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It was only a couple of weeks ago where most of were singing the praises of GM at the Detroit car show. An all new Vette. A Grand Am Replacement that's a real home run. A Cavalier replacement that should finally be able to compete with the class leaders. The Hot Solstice. The cool Kappa-Concepts.

What a difference a couple of weeks make.

The Chicago show is coming up, and there is nothing of real interest. Very lackluster performance coming from GM.

CSV Minivans
You have not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 virtually identical minivans. Aside from grille, wheels and some minor trim, these vehicles are indistinguishable from each other. On top of that, the rear styling of the vans is unchanged from a design from 5 years ago.

Furthermore, these vans (or CSVs as GM wants you to call them) are missing several key features found on the competition that have made the last generation vans feel so dated.

Most importantly is the fold into the floor seats. Sure the new seats fold flat, but much storage space is lost by not having the deep wells. The seats are what immediately wows customers. By not being cutting edge with seat functions, you will turn off some people immediately.

Secondly is the lack of a 240hp engine. 240 seems to be the new benchmark to hit. It's what is being found in other showrooms. It doesn't matter how smooth/good/performing/whatever the 200hp engine is, it's a numbers game. People are impressed with numbers.

GM's problem is in perception. We know that recent execution has been much better. But if you can't lure the import buyers back into the showrooms, then it doesn't matter how good the cars actually are. These CSVs are a big let down. 4 times over.

The Denalis

Does GMC need a luxury truck? Isn't that the purpose of the whole Cadillac Truck series? GM has way too much overlapping as it is. The Denalis get a new grille and some wood trim. Does this justify the price difference? I don't think so. Instead of investing money on trim packages (which is really what the aftermarket is for), GM should be making their vehicles better.

Buick Lacrosse

The only "all-new" vehicle being shown in Chicago is the new enry-level Buick Lacrosse. Ignoring the whole "masturbation" scandal with the name, this vehicle disappoints me.

The look of the Lacrosse is a combination of 2004 Grand Prix, and 2000 Ford Taurus. While that's not entirely a bad thing (the vehicle isn't ugly), it isn't a great thing. It lacks style, trying hard to be all things to all people. Some people say Lexus, some people say Jaguar, some people say Taurus. Wouldn't it be nice if people immediately said "BUICK"? The theme of this vehicle seems to be the same as the Kia Amanti. If we can't win the public, we'll at least try to trick them.

The entry level Buick plays a very important role in GM's lineup. For the GM enthusiasts, it's a important transition vehicle for when Chevrolet is too economical, but the Cadillac price tag is too high. Buying a Buick is a perfect transitional vehicle. Those buying an car like the Lacrosse will also be looking at the Honda Accord EX-V6, Top model Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima and others. It's a tough competitive category, and I don't think that Buick has what it takes to compete in this segment. Not from a style perpsective, and I don't think in terms of performance, and usability either. Now I haven't seen or driven the car in real life, but as someone who has owned several Japanese cars, and follows all brands, and is a good judge of people, I can honestly say that this new Buick will not bring tradional Japanese buyers into their showrooms. With Toyota taking over the number 2 sales spot, GM shoud be concerned.

All-in-all

Aside from what was seen in Detroit and LA, GM has no new concepts here. That automatically takes away some of the fun factor of going to a car show. I think GM should have kept one of the kappa trio for release in Chicago. Make some buzz.

GM needs to really focus on what makes the leaders in each segment sell, and then try their best to emulate that factor. Study the Camry. Study the Caravan/Sienna. Rebuild them, make it better. Be innovative. Give the customer what they are looking for. If this means spending more money on one thing (like a proper 4 door family car) and abandoning other projects (like 5 rebadged trailblazers, and 4 rebadged CSVs) and niche cars like the SSR, then so be it. GM has enough cars on their "menu" that dropping a couple models here and there to make great cars that will be sales leaders can't possibly be a bad thing.
 

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Originally posted by Rex Raider@Feb 4 2004, 09:20 AM
GM needs to really focus on what makes the leaders in each segment sell, and then try their best to emulate that factor. Study the Camry. Study the Caravan/Sienna. Rebuild them, make it better. Be innovative. Give the customer what they are looking for. If this means spending more money on one thing (like a proper 4 door family car) and abandoning other projects (like 5 rebadged trailblazers, and 4 rebadged CSVs) and niche cars like the SSR, then so be it. GM has enough cars on their "menu" that dropping a couple models here and there to make great cars that will be sales leaders can't possibly be a bad thing.
I agree, but given the relationship GM has built with its dealers, that may be a challenge.

