Next year the excuses stop at GM for having a disjointed portfolio.
November 6, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
Over the last few decades we’ve all come accustom to hearing General Motors kick the can down the road when faced with inquires about a questionable product lineup. “Wait until next year” has been a common theme; first to justify lackluster products, and more recently to justify a product lineup peppered with increasingly uncompetitive vehicles. Next year, however, justification for excuses cease, because the company is overhauling the rest of the lineup, including the legends.
Names like Silverado, Sierra, Suburban, Impala and Corvette are iconic products. With nearly each of them being intertwined into the fabric of the country that birthed them decades ago, it’s only natural that as they decline, so do their perceptions with the public that is expected to buy them. Today some of those very legends of the GM product portfolio constitute a remaining legion of vehicles that serve as a constant reminder of a GM that was less focused and less concerned about product excellence.
GM’s entire full-size truck and SUV lineup—about one-third of their entire product portfolio—has been on the market since 2007 in most cases. The aging Impala has been on the market since 2006, while the iconic Corvette has managed to stay with the same core design since 2004. By today’s standards, each one of those product lines are ancient, and they end up forming a large swath of GM’s portfolio in North America.
The interesting aspect of GM’s current lineup is that it’s so split. On one side the company has products like the Cadillac ATS, Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic; all well received by the press and public, with sales figures (so far) agreeing. Then on the other end of the spectrum, the company is still making excuses with products like a rental-grade Impala that should have been retired before the company went bankrupt.
But the days of GM’s polarizing lineup are coming to an end in 2013. Nearly every remaining stale product is being replaced within the next calendar year, including the majority of the company’s full-size truck and SUV lineup. By January 2014 GM will have no more excuses to make and only opinions to win over by applying the company’s newfound product sense to the other half of their portfolio.
When you think about it, 2013 is going to be an interesting year. Not only are legends of GM’s lineup getting replaced, but also 2013 will really mark the first time since the company began restructuring in 2005 that they will have a full lineup of products that are at least competitive.
For years GM has had a mix and match lineup of products. Back in 2004 the company launched several good products, such as the Malibu, Equinox and C6 Corvette. But at the same time the company had cars like the Aveo, G6 and others.
With the replacement of the legends, next year every GM product from the Chevrolet Spark to the Cadillac XTS will be injected with the New GM perspective. This perspective isn’t perfect, but has been proven to at least net competitive vehicles, and in some cases, segment leaders.
The doubt held within industry watchers toward GM has never been about their ability to produce a good product. If anything, GM always seems to be able to churn out at least one decent product even during their darkest hour. No, the doubt has always been in their ability to renew the entire product portfolio and keep it fresh.
GM’s renewed legends begin launching no later than January of next year, starting with the new Impala. The rollout will continue with the truck and SUV lineup, with the Corvette sprinkled in sometime toward mid-2013. To top it all off, perhaps the biggest legend of all launches next year as well, and it isn’t a vehicle at all…the Gen V Small Block V-8.
There’s no question about it: 2013 will go down in the GM history books. Yes, the massive product cadence brings plenty of reasons to pop the cork on the bubbly, but it isn’t all glorious. With such a lofty product rollout comes lofty expectations. These are the legends, after all. Anything short of spectacular from any of the upcoming launches next year will cause great scrutiny.
GM’s mission statement is to “design, build, and sell the world’s best vehicles.” Next year will likely be the first fair barometer to just how deeply that statement has oozed into the cracks of New GM.
Projected Launch timing:
- 2014 Chevrolet Impala - Q1 2013
- 2014 Chevrolet Silverado / 2014 GMC Sierra - Q2-Q4 2013 (crew cab, extended cab, then regular cab)
- 2014 Chevrolet Corvette - Summer 2013
- 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe / 2014 GMC Yukon - Q4 2013
- 2014 Chevrolet Suburban / 2014 GMC Yukon XL - Q4 2013
- 2014 Cadillac Escalade - Q1 2014