Daily Podcast: What is a Chevy?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

TTAC commentator Brent asked why fellow members of our Best and Brightest aren't cutting the new Cruze some slack. "All I ever see are comments (rightly) digging on GM for having no truly competitive small cars, and for having none in the pipeline. Now we learn of one that in fact *is* in the pipeline. Furthermore, it just might be competitive. And what do I see? A bunch of comments digging on GM for even trying." As a cynical bastard, I think the cynicism has been well and truly earned, through dozens of less-than-stellar (i.e. crap) GM small cars. And, lest we forget, Chevy is a brand that touts itself as "An American Revolution" whilst selling a Korean car. In fact, what equity/credibility remains within the Chevy brand? Like a Rock reliability? Not for cars. (Not yet, anyway.) So, really, it all comes down to one word: Corvette. And if that's true, what IS a Chevy? No matter how good the Cruze may be (Jonny), it simply can't traverse GM's branding issues. Nothing can. [PS: DON'T FORGET THERE'S A PODCAST BELOW]

2009 Corvette ZR1 - First Drive

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  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Aug 22, 2008
    There’s no phantom “heritage” involved here. Heritage only gets you fewer buyers each year and a declining marketshare; trying to tap into that is a really quick way to wipe out your relevancy as a mainstream brand. It sounds good to talk about the greatness of the ‘57 Chevy, but the reason for that model’s success isn’t it’s ‘57 Chevyness, but that it was the best car for the bulk of consumers at the time. I agree with your point. I just want to note that in 1957 Ford outsold Chevy - at least in the US. I don't know about Canada. People considered the '57 Chevy styling a bit over the top. But you make a good point. The heritage is being the go to car for most people, not some specific past model.

  • JJ JJ on Aug 22, 2008

    On the GTR; At least (for now) the GTRs will have 480HP or more which I think is better than say, a Shelby GT500, that alledgedly has 500HP but generates 440-450HP at best in reality. Also, in Japan underrating the HP figures has been a long standing practise because of the government regulations (recently cancelled) that roadcars weren't allowed to have more than 280HP. And there are other examples as well, such as the 335i that probably has 330HP standard instead of the officially stated 300HP. In fact I'm kind of surprised they didn't change the rating yet with the facelift now the new M3 is here. However, on the subject of the difference between the two cars being that big; I completely agree that it at least appears to be quite strange, but maybe there is some reason that we don't know about which makes it acceptable. I'm thinking some technological innovations by those Japanese fellows like the 'sealed production facility' or something like that Jeremy Clarkson was talking about. Obviously he has no clue of what's exactly going on but still...

  • Packv12 Packv12 on Aug 22, 2008

    Wasn’t Chevrolet’s actual purpose that they were the entry division and brought people into the “GM” family? Isn’t that how Alfred wrote his doctrines? There just became too many market segments that diluted each division that they cut each other’s throats! Didn’t President Donner that declared that all brands will share platforms in the early sixties, and thereby, create the confusion over “Brand Management”? I guess the hope became to out-sell to their fellow divisions with up-scaled products; I’ll go upscale to compete with the sister division. Cue in the tunes here; “This Is the Beginning of the End” The complete catastrophe here is that it completely destroys the pricing principle that Sloan created. If GM had continued to follow the principle that Sloan had laid out, things might be a bit different now. It was forgotten that Chevrolet was the entry division as they attempted to be all things to all consumers. Once they started marketing everything from entry to “near-luxury”, how could they keep their concentration on the entry market after the go-go sixties? The decade where Chevy was following Ford’s lead entering the market segments that Ford, itself, had created. This baloney created the likes of the Cadillac Cimarron, but also the Lincoln Versailles in the seventies and eighties. Chevrolet – Entry level and trucks Pontiac -- Midsized, but entry Oldsmobile – Mix of full sized and midsized entries Buick -- Full Sized and near luxury Cadillac -- Full sized luxury GMC -- Once truck sale took off at Chevrolet, this division was no longer needed. Hummer -- What where they thinking? Seriously, anybody? Why buy an AM GEN division? Saab -- European Sport and Luxury division. All of this could have been done with four or five good expandable platforms, but the General refused all of this for the adventures of divisional sharing. They have glutted the market and can no longer grasp the American Market as it lies before them. The question was, “What is a Chevy”, it’s a disastrously marketed product that is assembled by a corporation with out a clue. Remember that, Toyota created the Lexus division to compete in the luxury segment, and GM had Buick and Cadillac all along, but never knew how to use them. Its existence presently is terrible. There are some good offering right now, but the durability reports aren’t quite in yet. Buying a car right now means keeping it for six to seven years, the question becomes; “Will it hold up for the long run?” The answer is that their products won’t go the distance, compared to Toyota and Honda.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Aug 22, 2008

    Retail sales for Chevy first 6 months 2008 Aveo- 23767 4th in segment behind Yaris, Fit, Versa Cobalt- 59310 4th in segment behind Corolla,Civic, Focus Impala -66485 1st in segment Malibu 44574 5th in segment behind Camry, Accord, Altima, G6 Corvette 10614 Colorado 25102 2nd in segment behind Tacoma Avalanche 23584 Silverado 216263 1st in segment and the best selling retail vehicle in the US Equinox 32445 5th in segment behind CR-V,Rav4, Escape, VUE Tahoe 56943 1st in segment Suburban 27507 1st in segment Trailblazer 33636 2nd in segment behind the Grand Cherokee. compared to BOF mid size SUVs only. Compared to Mid Size Crossovers+ SUVs it would be 6th Admittedly the Cobalt and Equinox sales could be higher but real people are buying Chevys.