By on July 14, 2009

Ok, today’s QOTD was actually typed yesterday, as Alpha jet-deprived New GM Car Czar Bob Lutz faced the slings and arrows of outrageous internetocracy on Fastlane. Stan:

In my group it is just uncool to drive a GM car -even if they are as good as the imports. Is your marketing studies researching why this is. I could give you an ear full and fit the urban professional demographic. I want to see GM get that desirable one day!

Lutz’s reply (and our quote of the day) after the jump.

“Stan, I guess it depends whether you have your own personality or whether you are a lemming-like follower of current trends. I think an audacious and bold person with a mind of his or her own would go to a dealership and see that our new vehicles easily trounce the foreign competition in performance and value. A lot of people are reaching this conclusion on their own, witness the new Camaro, selling at a rate of 10,000 a month. I think it’s uncool to drive an import.”

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64 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Maximum Unearned Hubris Edition...”


  • avatar
    Cicero

    Can’t wait to see Stan in his cool new Cobalt.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Wow! That sure persuaded me to rush to my “New GM” dealer and put cash down on a machine the company doesn’t have sufficient confidence in to offer with a lengthy, comprehensive, honestly administered warranty and that will plummet in value.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    I know it was a dumb thing for him to say and I’m sure the brain trust is going to tear ol’ Maximum Bob apart, but it’s still kinda cool to see a corporate suit tell some hipster punk to get the fuck off of his lawn, metaphorically speaking.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    “I think it’s uncool to drive an import.” Bob Lutz, 74, said. “Cadillac is the standard of the world”, he continued, “and you are not seeing 3 years of pent up demand for the Camaro barely beating sales of a Mustang that everyone knows will be getting a major engine upgrade in 9 months. You are seeing wild and crazy awesome sales of the Camaro to amazingly cool and hip people, like me, Bob Lutz.”

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I want to be seen as having a mind of my own, with an audacious and bold personality, so I guess I’ll follow the 10,000 lemmings a month buying a Camaro.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Wow. That’s a metric fuck-ton of misunderstanding of the value of brand perception. I like how he shot the messenger, too. That is quote of the year.

    I think an audacious and bold person with a mind of his or her own would go to a dealership and see that our new vehicles easily trounce the foreign competition in performance and value.

    And yet, people think they’re uncool to drive. I wonder why? It’s a question worth asking, but I don’t want to end up like Stan.

  • avatar
    newt

    Wow. He’s so smart! I’m going right down and trading my BMW in for a Chevy. I can’t believe I was such a lemming. Thank god I have Lutz to straighten me out.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    “Uncool to drive an import”. Wow. Let’s let Lutz define what an import is.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Bob Lutz personifies GM. This rampant arrogance and ignorance has infected all of GM’s corporate structure. All you have to do is listen to Bob Lutz to realize that this company doesn’t even have a chance to make a comeback. Nothing has changed. Even if they were somehow able to cut out all that is cancerous to GM (basically everything), most people have already written off GM for life.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Still blaming the customer… nice. And now you’re calling them names. Way to go Lutz! Also, a quick shout out to the morons who decided to exhume slappy from retirement and give him a job leading (of all things!) Marketing. Lutz is a bull in a china shop, shooting mosquitos with a rocket launcher.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    @ Gary:

    Good point. I guess by Bob’s definition, his G8 is terribly uncool.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I read it this morning in MT.com

    Actually I think the answer he gave was indeed “nice”.

    When you start like this…

    In my group it is just uncool to drive a GM car.

    You kinda deserve the flames. Being Lutz or whoever.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Lutz: “I think an audacious and bold person with a mind of his or her own would go to a dealership and see that our new vehicles easily trounce the foreign competition in performance and value. A lot of people are reaching this conclusion on their own, witness the new Camaro, selling at a rate of 10,000 a month.”

    Being secure in one’s own self-image sure saves a lot of money and headaches. I’d hate to be buying a car to impress someone else with my boldness and audacity, that gets expensive.

  • avatar
    Samuel L. Bronkowitz

    I am so glad Maximum Bob is back. He’s a quote machine the likes of Charles Barkley and John Daly.

