By on June 27, 2014

Vogel Chevrolet Showroom, 1959

I got a message today from a good friend who has been in the GM dealer business for a long time.

“Don’t mention my name,” he wrote, “but our floor traffic on new GM product is NON-EXISTENT. It’s like during the financial collapse of 07-09!” It makes sense. The media’s been hammering General Motors pretty hard about the recall; their natural antipathy to the Detroit giant was only temporarily eased by the General’s wobbly starring role in the Obama-Bailout-Savior re-election storyline. With the President safely returned to office, NBC et al are now free to exercise their full coastal contempt for GM, and they’re doing so.

I’m curious as to what the B&B are seeing out there. Are your local dealers empty? Full of bargain shoppers? Same as always?

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115 Comments on “Is The Recall Turning GM Dealers Into Ghost Towns?...”


  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    We will find out soon enough when June sales figures come out. It will be interesting to compare GM’s numbers to anecdotal observations. And how will GM’s stock fare? It has been on an upward trend over past 3 months, since the depths of the ignition & other recalls.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Dunno, I’ll need to check in about 5k miles when my Volt needs its tire rotation..

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    My friend wants to buy a Spark. I guess now is as good a time as ever. (And really, it’s my friend! Really!)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I don’t know. I was at my dealer yesterday getting the oil changed and I saw pretty much business as usual. It was late in the day, and the service dept. seemed slower than normal, but my appointment was nearly the last one.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Around Western NY they are ghost towns…mostly service activity. Can’t even compare to a local Hyundai dealer were the showroom is like a mall during the holiday shopping season.

  • avatar
    wang chung

    Guys the article is referring to the sales floor.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Only the June sales numbers will reveal if there is any sales impact from the recalls – everything else is speculation based on anecdotal evidence.

  • avatar
    geeber

    I wonder how much any sales decline (assuming that GM sales really are lackluster) is rooted in the packaging and pricing problems with various GM models.

    For example, sales of the much-ballyhooed Cadillac ATS are down for the year, even though this is only its second year on the market. I don’t believe that has anything to do with the recalls.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I want the black hardtop on the right–the one behind the (probably) beige coupe in profile.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      That’s a four-door hardtop (“Sport Sedan” in Chevrolet parlance, if I recall correctly), which featured a very graceful and airy roofline and greenhouse. No visibility problems in those cars!

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      I was squinting my eyes looking at the picture and I can just see, in the back row behind the dealership, a blue Brookwood 2-door wagon – yeah, that’s the one. The one with the Stovebolt 6 and Power-Glide but no a/c or power steering/brakes. It’s there waiting for my dad to buy it. It was a little frightening to watch him maneuver that thing, probably 35-turns lock-to-lock, in the alley behind our house trying to poke it into the old, extended, Model-T style garage. Even more so in winter……

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “the old, extended, Model-T style garage”

        Wow.. memories. We had one behind the first house I lived in. That’s where the ’51 Studebaker Champion lived when Dad wasn’t commuting with it.

        The ’59 Country Squire couldn’t fit in there even if someone wanted to perform the 4 or 5 fore & aft nudges required for a 90⁰ turn in the alley. So it lived on the carport slab where I could adore it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    GM reported higher May retail sales. The June numbers should be out next week.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      June 2014 for most, if not all, of the industry will be lower than June 2013 and May 2014 due to less selling days and selling weekends. A better comparison to those who want it will be to compare May/June 2013 vs May/June 2014.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Just compare GM’s June 2014 to the market’s June 2014. If the market falls 3% and GM falls double digits, then it doesn’t matter how well they did last month.

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          Only if you use retail market share…not overall market share.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Are you suggesting that GM flooded the fleet market in May to hide their lack of retail buyers?

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            GM reports their fleet and retail sales every month at their media site. More so than others. media.gm.com

            Do your own research?

            I’m not suggesting anything…I’m suggesting that people or media can get their own facts?

            Is that so hard?

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I spent the last three weekends car shopping and everyone seemed to have a lot of foot traffic in the show rooms.

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    I have no clue, but clearly they’re willing to deal with someone that’ll pit them against each-other.

