GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When the Holden Monaro was cleared to be made ready for the US as the GTO over a decade ago, then General Motors car czar, Bob Lutz boldly projected high sales numbers. The boldness of his projections turned GTO into an event that dealers took full advantage of. And a perfect storm of unrealistic expectations, poor planning, bad timing, and a greedy dealer network made the first number of months of GTO sales beyond horrible.

The RWD sports coupe car was introduced in at the start of winter, not the best time to bring out such a car. As production ramped up, GM picked Pontiac dealers who got the first GTO based on their sales volume, which were all concentrated in the Northeast...again, at the start of the winter. Meanwhile, those dealers were certainly scalping the cars, things were no better in warmer climates. Yours truly was one of the many potential GTO buyers who had money (or preapproved car loans) in hand, ready to drive a new GTO off of the lot if it lived up to expectations on a test drive and a fair price was struck. Instead, some dealers put $20,000 markups on the car. Others refused to allow test drives without signed intent to buy forms signed. And those were the few ready to allow test drives at all....many simply had the car as a take it or not proposition, no test drives allowed.

But it wall wasn't just the dealers who sabotaged the car. Bob Lutz and other GM planners for some explicable reason ignored the sales figures of Mustang Cobras, Mach1 Mustangs, previous year Firebird Trans Ams, and even Camaro SSs...all which sold at a similar MSRP as were on GTO's window stickers (9-12K annually), and predicted GTO sales in the 18-20K per year range. When the car didn't even hit half that number the 1st year, most pundits slammed the GTO as a failure. many used the cars so-called poor sales to justify their view that the GTO's problem was that GM insulted the name by putting it on a car that looked tame (never mind that the GTO has always been a powerful engine in a run of the mill looking family coupe). Even GM's press failed to communicate GTO's intended target (Cobra Mustang) leading magazines and websites to compare the fully loaded GTO to the entire Mustang line......and it fared badly.

With GM's next Holden import, they were going to do things differently. They were going to make sure it was priced right. They were going to sell a V6 "base version" of the car. They were going to build up a large supply before they shipped them. They weren't going to pick and choose what dealers sold the car. To answer critics of the "weak" exterior of the GTO, the G6 came with standard hood scoops, a recessed black out Pontiac grille. While the Monaro/GTO was rounded, the new G6 was angular. GM priced the car right. And last but not least, they advertised the thing. You couldn't watch more than 15 minutes of March Madness that spring without seeing a Pontiac G8 commercial.......The end result? When Pontiac shut it's doors in 2009, it took over a year to unload all the G8s they still had on dealer lots and GM storage lots....and that was after nearly a year of incentives that pushed the price of V6 G8s down near Mustang V6 territory.

This time around, GM's export from Holden was going to avoid all the pitfalls of their pervious 2 efforts. The car went to their biggest division (it could have just as easily went to Buick, since Holden already sells cars under the Buick name). The Chevrolet SS sedan was going to come to the US in one version: "Fully Loaded". It was going to have one engine, the LS3. It was targeted in price right at the Dodge Charger SRT8. Chevrolet chose to sell the car only to dealers who had a good record selling their other performance RWD cars, the Camaro and Corvette. They weren't making any sales predictions, thereby eliminating the pressure of key marketers and the like of pressuring dealers to sell more, or to pile incentives on the hood to meet sales projections if things went soft. They also made the cars essentially special order cars, meaning that the cars were made only if there was a sales slip (or a dealer specifically ordered one). And while the G8 put huge amounts of pressure on Holden's manufacturing capacity, and the GTO literally wore out Monaro's tooling (a car whose production number was to be only 15,000 over 3 years ran 70,000 over 5), the Chevrolet SS sedan would be barely more than the occasional Commodore Redline that went down the line with a Chevrolet grill. To keep investment small, there'd be no advertising budget. The car's advertising appearance would be piggybacked off of the occasional Camaro, Corvette, or the seasonal Nascar advertisement budgets that are used to promote Chevrolet as a performance division...... Does the SS' have a designated advertisement budget??? Does Clint Eastwood wear "Hello Kitty!" briefs? Hardly.