    I think there’s a shred of truth in what he says… a few people buy BMW because of the driving experience, but most buy to impress their neighbors.

    Unfortunately, Bob (and GM) doesn’t have the moral authority to make a statement like the one he made. After years of making craptastic cars and treating customers like garbage he (they) simply have no credibility.

    I would have respected something more conciliatory where he acknowledged past mistakes and then issued a more positive challenge to the person asking the question.

  • avatar
    lw

    A perfect fit for his new job…

    “Henderson said Lutz couldn’t go back to his old job because Stephens has been “doing a fantastic job.” So Lutz will be vice chairman responsible for all creative elements of products and customer relationships. That will include brands, marketing, advertising and communications.”

    http://www.freep.com/article/20090711/BUSINESS01/907110325/Energized-Lutz-says-he-s-not-done-yet

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    Mr. Lutz’s hypocrisy is rather funny. First, he chastises his questioner and non-customers as being lemmings who care too much about doing what’s supposedly trendy and buying imports. Then, he says buying an import is not cool, implying we should all do the cool thing and buy a GM car. It’s good he’s not in charge of marketing.

  • avatar
    holydonut

    I wish Lutz would start referring to himself in the 3rd person like Rickey Henderson.

    A reporter once asked Rickey if he talked to himself, “Do I talk to myself? No, I just remind myself of what I’m trying to do. You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”

  • avatar
    lw

    Now that Lutz is in charge of marketing and communications, I can’t wait to see the new ad campaigns.

    “If you don’t buy a GM car, well f _ _ k you”

    “GM rulez, everyone else droolz”

    “People die in Fords every day”

    “Retards drive Toyotas”

    “See someone driving a Honda? Run the sonofbitch off the road”

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    The product perception that “Stan” describes is GM’s biggest problem, and Bob knows it, that’s why the question pissed him off so much that he had to go and insult a potential customer.

    The conventional wisdom is that the “perception gap” that GM faces is quality related, but the perception that GM really needs to worry about is that its cars are for poor people with no money*. Being on government welfare makes GM look like even more of a poor white trash brand.

    Other than the Corvette and large SUVs, someone in a Hyundai Kia looks more educated and successful than someone in a Chevy, and that’s a big problem for GM. Especially after every high income gay man that wants a Camaro has bought one, Camaro sales crater, and GM has to go back to relying on the sales of its mainstream cars.

    Re:jkross22:

    Hardly just the G8, the Camaro in question, which is selling at 10,000 a month after four years of slow reveals, viral marketing and product placement, despite not being the kind of car for a “lemming-like follower of current trends”, is made in Canada, which is not technically a state.

    The Mustang, on the other hand, is not an import. It is made in the US. And it will soon have motors on par with the Camaro in a car that is otherwise almost universally preferred to the Camaro.

    *There are a lot of educated people with money that are willing to buy GMs to get something almost as good for a lot less money, but selling cars for a lot less money is not the way to run a profitable auto company.

  • avatar
    lw

    One more.. I can’t resist.

    “If you can find a better car, well then you’re a moron. GM makes the best cars”

  • avatar
    jkumpire

    I will say this for the guy:

    1. I’ll never drive a Government Motors car again in my life, but you got to admire the fact he is sticking up for his company, and it’s cars.

    2. He also has a point in that our society is becoming a very conformist society: “Cool” is a well defined set of things, and wanting to be different than your neighbor in some things is looked down on. The man has the guts to say “be different” and get something new and good.

    3. But if he wants guys to buy new and good, then it is time to get the suits off their rear ends and prove to people the cars are new and good: 5 yr. 100,000 bumper to bumper warranty anyone?

  • avatar
    Demetri

    lw,

    They already do that in the truck commercials. “You wanna buy a Ford with a man-step? What, are you some kind of fag?”

  • avatar
    lw

    Demetri:

    Imagine when Lutz has them redo that spot….

    Have Lutz standing in front of a F250… Then he talks and walks over to a GMC pickup.

    “Hey Ford is right down the road from us.. We’ve met… I just have to say that if Ford and I were in prison, I could get some sweet sweet lovin antyime.”

