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Automakers aim to be strong in '10

BY KATIE MERX and SARAH A. WEBSTER • FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITERS • June 1, 2008


It's a familiar tune, played this time with frenetic urgency.
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After tens of thousands of job losses and decades of talk about fuel efficiency, Detroit's automakers say that this time they are serious about slashing costs and shifting from trucks to cars in the wake of $4-a-gallon gas.

They'd better be.

Truck and SUV sales have fallen as dramatically this spring as gas prices have risen, and industry leaders say they believe this time it's not cyclical. Ford Motor Co. is moving to boost car production as it calculates how many salaried jobs to cut. General Motors Corp. is preparing a plan to increase car production and further reduce production of trucks. Chrysler LLC is reevaluating its entire brand strategy and product plan.

The urgency of these shifts is underscored by sales data from recent weeks. Traditional SUVs fell to 4.4% of all U.S. vehicle sales in the first half of May from 8.4% in 2007. Full-size pickups, which accounted for 14.1% of the U.S. vehicle market in 2007, were down to 9% in early May.

Article continues at link....

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080601/BUSINESS01/806010584/1014

 

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What we see is a proper re-leveling of the market to what it should have been had people not gone over to SUVs and other massive vehicles because of excessively cheap fuel.

It's also why I think GM was smart in moving their GMT900s up, taking advantage of the last of that market plus ensuring they have a great vehicle for the historic large vehicle market.

But now the market is returning to people who want reasonable transportation for their particular needs. That still requires people movers, but crossovers, minivans, and wagons will do the job for many and sedans and coupes for the most of the rest.

What we're seeing is a shift back to cars.

And now that the Boomers are aging they'll also be shifting into "impractical" vehicles, but by "impractical" most will be looking at coupes and sports cars now that their children have moved out and they're back down to just the two of them, or in some cases just the one.

So GM's move in with a new Camaro next year is a perfect move to tap into this movement, and providing a Turbo-4 is a very smart move. I simply hope GM sees the advantage of selling RWD coupes within Pontiac as there will be a large market emerging for people that want to enjoy 2-doors now that they no longer need 4.

Though some worry that GM will release the 2-Mode Hybrids just in time for oil to plummet, I doubt it'll go much below $75/barrel. Folks will also have the horror of $135/barrel oil fixated in their minds and will be much more frugal in their choice of vehicle allowing for the 2-Modes to pick up market share for those that want a large vehicle but experience some savings in fuel costs.

Finally, the Volt, also appearing 2010, will provide an out for those wishing to never have to deal with massive spikes in fuel costs. For the 80% of North Americans that live 60kms/40mi from work it'll be the ultimate vehicle requiring a few fill ups a year and still be fully functional as the only vehicle in the family. I believe GM has sorely underestimated how popular something like the Volt will be and that using the technology on a variety of different body style platforms will result in a renaissance for GM.

Next year is going to be very very interesting in a lot of ways. I believe oil prices will drop, new cars like the Camaro will appear, the Volt will be seen testing in its full, new body and the 2-Mode Hybrids will start percolating in faster and faster. By 2010 we'll see 2-Modes on a variety of vehicles, plug-in Vues and probably other plug-ins from GM, the BAS+ should be on a variety of vehicles, and the Volt will be available at the end of the year. With all that in 2009 and 2010 it means GM will have a lot of press and the other manufacturers will have to push products to keep up. If the economy truly recovers in 2010 GM will have positioned the Camaro at the perfect point.

I just see 2010 as the year GM has 3 different "hybrid" drivetrains available, new small cars (Cobalt and maybe even the Beat), and even more fuel efficient crossovers. It's not something anyone else can claim. And since this green worry isn't going away anytime soon, they'll be the leader. A massive change from 2000 and I think that's what Barron's sees as well, as evidenced in this thread.
 

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It's deja vu all over again. Remember after the oil embargo's of the 70's and all the rhetoric about how we'll (the auto makers) never get caught again with "our pants down". We'll make small, fuel efficient, fun to drive cars that people will want.
 

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We'll make small, fuel efficient, fun to drive cars that people will want.

In defense of the domestics, at that time people really didn't "want". Remember the disasterous 1985 and 86 Cadillacs? The public is infamous for saying one thing and doing another. Who's to say if the price of oil suddenly tanks in the next few months that they won't buy pickups and BOF SUV's again? Personally, I don't want to see this. I think in the long term for environmental, political, and economic reasons it's best for us to use as little oil as possible. But the public is fickle.
 

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Automakers aim to be strong in '10

It's a familiar tune, played this time with frenetic urgency.
Advertisement

After tens of thousands of job losses and decades of talk about fuel efficiency, Detroit's automakers say that this time they are serious about slashing costs and shifting from trucks to cars in the wake of $4-a-gallon gas.

They'd better be.

The urgency of these shifts is underscored by sales data from recent weeks. Traditional SUVs fell to 4.4% of all U.S. vehicle sales in the first half of May from 8.4% in 2007. Full-size pickups, which accounted for 14.1% of the U.S. vehicle market in 2007, were down to 9% in early May.
A very timely article and post - in more ways than one.

