By on March 31, 2008

08buickenclave_woods.jpgAs the latest GM Death Watch predicted, the GM apologists are getting warmed-up. Note to The Big 2.8's PR departments: hire the Detroit News' headline writer. Better yet, don't. Why risk losing such a public champion? After all, there is no evidence that GM, Ford and Chrysler ARE successfully clinging to their U.S. market share. Or WILL cling. And while you're wondering who to thank for cutting the words "try to" from the headline, it's best to keep scribe Sharon Terlep happy. Ms. T starts, helpfully enough, by moving the goal posts: "But preventing foreign-based rivals from stealing more buyers will be crucial to putting Detroit's automakers in a good position once sales eventually rebound." And then she trots out Michael Robinet, vice president of global vehicle forecasts for CSM Worldwide. "Robinet said GM is likely in the best position to hang on to market share with a string of popular new products such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS sports sedan and the Buick Enclave crossover." None of which are conquesting transplant buyers or setting the sale charts on fire; all of which are the GM turnaround poster girls. And just because GM may be in the best position relative to Ford and Chrysler doesn't make it a good position relative to say, Toyota. Or Honda. Or Nissan. Or Hyundai. Or Lexus. Or… 

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28 Comments on “DTN: “Big 3 cling to market share”...”


  • avatar
    lewissalem

    “But preventing foreign-based rivals from stealing more buyers . . . ”

    Stealing? As if an armed Honda representative is accosting us in the night, forcing us to drive it’s cars with high resale value and superior interior fit and finish.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    * lewissalem :
    March 31st, 2008 at 9:20 am

    “But preventing foreign-based rivals from stealing more buyers . . . ”

    Stealing? As if an armed Honda representative is accosting us in the night, forcing us to drive it’s cars with high resale value and superior interior fit and finish.

    Your post says it all.

  • avatar
    gawdodirt

    “”

    We continue to read this line of reasoning. However, the Automotive News sales numbers are the source:
    For Feb. 08 the GMT191 trio, (Buick, GMC, Saturn)
    outsold any other CUV.

    GM 11,976

    Ford Edge 11,638

    Total Lexus 12,203

    Total Hyundai Truck 10,987

    So where the idea that GM is on the ropes comes from, is totally mysterious.
    But is really counter to the actual truth.

  • avatar
    Mud

    sHAron, iF YOU CAn rEAD thIS HELP!

    i Am beINg Held HosTAgE iN my a4

  • avatar
    gawdodirt

    None of which are conquesting transplant buyers or setting the sale charts on fire; all of which are the GM turnaround poster girls. And just because GM may be in the best position relative to Ford and Chrysler doesn’t make it a good position relative to say, Toyota. Or Honda. Or Nissan. Or Hyundai. Or Lexus.

    Truth be damned ….again.

    According to Automotive News venerable sales numbers:

    For Feb ’08.

    GM CUV Trio: 11,976

    Ford Edge: 11,638

    Total Lexus: 12,203

    Total Hyundai Truck; 10,187

    So where does this come from? Or what prompted this falsehood?
    Just My humble opinion, but, I would think that leading in sales is a GOOD position to be in! But what do I know , I’m not in the biz…

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Um, yes the Malibu is getting more transplant owners than the previous generation. It’s not a lot, but it’s a significant improvement. So, please cite your source when you say that they’re not getting any transplant conquest sales. I don’t think you have one.

    Detroit News:

    Only 1.4 percent of Malibu buyers traded in a Camry, which has long dominated the massive midsize segment, according to J.D. Powers. Another 1.4 percent traded in a Honda Civic and 1.3 percent traded in a Nissan Altima. And fewer than 1 percent traded their Accords.

    But those numbers are an improvement from the old model, which didn’t even register a measurable level of Camry, Civic and Altima trade-ins.

    Car buyers are paying $5,000 more on average for a new Malibu compared to the old models, according to J.D. Power and Associates. And six months after the vehicle’s much-hyped launch, the higher prices are holding up despite a rough economy and some tough competition

  • avatar
    John R

    And they say Hollywood is out of touch. Detriot is world onto itself sometimes, too.

    Come to think of it, I just bought a bonsai for my girlfriend and the more I think about it, the more I liken it and disliken it to the Detriot 3.

    A bonsai is kept demunitive through the consistent pruning of its roots and branches and through placement of it in a pot of limited scope or real estate. GM and its sickly classmates are also kept dimunitive by its constant gardeners through scope and real estate.