    “Ford is GM’s bitch.. Always has been, always will be. Get used to it”

  • avatar
    redrum

    I can see where Lutz is coming from, but anyone with an IQ bigger than their shoe size should know that you never, ever insult a potential customer, especially one who is looking for a reason to buy from you. That’s about as bad as those “are you good enough for grape nuts?” commercials.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I have many friends that drive nice cars but only two that drive GM’s. One has an old saturn and the other buys old DTS’s cadillacs circa 2002 MY. Their resale values are terrible but can be a reasonable deal for some. But almost all of my friends, family and fellow church goers, all buy Japanese, Korean or German. It really is ‘uncool’ to own Detroit and GM specifically. The sooner MB realizes and admits that, the quicker GM can do something about it. But alas, MB and GM will never get it. They are doomed to repeat their chapter 11 another day, because they haven’t learned their lessons yet.

  • avatar
    lw

    Rday:

    I think the only option they have left is to get very very humble and truly beg people to give them another chance.

    Maybe, buy a GM and if you aren’t happy in 90 days, return it (without a significant damage) no questions asked…

    Commercials that start by apologizing..

    “We screwed up.. We let you down over and over and finally you, the very people that we let down, had to bail us out with your hard earned dollars. Let us make it up to you in some small way. Free oil changes for everyone. Every brand every make.. we don’t care. We are sorry.”

  • avatar
    mad scientist

    “I think an audacious and bold person with a mind of his or her own would go to a dealership and see that our new vehicles easily trounce the foreign competition in performance and value. ”

    I’ve got a mind of my own, and that mind says that El Lutzo needs a really HUGE enema. After having the misfortune of driving several different GM rental cars, I can safely say that there is no reason to consider ever buying one.

    Toyota, Honda and BMW have ALWAYS taken excellent care of me, and I will repay the favor with my continued business.

    Signed,
    Very Happy Lemming

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I think an audacious and bold person would go to the government and beg for money without fixing any of the problems which caused the huge loss of money over the last decade.

    You make crappy cars. Period. Market that punk

  • avatar

    “Foreign” is an interesting choice of pejoratives, particularly given some of Lutz’s own product choices. A domestic car like, say, the Astra, designed in Switzerland and built in Belgium? The G8, designed and assembled in Australia?

    Perhaps the new definition of “domestic” is simply that it helps to pay the salaries and annual bonuses of Fritz Henderson and Bob Lutz. And god knows I’d love for my dollars to go to reward all their brilliant efforts.

  • avatar
    charleywhiskey

    Bob keeps things interesting. Stan needs remedial grammar.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    am i missing something, here? “even if they’re as good as imports”.. sounds to me like lutz is just trying to appeal to our boy stan’s nonconformist side, which he’s already sort of revealed. where did he get chastised? sounds almost like a canned question and reponse to me, if not for the bad punctuation and trademark lutz style.

    now.. insulting, well, just about most of your market by calling them personality-lacking lemmings? that’s our lutz!

  • avatar
    slumba

    Lutz … or Yutz?

  • avatar
    prattworks

    I have plenty of friends that are “audacious and bold”, and not one is ever likely consider buying a current GM product.

    My “audacious and bold” friends, who are all well-educated and successful in their careers, are represented by the following: Small Toyota trucks, Subarus of various vintages, the Honda Fit, a few diesel Jettas, Passats, a few older Dodge Cummins and Ford pickups, vintage Volvo 240’s, VW Eurovans, Mazda 6, Some vintage Saturns (old S2’s), and a smattering of used Toyotas.

    What I’m seeing among my ’30-something’ friends is a shift toward a ‘drive it ’til the wheels fall off’ mentality – especially in this economic climate. And even when the economy recovers, I can’t envision any one of my family or friends walking into a GM dealership and purchasing something from their current product offerings.

    The ’20-somethings’ are probably even more biased against GM, and have a very clear acceptance of brands that were ‘taboo’ to most just a few years ago – Hyundai, Kia, etc.

    I’d like to see some demographic data on GM customers, as my grandparents were the last in the lineage of our family to hold fast to the ‘buy GM’ mantra. My dad broke free after his brand new 1983 Buick literally fell to pieces. He bought Japanese the next time, and has never looked back. We were a strictly GM family for several generations – and I have uncles, aunts, and cousins who all worked for GM at one time or another.

