GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

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Thread: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

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    GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting
    Why isn't 20 year old technology standard by now in all luxury vehicles?
    www.gminsidenews.com
    May 13, 2010
    By: Mark Bono


    High-Intensity Discharge( HID) headlights, also known as Xenon headlights, are a type of headlamp used in some models of cars, typically luxury cars. They were first introduced back in 1991 on the BMW 7-Series. Xenon headlamps produce more light without sacrificing power consumption or lifespan. They are actually known to last longer then the typical halogen setup having a lifespan of 2,000 hours versus 450 to 1,000 hours for halogens. The brighter luminance produced by Xenon's enable drivers to see further down the road and react quicker and more accurately to any obstruction in their way. They also provide a wide angle of light, enabling drivers to see what is off to the side of the road to see possible objects like deer that could dart out onto the road. In my experience using them, they are able to light the road at twilight better then halogens. The only disadvantages to Xenon's are glare to oncoming vehicles and their cost. Though the glare issue can be solved if drivers don't act like deer in headlights when they see a vehicle with Xenon lights. The cost is offset by the longevity of Xenon's, reducing how often the buyer will have replace them.

    This technology is approaching a market life of 20 years now, and it is just starting to become standard equipment on high-end luxury vehicles. This--to me--is amazing. Headlights become a major safety feature when driving at night, and a lot of other safety features are already standard on the mainstream vehicles (ABS, stability control, TPMS, etc). You would think something such as a major technological advancement in headlight designs would have become the standard headlight on luxury vehicles and trickled down to the mainstream vehicles as optional equipment. While we have some mainstream vehicles offering Xenon headlights, it is still not a prevalent option on vehicles.

    This is a great opportunity for GM to make inroads into reviving Cadillac and Buick as relevant luxury marques. As of now, Xenon's are only standard on higher trims of a luxury vehicle or on high-end luxury vehicles like the 7-Series and S-Class. To my complete and utter surprise, the exception is that the Buick Enclave has them standard across the board. Not even the CTS or SRX--which costs roughly the same as the Enclave--can say that. What is up with that GM? The Enclave really reinforces my point and opinion that GM from top to bottom of Buick's and Cadillac's lineup should make Xenon's standard equipment. Why can the Enclave have them standard and not the CTS and SRX? If they want to take it a step further, make adaptive-Xenon headlights standard. GM should also expand the use of the Escalade Platinum's LED headlamps as optional equipment on the XTS and possibly the next generation Cadillac CTS. This will help Cadillac be seen as a company that can be innovative and live up to its "Mark of Leadership" tagline. I feel that Cadillac has not been very innovative this past decade. A lot of the features that Cadillac invented have popped back up in other luxury marques--such as night vision in BMW's 5 and 7-Series. That is a Cadillac innovation, yet it is banished from the Cadillac lineup today. With Cadillac's obsession over catching up to BMW and Mercedes, it seems like they forgot to innovate along the way.

    GM also needs to make Xenon's optional equipment on their mainstream vehicles. I would want vehicles from the Malibu up to have them as optional equipment and have projectors optional on Cruze and smaller. And integrate each brands signature lighting design into the Xenon lights. GM has already done a good job putting Cadillac's "light pipes" in their new models, now GM needs to be consistent with doing the same for the other brands. Take the Camaro's halo's and integrate them into the Xenon's for the Malibu, Impala, Tahoe, Equinox, etc. Do the same for the projectors on the Cruze, Aveo, and Spark to be consistent. Make sure every Buick has the blue ring and the eyebrow the Regal has( pictured above). Create a signature lighting theme for GMC. Instead of having a lighting element go around the headlights in the usual circle pattern, have LED's encircle the headlights in a square pattern in a distinctive color since blue is overused and DOT regulations won't allow for GMC's signature red color.

    GM, it is time to take the lead in exterior lighting and make Xenon headlights standard equipment on your luxury vehicles from Buick to Cadillac and expand each brands signature lighting design to other models. You already have your foot in the door with the Enclave, Regal, Camaro, and Cadillac's light pipes, now just completely open that door and expand those features to the rest of the brands.
    Last edited by nsap; 11-20-2010 at 06:47 PM.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    lighting on a car can make a huge difference exterior looks.
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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    Excellent thought and my guess is easy to implement - especially in the cars where xenon is already an option.