    Scope: Despite some improvements of the product to a degree the message is still, “Ok! Now why are these idio…I mean customers still buying imports?!” Detriot doesn’t seem to understand a little humility is in order. Ask Hyundai.

    Real Estate: They’re still head quartered in “the D”. ‘Nuff said.

    However, I think about it further and I realize they are unlike bonsai in that the demunitive trees and bushes are kept that way deliberately. GM and crew do appear to be doing it to themselves on purpose. Besides, I don’t think the managers of GM, Ford or Chrysler would have the patience to raise a bonsai.

    Off topic: Does anybody really think Tiger would drive a Buick on a regular basis unless it was given to him? If you had Tiger Woods kind of money, would you buy a Buick? I think this is a good example of the problem, its not credible ergo I can’t find the Detriot PR machine credible.

  • avatar
    John R

    @gawdodirt & Buick61

    Fellas, I don’t think 1.4% is anything to write home about.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    @John R,

    You are correct, it is nothing to write home about. But it disproves Farago’s assertion that “none (of which) are conquesting transplant buyers…)

    After all this is “The Truth About Cars.”

  • avatar
    gawdodirt

    Hey Buddy,

    In THIS new GW economy, .04% is something to crow about!

    Ask Honda if they want that 1.4% of return sales.

    BTW, GM is a Delaware,(thx, my error!) corporation. Their main office is in MI.

    Further off Topic: Do you think Tiger actually wears NIKE everywhere he goes? Who really believes any marketing hype? if so, I’ve got some swamp land for sale…

  • avatar
    crc

    I don’t think 4% is anything to brag about either. Especially if you are losing share on other models. However, it is a +4% in a tough segment with a car that has little or no incentives that I am aware of and that had previously been sub par. I am curious though about what % of those sales were people returning to Chevy or new to Chevy.

  • avatar
    raast

    So assuming any numbers are actually up, how many of these folk will ultimately be saying “geez, I wish I’d bought a [insert competitor here] instead, after the third trip to the dealer to repair whatever?

    Example: Colleague on business trip rents an Acadia. Rental agent says “Don’t believe what the dash indicates”
    Huh?
    “The (low) tire indicator doesn’t work properly with temperature swings, we’ve sent a bunch back to GM and they say we have to live it”

  • avatar
    Buick61

    From Automotive News:

    A year ago, Toyota and Nissan weren’t among the brands that buyers of the Malibu mid-sized sedan were most likely to trade in. Now, they are.

    From December through February, both Japanese brands were among the 10 most frequently traded by buyers of the 2008 Malibu, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network.

    “You don’t generally see that with mainline domestic brands,” said Tom Libby, the network’s senior director of industry analysis. “I made a note to myself to watch this.”

    Power data show that from December through February of this year, 4 percent of 2008 Malibu trade-ins were Toyotas and 3 percent Nissans, Libby said. Those percentages are “noteworthy” and bear watching, he said.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    gawdodirt :

    BTW, GM is a Rhode Island corporation.

    ORLY? I thought it was a Delaware Corporation.

  • avatar

    But preventing foreign-based rivals from stealing more buyers . . .

    This is the epitome of Detroit. Not “offering customers a superior product that will win them back” but buyers are being “stolen” like we’re all idiots. And why do I want to buy GM again?

    John

  • avatar
    John R

    “both Japanese brands were among the 10 most frequently traded by buyers of the 2008 Malibu”

    I’m sure if you do the research you’ll find the converse; what top ten brands are being traded in for a Honda, Nissan or Toyota? What would be really telling is what percentage of those being traded in for a imported brand are one of the domestics.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    gawdodirt – Those sales numbers aren’t very impressive when you consider that its three models and the single models cited from Ford and Toyota almost best them combined.

  • avatar

    Those trade-in figures are significant…4% Toyota and 3% Nissan is very good. I’ll be very impressed if GM can keep the numbers from going up on the opposite side, and sustain even single-digit percentages on their end.

    However, for the Lambdas, 11-12k units spread over 3 models is NOT very impressive. It’s been beaten into the ground, but selling that quantity for one brand doesn’t have the overhead or competition that a second (or third) brand does, and they’re about to add a fourth, and it will be very telling to see the breakdown once that happens.

  • avatar

    I agree 100%. Whenever I see Tiger in a Buick, I literally shake my head. Its not even believable.

    I can’t think of a less believable spokesman for any product in any industry. In fact, its difficult to even IMAGINE a more ludicrous spokesman.