    But the reality is they make cars that fewer people want, and I suspect the decline is only graph will only get steeper. Bob can turn out the lights and drive away in his Volt.

  • avatar
    Prado

    jkumpire wrote: He also has a point in that our society is becoming a very conformist society: “Cool” is a well defined set of things, and wanting to be different than your neighbor in some things is looked down on. The man has the guts to say “be different” and get something new and good.

    True, but I bet Lutz had no problem with us “lemmings” when we were buying Hummers, Escalades and 40K pickups just to be cool. And isn’t the new Camaro the poster child of cars to purchase to try to look cool? It would have been more convincing if he cited the success of a GM mainstream car….if they only had one.

  • avatar
    50merc

    The Fastlane blog has the same problem that afflicts many newspaper stories: no editors!

    For example: “Stan, I guess it depends whether you have your own personality or whether you are a lemming-like follower of current trends.”

    Should be something like: “Stan, your friends are in danger of becoming lemming-like followers of fads if they don’t think for themselves.”

    Oh, forget it. Lutz is hopeless. No one will tell the emperor to STFU.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Gee, Ol’ Stan was just trying to tell Maximum Bob the truth, and ask GM to please make something that he could buy with looking like a poor sucker to his friends.

    I’d have put it a little differently than Stan, myself –

    Driving most GM cars is like having unprotected sex with an ugly girl you’ve never met before. The experience isn’t that good, and the risk is pretty high that you’re going to have a problem, and with that almost zero warranty protection, or resale value, you’re likely the one that’s screwed in the end.

    Oh, and THEN your friends laugh at you.

    So Bob, why take the risk?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Giving Lutz a marketing job of any sort seems like a poor idea. Giving him the top marketing job is a mistake that will be hard to beat.

    Surely there must be a way for him to re-retire. It would almost be worth paying him to stay away.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The Lutz reply I was anticipating…

    The cool people in this world pursue the things they enjoy doing. Not what other people tell them to do. GM is focused on building products that stand out for all the right reasons, and I hope your friends can judge our vehicles by their merits.

    Either that or a dope slap would have sufficed.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Keep in mind the FastLane blog, for a number of years, had every discussion peppered with posters comments asking, pleading, and demanding revival of the Camaro, particularly the SS variant.

    Well, those posters now have what they wanted, and are waiting in line to get it at their Chevy dealers.
    How long will that demand go on? Perhaps TTAC knows; I sure don’t.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    OH, OKAY, THANKS BOB, THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

    I don’t blame him, the Aveo and G3 are pretty uncool.

    Can I just say it? I’m going to: What an asshole.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    lw: “We screwed up.. We let you down over and over and finally you, the very people that we let down, had to bail us out with your hard earned dollars. Let us make it up to you in some small way. Free oil changes for everyone. Every brand every make.. we don’t care. We are sorry.”

    Where would these oil changes take place? I’ve had enough of the Chevy dealer.

  • avatar
    lw

    KixStart:

    Well at the dealer of course.. You make an appointment so they have the right filter and such for your car already waiting.. You pull into a special “oil change line”.. They wisk your car away, a salesperson is waiting to give you a test drive… in a GM vehicle that you picked when you signed up for the oil change.

    It’s a no pressure ride… they bring you back 20-30 minutes later after a quick ride and a pep talk about how GM has changed and how they are excited, then you get back in your freshly washed car and head out.

    Your wallet never opened and you feel good.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Dear Bob,

    Considering what your “NEW”GM did to the American Taxpayer I’d say you and your kind would be best described as “bogue and rapacious”.

    Sincerely,
    V. Kint

    Oh, and off topic– Just a peeve of mine: I wish, ooooh how I wish folks would stop using “Fed” or “Federal” and use “Taxpayer” as in Taxpayer bailout and Taxpayers Set to Pay Billions to Axed GM and Chrysler Dealers

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    “….selling at a rate of 10,000 a month.”