GM - well, all car companies - sell their cars to the dealers, not to us. And a lot of GM dealers were set up in the days when every division was nearly a full-line automaker. GM needs to continue the process of undoing this - of creating a mission for each division and developing an appropriate product portolio to meet that mission. This might means that the only full-line division will be Chevrolet.

But, this poses a real problem for GM's direct customers - its dealers. For GM dealers that don't carry Chevrolet, not running a full line create a whole bunch of problems for your business.

The minivans are a great example. Given its mission, does Pontiac really need a minvan? Chevy certainly does. I can see the arguement for Saturn. Buick might be able to use one if its upscale enough. But Pontiac? The sporty, performance leader? Yet, Pontiac dealers are used to having a full line of cars to sell - you can't just take away their minivan volume all in one shot.

Solving this problem will take some time to allow all of these independent businesses to adjust their strategy. Some may have to change the divisions they sell. Buick and Cadilac might become good upscale pairings. Some areas might be better off with Chevrolet and Buick. Some urban areas might be able to carry Cadillac or Pontiac only "boutique" dealerships, once they get their product portolios in line. But in any case, I think the General may be trying to be sensitive to the needs of its dealers as it evolves to a more rational brand strategy.
 

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Very well said, Rex, my sentiments exactly. I too think the new Buick looks strangely like a Taurus - an odd choice for a brand looking to expand its customer base. More than that, the "Lacrosse" looks like something Buick should have offered in 1998, not 2004.

And the cloned Minivans are a huge disappointment that are sure to be ridiculed as "badge engineering gone wild" by the media and astute car buyers.

Oh well, at least we have all of the stuff from the Detroit Auto show to be happy about. :)

And I suppose it was too much to ask to expect the flood of new product from GM to all be fresh, new, attractive and original.

One bright spot in the LaCrosse -- the 3.6L engine from the Cadillac CTS. Finally GM realizes that to compete with Lexus, they need modern, not "proven, venerable" engines. The 3800, great engine though it may be, will remain for the fleet & volume sales. ;)
 

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Well said Rex :D,
I agree with everything U had 2 say . The Mini-vans R a joke (I'd honeslty buy a Nissan Quest B4 1 of these things) and the Denalis just have no reason 4 being. If I'm going 2 dump an excess amount amount of money in2 a truck it's going 2 B a Slade ESV/EXT or perhaps a Trailblazer SS, or maybe a loaded Avalanche. Not 1 of these rehashes of a rehash. Is there a real reson 2 have GMC anyway???...What products do they have that the other divisons don't? The XUV????...And last,but not least the LaCrosse.......looks like a revamed Regal 2 me, hell but what do I know.....
 

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I agree, Rex, and I agree in particular with your last comment:

"...GM needs to really focus on what makes the leaders in each segment sell, and then try their best to emulate that factor. Study the Camry. Study the Caravan/Sienna. Rebuild them, make it better. Be innovative. Give the customer what they are looking for. If this means spending more money on one thing (like a proper 4 door family car) and abandoning other projects (like 5 rebadged trailblazers, and 4 rebadged CSVs) and niche cars like the SSR, then so be it. GM has enough cars on their "menu" that dropping a couple models here and there to make great cars that will be sales leaders can't possibly be a bad thing."

I see nothing wrong with admitting [privately] that you don't make the best vehicle in a particular segment, benchmarking the top guy, and ultimately outdoing them in the end. In 1989 or so, I recall thinking it was odd that Lexus engineers prepared to build the LS400 by deconstructing multiple Mercedes and BMW automobiles before their engineers put pen to paper on the new LS. Hmmm, but when the LS came to market with its then hush-hush ride, fabulously silky-smooth multivalve V-8, and the like, it snowed the competition. 15 years hence, it seems like Lexus' admission that it didn't yet know how to make a luxury car and their subsequent exploration to learn how to do just that paid off.

Instead, GM appears to struggle with outright arrogance and a lack of humility; they have a hard time realizing that they do not write the formula for minivans or midsize cars. Suck it up and learn from those who do. I honestly believe that they did zero benchmarking when it came to their minivans (I'm not going to get into that ridiculous struggle and call them CSV's); as others at GMI have put it aptly, they didn't do their homework. The price they will pay is clear: sliding share, razor-thin profits, under-utilized factories, and the "perception" that they don't build world-class cars. They must be content with their fate.
 

