By on January 15, 2010

Sort of. At least she might have if my esteemed fellow bloggers had let her get a word in edgewise. No wonder GM seems to have such a low opinion of the “well informed.”

Anyway, the clip’s money quote comes at 1:47, when Docherty lets out the classic Freudian slip: “the last competitive product I spent a couple of weeks in was the Acura TSX.” Whoops!

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

46 Comments on “GM’s Susan Docherty Confronts The Autoblogosphere’s Burning Questions...”


  • avatar
    mikey

    I think she done a great job. That and she certainly looks a lot better than the tub of lard, two down from her right who seems more interested in his texting.

  • avatar
    ozibuns

    Looky here, Sarah Palin has a sister

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    Why must these bloggers fill the shoes of the stereotypical computer nerd so well?
     
    And why does the cameraman think he’s filming an episode of The Shield?

  • avatar
    ajla

    So Buick is going to try to be the “American Acura” and the “American Lexus”?
     
    Kind of like how Cadillac is going to be both the “American BMW” and a rebadging play-it-safe Lincoln-style luxury brand?
     

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Hopefully they will get to see the volt at the Chevy show? Its the only one they will be able to see.  I guess the test mules have nicer dashboards than the Prius. Hey Susan, you can actually go to a Toyota dealer and get one! Mikey- good to hear from you. Hows retirement? Hope its not too cold up there!

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Semi retired, seabrjim. I’m down to one part time job,and it’s looking shakey. Maybe Ms Docherty will call me up for some sort of promo gig LOL. Hey it was + 5 today thats about 40 F . I was tempted to get the Firebird out,drop the top and go for  a cruise.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    I think I can read Susan’s mind. She is thinking “who are these weird people and why are they wasting my time”

  • avatar
    gslippy

    So the consumer will pay a $15k premium over a Prius to get a Volt with a busy dashboard and more interior chrome?  Sorry, I’m not interested in paying for ‘technological feel’ so I can impress my green friends.
     
    Substance and ROI payback are much more appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Sorry, I’m not interested in paying for ‘technological feel’ so I can impress my green friends.

      Isn’t that why one buys a Prius? Because it sure doesn’t make sense $$$ wise compared to a regular compact car.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    What is the slip here?  A competitive product, or a product that competes with GM products, which would include an Acura TSX.  More news, less quotes taken out of context.

  • avatar
    lw

    How many Acura TSXs sold last year?  Enough to save Buick?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Finally…a GM executive who is smart enough to drive a competitor’s product when obtaining a rental car, and is unashamed to admit it!

    Even worse were the days of “old GM” when the execs would make use of a vehicle borrowed from the local district or zone, and said vehicle would be prepped within an inch of its life. Hardly a realistic representation of the actual product!

    While I’ve heard arguments that it “doesn’t look right” for an automaker’s executives to be seen driving a competing product, such perceptions seldom hold water outside of Detroit. In the rest of the world (and in other industries) it is understood that those in charge must see what the competition’s up to…and those who fail to understand this concept are hopelessly obtuse.

    I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps there is a chance in Hell that GM might actually survive.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    so, the Volt is like an Apple computer? Good, alienating 95% of the population right from the beginning is what you learn in marketing 101?
     
    but since Apple users don’t really do real work with computers, maybe they buy Volts since that is a car you buy when you don;t really need to drive? At least they are used to paying twice the money for the same thing without any tangible value besides image.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1, very rich.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      I use apple. What do you drive HerrKa Leun?

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      Juniper: my wife and I drive Mazda 3 and 6, both hatchback and manual transmission

      home made PC with Windows 7 64-bit, just to show that not only my cars are superior :-)
      Apple doesn’t really support AutoCAD or other work tools…

    • 0 avatar
      SacredPimento

      Apple user here. I am a software developer, I am a graphics designer, a recording engineer and I drive a Ford Ranger. What was that you said about image?
      Yeah, you missed a spot.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      Ford Ranger image: either you have some type of construction business and need a small capable truck, or you are an asphalt cowboy and just want to feel like the Marlboro man despite not really needing a pickup for transportation and are willing to spend the extra money. I guess that applies to most trucks. Either they are actually used as trucks, or driven by people who never would lift a bag of dirt. Nothing wrong with that as long as people don’t wine about gas prices and parking ramp problems.
       