    One of my coworkers lost his late-90s Camry to a thrown rod and needed a car, so he called dealers of every kind in the area. He eventually bounced between local Chevy dealers until he ended up with a used, fully-loaded, current-model-year Spark with 7k miles for 40% off MSRP. This car included a warranty that was so insane (we checked the fine print) that I don’t think even a Korean manufacturer would have been willing to offer it. They must be banking on an accident totaling the car or the car being sold within a reasonable number of miles for this to go well for them.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Now whenever I see a picture of a 59 Chevrolet I am remind of this auto crash comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I’m reminded of that crash anytime I see someone lament the loss provided by the safety of “all-steel” cars vs. today’s “plastic” cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’m aware of that video and I cringe every time I see it. I consider the ’59 Impala/BelAire to have the most beautiful body of any car EVER built. Yes, it had its problems–those wings were surprisingly effective for pushing the tail down while the front bumper tended to push air down under the nose… making for some risky driving at speed. I think a simple air dam mod would eliminate the lift.

      I’ll always want one, but I don’t expect to ever have one.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        That’s interesting about the downforce of the ’59′s batwings. I had read that it was just the opposite, that the fins actually lifted the rear end. So, with the front end coming up, too, the whole car was trying to take flight. Not exactly the best thing for safe handling, particularly at highway speeds.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I had too, Rudi, so I was surprised when I discovered that the air coming over the roof treated them just like spoilers to keep the rear on the ground. The overhang at the sides didn’t create enough lift to counterbalance it. On the other hand, with down on the back and up on the nose, you literally could feel weight coming off the steering as you drove faster. Was one reason the ’59 and ’60 Chevys did so poorly on the long tracks like Daytona back then and suffered catastrophic understeer.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    Purchased in late April and asked the Chevy dealer the same question … they felt like their traffic was up a little YOY. Though this is in MA so they noted the colder winter was a factor as people delayed their purchase decisions.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    “Coastal antipathy”, sure, but let’s be fair — GM has recalled most of the cars they’ve sold in the past ten years, which is huge all by itself. On top of that, the problem isn’t flaking paint, it’s self-cancelling ignition switches that have killed a couple dozen people, and GM knew of this for years and swept it under the rug. And whilst all that was going on, NHTSA was conducting what did and still do look like politically-motivated investigations against GM’s main competitors over issues that were really never proven in the end. And on top of THAT, GM was and is effectively under government control all that time.

    In other words, for a lot of people, coastal and flyover, this looks like the worst nightmare version of “Government Motors”–substandard product, dead customers, covered up by Detroit with help from Washington, and only admitted when brought to light by lawsuit.

    I’m sorry they did this, but they did it.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Hope it is buzzards coming home to roost. GM deserves to take it in their shorts for all the crooked and dishonest games they have played over the years. They really deserve all that they get and even more. Let’s hope the american public is starting to wake up and see what GM really is.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Just like Ford, eh?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Haven’t been to a Chevy dealership since ’08 when I tried a 5-speed Aveo.
    I thought, it’s Korean, maybe it’ll be alright.

    Shi..yeah.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The slew of recalls has been going on all year, not only th last month. Sales for the year haven’t shown any major drop off at GM, so it could be that this guy’s dealer is affected by something else.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I’ve had four follow up calls trying to get me back into the dealership, but I gave up my interest in getting an SS as the last, great American RWD sedan when I saw that they had screwed up the new Impala as well. I was willing to forgive the damage they did to my Uglibu’s resale value if they took it, and they were motivated to give me a good number and get the price further down as supersports just aren’t moving.

    I knew it was going to be a risk with a new-ish model, but since it was basically a G8 with all of the proper Americanization, which would make it like the Impala inside, you can see how that would go away with a bit of vapor. So I still have the Uglibu as the backup car instead of trading it in and making the Ford the backup car.

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      “an SS as the last, great American RWD sedan”

      Whoa there Greenie. My Canadian built, Mexican engined, German suspensioned, Italian Owned Chrysler 300C would like to challenge your Australian built, Mexican transmissioned, Korean electrcalled, Chinese owned Chevy SS for the post of Great American RWD sedan.

      Granted the Hyundai Genesis might be a better classic American sedan than anything else on the market today.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      I know it’s off topic, but what’s the story on “the damage they did to [your] Uglibu’s resale value?”