This has been one of my pet peeves concerning our Domestics - goes waaaaay back to the '60s and beyond, at least on paper.

In a word, always a friend of big oil - by accident and IMO sometimes by design - many - most times by omission or 'neglect' and a lack of quality 'contingency' planning.

Now before some toyota spinmeister tries to spin what I just posted the same could be said about Toyota - see USA production portfolio for introduction.

For sure they're serious now or again if you prefer - there is no other choice.
 

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It's also why I think GM was smart in moving their GMT900s up, taking advantage of the last of that market plus ensuring they have a great vehicle for the historic large vehicle market.
Well heck yeah, they are a business in it to make money. Not at you, but with you on this one. There are a considerable number that will state how stupid GM was to produce them instead of cars. Like GM was somehow forcing Americans to buy SUV's and trucks. Now with higher fuel prices consumer buying habits will likely shift toward smaller vehicles. Wanna bet that GM will now offer more and or better cars. Sometimes you just wanna say, duh!
 

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Like GM was somehow forcing Americans to buy SUV's and trucks.
No, it was a clever move on GM's part to dominate the truck and fullsize SUV segment. But even if you combined minivans, crossovers, and SUV's, that was still only half the market, at their collective peak.

GM paid attention to one half, and acted as though the other half didn't exist. How incompetent can a company be to so blatantly ignore HALF the market?
 

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What we're seeing is a shift back to cars.

And now that the Boomers are aging they'll also be shifting into "impractical" vehicles, but by "impractical" most will be looking at coupes and sports cars now that their children have moved out and they're back down to just the two of them, or in some cases just the one.

So GM's move in with a new Camaro next year is a perfect move to tap into this movement, and providing a Turbo-4 is a very smart move. I simply hope GM sees the advantage of selling RWD coupes within Pontiac as there will be a large market emerging for people that want to enjoy 2-doors now that they no longer need 4.
It could be interesting to see what GM might reserve for us with the Kappa II/Alpha platform

Though some worry that GM will release the 2-Mode Hybrids just in time for oil to plummet, I doubt it'll go much below $75/barrel. Folks will also have the horror of $135/barrel oil fixated in their minds and will be much more frugal in their choice of vehicle allowing for the 2-Modes to pick up market share for those that want a large vehicle but experience some savings in fuel costs.
also, we could add to the list the HCCI and the flex-fuel system to use E85, maybe around 2010, the cellulosic ethanol will be more mainstream and it could be interesting to imagine what'll be the price of E85 fuel for 2010.

Next year is going to be very very interesting in a lot of ways. I believe oil prices will drop, new cars like the Camaro will appear, the Volt will be seen testing in its full, new body and the 2-Mode Hybrids will start percolating in faster and faster. By 2010 we'll see 2-Modes on a variety of vehicles, plug-in Vues and probably other plug-ins from GM, the BAS+ should be on a variety of vehicles, and the Volt will be available at the end of the year. With all that in 2009 and 2010 it means GM will have a lot of press and the other manufacturers will have to push products to keep up. If the economy truly recovers in 2010 GM will have positioned the Camaro at the perfect point.
Ford as well with a new Taurus, reskinned Mustang, upcoming new Fiesta. Maybe we could see a "new age" Chevy vs Ford debate and having Honda and Toyota pants caught down (I know I dream big :eek:) just like Sony who was caught pants down suddenly by Samsung in the early 2000s and it can be interesting to see the results of the Chrysler-Nissan deal.

I read a bit Barron's article about buying GM, I hope then Carlos Ghosn didn't read this one :lmao::fall:
 

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No, it was a clever move on GM's part to dominate the truck and fullsize SUV segment. But even if you combined minivans, crossovers, and SUV's, that was still only half the market, at their collective peak.

GM paid attention to one half, and acted as though the other half didn't exist. How incompetent can a company be to so blatantly ignore HALF the market?
Since 04 GM has come out with 3 new products on the Delta platform and even more on the Episilon/Epsilon II platform. They're working on a new platform for even smaller cars. The Cobalt gets better mileage than the Corolla. The Malibu looks better and the 4 cyl/6 speed auto combo beats the Camry in mileage. Yep sure looks like they ignored that market. Most of these products came out before the GMT900's did.

At least when GM invested money in large pickups and SUV's they got a return on the investment compared to Toyota spending even more for lackluster results.

Time to get rid of your hate and look at GM a little more objectively.
 

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It's deja vu all over again. Remember after the oil embargo's of the 70's and all the rhetoric about how we'll (the auto makers) never get caught again with "our pants down". We'll make small, fuel efficient, fun to drive cars that people will want.
I've read about how GM cheaped up the Corvair and other small cars In The Beginning.

Some stupid, penny wise/pound foolish beancounter decisions cost them untold millions.

Instead of fixing things, they tried to entrap Nader with some hose. Brilliant. :doh:

Hopefully senior leadership has learned something in the intervening decades. :eek:
 
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