QOTD: What's a General to Do?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

A certain inhabitant of the Renaissance Center finds themself the odd man out. A member of the prestigious (but often tumultuous) Detroit Three club, this storied car builder now has the misfortune of having two rivals with something very similar to sell — something our protagonist, whom we’ll call The General, can’t seem to rustle up.

You all know what we’re talking about: A dedicated, right-sized, off-road SUV.

With two out of three members now fielding such a product, it is necessary for The General to join the fray and attempt to compete, or, in this time of cost constraints and uncertainty, is it better to stay put and carry on, rather than field a latecomer?

When The General returned the Blazer nameplate to the company’s product lineup, Camaro-inspired styling couldn’t smother the groans of auto journos and former owners who saw the vehicle for what it was — a car-based crossover, not the rugged, body-on-frame, rear- or four-wheel drive SUV of years past. No external spare tire with this new Blazer; just a typical crossover experience. If the Blazer didn’t strike their fancy, a fan of the company could also look at a Traverse. Or an Equinox. Or a Terrain, or an Acadia, or a Trax, or a Trailblazer, or one of two Encores. Maybe an Envision? Or how about an Enclave? If the Blazer isn’t tony enough, there’s an XT4, XT5, and XT6 to consider.

Yes, the Blazer is just a face in the crowd, as Tom Petty once said.

Matthew Guy pointed out yesterday that the base Blazer (FWD L) holds the unfortunate distinction of costing exactly — to the dollar — the same sum as a base Ford Bronco. The two vehicles couldn’t be more different. One is exactly what longtime fans of The General had hoped to see, and the other is the Blazer.

Indeed, Twitter had a field day pointing out how the Bronco and unibody Bronco Sport overlapped with the Blazer price ladder. Individuals far funnier than your author piled on, sparing no feelings.

At this point, if there’s no, say, GMC-badged Bronco/Wrangler fighter in the works already (rumors have floated for years, but never went anywhere), it seems unlikely there’ll ever be one. If you were to trade places with The General, what changes would you make to the company’s product strategy? Would you spend precious dollars hacking down a next-generation Colorado/Canyon to suit the purpose (Jimmy? Envoy?), or just let the two crosstown rivals fight it out between themselves?

Keep in mind that all current economic realities apply.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jul 15, 2020

    All I think of when someone says GM is that it is the Great American Company that couldn't organize its way out of a wet paper bag and ran with its tail between its legs from Europe. Unable to compete due to its presumably bad organization, since PSA has had no trouble making money from the remains. GM's mantra these days is yhat it will only compete in markets where it's a snap to turn a profit. Doing what Ford has boldly done with the Bronco twins and Mach E would cost actual money with no guarantee of a handsome return. The mice at the helm of GM have no taste for adventure or risk.

  • Sckid213 Sckid213 on Jul 15, 2020

    If GM wants a vehicle to make a nostalgic-driven splash like the Bronco is, I can think of no better vehicle than the El Camino. If the model had a wide range -- affordable base model, lots of engines to choose from, all sorts of add-ons, high-po top-end models -- it could actually replace the Camaro's place in the line-up and bring similar ATPs.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 16, 2020

      @sckid213: They tried that with the SST... and failed miserably because they grossly over-engineered it, which drove the price up into the Corvette range after they had publicly announce it was intended for the Camaro market.

  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.
  • Graham The answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked LOL
  • Bill Wade I live in AZ. I don't think you'd find very many LEOs that would pay the slightest attention to kids on e-bikes.