By on February 13, 2013


As a journalist, if you ask an OEM rep about any given car’s redesign or next generation, you’ll undoubtedly be met with a terse “we don’t comment on future product plans”. But if you’re an analyst? Different story.

Yesterday, Morgan Stanley was kind enough to send TTAC a copy of their US Auto Product Guidebook. This 88 page presentation is packed with all kinds of charts, graphs and qualitative information designed to help educate investors about car companies and the product they sell. If you’re a TTAC industry nerd, this is like getting a copy of EVO magazine’s Car of the Year issue.

Within the Guidebook, there was plenty of information on GM’s upcoming product offerings – stuff that’s usually speculation and conjecture in the autoblogosphere and the buff books. But we have reason to believe that Morgan Stanley’s chart is accurate. This is the bank that rolled out New GM’s IPO, and counts Opel head Steve Girsky and GM CFO Dan Ammann (who advised GM on its 2009 restructuring)  as alumni.

Among the products listed in the report:

Buick: A Verano hatchback is apparently due this year

Cadillac: A redesigned SRX is due in 2014 and a Fleetwood – possibly the Ciel/S-Class fighter – will bow in 2015

Chevrolet: For 2013, the Orlando will apparently debut, though we’ve seen no movement on this so far. A “small SUV”, possibly the Trax, is set for 2014, while the Volt CUV is back on for 2015.

GMC: Tumbleweeds

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57 Comments on “Morgan Stanley Auto Product Guidebook Reveals GM Future Product Onslaught...”

  • avatar

    The Verano hatchback and Fleetwood are good news, especially the Cadillac. The pictured Chevrolet body would be sweet if it didn’t have 4×4-sized A pillars.

    • 0 avatar

      Everything has mammoth A pillars these days. That’s OK, as long as they have enough glass to make up for it.

      My ’05 Scion xB has huge A pillars, but enough glass and head room that it doesn’t affect visibility much.

      OTOH, I had a Chevy HHR as a rental about 18 months ago, with a similar-sized A pillar, and found myself constantly moving my head and body to see around the damn thing.

      Same issue with a Sentra rental a few months ago.

      Visibility is shooting up the list of “needs” for my next vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      Verano hatch sounds like a winner. I’m not sure if anyone is buying the Opel Regal, but if not maybe its because three sedans seems redundant. Maybe introduce Regal as a coupe only or drop it altogether and go for a halo, possibly a new Riviera.

  • avatar

    Fascinating stuff. Have any of the other analysts sent you their reports and does there information agree with this?

    Not surprised about GMC since they had the Acadia refresh already and a new Sierra. Only the Terrain left and that isn`t expected to be changed for a couple of years at least.
    Will be interesting to see if Cadillac’s flagship car will have a real name or an just three letters strung together like most of their range.

  • avatar

    Well, yeah! GM has to bring new something to the market that will blow Toyota and VW off the road.

    It’s been a couple of years since I got out of the analysis game of second guessing about what the customers will be buying for the next 6-10 months of the new model year.

    But I remember quite well that Toyota was always well received, even with minor update tweaks, based on their established and well-earned stellar reputation for quality, value and reliability.

    GM, OTOH, just brought more of the same to the market every year with the slogan, “NEW!, IMPROVED!!, BETTER THAN EVER!!!”

    And then there was Hyundai. A refreshing approach to creating a market for their vehicles, starting and ending with that excellent warranty. And styling didn’t hurt either. Really a novel approach, not stodgy like GM’s approach.

    I think GM would thrive were it to focus solely on the Chevrolet and Cadillac core brands by folding GMC into Chevrolet and making Buick in China and importing them to the US.

    I have no dog in this race since it is highly unlikely I’ll ever buy another GM product during my lifetime, like so many other Americans who owned GM in the past. But GM has to do something, anything, to become a self-sustaining and viable US automaker again.