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        I had an offer for $7,500 on it, which was based on an inspection at a non-GM dealer, as I was thinking of shedding it and then searching for a nice replacement after tax silly season, then, when the details of the recalls hit one after another after another, and there was not just the well-known steering problem (which I had fixed years back while GM was still refusing to cover it for the 2006 model year), including the word that there was whatever is wrong with the brake lights/brakes/etc, suddenly trying to consummate the deal had that turn into a renegotiation at $4,000 and going down. So, fairly quantifiable and tangible impact for me.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          So they screwed you on a product defect they wouldn’t fix, then the resale value goes down the drain, the product line comes up with new defects weekly, and you were still considering giving them more of your money?

          Sounds like battered spouse syndrome.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think the whole new car market is much smaller than it was in 2005 due to the stagflation and effective permanently high oil prices we now find ourselves in despite sales or production numbers (hint: oil drives real growth). The pool of legitimate buyers has shrunk (read: people with jobs and earned or investment income) and those buyers have probably the biggest selection in the history of the auto industry from a brand standpoint. Couple this with bad politics, press, and word of mouth, and you conceivably have little floor traffic at your GM dealer. High priced product and some “me’h” models in competitive segments don’t help RenCen much either, but “me’h” product can still be sold with the right incentives.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      One factor people overlook – our population is aging. Older, retired people don’t drive as much, and thus don’t put as much wear-and-tear on their vehicles.

      A few retired couples I know are downsizing to one vehicle for the household. The big concern isn’t buying a new vehicle – it’s getting rid of one of vehicles they currently own.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      SAAR in June was 16.4M cars, about 3% below 2005′s 16.9M. It’s smaller, but is it really “much” smaller? GM sales were up YoY for May 2014. I know there is still a lot of gloom-and-doom sentiment out there, but the data continues to sugggest that the economy is improving and consumers are consumin’.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140625-909589.html

      http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2014/05/vehicle-sales-forecasts-over-16-million.html

      GM’s most critical problem is that their full-size trucks improved only incrementally in the last redesign, whereas Dodge and Ford made big leaps forward. That forces GM to discount in their highest-volume, highest-profit segment. Any monthly dip due to bad press will likely be short-term, but being the turtle in the truck race will put big financial drag on the company at least until the next model refresh.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        25% of those sales were subprime in Q1 2013. Probably higher today. I don’t have any data, but I wonder what percentage subprime was in 2003 or 1993? I’m guessing much less than one out of ever four sales. In my view, subprime buyers do not swim in the pool of legitimate buyers, folks who can easily pay out the note over time. This disqualification coupled with an aging population constitutes a smaller pool of legitimate auto buyers than five, ten, or twenty years ago.

        I agree with you though on GM’s truck issues, although I pose this question: why is it that at least two of the three domestics are still so dependent on truck sales? (I’m not sure FCA is still so dependant)

        “Even though loan terms are up and even the crappiest of the credit worthy are qualifying for car loans (those with sub-700 credit scores accounted for 25 percent of car loans in Q1 2013, up from 17 percent in 2010)”

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/all-is-fine-in-sub-prime-land-says-some-with-a-vested-interest-in-its-success/

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    I don’t sell Chevy but my dealer also has a Chevy store among multiple others. They have had normal traffic over there according to them-but most of their business is in trucks. I know they had a week or so where they couldn’t sell Cruze and Malibu I think. To be honest I have not followed the whole recall debacle, just enough to be aware.

    That being said, I can’t speak for nationwide-but at my dealers stores, and contacts I have at other dealers in my area as well as different parts of the state-June sales have been way slower than usual. Also-my brands sales on a regional level (70 dealers) is way, way down for the month-and we don’t have any recalls.

    So I think June as a whole is going to a bad month.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I remember reading a piece not long ago about Americans keeping cars longer….

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yah, avg age of an American car is like 11 and a half years. My 10 yr old 350Z is about to turn over 180K and is still going strong. 10 yr old car today costs ~2-3x what the same model did at 10 yrs old 10 years earlier (i.e. an 04 Accord costs about 6-8K today, whereas a 94 Accord cost ~3-4K in 04), because a 10 yr old car today legitimately has 5-6 more years before really kicking the bucket, whereas the now 20 yr old car was a crapshoot 10 yrs ago. Cars have improved dramatically over the last 20 years.

  • avatar
    Point Given

    All dealers in my market have reported lower sales traffic irrespective of what brand they are selling.

