vanshmack· Super Moderator
2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6M w/LS3
I wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said.Originally posted by tgagneguam@Jul 3 2004, 10:50 AM
Honestly, I'm not so sure why GM's sales are down. Sure, you can guess reasons why, but nothing clearly stands out, particularly when you consider what GM is doing and what its competitors are doing, though something can be said for fresh vehicles. It doesn't explain the story completely, though.
If you look at the divisions that have received cash for new products, they're sales are up this year. Cadillac is up 10.9% (ahead of the market), and Chevrolet was next to receive cash (with some vehicles yet to be introduced) and is up 3.5% (albeit slightly less than the market).
GMC, the 2nd largest division at GM by sales and the division that everyone seems to think should get the boot, is up higher than the market (i.e., it seems to have proven its raison d'etre); sales are up 7.8%. There are other divisions that should go before GMC, in my mind.
Pontiac, perhaps through fleet sales(?), has seen its sales surge 12.5% this H1.
Much of GM's share slide is a result of the neglected divisions. Buick, which will be receiving much needed product (though I doubt that what's coming will be sufficient), is down 3.4% YTD (in an up market). Hummer, which we know is a fad vehicle and contributes in a very minor way to GM's total massive sales, is down 24.4%. But it, too, is receiving new product. The defunct Oldsmobile, which we all know is obviously going to post poor sales, is down nearly 65% YTD - that was a loss of almost 60,000 units in H1 of 2004. Saab, which really ought to can the Saab loyalists - it's a fleetingly small number of consumers - saw sales dive 20.6%. It needs a broader range of vehicles, which is why I agree with vehicle concepts as the 9-2X and 9-7X (though I'm disappointed in what Saab has served up in reality). Then, there's the truly neglected division, Saturn, down 22.9%.
Quite honestly, though, managing GM's enormous product portfolio is truly a daunting task that I don't think anyone here could do better than the people in charge at GM, despite people's claimed clairvoyance. Any simpleton can be a Monday-morning quaterback.
Many people have asked GM to improve in substantial ways: quality, productivity, and the adoption of lean manufacturing and constant improvement methods, to name four. To my knowledge, they have made substantial strides in many areas. As one example, it's in the company of only four other manufacturers who beat the industry average in reliability in the last dependability survey. LGR and Detroit/Hamtramck continue to outperform the vaunted Marysville, Ohio and Georgetown, Kentucky plants in terms of producing high quality vehicles. Of course, GM has made foibles; no one is perfect. But should they be punished with a 15% sales dive in an up market. Come on!
When I compare GM to its competitors, I'm honestly perplexed by their success and GM's failure. Are Kia's substantially better than comparable GM products to merit a 31% improvement in Kia sales?! Really? You think so? I certainly don't Kia has nothing on anyone, including price, that should merit that kind of performance. Yet, that's what GM is up against.
Are Toyota's that much better designed for that company to continue gaining market share at the expense of Detroit? Really? You honestly think the Corolla and Camry are such sexy vehicles that they should sell twone to GM's comparable vehicles, particularly when GM's comparable vehicles outrank Toyota's in a variety of ways. I don't see that as being the fault of GM, per se. I had to drive a Camry to figure out what all the hype is about this 450,000 unit/year vehicle. I must have missed something on my test drive.
Lexus has quality, but Cadillac does, too. It's right behind Lexus and ahead of other luxury makes in a variety of ways. Then why should Lexus sales be up nearly 25% to Caddy's 10%? I cannot explain that. As an example, the ES330 (a gussied up Camry with lower quality and comparable price to the CTS) sells in droves; how is that explanable? Where did GM supposedly go wrong there? I cannot put my finger on it. Have you driven the ES330; I think it's quite uninspiring, and it has nothing on anyone in terms of design. The commercial professing its sporty inclinations is an absolute joke, but America seems to be swallowing that load of crap.
And do you think the Tundra is vastly superior to the Silverado? I don't at all, honestly. Yet Tundra sales are up double digits whereas the Silverado lags the market after June's poor showing (yes, Silverado sales dwarf Tundra sales). But why the discrepancy in rate of change of sales? GM dealers are better overall at satisfying customers than many other manufacturers, especially Toyota, so that can't expalin it.
Honestly, I'm dumbfounded by GM's poor showing. They have done a lot in the past 5 years that in my mind should at least merit flat sales, not such a nosedive in them. Do they do some products poorly? Absolutely and without a doubt. But, GM also does a whole lot right, and it should at least be rewarded with industry average performance.
In answer to all your questions, it boils down to perception. Toyota and JD Power have been telling us all that they build the best cars. This has been going on for years. And for most of that time, it's been true. The buying public puts Toyota into that special box, and even though their quality is beginning to slip, the reputation is already secure. I seem to remember reading an article on this site about "perceived quality" versus actual quality...