    The bailouts, handouts and nationalization can be debated endlessly but the bottom line remains that GM still has a way to go to gain sales. Sales are what matters. Everything else is fodder for speculation.

    • 0 avatar

      Edit: GM [and Honda with their new mylar baloon Civic commercial], OTOH, just brought more of the same to the market every year with the slogan, “NEW!, IMPROVED!!, BETTER THAN EVER!!!”

      Sit on the top too long and you won’t realize you’ve been dethroned for a while.

    • 0 avatar

      GM makes far nicer and more exciting cars than Toyota. Toyotas are close to Soviet in many respects. The Chinese like GM and GM is still selling the most vehicles in the US and 2nd most in the world. If GM was in another nation, their public would cheer them on like crazy. The USA has sunk into a decadence of extremist capitalist ideology where destruction is somehow worshipped as good economic policy. It’s weird how how many so called conservatives will punish American companies that have suffered competing against state socialist Zaibatsus and chaebols. GM or even Chrysler are hardly the poster children for government help. Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, VW, Toyota, Honda, Renault all have some sort of government help. All these companies home nations at least have national healthcare, safety nets and pensions. Japanese car companies have had active government intervention in currency markets to help exports for decades, Japan now has the highest debt per capita in the world because of all the marketshare they bought.

      GM and Chrysler have done America mostly proud since the bailout and have kept foreign state sponsored competitors from gouging American consumers while pushing the envelope of car design. Think about the Ram truck leading the entire industry in gas mileage, beating even compact V6 Japanese trucks in gas mileage, coming in almost first in initial quality of fullsize pickups, it’s like science fiction. Who could have predicted this breakthrough product from Chrysler in one of the most profitable segments of the car industry.

      Any improvement is possible. How about the extraordinary Cadillac ATS? I predict the new Cadillac version of the Volt will be a bitter pill for Volt haters. I also predict the next Escalade will make the rest of the luxury car industry cry. Hollywood will love both.

      Go GM and Chrysler!

      • 0 avatar

        billfrombuckhead, you do know that what was formerly known as Chrysler is now an Italian-owned company, employing Americans building cars for Americans, in America? That’s just like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai, BMW and Mercedes operating assembly plants in the US.

        And as far as the bailouts and nationalization goes, most of the financial institutions bailed out by Obama have repaid their bailout bucks to the Treasury in full, leaving only about $10 million (that’s million) yet to be repaid.

        When the government bailed out the failed financial institutions of America there was a better than reasonable chance that the taxpayers would be reimbursed, with interest.

        The same, however, cannot be said for the US auto industry, with the exception of Chrysler which has done wonders under the leadership of Sergio Marchionne and the Fiat BoD; but is no longer American. A trade-off.

        The bailout of GM was nothing more than a prop-up of the UAW, allowing its members and retirees to continue to live large on the taxpayer dime. Such a deal, for them. An enormous loss for the taxpayers of America. We’ll never see that money back and may lose even more on the stock the Treasury is holding.

        I also think you are overlooking or deliberately neglecting to note that foreign governments are heavily invested in all their industries because that is part of their economic design and makeup. Their strategic national interest includes their industries.

        I think it is great that GM is taking the shotgun approach to loading the market with their new products but it remains to be seen if the new crop is going to be more profitable than the old crop was.

        At this juncture I see Toyota in the lead and VW aspiring to overtake GM. What GM needs, of course, is a best-selling Camry beater, a best-selling F150 beater and a best-selling Corolla/Civic beater. I just don’t see that in this new lineup.

        I don’t mind you leading the fan club of GM and cheering them on, but that does not sell cars. The only thing that matters is what sells. Money talks and BS walks, and to me it is obvious that GM’s attempts at displacing the Toyota Camry and Ford F150 did not succeed.

