What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

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Thread: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

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    What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    I saw this posted somewhere and thought it might be appropriate to post here. If men like this still existed, I wonder if GM would be a more exciting place?


    1966 photo of John Z. DeLorean. DeLorean joined Pontiac Motor Division on September 4th, 1956 as Director of Advanced Engineering. In 1961 he was promoted to Chief Engineer, and in 1962 Pontiac jumped to 3rd in sales (only Chevrolet and Ford sold more vehicles), a remarkable turnaround for a company that was 6th in sales just 4 years earlier. DeLorean was promoted to Pontiac General Manager in 1965, becoming the youngest GM division manager up to that point. Under his leadership Pontiac would hold on to 3rd place in sales throughout the 1960's. DeLorean was promoted to Chevrolet General Manager in February 1969.


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    I’m sure GM does, what it does not have is a culture that puts engineering integrity above all else. GM needs a CEO who has a doctorate in engineering, just to get them out of the focus-on-short-term-profits rut they are in.
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    He'd probably be implicated in some sort of inappropriate workplace incident and have to resign to spend more time with the family.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    I dont know about Delorean, but they do need a fresh mind with the ability to think outside the box...as it was previously mentioned, they're in dire need of someone capable of thinking outside the box...right now all we're getting are rehashes of already available products and the Corvette.
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    I remember talking to John Z when I was a mail boy and when I ran the slide projector for some of his staff meetings at Pontiac. The closest to him was Lutz who I met with many times. Neither were capable of being politically correct for more than a very short time. There is no room for a John Z or Bob Lutz in GM's "woke" culture.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpole View Post
    I remember talking to John Z when I was a mail boy and when I ran the slide projector for some of his staff meetings at Pontiac. The closest to him was Lutz who I met with many times. Neither were capable of being politically correct for more than a very short time. There is no room for a John Z or Bob Lutz in GM's "woke" culture.
    And that is a problem.
    Pony Car: an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image and an available V8.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    I don't think it will have mattered much. The world has changed. At one time a lot of young people dreamed of owning a sports car. Now they dream of owning an iPhone and are happy with a CUV. If there was demand, GM and the other manufacturers would be building sporty cars like they did 30 years ago.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    I don't think it will have mattered much. The world has changed. At one time a lot of young people dreamed of owning a sports car. Now they dream of owning an iPhone and are happy with a CUV. If there was demand, GM and the other manufacturers would be building sporty cars like they did 30 years ago.
    Is there no demand because the products aren't there to spark desire or are there no products which spark desire because there is no demand?
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z284ever View Post
    Is there no demand because the products aren't there to spark desire or are there no products which spark desire because there is no demand?
    I've come to think that there just isn't demand for fun, exciting products. It's all about utility now. And with ordinary cars able to outperform sports cars of the past, those that have a desire for an exciting product don't need to make compromises on utility.

    DeLorean was a man of a very mixed legacy. He was erratic.
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Interesting question, and I feel a lot of the correct answers have already shown up.

    GM's main issue now is the culture, and that culture is driven more by Wall Street investors than anything else. The target for higher ATPs is a product of Wall Street. Everyone's hatred of the "bean counters" should be more directed at Wall Street. The investors demand more profits, and GM has to deliver.

    In a world where the investors control industries they don't understand by pushing for higher profits above all else, you get glorified appliances that either cost more or are decontented vs. the competition. The passion for the brand is fading as more and more people view cars (through leasing) as disposable/replaceable items like a cell phone. Brand loyalty only exists in the few niche markets that haven't been completely squashed yet (trucks, large SUVs, Vette). All other consumers are just looking for the next good lease deal. Thus the popularity of a Mercedes CLA/GLA or a BMW X1.

    In today's automotive climate, I don't feel like the free thinkers have a place. At least not a place to shine. Buick's VERY well received concepts went nowhere... Everyone just needs to stay in line or get off the ride at this point. Wall Street demands it.
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Times change - and so do products and consumer desires, wants and needs. I’m often amazed at the number of posts regarding, “the good old days” - and how things would be better now if we returned to the past. Not going to happen.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpole View Post
    I remember talking to John Z when I was a mail boy and when I ran the slide projector for some of his staff meetings at Pontiac. The closest to him was Lutz who I met with many times. Neither were capable of being politically correct for more than a very short time. There is no room for a John Z or Bob Lutz in GM's "woke" culture.
    Yeah. A stifling bureaucracy where free thinkers are considered on the edge of sanity. I'm thinking of the culture John Z hired into. Same dark suits, same ties, same white shirts, same GM cars, same golf club membership, same...