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Originally posted by casket_demon@Feb 4 2004, 05:55 PM
...and the Denalis just have no reason 4 being. If I'm going 2 dump an excess amount amount of money in2 a truck it's going 2 B a Slade ESV/EXT or perhaps a Trailblazer SS, or maybe a loaded Avalanche. Is there a real reson 2 have GMC anyway???...
I agree completely, especially now that they have Hummer too. That's a really recognizable and aspirational truck line. Caddy and Hummer handle this segment just fine, GM doesn't need GMC. Once again, too much overlapp.

The strategy now seems to be pairing up Buick, Pontiac, and GMC. I say just give Pontiac all the products now given to GMC. It will strengthen the Pontiac division tremendously. If even Hyundai and Kia are thinking of offering trucks, and sporty brands like BMW and Nissan, why not Pontiac? How awesome would it be to know that you could go to either Chevrolet or Pontiac to get anything from small/medium/larger sedans, SUVs, and Trucks. Two strong brands anchoring the lower end for GM, while Cadillac and Buick anchor the high end.
 

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The Buick LaCrosee is an attractive car. It doesn't (and couldn't) remind me of the six or seven cars that you seem to think it resembles. You seem to want a new Buick, but one that looks like the old Buicks. If Buick were as unfocused in their designs as your arguments appear to be, it would be a blob of steel resting on 4 wheels (which I'm sure you would note a "round, just like the Mazda's and Toyota
Camry's").
 

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I don't agree with you, Rex. 240 hp isn't the standard for a minivan, because minivan buyers aren't horsepower hungry. A V-6 is enough for minivans, power isn't about a minivan. Capabilities and passengers are more important in a minivan buyer's mind. Overhead rail systems, skylights, being able to seat 7 or 8, cool storage features are important, not 300 hp minivans. Come on, Rex. I expected better from you. Go ahead and buy a gas-guzzler minivan. I wouldn't be surprised if GM, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Toyota or Hyundai came out with a V-8 minivan.

The LaCrosse, and Denali trucks are ugly. The problem is that GM, Ford, and Chrysler are trying to hard to revive that they're making vehicles ugly. Too bad.
 

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As of now, only the new Buicks are in my gunsights for a new vehicle. A friend just bought perhaps the ugliest car I've ever see - the new Honda Accord, in what
Honda optimistically refers to as "silver," but which is a dull gray metallic, if you
can imagine that. It also seems to have shrunk from his previous Accord in the truck area, which wasn't very large to begin with. The LaCrosse is the first of the new Buicks I've seen, and based on its very attractive looks, I'm waiting to see the Velite and the new "big brothers" as well. I'm glad to see that Buick is
retaining the 3800 engine in some of the LaCrosse models. I wouldn't trade that engine for the VVT, or any OHC of any other manufacturer. It is one sweet, easy to maintain engine that lasts forever. OHCs are buzzy and have to be beat to death to move out from a standing start. Only the young and those who think they are "new" architectures seem to like them. But they'll put up with anything in the name of "latest and greatest." Apparently they don't realize how old the OHC architecture really is - much older than them. And gas mileage isn't very good
either, and odd characteristic for an "advanced engine."
 

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I also dont agree with you rex, but because its my little brothers birthday, and I need to get to the movie theaters in 20 mins, I'll hold off for now and edit later.
 

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In some small towns , dealers sale all of the GM lines. Also go to any dealer and they now can she any car under the sun.
Maybe they should all the division into a GM line and market models not divisions.
I like the looks of the Honda Accord
Denalis if they were just to keep in the pick up truck lline would be fine. Since Caddy does not have a pickup truck please do not say that the Ext is a pickup.
What is the purpose does the EXT server.
Has any seen an EXT with sometime in the box.
And why can you not get Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist on a pickup truck or Van but you can on a Rendezvous.Put a cap on a truck and see how easy it to fit in a parking space.
 