    Wait, I just thought of one. Maximum Bob, doing an ad for TTAC. Classic!

  • avatar
    Bancho

    Joshvar :

    “Those trade-in figures are significant…4% Toyota and 3% Nissan is very good.”

    Where did you see those numbers? The oens I saw in an earlier post were 1.4% for Toyota and 1.3% for Nissan. Both are much less significant than the numbers you mention.

  • avatar
    pman

    I haven’t seen sales numbers and they may not indicate consumer sentiment, but I would bet that the Malibu has taken more potential sales from the Aura than from the Accord, Altima, or Camry. Why else would Saturn have a $2000 rebate and a dealer incentive on a car that won North American COY last year and is almost the same car as the Malibu.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Bancho :
    March 31st, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Joshvar :

    “Those trade-in figures are significant…4% Toyota and 3% Nissan is very good.”

    Where did you see those numbers? The oens I saw in an earlier post were 1.4% for Toyota and 1.3% for Nissan. Both are much less significant than the numbers you mention.

    From Automotive News:

    Power data show that from December through February of this year, 4 percent of 2008 Malibu trade-ins were Toyotas and 3 percent Nissans, Libby said. Those percentages are “noteworthy” and bear watching, he said.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    Buick61 :
    Thanks!

  • avatar
    Wulv

    Funny, I just finished reading an article that stated that the Malibu trade-ins from Honda customers were so low they didn’t register .5%. Another article took those exact Automotive News numbers, and added the trade-in numbers for former domestic cars, to a Honda Civic, it shows a much higher percent. I think it was done just to show that they aren’t GAINING sales from imports, they are still losing them, depending on how you spin the numbers.
    I can’t find the article right off, was on a different computer , I will try though.

  • avatar
    beken

    I can’t quite figure out those numbers either. Though I am sure there are a few Honda owners who are young enough, and not car enthusiasts to have never owned a GM or a Ford or Chrysler before, that they would take a look. I have to admit that the CTS, Malibu, and one or two other GM offerings are quite impressive, especially in relation to the rest of GM products presently and in the past. Certainly better than my current Buick which is on its third water pump, and recently had its timing chain cover gasket replaced.

    As for the line “preventing foreign-based rivals from stealing more buyers” from the article, I would have to disagree. The domestic companies chased their customers away. Their foreign based competitors did not steal them. I can say that, because I view myself as a disillusioned former domestic fanboy. Just ask my friends.

    “Domestic carmakers will rely on new products and savvy marketing to hang on to share against foreign rivals” will not be enough. It’s a case of throwing product into the marketplace and convincing the customer to buy it. Then abandon the customer like a hot potato as soon as they have your money. The foreign based competitors know better. Make the ownership experience of the product a delight and your customer will be back for more.

    I’m sitting here watching the domestics die a slow (wow! We’re on GM DW 170 now)death with mixed feelings. Tough to see, what I consider to be representative of the US economy, go down like watching a close friend dying of a disease. Yet a certain amount of revenge for when a certain GM regional rep stared me in the eye and saying he can’t believe the car left the factory that way and accused me (the customer) of tampering with the car.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    beken – 3 words. gm sucks.net. This is the big problem, not “perception”

  • avatar
    RobertSD

    I believe Ford actually gained 0.2% marketshare at a retail level the first two months and GM was down only like 0.1% at the retail level.

    That doesn’t tell us anything about the retail market itself – marketshare is against the whole market (if corporate fleet and rental fleets are significantly down, the whole retail sector *share* could be up and Ford and GM, relative to their competitors could still be shrinking), but it is still significant, especially for Ford who hasn’t seen back to back retail share increases since 2005. There is certainly nothing to disprove that they are clinging to marketshare – Toyota, for example, doesn’t break out retail versus fleet.

    I have no idea about Chrysler – I’ve put them on my own deathwatch which has to be the death knell.

  • avatar

    Seabrjim, wow that site Gmsucks.net is an eye opener in that it is readily apparent that its not just the old story of GM cars from the 80s or 90s but their recent cars that are plagued with reliability issues. So much for their claim that their reliability is every bit as good as Toyota. It is readily apparent from that site that GM’s market share slide will continue as people burned will continue to swear off GM products forever and that there is something very Karma related to what is happening to GM right now. They frankly are getting what they deserve. I should also note that when I went to that site my anti virus detector went off and stopped some bug so it looks like some GM fans do not appreciate that website.

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