Financial Post: GM's Turnaround Has Turned the Corner
In the interest of presenting readers with a different point of view about GM Car Czar Bob Lutz and General Motors' "turnaround," I submit Nicolas Van Praet of Canada's Financial Post. In his latest article, Van Praet declares GM's turnaround well under way, led (of course) by Maximum Bob. Praet is privy to the figure; The Big 3's market share has declines from 65 percent in 1990 to below 50 percent today. On the plus side, the new Malibu has an average lot life of only 15 days– the equivalent of "Hot Cakes" in GM's universe. As further "evidence" of GM's turnaround, Van Praet points out that the current slate of Pontiac commercials running in Canada. The spots feature Japanese car executives rendered quivering wrecks by… the Pontiac G5. Praet calls the commercials a sign that GM is now "gaining confidence." Yes, well, in 2007, the the Cobalt was the highest finishing domestic in Canada's top five. Even if you combine Cobalt and G5 sales, they still fall below the number one finisher, the Honda Civic. FYI, here are last year's Canadian top ten.1. Honda Civic, 70,838 sales2. Mazda 3, 48,236 sales3. Toyota Corolla, 40,4744. Toyota Yaris, 34,4245. Chevrolet Cobalt, 32,6136. Toyota Camry, 28,2187. Pontiac G5, 25,2118. Ford Focus, 24,0139. Honda Accord, 22,01210. Nissan Versa, 21,940
What does Honda Civic have? It has reputation. It's the gold standard. Reliability, quality, resale value. Can you turn a Cobalt into a Civic? The reputation part would take time. The quality and reliability would have to be proven over time. The resale value part I'm not so sure. It would take a lot of branding and marketing to get a Cobalt to have mass appeal and desirability. People have to want one(I don't). LOTS of people would love to have a Honda Civic. They just can't afford one. No one WANTS a cobalt even if they can afford one. It's just nothing special and not worth it. That's what GM is up against. Their reputation for crap proceeds them. A solid 30 years of burning every last customer they had. I remember in the mid nineties when I was in highschool. All the girls it seems drove things like Grand Ams and Grand Prixs and who knows what else. All sorts of ilk. They hated and despised their crap cars. Always in the shops for everything. I'd be willing to bet money on that ALL those girls now drive Civics, Accords, and Camrys. When my brother in law was young in the 1980's, his mom drove all sorts of low cost domestics. Tempo's, Escorts, various of crap box chevy's and chryslers. All junk, all broke down, would break down while being driven. He's a Honda fan boy as the result of his experiences with domestics while growing up. He now has his own mom driving a Toyota of some sort. She just never drove imports because they were always more expensive. Same goes for all those highschool girls. I daily drive an `88 5.0 Stang with 227,000 miles on the original motor and rebuilt once AOD(cause overdrive went out). I love being able to do 85 on the on ramp. I run the hell out of it. It starts every time. Anything it needs, I'll put up with replacing. I'll put another motor in it at some point(if it gets to the point it needs it). Civic, Accord, Camry do nothing for me. But I'm in the extreme minority. The masses out their though love their boring, dependable, appliances though. Working on a 5.0 in an apartment parking lot is not cool(House owner here) so a reliable import is mandatory, else you be hanging out at PepBoys getting who knows what changed out for about $600-$1000 every visit. I should write a piece on car maintenance. Who does it and why. I think it takes desirability. Few people work on their own rides. How one learns to in the first place is interesting in itself. Anyone can. One just has to want to. The desire to do and the desire to learn. Most don't have any interest. Hence most, just take it into the stealership for repairs and routine maintenance. Those quick change oil places don't always change the oil you know. Search youtube for jiffy lube.
Re: "They just found a problem with the Mazda3 in that if you hit the door handle near the “lock” say with your hand, the Door of the Mazda3 would pop open, no Key needed, understand that the door area needs to be re-inforced, good engineering eh?" That's an old problem that Mazda has fixed. My wife received a recall notice a few months back from Mazda to have her Mazda3 fixed (free of course). rtz: You've made some good points regarding imports like the Civic compared with earlier crap like Tempos, et al. My mother finally junked her Tempo years ago and thankfully bought a Honda Civic. The only visits to the dealer are for regular maintenance and have the seasonal tires installed.
Yes those adverts are funny as hell. The first time I saw it on TV I couldn't stop laughing, enough so that my wife thought I had something (else) wrong with me. And yes Mazda3's are all over here, the Protege before that as well.