        IMO it will not succeed with the revisions to their GM lineup.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree billfrombuckhead. I do not understand the mentality of some commenters with respect to American vs Anything else. Some of the more vocal ones would seem to be more pleased if GM and Chrysler had disappeared. This schadenfreude tone is a mystery to me. I am pleased with the turn-around and excited about the future. Personally, I felt like eating a piece of apple pie, but even with zero patriotism, their continued success increases automotive variety. TTAC would be pretty boring reading mostly about Camry vs Sonata.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    The fact that this report says ‘nothing’ for GMC when the enitre Yukon family (Yukon/Yukon XL/Denalis etc) will be all new within a year or so makes everything else suspect.

    Not saying everything is wrong..but they are wrong on GMC.

    Edit..they also refreshed SRX for 2013MY…had Orlando in the plans a few years back for US then cancelled tells me this is all aged, bad info.

  • avatar

    The Verano hatch is a very welcome surprise. I was quite impressed by the Verano on my test drive but the lack of a hatch is a deal-killer (same goes for the Cruze, which I was also impressed with).

    • 0 avatar

      Verano turbo manual hatch, FTW?

    • 0 avatar

      I test drove a Verano weeks ago and really liked it. A hatch would sweeten the deal.

      A couple things I didn’t like were the plastic trim on the windshield in which the rear view mirror is attached. I thought the dashboard styling was a little too busy. And I could not get the power drivers seat comfortable.

      Other than that, and of course no real utility without it being a hatch, the car drove really nice. It could use a little bit more refined engine as well. Not a deal killer by any means, but a Buick needs a more refined engine than what they have in the Verano.

  • avatar

    Taken together, the entire side window shape is almost dead-on the shape of the door mirror. Dislike.

    Also, as mentioned before the A-pillars are far too chunky.

    Finally, they will NEVER call it the Fleetwood. Disappoint. FLS, FDL, CLF, etc.

  • avatar

    Whatever GM does it will probably be too little too late. IMO they have just alienated too many Americans. And the Japanese make it a point to keep their customers happy. Until GM is busted up or bought out by real businessmen, I don’t see much changing.

    • 0 avatar

      “Whatever GM does it will probably be too little too late. IMO they have just alienated too many Americans.”

      GM selling second-most cars in the world (I’m sure it’s a similar ranking for US only sales) says differently. That’s the problem with basing your opinions off car mags and online only. You end up saying dumb things like that. GM has never alienated it’s customer base. It’s only alienated car nuts and the close minded. If some many people were alienated, they wouldn’t have sold millions of cars each year. And before you crow about the bankruptcy, that was because GM was about as efficient a company as our government is.

      GM is doing a fine job of keeping up or leading the pack in many segments.

      • 0 avatar

        Some of what you say is true, but only some. If everyone hated GM, they wouldn’t be selling the number of cars that they sell but it’s a historical fact that GM sold millions of crappy cars in the 1980s and turned off many, many people just as the Japanese companies were hitting their stride. GM went from having more than half of the American market to a fraction of that. You see people saying stuff like “My dad had a [insert GM product] and it was an unreliable POS so I’ll never set foot in a GM dealership”. That adds up to the very real situation that many consumers are alienated by GM.

        Do they make competitive products in a number of segments these days? Yes. Have they managed to screw up the marketing of some of them? Probably.

        When Hyundai came to the US market they came with crap, but they managed to sell about a million crappy cars before people started thinking Hyundai=Korean crapbox. It took a 100,000 mile warranty, some nice styling and getting their quality suitable for playing in the big leagues. Even so, their reputation for cheapness endures.

        Now GM sold a lot more than a million crappy cars over a much longer period of time than Hyundai did. A lot of people left the GM brands for imports, never to return.

        To say that a measurable chunk of American consumers do not harbor some negative perceptions about the American car companies is to whistle past the graveyard if you’re working for one of those companies.

