DetN's Burgess: Conflicted on GM's '09s

detns burgess conflicted on gms 09s

"As General Motors Corp. showed off its 2009 lineup Thursday," Scott Burgess writes in The Detroit News. "I found myself wondering, 'What's the next Malibu?' So I posed that question to a table full of GM employees during lunch at the automaker's annual event to roll out coming models for the media. The group looked at one another, stammered, and could not offer anything definitive." Wow, a cheerleader embarasses the football team? Well, not exactly. Despite Voltmania and Camarophilia, Burgess suddenly adopts the TTAC-standard position of evolution not revolution. (What else can he do?) "While no one at GM's lunch table could name the next Malibu, individually each of them talked about some of the changes being made to many of the vehicles. This year, the sum of the changes is bigger than any one improvement." Scott's talking six-speed Aura (remember that one?) and truck trannies, a hybrid pickup (good luck with that), the XFE Cobalt (don't they already sell that?) and… that's it. "It's refreshing to see GM take a good lineup and focus on how to make it better now," Burgess opines. "Instead of just talking about all of the vehicles in its product development pipeline. It may cut the lunch conversation short, but it will certainly satisfy consumers." Hang on; when did GM stop talking about future cars? And if GM customers are not satisfied now (never mind winning new customers), how will these changes change that?

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  • Blunozer Blunozer on Aug 29, 2008

    Kudos to Burgess for getting right to the point. Although the Malibu isn't exactly devine intervention, it is the type of product GM needs right now. A high volume car that can actually compete against its Japanese and Korean competitors. Niche vehicles are nice, but they don't pay the bills, just ask Suzuki. Even if the Solstice Targa and G8 ST are homeruns they won't sell in significant numbers. GM's future will be devined by the success of the Cruze. If the Cruze can at least hold its own versus the Civic and Corrolla of the time, GM might just make it.

  • Mark MacInnis Mark MacInnis on Aug 29, 2008

    Ummmm. Mr. Burgess? You can set GM's water bucket down now.....yeah, we know, it looks heavy.

  • Jeff Puthuff Jeff Puthuff on Aug 29, 2008

    Shame about that big recall announced today. GM's perception gap takes three steps forward but slips two paces back.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Aug 31, 2008
    Although the Malibu isn’t exactly devine intervention, it is the type of product GM needs right now. A high volume car that can actually compete against its Japanese and Korean competitors. The Malibu's biggest problem is that, well, it's being made by GM, and GM doesn't seem able to swallow it's ego on the "perception gap" thing. If GM really wanted to give the impression that it stands behind it's products, it'd do a Hyundai and offer a five-year comprehensive/ten-year powertrain warranty--without the traditional Mr. Goodwrench "Nope, we can't reproduce the problem/They all do that" song-and-dance. Hell, Mitsubishi is doing 5/5/10 in Canada and they're practically the textbook example of how to bleed money. Personally, I'd feel a lot better about a Malibu vis a vis an Accord, Camry or Sonata if I knew that GM stood behind the product. But that would mean GM would have to acknowledge that the perception gap has a basis in (past?) reality, which in turn, means admitting fallibility. And GM never, ever makes mistakes.