GM's Million Mile Miracle Marketing Mishegos

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

GM's Fastlane blog keeps the chuckles coming, with an awkward little paean to the General's legendary reliability. Penned by "GM VP, Quality" Jamie Hresko, the post lets webizens know that if you Google "one million miles" you'll find stories about two GM vehicles that have crested the million mile mark: a 1989 Saab 900 SPG and a 1991 Chevrolet Silverado. But wait; didn't GM first buy into Saab in 1990? Although the old 900 had nothing to do with GM, its achievements still reflect well on the General because, dammit, they shelled-out for the PR rights. By buying the owner a brand new 9-5 Aero when the 900 SPG's odometer rolled over and didn't die. Over two years ago. But the funniest (not ha-ha) part of the story: GM just reduced the length of its Saab warranties, cutting mileage covered from 100k to 50k. But as Hresko says, this whole affair proves that "the real gap is not between GM quality and that of our competitors, the real gap lies between perception and reality." Like when he encourages the perception that "we back up our products with the industry's best transferable powertrain warranty, five years/100,000 miles," despite the, well, reality. [hat tip to kixstart]

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • Beken Beken on Aug 07, 2008

    My perception gap stems from my car that ranked at the top of JD Power's survey. My last GM car I'm ever buying. Here are a few examples of my dealings. Wheel bolts breaking. "you must have tampered with it...I can't believe they came out of our factory that way. We're not covering them under warranty." Steering rack leaked and needed replacement. "we didn't see it last time and you're 50 miles over your warranty. We can't cover that." Engine misfiring - "there were no engine codes thrown so we didn't have anything to fix. Here's the bill for the diagnostics". Headlight bulb socket (plastic) melts. "Those are $50. We seem to be getting a lot of those on Cavaliers and Cobalts". Odometer LED readout fades and eventually stops displaying. "We'll have to replace the entire gauge cluster. ($$$)" Tough to watch all the car sites telling me that the Malibu, CTS, Corvette are great cars and GM has turned the corner, when I know that every other car, including the lesser model Malibu, or base level CTS, is probably absolute crap. Ask any former GM fanboy, that has switched to another brand, why they won't consider a GM car and they will tell you they don't get the same problems with their current cars. That is the perception gap GM has to work with and they will need 10 to 20 years to rebuild their reputation. Unfortunately, under Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Lutz's tenure, they have not done anything to change my opinion of GM. My GM car won't make a million miles.

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Aug 07, 2008
    My GM car won’t make a million miles. My GM car wont even make 100,000 miles, and it's a damn Cadillac not what they hate making, small cars. Jesus it's the biggest damn thing they make besides the SUV's. Read my other posts if you want to hear just a portion of all the things wrong with it. They still make it with the DTS name on it now, so I know they are still pumping out the same pile of sh*t I have right to this day, changed my a$$. I feel sorry for anyone on this site who bought anything with a Northstar V8, your in for a rude awakening after 60,000 miles. The company HAS NOT CHANGED, if the guys running the show just a few years back when they were producing crap are still running the show and the mindset really hasn't changed(they are still blaming the customer, and giving us the same lip service without real results) how can the focus on the products have possibly changed. You put crap in how can you not expect crap out the tail end. Your work speaks volumes about who you are, and GM is a crook. The total distruction of Saab is enough for me to wish GM to the grave(but I have more reasons too). I used to love those quirky cars, and between me and my brother we got almost 2 million miles out of the 6 we have collectively owned, some over 1/2 a million they simply ran forever and were fun cars to owen right to the end. All pre-GM Saabs. Now I wont even look at the brand it makes me want to cry or at least puke. I just wish GM would go away, the world would be a better place.
  • Toxicroach Toxicroach on Aug 07, 2008

    I guess my point is that an emotional response to a brand is not necessarily irrational or close minded. After all, if the thought of spending 20,000 dollars on that brand makes you a little sick to your stomach, and there are other brands that are equivalently good, it is rational to avoid the cars that make you feel bad, the same way you would avoid a model that just didn't do anything for you or a color you found disgusting. The only case where it would be irrational to avoid GM on emotional grounds alone would be when it was clearly better on all possible grounds; styling, reliability, price, etc... and you just couldn't stand the sight of a GM badge on it. Which is simply not the case; there is no company that dominant, which means that emotional reactions to the badge are legitimate reasons not to buy, whether its because your parents had a Chevy Lemon, or you just don't like Lutz's face.

  • Captain Tungsten Captain Tungsten on Aug 07, 2008

    @ kixstart You are thinking clearly, sir. I wonder myself how that 13% reduction in warranty claim figure has been manipulated. This thread is good evidence of the perceptual quality issue GM faces. Assuming Hresko is correct, how do you get people to believe it? Has the bear cried "wolf" one too many times? It's certainly possible, and given that cranking up revenue is GM's only real chance to get out of this mess, I wonder how they will accomplish it (they haven't really told us anything about that plan yet...)