    Damn-it, who’d have thought break-even was 15,000/mth and the Lutz product planning dept at the time forecast 30,000/mth.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    The FAA wisely grounded the old codger, maybe he should realize that his “visionary” is impaired, as well.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I’m helping my sister-in-law get a new small-mid car. Let’s see….
    Dodge Caliber-Chevy Cobalt-Pontiac G3-Ford Focus?
    Only the saturn Astra made the list, but it’s really not an import.

    So Mazda3 it is, even if it’s not nearly as “cool” as a Pontiac G3…

  • avatar
    vvk

    Recently I had a huge, monumental fight with my mother and we are currently not speaking to each other. The reason? I bought her a cream-puff Buick LeSabre for her birthday. She was so insulted by me getting her a Buick that she has become my mortal enemy number one. Reasoning about the fact that the Buick is NICE and she might actually love it was like talking to a brick wall.

    So yeah, GM has a HUGE perception problem.

  • avatar
    noreserve

    Apart from the “I think it’s uncool to drive an import” statement, I liked his response. I think Lutz did a good job overall with the chat. GM needs some major change in their image. He can do that. I think we’re all so tired of corporate doublespeak that it’s truly refreshing to hear something with balls from someone high up in the organization. Yes, he has his share of gaffes, but I’d take that any day over the tired-ass pablum fed to us by a typical corporate PR machine.

    Judge the vehicles themselves, sure, but we also have to judge the sales and service experience, along with the reliability experience several years down the road. Any one of those have and will continue to derail GM’s success. They simply need to concentrate on a handful of vehicles (lose GMC idiots) and make them as soundly built as can be. And go into a good BMW dealership and ape as best you can. It’s not rocket science. Any one of us could take a GM exec to one and then to a GM dealership, hand over our notes and video at the end of the day and it would be obvious what needs to be fixed.

    The glaring expression of hubris for me is to see anyone at GM state that Cadillac is even close to being able to take on ABM. LOOONG-TERM goal maybe sure. Hell, if they could even get close they’d be doing fine. And I agree with those that state that the Camaro will have its ass handed to it soon when the Mustang gets a new mill.

  • avatar

    I think the part that GM totally missed is how much damage they did to themselves when “cash on the hood” became a way of business and not a means to deal with a temporary overproduction. Their own advertising put them into the old “going out of business” sign that everyone has seen for years on the nearby carpet purveyor.

    This is the perception gap they’ve got to bridge if people are going to take GM cars seriously again. That, and make the $45k Corvette interior at least as nice as the $25k Malibu… They are building some decent cars these days, but the majority of consumers don’t want to buy from a desperate seller. Somehow, Hyundai has overcome a great deal of this gap (that one caused by crap products) and now is audacious enough to compare the Genesis to far more expensive cars. And it is a really decent car…

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    10,000 a month? Bob, giving it back to the customer after a recall does not count as a sale.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Wow! I must be supercool and independent. I drive a Mazda. I’m not one of those lemmings buying one of GM’s equivalent offerings. Does GM have an equivalent offering, a good handling four door that comfortably seats four?

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    “…huge, monumental fight with my mother and we are currently not speaking to each other. The reason? I bought her a cream-puff Buick LeSabre for her birthday. She was so insulted by me getting her a Buick that she has become my mortal enemy number one.”

    I wish this was funny, but EXACTLY the same thing happened with my 70 year-old mother a few years back. She needed a car, and I recommended a Buick. Excellent reliability; good long-time dealer 10 miles from her house; Great price; nice car. What’s not to like?

    Except that she absolutely refused; she then rejected my efforts to help and went and bought – wait for it- a Toyota Avalon instead.

    Yeah, Buick has a huge perception problem.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I do my best to be as cool as possible by buying cars that nobody else wants.

    Resale value and reliability are for suckers. I love the smell of brake fluid in the morning.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    crude as it is, the “sex with an ugly woman you just met” comment just about sums up the deal. What Lutz and his buddies don’t seem to appreciate is that they’re fighting a negative perception built up over decades. Even when GM vehicles were cool (the 1960s), they began to be perceived as unreliable. My dad’s 3rd Chevy was a 1966 Impala. They left the rear main bearing oil seal out at the factory . . . so it had to be repaired right after we bought it. (so much for “dealer prep”) Thereafter, there were other transmission issues and so on. So, in 1970, my dad got a Volvo, the first of 4 over the years. When his most recent Volvo (an 850) proved to be a major headache, he replaced it with a Lexus.