      Sure, for Apple you have some web design and graphics professional software (basically the same as for PCs). And the first thing that all Apple users who are so better than Microsoft do, is buy Microsoft Office since Apple doesn’t have anything. but there is no relevant engineering software.
      If cars were like computers to stay at least a little bit on topic. PCs and Macs use the almost identical hardware (obviously the case looks different, like the car body). They just have a different operating system. So it is like An Accord and the equivalent Acura, except that you have the exact same engine, brakes,  cargo space etc. Only the body has a different color and a tiny bit different shape and the dashboard is all different but with the same functionality. Only that the Acura (Mac) is twice the price. Oh, and if you need a new motor, the Honda can get an upgrade. The Acura needs to be thrown away in order to get a faster car. with he Honda (PC) I can bring all my friends and relatives. The Acura only allows a very limited number of people to come along.
      Now, it is everyone’s right to spend more money on a perceived better or cooler product. And the Volt aims towards that (sure it is not cost-effective even at 230 mpg). And there is no logical justification for people to buy a Lexus over a Toyota. It’s all about image, and feeling better about themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      HerrKaLeun: “Good, alienating 95% of the population right from the beginning is what you learn in marketing 101?”

      I’m a long-time PC user and I love my Apple gizmos.  Docherty’s just saying that she thinks the Volt has the same kind of impact as an Apple gizmo.  Nothing wrong with setting that as a desing goal.

      Now, a bigger question is, what will one pay for the Apple-esque experience?  I’m not willing to spend a few hundred bucks to upgrade to an Apple notebook but I am willing to pay $50 extra for an Apple iPod over a roughly comparable MP3 player, because, well, it’s only $50.  I don’t think you can justify $13K extra for the Volt that way, either.   And will the Apple-esque price premium that some buyers are willing to pay layer on top of the environmental ( or other factors) premium that some buyers are willing to pay or are they distinct interest groups?  If they stack, it does help to sell the car.  If not, then it’s not worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Another PC owner whining. Regurgitating FUD from 20 years ago. Why do I find this not surprising?

  • avatar
    dzwax


    I would so hit that.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Honestly, I found that she came off pretty favorably in that segment. She managed to get all of her points in, despite the questions, without a hitch.

    The only point I found a bit bizzarre was her response to the question of what was her favorite competitive car and why. She said the Prius because it was “quiet” and then excoriated it for a spartan interior.  I’m not sure those qualities are the main selling points for the Prius driving segment.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    Sorry, but I was unimpressed with Miss Docherty. She just spouted the same drivel as GM executives before here.
     
    1. Re: her marketing campaign to lure Saab, Pontiac and Saturn customer to Buick. Emailng? Posting leaflets? Why could they spend that money on something big? Something that would attract the customers’ attention? Like a 5 year bumper to bumper warranty? Or use the money to spruce up dealerships? Why spend money like that on stuff which people don’t really pay attention to? Goodness knows everytime I get leaflets or emails from my Toyota dealer, I just dispose of them.
     
    2. Re: The Prius is sparse. How’s this a a bad thing? That means it’s roomy and clear. The Prius got knocked for being a “small car”, yet it qualifies as a mid range saloon.
     
    3. Re: Susan Docherty. I’m getting fed up of these useless women in the car industry. The ones with degrees in “Business Administration” or “Economics”, just spouting random marketing words to sound as if they know what they are talking about. Where’s the female Alan Mulally? or the female Fujio Cho? Where are the female engineers of the car world? They must exist, surely?