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Originally posted by gmwsag@Mar 14 2004, 11:48 AM
I don't agree with you, Rex. 240 hp isn't the standard for a minivan, because minivan buyers aren't horsepower hungry. A V-6 is enough for minivans, power isn't about a minivan.
I think what Rex means is that the 3500 won't be able to keep up with the competition. Add some passengers in the CSV and 200HP/220lb.ft. won't be shining. What baffles me is that almost every other minivan has more torque which is very important in a minivan for hauling passengers and luggage! The Sienna has 242lb.ft from only 3.3L! The Freestar/Monterey, Grand Caravan/TC, Quest, Odyssey (and most likely the upcoming one), and Sienna all have more torque than the weak 3500. GM should've used the 3.9 from the G6. That would've at least made the CSVs look partially good...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you read what I wrote, I said it's not about power, it's about numbers on paper.
The typical minivan buyer doesn't need the extra 40hp, or care about it. But when they go to visit other dealerships, the first thing they will be told is that the Oddyssey/Sienna/Caravan, etc... is more powerful than the CSV they are considering.
 

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Ok. About the power thing. I agree that it should have power enough to pull itself and a boat. I mean, if its gunna have this SUV like look, then I say give it a stronger power plant. Maybe the 3.5 is just a stop-gap till the 3.9 comes to market? I think the CSV's lack saftey items that 90% of all mini-van buyers want. The lack of side curtain air bag is a very poor move on GM's part. Lambda isn 20840384 years away, and this mini van has to gain some peoples attention so that whenever Lambda shows up, there will be someone looking at GM vans. As far as styling, what are you gunna do. Nissan and Toytoa both show that if you try to change it up, it just looks but fuggly. At least the CSV's have an SUV like look to them which sets them apart from others.
As for the Denalis... who really cares? Its just a trim level. GMC doesnt have much, and making luxury versions of their trucks is about all they can do.

As for the LaCrosse, its really not a bad looking car at all. Its very pleasing to the eye with its soft tones. The grill and headlights are a nice touch that adds a little flare to the front end. This is really the first attempt from Buick to make any type of new car in a long time. I think the Velite will show us more into what Buick has instore for the likes of Lexus. It could usher in a lot of new cars and designs for buick.

I think we tend to hightlight the negitives, and downplay the postitives.
 

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I don't think that anyone is looking to race mini-vans or SUV's but we all know how nice it is not to sweat tring to merge onto a busy freeway with 4 or 5 people onboard with lugage.

GM's mid-range V6 engines are in sad shape. Other then the SRX 3.6 "Holy Grail" motor that only the Buick Rendezvous Ultra is allowed to use, every other V6 is 30 year old OHV Cast Iron Technolgy.

The 3.5L 'Bu V6 is just a bored out 3.4 and we have to make them in Mexico where I hear they're already having quality control issues.

Why does the Equinox, which I think is a great looking SUV, where they did a great job repackaging the Vue to look unique, get stuck with a junk 3.4L that's IMPORTED FROM CHINA! Not even a high tech OHC VVT V6, just an old tech cast iron V6!!! A fully load CRV costs several grand less and for the same price of the NOX, you can get a V6 Highlander (with a DOHC 3.3L engine that puts out 242 lbs of torque) with 3rd row seating!

The Malibu and G6 look different, but the 'Bu is a dog. The Opel Vectra looks a lot better. Why didn't they just bring that model over directly with those 3.0 and 3.2L OHC V6's they have in Europe?

I'm tired of hearing about GM wasting time creaing a 3.9L OHV cast iron engine!
DOD and 3 valves per cylinder (great: 18 pushrods and lifters to stick down the road) are just looser technologies. Wake up GM, Nobody is working on outdated engine technology like this!
 

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If you look at much of what GM is manufacturing now, it is based on what they were doing in the past. The CSVs - redesigned minivans of yesteryear. The Value V6's - improved engines of yore. The new Grand Prix and Lacrosse - still based on the W-body of the late 1980s.

If GM is serious about improving their vehicles like this, bit by bit, it could work. But something tells me that it is more about cost savings than improving what they had. I dunno, I'll reserve judgement for now, but I agree more DOHC standard engines are needed in GM's lineup, if only for the PR value (or lack of negative PR).
 

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Originally posted by joey@Mar 15 2004, 03:59 PM
I don't think that anyone is looking to race mini-vans or SUV's but we all know how nice it is not to sweat tring to merge onto a busy freeway with 4 or 5 people onboard with lugage.

GM's mid-range V6 engines are in sad shape. Other then the SRX 3.6 "Holy Grail" motor that only the Buick Rendezvous Ultra is allowed to use, every other V6 is 30 year old OHV Cast Iron Technolgy.

The 3.5L 'Bu V6 is just a bored out 3.4 and we have to make them in Mexico where I hear they're already having quality control issues.