    Sales results come out in a few days. We shall see then.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Do I recall it right, JB, or were you also pretty quick to repaste someone else’s cursory and negative review of the new Impala sometime ago? Give the General a break sometime

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      This fellow, my contact, knows GN like the back of his hand and has worked at every level in the dealership system including principal.

      One swallow does not a summer make, but it’s worth talking about.

      • 0 avatar

        I drive probably the only ’06 Saab Combi diesel 6spd (virtually the same engine as Cruze diesel, EIGHT years later)that exists on this island. Possibly one of the best cars GM never saw the wisdom of getting here. Just cede a huge market to VW/etal…and the Buicks arent cuttin it? The Caddies? Not exactly the NEW standard of the WORLD is it? LOL, Saab..the ONLY cars GM DIDNT recall. This is just one of MANY cars GM had in the quiver that the brain-stormers at Rencen took a pass on.

        ROT GM.

  • avatar
    George B

    No clue what’s happening in the GM dealerships, but I’m seeing the updated Silverado and a few new Corvettes on the streets near Toyota’s future Plano headquarters. Saw a new Impala a few days ago.

    I get the general impression that GM sales in North Texas have fallen relative to where they were 6 years ago. My hypothesis is that GM was especially strong in BOF SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe around here, but those vehicles have fallen out of fashion somewhat. The local police have adopted the Tahoe as patrol cars, but retail customers have been switching to CUVs and GM seems to capture a smaller percentage of CUV sales. Ford and Ram seem to be capturing some former GM pickup truck customers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I didn’t think that GM had any vehicles to sell with all the recalls? Didn’t they ground many of the Cruzes. That is an old picture. Could they be recalling 59 Chevrolets as well?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I was down town today in Gallup, NM getting some tint work done to the windows of the Highlander. Fridays (especially during the summer) are typically busy.

    Was Amigo Chevrolet and Rico Buick/GMC dead? No. Were the Ford, Nissan, Chrysler dealers all busier? Yes.

  • avatar
    Commando

    I’m guessing what I am personally feeling is the general feeling of the vehicle buying public. Pre-bailout we saw that GM was its own worst enemy. After the bailout, we all hoped that things were now different at GM. They shot themselves in the foot again. Let them die once and for all. They can never change because they ARE GM.

  • avatar

    failed management as evidenced by this article and comments. there is one who can bring GM back to it’s former glory but not until the place is wiped clean of current occupants.

    Buickman
    Founder
    GeneralWatch.com

    • 0 avatar

      Failed management? If they had done these major recalls between 2006 and 2010 they would have been dead by now. GM is now on a much stronger footing wrt to their products and about $39B in cash to weather this storm. Not saying waiting so long was the right thing to do but if they had done this any sooner there would now be no GM for us to talk about.

      GM still has among the lowest recall rates. GM sold 153.2 million vehicles since 1985 and had to recall 99.3 million of them for a recall rate of 0.65. Toyota sold 48.1 million vehicles in the same period and recalled 37 million of them for a recall rate of 0.80.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        Sorry, but quoting recall rates over the past 30 years is simply not relevant. In this year alone, GM has recalled a volume of vehicles that is equivalent to about 4 years of sales. That is extraordinary, in and of itself.

        The real long-term GM story is how the company has regularly lost something in the range of 0.5-1% of total market share since 1973, to become a shadow of its former self. Piled on top of this long history, the current (and ever expanding, judging by the CEO’s comments) recall story illustrates how far GM has fallen, and justifiably raises questions about how it can hope to survive without a revolution in management standards and corporate culture.

        Sadly, there are no signs that this is happening.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Buickman one could insert “US” in place of “GM” in your argument.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    No good news for GM, thus far. I know a neighbor that traded a 3-series for a Buick (why???). She returned it and now is in a Genesis (why?). I have no idea how the GM dealer took it back but the old Italian lady looks happier now with her Korean product. Can’t agree with her methods but lots of luck to her…

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      She was smart to return the Buick. My neighbor’s 2 year old LaCrosse has been at the dealership for at least a week now. That same car was replaced as a lemon a few months after she bought it. I have no faith in Buick after seeing what she has gone through with them. Nice car inside and out but the quality and reliability seem to be just crap and they maintain their cars perfectly and are old people.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        I have two, first model year 2013 Buicks and not a glitch. The girlfriend drove the Encore while got her flat tire on her 2012 Forester. She asked if j wanted trade cars. The Subaru is junky, utilitarian car to me too.

