GM's CUVs Ain't All That

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

As part of its plan to "balance supply against demand," GM's laying off workers at their the Lansing, Michigan plant. That's where The General builds its new Lambda CUVs: the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook. The triplets are this year's "save the company" vehicles– at least until the Malibu hits the streets tomorrow. If you listen to GM's spin, demand for the crossovers is booming! But if they're selling them as fast as they can ship them, why are they cutting an entire shift at the only plant that's building them? Why to keep supplies low to keep residuals high! Alternatively… So far this year, GM's sold 91,412 of the large crossovers. Of those, the Acadia accounted for 52,857 units, the Enclave racked-up 12,726 sales, and Saturn shifted 25,793 Outlooks. GM likes to brag that at the first of October, they had only a 21-day supply of Enclaves and a 49-day supply of Acadias. But– and they don't talk too much about this– they had enough Outlooks to last 73 days. Uh oh. Buick actually has a smaller supply of dead-in-the-water Lucernes on hand than Saturn has Outlooks. Maybe things aren't quite as rosy in Lambda-land as The Wall Street Journal and others are painting them.

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  • Umterp85 Umterp85 on Nov 02, 2007

    starlightmica / jthorner: can't disagree with your Saturn assessments including the suggesstion that Saturn should never have gotten the Outlook. Despite bringing some pretty decent product to market Saturn are not lighting the world on fire. HMMMMMM----maybe they can now make GMC-Buick-Pontiac-Saturn combo dealerships and close standalone Saturn dealerships :) BTW---early reads are that the Enclave is getting import is doing very well.

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Nov 02, 2007

    A Toyota, Honda, and Nissan customer is quite comfortable going into one of those dealerships and finding vehicles priced from as low as $15,000 all the way up to a $40,000. The $15k Yaris has not determental effect on the sales of the top of line Avalon, Sequoia, or 4runner. A top of the line CAmry which sells for over $30,000 does so because the buyers preceive (right or wrong) that it is a very good car for that amount of money. IF Toyota was to create another brand to slot in between Toyota and Lexus we would all say "What a stupid idea". My point is GM silly brand strcuture mean absolutely nothing to the majority of car shoppers that are not GM loyalist. Buick, Chevy, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, and to a large degree Cadillac are all the same in that they are all GM products. If someone thinks on GM brand is crap they tend to avoid every other GM brand. GM is known as a maker of poorly built vehicles today. That is a sad reality that multiple brands will not overcome. Once again we have the General attempting to sell up to 4 very similar versions of the same vehicle, yet no version reaches the top luxury level. So all 4 must compete on price against all of the established import competition as well as Fords new CUVs. GM is also off the mark by continuing to believe that Buick is Lexus competition. The Enclave is competition for the high-end Highlander not the RX. The RX competes with the Caddy SRX. (Why has no one listed the sales figures for the SRX?) The rest of the Lambda CUZ also compete with the Highlander and the rest is that class price range. IF anything the Enclave is an excellent competitor to the v6 SRX. The Joke is that Toyota might possibly out sell all of the Lambda CUVs as well as the SRX with only two vehicles built off of the same platform. Even thought the Highlander and RX share no body or interior parts I bet Toyota's cost for each will still be less than the cost of the Lamdbas. Nevermind the the fact that GM still have a to spend more $$$ on the SRX. Think about it, at least 4 different wheel designs, 4 different front and rear bumper caps, 4 different interior designs, 4 different sets of exterior trim, different seats, different gauges, etc. Yet all share the exact same engine (where is that wonderful transverse 5.3l v8)and body! None of them do anything remotely different than the others! None have anymore off-road ability than the others. None have anymore towing capacity than the others. The driving dynamics are all the same. So GM in betting that Americans just wants a vehicle that looks slightly different from 3 others that are essentially the same. Am I to believe that GM believe that after negative test drive in an Arcadia I will stop at the Buick Dealer for a spin in an Enclave? IMHO none of GMs actions make any sense! They appear to be going in a different direction than the rest of the industry. WHile everyone else appears to be consolidating their production to lower cost GM is still spending an enormous amount of cash of stuff that just does not matter anymore. Sell four slightly different version of the same vehicle will NOT increase marketshare but continue the GM cannabalism that is so hurting that company. Each brand needs to compete with the outside competition and at the sametime somehow convince protential customers that their Lambda is better than the other GM Lamdbas.

  • Umterp85 Umterp85 on Nov 02, 2007

    To whatdoiknow1: Not much to disagree with in your post. If I was GM----I would have only launched 2---the common man Chevy and the upscale Enclave.

  • MgoBLUE MgoBLUE on Nov 02, 2007

    Just saw an Acadia parked next to a Pilot while grabbing lunch. The "CUV" Acadia dwarfs the "SUV" Pilot! WTF?! I bet you its bigger than the TrailBlazer, too! And the Explorer! Who's telling the truth on this one? Isn't "8 Passenger CUV" an oxymoron? Should there be a limit to the size of a CUV? For instance: "CUV's cannot be more than 50% larger than the founders of the category, the CR-V and Rav4." Or: "Just because you lowered your SUV 3 inches and made the running boards standard does NOT mean your vehicle meets CUV guidelines."