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      tere sure are some good women in the car industry (or any other industry). the problem is the good ones don’t always move up. Many of the ones that move up are affirmative action token women that are useless, like Docherty.

      i remember fiory or whatever was the name of the woman that drove HP into the ground. Well, history is full of men that screwed up much bigger and the car industry is a good example of that. nothing as dangerous as a male ego :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      There are a lot of women in domestic engineering and manufacturing ranks. The plant manager at Fords cleveland engine plant was a woman a few years ago. Many supervisors in Ford and GM engine plants are women as well. A friends daughter is a metallurgist for Ford. Lots of examples, just not on camera. I don’t think you will find the same in Japanese auto companies. At least I never saw any in parts suppliers I have visited.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      not sure if one can nail that “women in upper management” to specific cultures. In Turkey, for example, is a very high women rate in executive positions. i once read a higher percentage than in Germany. Since turkey is a country with 99% moslems – that gives me hope that any religion has the potential to tolerate a progressive society.
       
      What actually worries me more than favorism or non-favorism because of gender, race etc. is the shortage of engineers in higher positions. Sure, someone has to keep  engineers in check or we will have indestructible but too expensive cars… but the almost complete lack of engineers in higher up GM etc. explains the lack of love and pride for the product. Regardless of gender. (and no, Bob Lutz is not a real engineer)

  • avatar

    Tub o lard – Wow @ Mikey,very creative! I call myself worse than that on a daily basis.
    As for interest in texting, the event was not just bloggers, but social media. Part of the point was the ability to cover the interviews live and spread through social media during the event.
    Twas Tweeting, not texting! Oh yes, the laptop in front of me that was turned sideways – was recording the interview for future reference or publication.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      That was you?

      When I’m in a meeting and people start in with the texting (no, I don’t believe there’s a difference), I consider it rude.  If the meeting’s not important enough to be paying attention, it’s not important enough to have or attend.  We don’t let the kids pull out the pocket phones at the dinner table, either.  Maybe you think the unstreamed life isn’t worth living but I don’t see why your twits couldn’t wait while you paid careful attention to the speaker and then posted collected and organized thoughts later.

      And I can’t imagine who’s waiting with bated breath for your tweets to arrive in the middle of the day… people without jobs?  They probably aren’t GM’s target market, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Are the tweets archived somewhere?  I’d like to read them.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Shame on her for making the comparison between the Prius and the Volt. One’s a hybrid the other is an extended range EV.   Apples and oranges.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I think that the reason she compared them is that they are aimed at the same buyers, the persons who will spend extra money to show off how environmentally conscious they are. To ward off flames, I’m not saying that everyone who buys a Prius is one of those, just that those are who the Volt is aimed at.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      the Prius ($ 22K – $ 27K fully loaded with LED headlights etc.) is very much in the price range of buyers with professional careers. Being in the third generation and good track record also makes it a good investment knowing it won’t fall apart. the price also can be counted towardssignificant  fuel savings.
       
      The volt definitely is in higher income range with very uncertain technology with a very uncertain company that might not exist in 5 years when the batteries fail because of draining them all the time, or driving in hot or cold weather.

  • avatar

    Kix – yes, I’m the tub o lard and I agree with you completely, but….
    The whole point of the endeavor was to show what can be done with social media to cover an event. Besides, many journos take notes on a pad. In today’s world, many take notes on a laptop, while others take notes on a smart phone. Tweeting notes is no different than recording it with another tool.
    The snippets that we (I was not the only one tweeting) were well received and actively passed around the twit-o-sphere. Doherty expected it and for what it’s worth I think it was well received by the GM brass.

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      I for one am mortified by Mikey’s words. Nobody here should insult anybody else on account of physical appearances. I’d like to apologize on his behalf, Gary.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

     “think that the reason she compared them is that they are aimed at the same buyers, the persons who will spend extra money to show off how environmentally conscious they are. To ward off flames, I’m not saying that everyone who buys a Prius is one of those, just that those are who the Volt is aimed at.”

    Actually I think most who want a Volt are like me.  I think big oil sucks and if it costs me money to drive by their frappin gas stations, especially on summer holiday weekends when they jack the price up, I’ll do it! Plus the sooner this country gets off foreign oil the better. It will be painful at first but worth it in the long run.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India