Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

  1. Welcome to GM Inside News Forum – General discussion forum for GM

    Welcome to GM Inside News Forum - a website dedicated to all things GM.

    You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, at no cost, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, Join GM Inside News Forum today!
     
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

  1. #1
    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,554
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Many, including myself, have been impatient as of late with Bob Lutz. Well, I was just surfing the web and I found this old Motor Trend interview with then GM North American President Ron Zarella. It just gives you an idea of exactly what was in place when Lutz came onto the scene, and how much he has managed to accomplish.

    Exclusive: Interview with Ron Zarella
    GM President talks design, trends, and Aztek

    By Todd Lassa
    Motor Trend, April 2001

    He believes, along with many others in the industry, that SUV crossovers are killing off what's left of the conventional sedan market. "The other trend is the distinct lack of new four-door sedans from anybody," Zarrella adds. Look for variations on last year's Chevy Traverse concept, a two-box midsize "sedan" riding on the current Chevy S-10 platform that might prove you can sell hatchbacks to the American public, after all. Which is what the Pontiac Aztek set out to prove.

    Full Text
    Hidden Content
    "The movement you need is on your shoulders" - Paul McCartney

  2. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,554
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Couple of insights gleaned from this:
    1) Zarella dismissed sedans. If Zarella were still runnning the show, GM would have had NO response to the new Five Hundred, not to mention a viable alternative to the perrenial best sellers Camry and Accord. LaCrosse, the new Impala, the G6 etc are not great cars, but they are all good cars, ones better than that which they are replacing, and all there because Lutz pushed them ahead.
    2. He thought the Aztec was a good idea - Nuff said. On a similar note, remember the "Pirahna" concept that was supposed to replace the Grand Prix? I'll take a zeta G8 thank you very much.
    3. He thought the Aztec was a good idea because it did well in consumer studies. This is most indicative of the big company thought process present at GM. This is stuff Lutz has tried to change (read 'Lutz out to prove he's still got the magic').
    4. The SSR started in the Zarella era. Sometimes, this seems to fall under Lutz's list of supposed failures. To the contrary this was the project that Zarella thought could prove GM could build concepts "on a whim" like, well, Lutz's Chrysler.

    My conclusion: GM was in a tailspin, accelerating toward's the ground when Lutz took over. The fact that we've got V8 Impala's and Grand Prix's, and not an S-10 based Malibu Maxx and Pontiac Pirahna, not to mention the obvious stuff like upcoming killer Saturns and rwd zetas, is in large part a tribute to the progress in GM's thinking.
    Hidden Content
    "The movement you need is on your shoulders" - Paul McCartney

  4. #3
    6.0 Liter L76 V8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    The driver's seat
    Posts
    2,231
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    In all fairness, Zarella had some good things going. The VUE is a nice and competitive vehicle, and the Cadillac renaissance started under Zarella as well. He had some successes, but was planning some things that would have been detrimental to GM. Lutz stepped in at the right time.

  5. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 AdmiralViscen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    8,781
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Well said, dav.
    Hidden Content
    God Bless the Blue Bullet.

  7. #5
    R2-D2 Astromech Droid mgescuro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    43,493
    Thanks
    3,911
    Thanked 2,036 Times in 2,101 Posts
    My Ride
    E350, 9-5 Aero

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Well... Aztek did well in consumer studies because the concept car looked a LOT better and far sleeker than the actual production car. The production car got taller and fatter. I actually liked the concept Aztek. But something happened in the 2 years from concept to production.

    I agree with your conclusion.

    http://www.autoworld.com/news/Pontiac/Aztek.htm


  8. #6
    6.2 Liter LS9 Supercharged V8 AdmiralViscen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    8,781
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    The VUE is also using a Honda engine. There's no excuse for that.

    I think the Aztek concept looked just as crapy as the final product. However, I do like the types of design features introduced in the Aztek and Piranha concepts. I think the sharper, edgier look fits Pontiac better than the current "smooth" look. I think that more refined versions of the Aztek and Piranha (the latter in sedan form, please) would make good competitors for the likes of the Acura TL.
    Hidden Content
    God Bless the Blue Bullet.

  9. #7
    Editor Premium Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    26,951
    Thanks
    71
    Thanked 421 Times in 425 Posts
    Blog Entries
    6

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    About the only thing positive production vehicle Zarella did was the Vue, and it could have been better.

    I also liked his GMC concept. I thought that was a good evolution of design for GMC.

  10. #8
    6.2 Liter LS3 V8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    3,389
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Talking Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Zarella is a good reason to keep Hanging as a means of Capital Punishment.

  11. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    285
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Ron Zarella lives on through people like Jim Bunnel. Just look at the stuff he says to the press and the spin he puts on rebadged product.

  12. #10
    3.6 Liter SIDI V6 Taycron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,124
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    "Well... Aztek did well in consumer studies because the concept car looked a LOT better and far sleeker than the actual production car. The production car got taller and fatter. I actually liked the concept Aztek. But something happened in the 2 years from concept to production.

    I totally agree with that. I actually liked the concept a lot but was highly disappointed in the final product.."
    Last edited by Taycron; 01-14-2005 at 10:18 AM.

  13. #11
    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,554
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Quote Originally Posted by mgescuro
    Well... Aztek did well in consumer studies because the concept car looked a LOT better and far sleeker than the actual production car. The production car got taller and fatter. I actually liked the concept Aztek. But something happened in the 2 years from concept to production.

    I agree with your conclusion.

    http://www.autoworld.com/news/Pontiac/Aztek.htm

    Yeh, that concept car is still no beauty queen to my eyes, but definately is not the abomination on wheels that is the production Aztec. With that, I can add another thing to my list of observations:

    During the Wagoner era, concepts like the Aztec got mangled in production. This summer, we're going to get to see a $20,000 Solstice that looks almost exactly like the concept we saw. If Lutz isn't full of it, the same will go for the Aura.
    Hidden Content
    "The movement you need is on your shoulders" - Paul McCartney

  14. #12
    4.4 Liter Supercharged Northstar dav305z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,554
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    Just a more random thought, but its too bad the Aztec flopped, if for no better reason than that I kind of liked the idea of Pontiac returning to their original scheme of using Native American type names.
    Hidden Content
    "The movement you need is on your shoulders" - Paul McCartney

  15. #13

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,335
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Think GM Isn't Improving? A look back at the good ole' days with Ron Zarella

    does anyone else thinks he looks like Mr Rogers in that pic?

  16. Remove Advertisements
    GM Inside News
    Advertisements
     

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Anybody else upset at Chevy?
    By intimidator37437 in forum Chevrolet Car Discussion
    Replies: 58
    Last Post: 10-30-2005, 09:00 PM
  2. Is Cadillac Really Back?
    By desmo9 in forum Global Cadillac News
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 04-03-2005, 11:54 AM
  3. Is Days Supply a Good Indicator of Success?
    By Titanic in forum General Car Lounge
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-22-2004, 03:31 PM
  4. 2005 Suzuki Verona: Good Taste Rarely Screams
    By Ghrankenstein in forum Opel & Vauxhall News
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 12-22-2004, 09:57 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.2