    What Lutz knows, but only grudgingly wants to admit — is that the car companies are selling not just appliances but perceptions. And, with cars, perceptions matter, because unless you drive it until the wheels fall off, the perception of the car you own is going to govern its trade-in value when you replace it. On that score, domestic buyers get hosed.

    Finally, whether or not the Corvette or the Camaro is perceived as a “cool car” is, in the grand scheme of things, important only to the small number of people who are gearheads. Assuming it succeeds, the Camaro would be an example of what Chrysler was famous for — “stunting” — i.e. producing one-hit wonders from time to time that created a lot of “excitement” for a year or two but did not lift the perception of the overall car line. Some ChryCo stunts: the PT Cruiser and the 300C.

    Far more important is the fact that the new Impala is a pretty good car. Now, keep it reliable, give it a nice long warranty and be willing to make small $$$ on it for some time (not by underpricing the other guys, but by giving more content and value than they do at the same price).

    And sweat the details, like not putting an old 4-speed autobox in a Buick that either lugs in top gear at 60 mph or races at the same speed in 3rd gear which is what happens when you ask for any acceleration.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I don’t know what it is about this quote that deserved such a petulant response from that idiot.

    In my group it is just uncool to drive a GM car -even if they are as good as the imports.

    A statement of fact that GM should be aware of.

    Is your marketing studies researching why this is.

    A legitimate question that I, for one, would also like to know the answer too.

    I could give you an ear full and fit the urban professional demographic.

    Translation, I’d be happy to share my thoughts on how GM could do better.

    I want to see GM get that desirable one day!

    A positive statement that is at least somewhat supportive of GM.

    And Lutz’s response is basically one big insult? Good job Lutz. You could get a job at dealership with that attitude. Asshole.

  • avatar
    vvk

    “And sweat the details, like not putting an old 4-speed autobox in a Buick that either lugs in top gear at 60 mph or races at the same speed in 3rd gear which is what happens when you ask for any acceleration.”

    The four speed tranny in Buick LeSabre is FANTASTIC. It is by far the best automatic transmission I have ever tried. And I have tried many. My previous favorite, BMW 6-speed, is FAR worse.

    3.8l OHV V-6 with 4 speed auto is an outstanding powertrain. Always smooth, always in the right gear, absolutely no hint of gear hunting and seamless shifting up and down. To me it feels like an electric motor without a gearbox. I cannot stand automatics, both me and my wife hate them. Between her and me we have NEVER had a car with an automatic. However, both of us are positively smitten with the 4-speed auto in the LeSabre. The first time my wife drove it, she called me within minutes to gush about how unbelievably good the tranny is.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    @ Gary Numan:

    “Uncool to drive an import”. Wow. Let’s let Lutz define what an import is.

    Is that any more bizarre than having a clueless 70-something failed auto exec define what “cool” is?

    Hey, Bob, What’s on your iPod? ;)

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Quality issues aside, I think the posters above hit the nail on the head re: GM’s recent marketing tactics. By aiming at the bottom of the market, and by selling their cars on the basis of price alone, GM has created the image that they make cheap cars for poor people.

    While that may move the metal, it doesn’t make their cars desirable or “cool.”

    Now, poor people need cars too, so there’s nothing wrong with aiming your products at an underserved segment of the market, but just like there aren’t many people who brag about shopping at Wal Mart, there aren’t many people who brag about driving a chevy. They do those things because they have to, not because they want to.

  • avatar
    tedj101

    >>I think an audacious and bold person with a mind of his or her own would go to a dealership and see that our new vehicles easily trounce the foreign competition in performance and value.<<

    An audacious and bold person — a pioneer! You can always tell the pioneers. They’re the ones in the burning wagons — or is that the Camaros with broken output shafts !

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I have to agree that GM’s rep is in the dirt right now. Like Lokkii and vvk mentioned, even the old folks don’t want a Buick anymore.

