a bit tired or unexciting but not to the extent of GM. I give Ford props for bringing some nice cars to the market; they look nice and apparently have much improved build quality. C'mon GM, get off the baby-boomer business philosophy and take a look at what's in front of you!
 

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Chuck C said:
And now for a little comparo from a design standpoint:
When I compare GM to Ford, I see Ford coming out on top. Why? The Mustang, F-150, Five Hundred, and now the Fusion...these are excellent bread and butter vehicles for Ford and it starts with the engine. Duratec: a well established global engine for Ford's sedans. Triton: a well established engine for trucks. Then comes the styling. All four of these vehicles range from handsome to sexy. Then comes the price...pretty competitive.
GM, on the other hand, has bland, unexciting vehicles less the cadillacs and the corvette. With respect to the Fords I mentioned: where's the Camaro/Firebird? the GTO is priced well above the Mustang (when comparing base models). GMC/Chevy pickups? never could run with the F-150 although the Vortec is a nice backbone for the program. Impala? I think Car and Driver said it best "Chevy aims for the middle with its spacious 06 Impala." and finally the Malibu with its plain jane to the nth power styling.
Of course Ford is not without its flaws...rebadging is a bit too overused (Mart LT pickup!!? wow.) plus most cars are underpowered and some models are a bit tired or unexciting but not to the extent of GM. I give Ford props for bringing some nice cars to the market; they look nice and apparently have much improved build quality. C'mon GM, get off the baby-boomer business philosophy and take a look at what's in front of you!
My brother just bought a new Ford Five Hundred, & it seems to be a wonderful car. Since he lives up in Iowa, he sprung for the AWD version with the CVT - it allows the little 3.0 ltr V6 to move a pretty big car along at a decent rate of speed. Supposedly Ford will have a larger engine available before too long. I'm impressed by the Fusion as well - saw a couple on road on a trip last week.

Ford is also a leg up on GM in the transmission arena - the Five Hundred has the CVT & a six-speed automatic available. The Fusion also has a six-speed automatic. GM needs to come up with comparable options for both their front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive platforms.

Heck, some of the European competition are now sporting seven-speed auto & DSG transmissions. Four-speed boxes are sadly outdated & are particularly ill-suited to getting the most out of small-bore engines. While big-bore V8s can limp by with four ratios because of strong torque, an extra gear or two would certainly enhance both performance & efficiency...
 

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Chuck C said:
And now for a little comparo from a design standpoint:
When I compare GM to Ford, I see Ford coming out on top. Why? The Mustang, F-150, Five Hundred, and now the Fusion...these are excellent bread and butter vehicles for Ford and it starts with the engine. Duratec: a well established global engine for Ford's sedans. Triton: a well established engine for trucks. Then comes the styling. All four of these vehicles range from handsome to sexy. Then comes the price...pretty competitive.
GM, on the other hand, has bland, unexciting vehicles less the cadillacs and the corvette. With respect to the Fords I mentioned: where's the Camaro/Firebird? the GTO is priced well above the Mustang (when comparing base models). GMC/Chevy pickups? never could run with the F-150 although the Vortec is a nice backbone for the program. Impala? I think Car and Driver said it best "Chevy aims for the middle with its spacious 06 Impala." and finally the Malibu with its plain jane to the nth power styling.
Of course Ford is not without its flaws...rebadging is a bit too overused (Mart LT pickup!!? wow.) plus most cars are underpowered and some models are a bit tired or unexciting but not to the extent of GM. I give Ford props for bringing some nice cars to the market; they look nice and apparently have much improved build quality. C'mon GM, get off the baby-boomer business philosophy and take a look at what's in front of you!
I disagree on the pickup truck. F150 does outsell gm pickup trucks but that doesn't mean gm's pickups aren't as good as fords.
Issue with gm is that it's got too many brands. Instead of focusing on selling one car per brand, they have to sell that same car through multiple brands which requires more marketing cost as well as sheetmetal/interior change costs. I think they should consolidate some of their markets togethe... ie GMC sells all the trucks and chevy sells all the cars....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Devil_concours said:
I think they should consolidate some of their markets togethe... ie GMC sells all the trucks and chevy sells all the cars....
I sorta agree, but in the "Chevy Truck" has a much more saturated brand image than the "GMC truck." GM would need one heck of a marketing effort to convince buyers that GMC is for trucks and Chevy is for cars.
 
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