By on December 9, 2009

Why does TTAC roll its eyes at every proclamation of change, rebirth and renewal from automakers, particularly of the Detroit-based variety? To put it in a single French phrase, dèjá vu. In an industry as cyclical as the automaking game, the latest downturn always takes place within recent memory of the last downturn. As a result, the promises of reinvention and renewed focus are still ringing in our ears by the time each new PR offensive rolls out. One can only hear so many pleas and promises before they all start running together, creating the permanent, inescapable sense that we’ve been here before and it didn’t work out. No better evidence for this phenomenon exists than this series of videos from the 1988 edition of GM’s perennial campaign of renewal (especially in part two). The music may have changed, but the beat goes on.

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10 Comments on “Change, Credibility, and The Business Cycle...”


  • avatar
    Hank

    Some of the concept models at the beginning of that video made me nostalgic for the ’85 Buick Wildcat concept.  What a beautiful piece of GM propaganda that was.
    http://media.photobucket.com/image/buick%20wildcat%201985/2009Photos/Miscellaneous/1985Wildcat.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      midelectric

      The Wildcat was the epitome of my (and friends) fifth grade dream car.  It made no sense to us that it was a Buick but that didn’t seem to matter when it looked so rad.  I remember Popular Science puttered around in one for a puff piece before it overheated-the car, not the prose.

  • avatar
    Neb

    The 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix: proof that GM is on the right track.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    I think perhaps that’s why the fanbois/believers really don’t get that this party is truly over. Somehow, the zombie has kept walking for the last 30 years, despite sliding market share and non-competitive product.

    My gearhead friends all saw the writing on the wall in the mid-70’s. We knew GM was doomed, it was only a matter of time. All ya had to do was read DeLorean’s book to validate that notion. They held on far longer than any of us thought, but we also did not believe that anyone could continue to run a business that was over $100B+ in the hole. We were wrong about that…

    The only thing that has changed is that the wayback machine was reset to the point 30 seconds before the iceberg slashed open the side. The Titanic is going right back down.

     Nothing. Has. Changed. Again. Still. Ever. 

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    It’s pretty amazing how the same crock of sh*t promises are trotted out again… and again… and again. It really does make you wonder how short peoples memories actually are – including my own.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    If you could sell bullsh*t, GM would be the richest corporation on earth. Only problem is, some people still believe it. I know people who actually lap that stuff up and think it’s gospel. Looking at those videos and listening to the superlatives would gag a maggot! Especially when you look at the cars they were waxing lyrical about, some of the worst crap boxes on wheels known to man. With all the talk they still do not know how to build a car that can compete with a Civic!

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    When I was young, back in the stone age, my father used to say that GM could take an Ass (as in Donkey), put a Chevy bow tie on it, and sell it.   Those days are LOOOOOOONG gone.   Interestingly, he never owned a Chevrolet in his life.   

    I stopped buying GM about 10 years after this film, after giving them over a decade of business, along with other US manufacturers. 

    I just didn’t believe the B-S any more.

    Anyone else notice how similar the situations are between GM and the US?  The parallels are terrifyingly real. 

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Everybody in those videos was drinking the Delusional Kool-Aid.

    Interesting that the Lucerne name did eventually surface some 20 years later.
    Interesting that people referred to the “struggles” over the “last six years”.
    I wonder how many of those dealers are in court against GM today.
    Claiming that the Quad-4 was better than all its competitors is both funny and sad.
    Why should we believe any of GM’s post-bankruptcy jive?

  • avatar
    mtypex

    I need those 8 minutes of my life back so I can watch some RoboCop.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    A speech from a 20 year old video… so very relevant?  Only at TTAC!!!


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