    Quote Originally Posted by Z284ever View Post
    And that is a problem.
    Yup. Bureaucracies are essentially suicide pacts--though nobody in there knows it, they just think they're protecting the club--as they close themselves off from any weird or wacky ideas. Look at our intel agencies for object lessons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z284ever View Post
    Is there no demand because the products aren't there to spark desire or are there no products which spark desire because there is no demand?
    Yes. And the trend is the trend, what's in is what's in and I don't think even a DeLorean could change that a lot. But a lot of these utes handle pretty well, as well as or better than the sedans of yore. The number of performance drivers has never been a high percentage, at least probably since the late '70s, so you're not going to sell "excitement." You're going to sell utility with very decent to excellent performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by ksr View Post
    I've come to think that there just isn't demand for fun, exciting products. It's all about utility now. And with ordinary cars able to outperform sports cars of the past, those that have a desire for an exciting product don't need to make compromises on utility.

    DeLorean was a man of a very mixed legacy. He was erratic.
    I have a fun exciting car. You don't need two doors and 20" high seats to make excitement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Fury View Post
    Interesting question, and I feel a lot of the correct answers have already shown up.

    GM's main issue now is the culture, and that culture is driven more by Wall Street investors than anything else. The target for higher ATPs is a product of Wall Street. Everyone's hatred of the "bean counters" should be more directed at Wall Street. The investors demand more profits, and GM has to deliver.

    In a world where the investors control industries they don't understand by pushing for higher profits above all else, you get glorified appliances that either cost more or are decontented vs. the competition. The passion for the brand is fading as more and more people view cars (through leasing) as disposable/replaceable items like a cell phone. Brand loyalty only exists in the few niche markets that haven't been completely squashed yet (trucks, large SUVs, Vette). All other consumers are just looking for the next good lease deal. Thus the popularity of a Mercedes CLA/GLA or a BMW X1.

    In today's automotive climate, I don't feel like the free thinkers have a place. At least not a place to shine. Buick's VERY well received concepts went nowhere... Everyone just needs to stay in line or get off the ride at this point. Wall Street demands it.
    No, and at GM they haven't had room to grow for a long time. As Rumpole the Bailey says, the GM culture is not conducive to free thinkers. I've been in these environments and when you say something that most present are incapable of thinking much less saying, their eyes bug out like the novelist Adam S and if they had any dyno-mite aboard, their heads would explode.
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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    I do think GM needs more people with passion. GM does some good things, hell, they do some great things. The problem is getting a cohesive package. There is a disconnect.
    All anyone needs to do is look at Hyundai and Kia. Sure their products can look _________ insert you own word there. But my point is they appear to have more passion and drive for success. My opinion is it shows in their updated vehicles. Just look at what they've done over the last 10 years or so. Give them a few more and they'll be eating lunches.
    Saying this doesn't mean I don't want a new Cadillac but does say, you never know about the future.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z284ever View Post
    Is there no demand because the products aren't there to spark desire or are there no products which spark desire because there is no demand?
    Chicken or the egg question. If you build it will they come?

    I think some of it has to do with the price of vehicles - vehicles are so expensive and only going up, so people wind up making what is the practical (or to use ksr's word - utilitarian) choice - a vehicle than can do a bit of all things rather than something they may truly want like a sports car.

    That, and cars I feel aren't the "freedom" they once were. Cars were a way to get out into the world and meet your friends - the only way (ignoring public transit of course) - and they were an extension of self expression. Now people of all ages really can get a similar feeling of "freedom" in their hands with their phone - you can talk to or even see your friends without leaving your bed. Couple that with people wanting "experiences" now, a car is becoming more of an appliance rather than a mode of expression. Obviously they still are for plenty of people, but the appliance slice of the pie is getting larger.

    The trick is - can you build a product that both sparks that desire AND satisfies that utility aspect? There have been different takes on it with mixed results, and even those results depend on who you ask.

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    Re: What if GM still had a John Z. DeLorean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z284ever View Post
    Is there no demand because the products aren't there to spark desire or are there no products which spark desire because there is no demand?
    Good question, but to me we have the answer. There are still sports and sporty cars out there and their take rate is a pale shadow of what they once were. At one time didn't the Mustang and F Body each sell close to a half million a year each? Even the successful current gen Mustang only sells a small fraction of that now. And GMI was going nuts trying to get Chevy to build that small rwd low cost concept (I forget the name) a couple of years ago. Toyota/Subaru built the equivalent (BRZ) and they barely sell. Civic SI's used to be all over the place, now it is few and far between that I see those eyesores. Subaru WRX's sell a little, but again, I don't see a million of them. If there was desire these cars would be selling in high volumes and the car makes would be tripping over each other to have sporty variants of all vehicles.

    And on top of it, I don't even see cars with sporty modifications nearly as much as I used to. Fart can exhausts, lowered suspensions, modified engines, homemade spoilers, etc. seem to be on the decline as well. I think that is very telling.

    And if it were just GM, then I'd also agree. But most of the mainstream makes have stopped making sporty variants for a reason. Demand isn't there.

    And don't get me wrong, I do want sporty variants. The only cars GM has left that appeal to me are the CT4/CT5. I'd love a lower cost alternative, even fwd based if decent looking. I think the "image" market has shifted to trucks. Trucks like the Raptor or the Colorado with the Bison package, etc. are where the action is now at.

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