    And why should they take a chance on GM, when they have the freedom to buy a nice Toyota that will last a long time and never let them down.

    My buddy’s friend, late 30s and from a GM family, bought a Buick (the sedan whatever it’s called) for his wife. Her friends were most definitely not impressed. We gave him the “what the heck were you thinking” speech also. If he spent the same amount on a Lex/Acura/BMW, the result would be impressed friends and a happier wife.

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    In my group, it’s uncool to drive a car that sucks.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    GM vehicles date themselves so quickly. I see a 1985 BMW 745i or even a base E30, I drool. I see a 1985 Cadillac, I fall asleep. GM brand-poster cars are only “cool” for the first year of their release. After that everyone gets sick of them. And the other GM cars, well, no one gives a rats a$$ about them. Because. They. Suck.

  • avatar
    NickR

    and a happier wife.

    Never underestimate the importance of this. My wife and I have been casting an eye around for somewhat more spacious vehicle. When I say ‘How about a “insert name of a GM, Ford, or Chryco product”?’ I get a look that makes me think I said in error ‘Let’s take up crack.’ I am still willing to pull (car) rank, but the truth is in many cases GM has to persuade TWO people to make a sale. Lutz is off to a bad start.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    This is the exact discussion I often have with my car-enthusiast friends. I live in Northern California and not one person I know here drives a GM car. And before you start throwing “San Francisco” at me, I live in the central valley near Sacramento which is a relatively conservative and agricultural part of the state so I think this is more representative of “fly-over” country than a lot of people think.

    I know one acqaintance with a Chrysler minivan and another who has an older Ford Ranger that he keeps around because it isn’t worth enough to bother selling. He also loans it out to friends for weekend projects. I’ve used it a few times and it serves its purpose though the knob on the manual transmission always falls off and it’s dog slow (4-cyl 5-speed base model… exactly as I’d buy it, actually) compared to my neighbor’s base-level Toyota Tacoma. I drove another manual trans Ranger and the shift knob wouldn’t stay on that car either. Odd, but I digress.

    Demographically, I’m now 40 and our friends are mostly in their mid to late 30s. We are all college educated and in most cases have graduate degrees.

    I grew up in Michigan and with the exception of my father (who drives a Mercury Sable as his business brings him into contact with a lot of GM and UAW retirees) I can’t name another friend or family member who has a domestic “car.” Oh, and I should mention that I worked for GM (actually, Saurn when it was a subsdiary) for 8 years.

    Let’s be frank for a minute. Until recently GM cars have simply been unappealing, especially the entry-level models from which people graduate to bigger and more expensive pastures (if you believe the marketing think). Early Saturn S cars seemed to have a strong following amongst college grads and import intenders for a host of reasons but we all know what happened there.

    I don’t pass on GM cars because I think they will be unreliable. I’ve shopped them in the recent past and actually had terrific experiences at their dealerships (I can’t say the same thing about some of the import brands who acted as if they didn’t need my business). I also owned a BMW 5-series wagon which had a ton of stupid problems combined with sub-par dealer service.

    If anything, I think GM make good engines, excellent automatic transmissions, and have always had strong and reliable HVAC systems. Actually, I don’t think there are truly any unreliable cars on the market anymore, at least not in the sense of what that meant 20 years ago. It’s rare to be left stuck on the side of the road, for example. Quality now comes down to qualitative issues like interior design/finish, styling, and perceived value (image and predicted resale).

    One problem for me, actually, is that I like manual transmissions and few if any of GM’s cars offer them. Those that do are rarely available from dealer inventories with the manual option.

    I find the Malibu and Aura appealing but the lack of a manual transmission option is a deal-breaker for me. I want a car that size with a 4-cylinder manual combo so by default I’m relegated to the Mazda6 or the Honda Accord. Even the Kia Soul is an interesting option on my mind right now. It’s plenty roomy for my real needs, gets decent fuel economy, and can be had with the exact combination of options for far less than $20k. We also have a Mazda5 which fits our needs for a family truckster perfectly (even a manual trans). GM simply doesn’t have anything that satisfies my needs and wants. The HHR SS seemed interesting but I rented a base model and was less than satisfied with the basic design for reasons of poor visibility.

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