      • 0 avatar

        GM’s diminished market share can’t entirely be blamed on their 70s and 80s product issues. By the same token, Toyota’s growth can’t entirely be attributed to their product mix and perceived quality either. The pie has grown considerably as have the number of slices thereof. That is the result of a number of factors including national policies, development of world markets and off-shore production (transplant factories both in the US and China, for example). Comparing market share today against that of two or three decades ago is, essentially, meaningless. What really matters is the ability of any car maker to adapt to the changing world. Both GM and Toyota have shown that they can do so. How well they do it is, of course, what makes it interesting to watch.

      • 0 avatar

        Sure thing, there are people who have been turned off to the US OEMs, but to say the country has been alienated is inacurate. GM surely played a part in their markwt share decline, but as stated above, there were so many other factors. More credible competition has entered the market, so the days of 50% market share are over.

      • 0 avatar

        GM “adapted” to a changing market by receiving a direct injection of government cash and going through a government-supervised bankruptcy. In other words, the company failed.

        I’m not going to reject the possibility of buying a new GM vehicle out of hand because of that fact. At this point, it’s water under the bridge.

        But let’s not essentially whitewash the company’s recent history, either.

      • 0 avatar

        Point I’ve made before. Mid-30’s white collaNortheast professional. no one in my circle of friends will buy a GM product other then the one guy who’s father worked at Rahway assembly for 20 years. I’m not sure who GM’s selling to, but it’s not us. I have a new 300C, son of Rahway has one of the last Trailblazers, and my crew’s car are TL, Accord, Accord Crosstour (we’ve given him a ratf of Schiaatt about that), CR-V, M-Klasse, Pilot, RX400, Altima.

        Lot’s of Honda love, only two domestic outliers and GM only because of family requirements.

        GM alienated me by selling me a brand new 2003 lemon and refusing to buyback, one friend has terrifying memories of his father’s ’85 celebrity, one buddy had the worlds most fragile Buick Skylark in college, numerous Avis rattle traps amongst our trips, and objectively better comparison cars from Japan.

        GM aliented plenty of folk with bad product, terrible service, and poorexecution.

    • 0 avatar

      @ Morbo – generally imports are big on the left and right coasts while domestics sell better in the middle which probably has to do with as you mentioned a lot of people either work for or have friends that work for a domestic vehicle manufacturer.

      Which brings up a somewhat related question; Where do the union bashers primarily come from?

      • 0 avatar

        Ironically I think the answer would be in the conservative center of the country. Like iron workers voting for Reagan or Wylie Coyote sawing off the branch he’s standing on – actually I don’t know how to end this simile – but the point is clear.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s a simpler answer. I’ve lived in the east coast melee, and also the Midwest.

        Mid sized and compact cars simply work better for the east coast commuter lifestyle. The advantages of an big vehicle don’t work as well, because people do less DIY and less outdoorsy stuff.

        In the Midwest, you don’t have to corner, so the disadvantages of a big vehicle don’t hurt as much.

        I agree that cultural factors matter (especially the for-show pickup trucks that are popular among the reluctantly urban), but the subtle differences in what works in each environment strikes me as a massively important difference that nobody wants to talk about.

        Just like GMs business was bankrupted by betting on SUVs at the wrong place, their popularity in a region can be undermined by betting on the wrong product. For a business with as many resources and smart engineers as GM, there’s every reason that they could have the 1st or second best car in every segment. But they would probably have to rejigger how they do things (their corporate culture) to do it, and that’s even harder than designing a good car.

        P.S. My company uses the “agile” method of designing software. It’s a little counterintuitive, but it works pretty well. If you combined agile with the right PLM system and automated CAE testing of components, you could probably build cars (and car factories) this way, and come up with some really innovative products.

  • avatar

    Hey TTAC now that you decided to spill the beans for GM, perhaps you’d like to do that for some other OEM’s. Why not just ruin it for everyone, thanks. No wonder GM dislikes you, geez.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s free marketing, really. And besides, that Volt MPV pic has been floating around for quite a while. Nothing on the list was unheard of before this post. Most of it has been heavily speculated on already.

      • 0 avatar

        “Most of it has been heavily speculated on already.”

