By on November 10, 2009

Proof that there's life at New GM!

You’ve got to wear some serious blinders to believe that New GM is in on course for that magic day when they de-nationalize themselves and return the U.S. taxpayer’s $52 billion (plus) “investment.” And Canada’s $10.5 billion, eh? In fact, Board Chairman Ed Whitacre just de-committed the company to a 2010 deadline for same. Still, GM and its camp followers have been in denial so long they’re in denial even when they’re telling the world they’re out of denial. Inside Line columnist Karl Brauer illustrates the conundrum: “Let me make one thing clear in the second sentence of this column. I am not saying GM has already pulled off a successful turnaround. But events of the last few weeks have established a momumental [sic] realization (at least for me): I think it’s possible GM might actually pull off a successful turnaround . . . And, as recently as four weeks ago, I commented that — despite GM’s latest rallying cry of ‘Let the best car win’ — I wasn’t convinced GM is offering the best cars on the market. I’m still not convinced GM offers the best cars available, but they do offer the widest range of really good cars I’ve seen from the company in my lifetime.” So what inspired Karl’s almost kinda maybe sorta don’t quote me on this ever faith that American’s nationalized automaker kinda maybe sorta might possibly potentially turnaround its miserable fortures? The new Medusa-class GMC Terrain, of course!

I’ve heard mixed reactions regarding the Terrain’s styling, but almost universal praise for everything else. Well, you can add my praise to the growing chorus . . .

Basically, I have to dig pretty deep to find anything wrong with the [carefully-prepared press example of the new GMC] Terrain. Sure, engine NVH is still a tad higher than I’d like, and the automatic transmission can occasionally get confused if I quickly change throttle input. But these really are nitpicks. The type I usually reserve for top models because all the major elements are nearly flawless.

In fact, from a demographic point-of-view I’m pretty well centered in the GMC Terrain’s gun sights as far as target buyers go. And guess what? I could absolutely see myself buying one instead of the competition. Does that statement surprise you? Me too.

Mixed reviews? Does Karl’s ability to skip over the fact that the Terrain is almost as ugly as—no, I’m not going to say it (it would only be deleted). Let’s try that again. Does Karl’s ability skip over the Terrain’s hideousness surprise you? Me neither. But I am surprised that Edmunds—the company that recently clashed with the White House on the cost effectiveness of the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers boondoggle—allows Karl to sully its good name with Crayola analysis.

. . . there’s plenty of hard data to suggest GM is making progress. Market share seems to have finally leveled off, and the destructive combination of bloated inventory and incentive spending no longer drives pricing or vehicle sales.

Is it too early to brand these latest efforts as a successful turnaround? No, it’s WAAAAAY too early. But some longstanding and fundamental issues appear to have finally been addressed. And, to be honest, these are issues I never thought the company would get right.

The most important one? A growing chunk of GM’s product is genuinely competitive. As far as I’m concerned nothing else matters. It’s also why I think GM may actually pull off a successful turnaround.

But that’s just one man’s opinion. What do you think?

Before you answer that question, check out this excerpt from GM’s most recent SEC 8-K filing.

This form 8-K corrects certain information contained in the original November 3, 200- press release. The following corrections were made:

– On page three under the heading “Buick key facts”, the phrase that Lucerne had highest sales month of 2009 with sales of 4,324 was deleted.

– On page three under the heading “GMC key facts”, Terrain total sales were up 63 percent and not 85 percent as originally disclosed. [Huh? The vehicle was just introduced]]

– On page three under the heading “GMC key facts”, total sales for new Buick and GMC models were up 20 percent and not 33 percent as originally disclosed.

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6 Comments on “Edmunds’ Karl Brauer: May the Best GM Win...”

  • avatar

    GM has been “just around the corner”, “on the right track” and “making the best products in it’s history” for the past quarter-century.**  I remember the same feel-good nonsense from at least the early nineties, and I’m sure it’s been going on longer.

    The problem is that very mindset: if they think they’re on the right track, and the media, internal yes-men and their fanbase only ever tell them that they’re on the right track, they won’t change.

    It would help, of course, if they listened to someone other than their own toadies.

    ** I wish I had a dime for every Autoblog post since 2005 about how The General was “on the right track”.  I’d be quite well off.

  • avatar

    GM is “on the right track”?  Well, time will tell, won’t it.  In the meantime, I can assure
    GM that I’ll not be trading my Honda Accord for a Chevy Malibu.  I like Honda’s reliability, high resale value, performance and great fuel economy too much.

    I think anyone who thinks GM is on the “right track” has been sniffing his undershorts.

  • avatar

    The Terrain styling isn’t that bad.  Go see it in person.  I have seen it in person, and sat in one.  It is a nice vehicle.  It is competitive.
    GM is taking steps in the right direction, and it is not out of the woods yet.  Not by a long shot.  They are addressing the problems that have been around for a long time.  Hopefully, they will finish the job, right the ship, and return to profitability and not too much of the money loaned to them will be lost.

  • avatar

    GM is taking steps in the right direction, and it is not out of the woods yet.
    Point of note: people were saying this in 1995, 2000 and 2005.   How big are these woods, exactly?

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    The Terrain is simply GMC’s variant of the Pontiac Torrent/Chevy Equinox, yes?  I haven’t heard much good about those. 

    As for the styling, it’s an answer to a question.  And the question was “What ever happened to the folks who designed the Pontiac Aztek?”  Obviously they were hired by the GMC division. 

    BTW, why is GMC even competing in the small/mid size CUV market?  Seems to me every sale of a Terrain takes away a Torrent or Equinox sale, which more or less makes this vehicle a wash for GM. 

  • avatar

    Maybe its me…

    But what is the inherant purpose for this vehicle?

    They canned the TB and all of ITS copies..

    Only to produce a larger vehicle based on the VUE?! I cant possibly have any positive feelings on a vehicle that shouldnt exist in the first place.

    Only positive feelings I have… the motor is a direct injection unit which must be damn amazing… I just “wish” they they could shove that motor into the old TB.. would have made the new one even more pointless than it already is.

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