Why does the Equinox, which I think is a great looking SUV, where they did a great job repackaging the Vue to look unique, get stuck with a junk 3.4L that's IMPORTED FROM CHINA! Not even a high tech OHC VVT V6, just an old tech cast iron V6!!! A fully load CRV costs several grand less and for the same price of the NOX, you can get a V6 Highlander (with a DOHC 3.3L engine that puts out 242 lbs of torque) with 3rd row seating!

The Malibu and G6 look different, but the 'Bu is a dog. The Opel Vectra looks a lot better. Why didn't they just bring that model over directly with those 3.0 and 3.2L OHC V6's they have in Europe?

I'm tired of hearing about GM wasting time creaing a 3.9L OHV cast iron engine!
DOD and 3 valves per cylinder (great: 18 pushrods and lifters to stick down the road) are just looser technologies. Wake up GM, Nobody is working on outdated engine technology like this!
Considering that OHC and OHV are about the same age, neither is "old tech" ok?
what is "high tech" about OHC motors is the ability of VVT, in which OHV motors have yet to do that. But we all know thats about to change.
It doesnt matter if its OHV or OHC, as long as it makes power. No one looks at engines outside of enthusiasts and says "well, this one has OHC, but this one has OHV... Ill go witht OHC." Please stop with the OHV is old tech bs. It doesnt matter.
 

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Originally posted by joey@Mar 15 2004, 03:59 PM
A fully load CRV costs several grand less and for the same price of the NOX, you can get a V6 Highlander (with a DOHC 3.3L engine that puts out 242 lbs of torque) with 3rd row seating!

Joey, you tried to pass this off in the other Equinox thread also, so I'll put my response here too:

The LT is the top of the line trim for the Equinox, and the AWD version of that is $24,900. A 4WD, V6 Highlander with third-row seating starts at $27930 and doesn't include the level of equipment of the Equinox.

Just where are you getting your prices? I got these directly off of the Mfg web sites. Please tell us what your sources are.
 

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It's really the better engine technology I'm trying to point out. You would rather not have a lighter, smaller displacement, all aluminum 3.3L DOHC engine producing more hp/torque, probably with better gas mileage (hard to tell: some of that is transmission and weight of the car) with more torque then HP thanks to VVT, just like the 30 year old OHV you love?

That "What's good enough for GM is good enough for the country" thinking is how GM got steamrolled by Honda, Toyota, Datsun back in the 70's didn't it?

But GM has these great engines but they're only for the elite $40K plus cars. Honda will give me this technology in a Civic Si.
 

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Certainly, the 3.4L V6 isn't the state of the art for GM's engines, and I wish the Equinox had a newer version like the 3500 or 3900. If it came with the 3.6L DOHC V6, then it would probably come close to the Highlander's $28k price tag too, and it's not designed to play in that range. Competitors like the Escape have DOHC V6s, but they are smaller than the Equinox. The Equinox is staking out some middle ground in size, and keeping the price simliar to the smaller models. Something's got to give.

But as has been said many times in this forum, the automatic assumption that OHC and VVT is always the way to go is not the right way to look at things. Results are the only thing that matters.

For example, I believe you've scoffed at the 3500 V6, which I assume you'd lump in with the 3400 as being a "30 year old" engine, even though the whole 60 degree engine family debuted in the 1980 model year and I'm sure there's not a single part in common. It's sort of like saying the Highlander has a 20-year-old engine because Toyota started making DOHC V6's in the late eighties (15 years plus 5 years for your exaggeration factor). You'd say that it's not as refined or as powerful as the DOHC V6's in the Accord and Camry. But according to Consumers Reports, it out accelerates the DOHC VVT 4 cylinders in these cars, AND gets better mileage. I'm sure it's more refined than those 4's, and probably costs less to build. So where's the downside? Give me the 3500 Malibu which costs the same as the 4-cylinder Camry and Accord.

I have a Toyota DOHC VVT-i engine in my Vibe, and I wouldn't exactly call it refined. It's a noisy little bugger, and it definitely doesn't idle like a V6. If I could have pushrod V6 for the same money that gave me the same mileage, I would definitely take it.

I believe the Equinox will have enough power for the market it's in, with 0-60 times in the mid 8-seconds. More power would always be welcome, and will probably come in time, but it's not exactly going to hold the Equinox back in the meantime.

If I've put word in your mouth in any of this, my apologies, but this seems consistent with your other posts.
 
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