Jalopnik reports that, rather than crying “perception gap” to negative tweets about Buick’s quick-n-dirty Saturn Vue rebadge, GM has killed plans for the plugin crossover. GM spokesfolk say “the overwhelmingly negative response to this vehicle coming out of this event” caused GM to pull the plug. Which is funny because a good hard look at their bloated 2012 CUV lineup would have told them that killing the “Vuick” was a good idea, too. So now GM has a plug-in CUV developed with nowhere to put it. And the Twitterati have another reason to believe they are somehow relevant. In other words, all’s right with the world. Hit the jump for GM’s official word via spokesman Tom Stephens.
Last week, we had a new and future product showcase at which employees, potential customers, dealers, media, analysts and others toured our Design facilities and test-drove vehicles at the Milford Proving Ground. The main reason we did it was to get people talking about us—and to us. And, this is the important part, when they talked, we listened.
And we got some great positive feedback . . . the future Cadillacs drew great praise, our GMC concept was very well received, and the lineup of fuel efficient Chevys—Spark, Aveo and Cruze—impressed many of our guests. Three future Buicks we showed also drew a lot of interest and compliments.
However, not all the feedback was positive.
The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.
You may recall that this was the Buick compact crossover I announced in Traverse City a few weeks ago, with a plug-in hybrid version to accompany it—this is not the smaller Buick crossover we showed that was playfully referred to as “the baby Enclave.” That vehicle did very well and remains in the lineup.
We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover. And what we decided to do in response is a good example of the essence of the new General Motors . . . acting quickly, and boldly, and listening to feedback from customers, employees, dealers, media and just about anyone else with an opinion.
Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we’ll discuss in the very near future.
What gives me pause is how quickly we made a decision and carried it out. In the past this would have been a several-month process involving meeting after meeting of the APB, ASB, and various other acronyms, and also many “offline” follow-up discussions before a decision was reached and enacted. This happened in one day.
So there’s the proof, in my eyes, that the new GM is listening, and moving quickly.