        Exactly! It was all fodder for speculation at first. Now with this Guidebook it is more probable that it will come to fruition.

        However, will this future product onslaught translate into real world sales? That’s the billion dollar question.

        There was lot (A LOT!) of speculation about the Volt. There was even more speculation about the Malibu before that.

        From a personal perspective, I don’t see the Verano as being anything but an overpriced Cruze and I would hazard a guess that most buyers of that class see it that same way.

        I agree that these vehicles should be there, in the market, to fill a small niche, but I don’t believe they will be moneymakers for GM in the future.

        My gut feeling is that GM’s trucks are going to continue to carry the company. Fleet sales may be good for production quotas, but it is rare to make money on fleet queens.

      • 0 avatar

        “From a personal perspective, I don’t see the Verano as being anything but an overpriced Cruze and I would hazard a guess that most buyers of that class see it that same way.”
        You really have gone off the deep end recently – the Verano is really an Opel Astra sedan with a different grill and chrome rear eye lashes.

        There is some Cruze in there no doubt because the Astra and Cruze share some stuff.
        A lot of people don`t agree with you since the Verano is selling well and they could have, in your mind, just as easily gone to buy a Cruze LTZ. Maybe Civic drivers will buy the ILX, since I assume you think that is just a tarted up Civic? Or are the rules different for Honda?

    • 0 avatar

      What in God’s name are you talking about? This is public information.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Derek meant to be sarcastic with the headline. I’m sure the revelation of this ‘onslaught’ will really set them back.

  • avatar

    Top Photo note: The car pictured Chevy Volt MPV5 Concept. It was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show…in 2010.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV changed GM’s mind on producing what has been speculated to be called the ‘CrossVolt’.

      OTOH, if the 2014 Outlander PHEV dies on the vine in the US (along with Mitsubishi in its entirely), GM could change it’s mind (again) and cancel the CrossVolt.

  • avatar

    IF gm comes out with a decent quality mid size pickup truck,IF they happen to come out with a diesel midsize pickup truck,they would rule the US market for a couple of years,maybe more.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree that there is a market for the midsize or compact truck. However, it is dominated by the gas-powered Tacoma and Frontier.

      And Ford, GM and then-Chrysler lobbied their hearts out to keep Tata (and others) from bringing a midsize or compact (diesel) truck to market in the US. I believe they would have sold handily, especially in California!

      For some odd reason Toyota has not introduced its excellent small-diesels, available elsewhere around the globe, into the Tacoma line. IMO, Toyota could partner with Isuzu or any other builder of potent and torquey small diesel engines and offer them in the Tacoma line if they are themselves unable to produce to that quantity level. There’s plenty of unused, excess capacity around the world, even in Mexico, Canada and the US.

      Nissan could partner with any of the French makers of small diesels and do the same. That’s what Jeep did with their Italian small diesel for the Grand Cherokee. For Jeep it was an in-house thing.

  • avatar

    “Cadillac: A redesigned SRX is due in 2014 and a Fleetwood – possibly the Ciel/S-Class fighter – will bow in 2015”

    Be still my heart, there might be a real Cadillac in the offing?

  • avatar

    Wait, does the report actually say “Fleetwood”? GM is going to build a proper big Cadillac AND give it a proper big Cadillac name? If true, that’s the best news I’ve heard in a good long while.

  • avatar

    A quick question about the SRX – Is it actually redesigned our just a facelift? I live near a guy that works for GM and he’s hada camo’ed SRX a couple times the past couple months and all it is, is stretched grill and headlight treatment and an even bigger badge that protrudes even further…. I hope this news is more than that and I just missed the launch of this facelift. That would be disappointing.

  • avatar

    Why do we call things like a hypothetical production Ciel as a “S-Class fighter”? Did we call the Tundra an “F-150 fighter” back in 2007? I don’t believe we did.