        Notice what cars have not been reviewed by viewers here?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    In my area, there doesn’t seem to be a real difference in customer traffic at GM dealerships, though it can’t help that GM was forced to issue a stop-sale on its most-popular model (the Chevrolet Cruze).

  • avatar
    Silence

    I dunno what business the local GM dealership is doing, but this town is crawling with new KIAs and Hyundais. It was either the KIA dealership or the Hyundai dealership last summer that completely sold out of new car inventory in one weekend.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Sure wish those were all ’59 Fords. Right around my 4th birthday the family got a new ’59 Country Squire.

    No little duckling ever imprinted on Mommy stronger than I did on the beautiful front and rear design of that wagon. I remember endlessly staring at those gorgeous, round tail lights and how they fit the dip in the bumper, mesmerized.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Indeed. My family had a ’59 Galaxie 500 2 door hardtop. Wimbledon white with a red interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      That’s the way I was — and am — with the ’59 Chevys. Those teardrop tail lights and so-perfectly-arched wings make for a work of art. On the other hand, those front doors were knee-bashers because of the way the windshield wrapped around. Never owned one, but got a fairly frequent chance to drive a ’60 El Camino while I was working for a new car dealership. I hated the more angular wings and ‘bullet’ tail lamps of the ’60 model.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “those front doors were knee-bashers”

        Yep, that’s the downfall of those gorgeous harp-shaped A-pillars.

        But I miss the hell out of wrap-around window art on cars. Even our old Stude’s rear window was captivating.

  • avatar
    enzl

    Traffic is fine. Bunch of ‘do not sells’ and a lack of recall parts will mean lower sales everywhere this month.

    The numbers YOY will appear worse and grab headlines, but GM and our store have had good years, all considered.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I don’t know, they seem to be doing fine to me. Whenever I drive by a GM dealership they look normally as busy as usual. I see a ton of new Tahoes, Impalas, trucks and even Corvettes on the road now so sales must be fine. They throw a cheap enough lease (and they are good at that) and I would have no problem driving one of their cars. I still think the company is junk, but as long as the car is under warranty, who cares? The only anomaly I have found that might concern them is that in Texas and Oklahoma, I have seen a lot of people switching to Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks and quite a few Infiniti QX SUVs which I am sure are replacing either Escalades or Tahoes.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yep. One of my friends (I’m in Oklahoma) just got a new QX80 to replace a GMT900 Escalade. He said that his reason for doing so was simply the fact that the Escalade was outdated *from new* and never really felt like a luxury car to him.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My parents traded in a 57 Chrysler Windsor for a new 59 Plymouth Sport Suburban 9 passenger station wagon with factory air after we moved to Houston in the Summer of 1958. A few years later my middle brother was in an accident and totaled the Plymouth. My very frugal father bought a 59 Buick LaSabre station wagon with power everything on the cheap after Hurricane Carla. That Buick had been through Carla and it was never right. Two years later my mother finally got him to trade it on a 9 passenger 1964 Chevy Impala wagon which they ordered and we took delivery on New Year Eve. The Impala was a good car and we had it for over 11 years. Hard to beat a 327 4 barrel V-8.

  • avatar

    The relentless bashing by the news media is definitely not helping. GM is one of the largest advertiser so the media will soon move on to the next non-story. The elected representatives will also move on thanks to campaign contributions made by GM dealers.

    April and May retail sales outpaced the entire industry, incentives were flat compared to last year and 2nd quarter net income is expected to be 90 cents a share($1.4B) after a $400 million one time charge. June sales will probably be down sharply, there is a stop sale in effect for very popular models, there will be a few down months, a few money losing quarters and the year will pass like a kidney stone but if they do the right thing and take responsibility there are(hopefully) good days ahead.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I’m kind of thinking: Double dip recession? GDP contracted by 3% annual rate first quarter. Sure, employment is picking up and consumer confidence is holding up OK. But what’s with that number? That’s a heck of a lot of cold weather.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I think you’ll find that most manufacturers are going to report softer than expected June results. Except for maybe Porsche.