    The high end headlights really do give a car a techy high end look - they make an impact that GM needs.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    If every car ends up having Xenon's then they're no longer any special. In my opinion, as I stated in the Regal thread, I don't think all cars look good with HID's. The Camaro, yes love them. On the Regal I actually prefer the look of the Halogen's. I think GM needs to leave it an option. Fog lamps on luxury cars, now those should be standard, looks like they're missing something when they aren't there.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Payne78 View Post
    If every car ends up having Xenon's then they're no longer any special. In my opinion, as I stated in the Regal thread, I don't think all cars look good with HID's. The Camaro, yes love them. On the Regal I actually prefer the look of the Halogen's. I think GM needs to leave it an option. Fog lamps on luxury cars, now those should be standard, looks like they're missing something when they aren't there.
    That is why Cadillac needs to expand the use of the Escalade Platnium's LED headlamps. So Xenon's become standard, and the LED's become the special lighting lure that Xenon's use to have. It's about progress and it is about time halogens begin to be phased out of automotive use.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    Mr. Bono, I could not agree more. Very well-written argument.

    GM is a bureaucracy, there is no denying that. And though it is now being well-led (IMO), bureaucracies move S-L-O-W-L-Y.

    I, for one, hope they listen to your point of view.

    Weren't Halogen headlights used as selling points on cars built in the 80's? WTF did they use before that? Candles?

    Anyway, your point about HID being an established technology that should be more available is well-stated.
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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    I agree. Lighting can make a huge difference not only in visibilty and safety, but also in the perception of the brand. Look at the all the media attention Audi got when they introduced their current lighting scheme with the LED accents.

    I agree mostly with what you have said regrading GM's potential lighting strategy. However I think that that HID should only be standard in all models under the Cadillac brand, and they should use 55 watt ballasts. Buick should use the same 55 watt ballasts in their 3rd tier only, 35 watt in the 2nd tier, and (flame if you must) white & bright halogens in the 1st tier (base). Every other vehicle under Chevy & GMC should use halogens in every model except the highest trim level, in which case they can use the 35 watt ballasts from the 2nd tier Buicks.
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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    The better lights are a great idea when the car is new. However when they need to be replaced, the cost is outrageous! I just called about a new Enclave. To buy just 1 lamp it is $293. So $600 for two. (when one light goes out they all go out!) If I have a 5-7 yr old car I have no desire to put that much money into headlights. I think GM is doing the right thing here. I, along with most people, are more then willing to spend $20 for another halogen lamp any day! Most decisions need to be made looking at the big picture!!!
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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    What a great idea...
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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    The future is not with HID, but rather with LEDs. We will soon see LEDs used for headlights, and for other lighting functions on automobiles. LEDs will use significantly less power and provide greater reliability.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    Audi is a brand that understands being unique in the exterior lighting department. Their use of LED accents is what sets their cars apart, I don't find anything groundbreaking in their design to warrant the attention they are getting but because of the LED you can recognize their cars anywhere.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    I totally agree with this. I will not own another car without at least projectors.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    what happened to that technology- where they had some light source in the trunk in a box- and had Fiber optic cable that ran to all the corners of the car and where ever light was needed.....

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyRules View Post
    GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting
    Why isn't 20 year old technology standard by now in all luxury vehicles?
    The answer is easy.
    GM is a company driven by costs and cost containment. These more advanced lighting features cost money. And I'm willing to bet money that GM's "customer research" sees these more expensive lights as "unnecessary" for GM's target demographic. That is, people who buy GM cars don't care what kind of lights the car has and most likely are not willing to pay more to get them.

    So, in the interest of cost cutting, GM doesn't offer the lights.

    Saab offered projectors long before even Cadillac because these lights were seen as necessary in the European market.

    It just goes to show you just how bass ackwards GM's thinking was. The "New GM" hasn't proven as forward thinking at this point.

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    Re: GM Should Lead In Exterior Lighting

    LED lighting is the future.. I recommend LED across the board; they're substantially longer lasting, (119,000 hours) and are safer, because if an individual element fails, you still have illumination, even if slightly diminished.

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