    At any rate, I don’t believe a single solitary S-Class buyer would cross-shop a Ciel. Not because it lacks the merits appealing to that type of a luxury car buyer, but because it would attract a completely different kind of luxury car buyer. Perhaps the kind of luxury car buyer who wishes the 300 was less sport and more luxury.

  • avatar

    …Buick: A Verano hatchback is apparently due this year…

    And will it come with the 250 HP turbo charge DI engine and the 6-speed manual?

    Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery interesting.

    Of course all those who say, “I’d buy a hatch if they just built one,” won’t show up to buy one – but that’s another story.

  • avatar

    So, would a Verano HB simply be the Astra HB?

  • avatar

    Verano hatch!?! THE GODS HAVE HEARD MY PRAYERS!!! My heart is racing!

    I think Regal sales tanked because the three sedans are just too close together. With the next redesigns, just size them right so Buick has a compact, midsize, and large sedan. No reason this can’t work; just size and price ’em right.

    No need for a Fiat Panda Abarth, I got my turbo Buick hatch! Hellzyeah!

  • avatar

    And Turbo Buick hatch just sounds so right.

  • avatar

    If the Verano hatch looks anything like the Opel Astra hatch, it’s a remarkably sexy little car. I’ve seen the Opels in Europe, and they look like perfectly crafted little eggs. I like ’em.

    And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE call the big Caddy a Fleetwood!

  • avatar

    A couple of thoughts about GM bashing. My first car was a 1972 Chevy Impala, which I dearly loved. My second was a 1977 Olds Cutlass, which I loved more. My father was a GM loyalist who thought anything Chrysler made was assembled from spare parts left over from Nash. Then came the 1982 Camaro that he bought for Mom. It would stop if you took a quick left with the AC on. The rear-end howled. The transmission imploded. Did I mention that it would stop if you took a quick left? After five or six trips to the dealer, we were told…believe it or not…to leave the AC off (when turning?????). The lemon law process was a nightmare, so ultimately Dad swallowed hard, took the hit, and bought Mom a 280Z. Dad then bought a mid-1980s Cadillac. It had some kind of gas saving fuel management set-up that didn’t work. Ultimately traded for a late 1980s Cadillac that had electrical problems. It took a decade and probably $25,000 (1980s dollars) of excess depreciation to break my Father’s loyalty.

    I think the anger at GM comes from a sense of betrayal. People like my Dad trusted the General, believed in the company and its products, only to be saddled with substandard products and arrogant, dismissive attempts at repair. It was like finding your wife of twenty years in bed with another man…the disappointment and hurt may NEVER go away.

    I bought my father a 1994 Lexus LS that he had until his passed in 2009. Thought it was the best vehicle ever made. Never gave him any problems. Today there isn’t a GM product anywhere in my family, near or extended. It’s sad, but hardly inexplicable.

  • avatar

    The issue, to my mind, is one of expectations. When Hyundai first came to the U.S., its cars were crude and cheap. People who bought them may have hoped for better, but did not bring generational loyalty to the table. As Hyundai has got better over time, people have been pleasantly surprised. It’s like the skinny girl with acne that you knew as a freshman who blossoms by her senior year…

    To stay within my salacious metaphors, GM was the beautiful homecoming queen, who you worshiped from afar, who when you FINALLY managed to get a date, turned out to have a terrible personality and bad breadth. My Father spent years working his way up the ladder of GM products, aspiring to the aforementioned Cadillacs. By dashing those expectations, GM lost a customer (and his extended family) probably permanently. Think about it this way, if Cadillac was supposed to be the finest product GM made…and it proved awful…how insane would you have to be look at a Buick or a Chevy?

    GM’s marketing paradigm required Cadillacs to be superior to Buicks which were supposed to be better than Chevys. The “corporate” products that came to fore in the 1980s (and successively) made a mockery of this stepladder (and the customers who believed in it).

    Is it repairable? Probably. I’m pretty excited about the C7. But I would never buy a first year GM anything…at least not for transportation purposes.

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