  • avatar
    Stovebolt

    I have no knowledge to respond to this question. However, combining it with Bark’s nearby item about a GM recall (non-recall, whatever) brings up an unexpected thought: How about dealer service managers/staff? They’re presumably just folks trying to do a job against a backdrop of various recalls or not-recalls, part numbers, availabilities, as well as customers, corporate communication, and public information/misinformation. Although the problems were created by others, dealer service departments are responsible for handling the situation, not to mention and dealing with not-too-happy customers. I believe those individuals deserve our appreciation for doing what is surely a thankless job.

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    The lack of customer enthusiasm for the brand in my opinion has nothing to do with the recent massive recalls and impending victim / family victim payoffs. It has more to do with GM being so yesterday.
    GM is like Oldsmobile, Hummer. Pontiac, Saturn, and SAAB. In other words, so yesterday.
    Compare to Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volvo, etc., GM brand styling is dated; the reliability is well below today’s industry standards. The margins on some of the body panels is unbelievably poor.
    I am not interested in any comment on my opinion from some GM loving a$$ hole. It is my opinion so leave it alone.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Jasper2: “It has more to do with GM being so yesterday.” — I disagree. I believe it has more to do with attempting to be too progressive–on too tight a budget. I’ll explain shortly.

      “GM is like Oldsmobile, Hummer. Pontiac, Saturn, and SAAB. In other words, so yesterday.” — True, and False. It was not because they were “so yesterday” that they failed, but rather that they lost their direction–mostly because they tried too hard to save that almighty penny.

      ‘Almighty penny” you ask? Yes. Ever hear the old saying, “Penny wise but Pound foolish”? They tried so hard to pinch pennies that they completely lost sight of their real purpose–to create cars people want. Yes, they did launch some very laudable efforts, but because their cost was a little bit high they started cutting back on quaility. Some 10 years or more of the cheapest locksets that met the spec demonstrates this. GM gradually killed off some of their most popular models in trying to make them cheaper and losing customers, then tried bringing in imports to replace them thinking nobody would notice the difference. By the mid-’00s every single US General Motors brand *except* Cadillac and GMC had at least one Opel or Holden re-badged model–including Chevrolet. When those brands, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and even Saab saw reduced sales (well, GM killed Saab for another reason having to do with a refusal to ‘conform’) due to the complete loss of direction for those brands–GM gave up on them. But I would bet you they would never let anyone else try to re-start those brands either.

      No, General Motors has lost its direction, not become “so yesterday”. After five different CEOs who were more ‘accountant’ than engineer did everything they could to reduce cost, they completely forgot what made General Motors the conglomeration it is–by once offering the best American cars in their price ranges. The Saturn brand, GM’s newest and shortest-lived, developed a staunchly loyal following because of the economy and durability of their cars. The concept WORKED for Saturn, but it was cheaper to pull the brand back into the fold of ‘traditional’ manufacture and sales than it was to expand the concept to the other brands. Each of the different, now lost brands once held their own niche in the GM world–only to become so closely interconnected that every model of each brand had a direct clone in the next higher brand. But even then, there was enough difference in materials, appearance and comfort that they could support themselves–until they all lost their sense of identity. Then, when GM tried to give those brands a new identity, they drove buyers away BECAUSE those brands no longer had the same meaning. GM went too progressive too quickly.

      Chevrolet is no longer Chevrolet. Not one model today–well, except maybe for their pickup trucks–relates to their past in anything but name. Yes, we still have the Camaro and the Corvette–but the Corvette is no longer the shapely, female curvy, sexy sports car it was; it’s an angular weapon that grates on the eyes. The Sting Ray bears no resemblance any more to the creature whose name it bears.

      Ford, and yes, even Dodge/Chrysler, are showing how you can be progressive and still retain your identity. While I have never been a fan of Ford’s quality, their changes have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. You can pretty well follow every model from its immediate predecessor. It’s the same with Dodge/Chrysler, even though they are now part of the Fiat Group. I’m more willing to buy an FCA model than any GM model today because of it.

      We both dislike GM for what they have become, but our reasoning is different because our viewpoint of their collapse is different. If GM is to survive, it needs to TOTALLY reform, not just try to keep going as it is. GM needs to completely re-make its image and that means by completely changing its lineup. Maybe, for the short term, GMC should be the ONLY brand that makes one model in each class of vehicle. Take it down to the bare bones and re-build from scratch rather than trying to support so many different brands with identical cars.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    GM stock up 2% so far on July 1. They must know something we don’t.


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