Last year, Chevrolet sold 2,479 SS sedans. That number in itself seems minute, till you realize that up till last September, the Chevrolet SS sedan was well on it's way to topping the Charger SRT8 in sales. But then sales nosedived. Badly. Last month, Chevrolet moved only 93 SS sedans. Only a year before, 239 SSs found homes. In fact, every month this year until August, well over 200 SSs were sold every single month (350 sold in March). In fact, save for the single one that was sold at the tail of October 2013 when the first ones were driven off the ship, last month was the worst month for SS sales ever.

I fully understand that the SS was supposed to be an zero investment vehicle. I also understand that when the business plan was given the OK, they kept production very low because the Aussie/US dollar exchange rate meant that each car imported stood the risk of losing money, and the fewer sold the less money loss. I also understand that the one of the reasons why we even got the SS here was to fill out Commodore's production line and have a product here as a short of showroom topic maker.......But time's come for a different track

A few years ago, just $100 Aussie dollar could buy $120 of ours. Today, it's the other way around!. GM is no longer losing money on the SS, they're making enough on each one that they CAN justify springing for SS specific advertising.

Holden's Commodore sales are starting to sag significantly, so there IS enough production capacity to amp up the number of cars to ship here. Being realistic, no, you aren't going to sell a gazillion big, roomy, V8 sedans in the US anymore. But it's been proven that without money or advertising, the SS sedan has proven that it can not only take on the Charger SRT in sales, but could potentially outsell it....It damn near did it last year.

Think about this: The Chevrolet SS sedan is the ONLY V8 powered luxury performance sedan with over 400hp, that has an optional manual transmission that costs under 60 grand. Even comparing it to a Charger is a bit of a step down. It's more European in looks and handling. Perhaps a poor mans Benz or 5 series....but neither come with a manual.

To Chevrolet in general, but certain GM chiefs in particular.....you're clearing good money on the SS sedan. You have the production capability without squeezing other vehicles made on the Holden line. You've fixed the only issue most genuine targeted buyers had (the manual). The SS is in a perfect position to full in the hole the now deceased Chrysler 300 SRT left behind (yes, incase you missed it, the 300 SRT is dead)......

Now is the time to get serious about selling the Chevrolet SS sedan. Get some advertising out, get a small marketing effort going, and do the job (mindful of past mistakes) that you've wanted to do with a car that's the best all-round sedan General Motors has ever made!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,578 Posts
I suspect the SS is the last inexpensive American V8 sedan, considering the CTS-V will be very expensive and the GNX may not arrive at all, much less a SS Impala on alpha.
But, frankly, is the time for the big rwd V8'sedan passed? I see very few large sedans in L.A., where most drive smaller nimble car/CUVs/suvs and a myriad of others, but not many big sedans.
"Big" may have become cts size, which is okay by me, yet smaller than the SS.
I DO hope GM imports more SSs so that they are available as new and used for SS enthusiasts, but they may be more past history than future products.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,454 Posts
Im on the "wait" list. I know the car has at least two more years. I know that GM doesnt care for the pricing and sets its pretty damn high.

However, Im waiting on the new Camaro to come out. Im waiting for a couple used cars to drop in price.

At this time, the SS only has the warranty going for it and Im a HUGE SS fan. I just love the car. Yet, I cant bring myself to spend $50k OTD for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,827 Posts
It will make a great $25,000 car in Two years
18 months...
I respectfully disagree. It will spike down to low 30's then shoot right back up to high 30's after it's no longer available. It's got collectors car written all over it. Look at the values of nice 2005-2006 GTO's and G8 GXP's. 1996 Impala SS, some other low production performance cars....Even a not very low production Trailblazer SS goes for 2-3x as much as a loaded trailblazer LTZ.

The way I see it, it wasn't really designed for American people, but GM knew it was a great car so they through us a bone and offered it the only way they knew they stood a chance of breaking even, typically high profit fully loaded model, minus the high profit. If only one model is available, I'm glad it's a loaded one and not a stripped model like the GTO was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,667 Posts
GM could always develop a RWD car based on Alpha to send to AUS and use it as a Chevrolet, but I really don't see it coming. hope I'm wrong and GM sorts out its non-Cadillac RWD portfolio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,578 Posts
not everyone wants a RWD Caddy, most buyers can't afford one.
Not everyone wants a Cadillac.
Just think what a good package a 5.3 or 6.2 in a cts would be, only sold as a buick or chevrolet, AWD, 10 speed automatic with Tula modifications producing 15+% additional fuel economy. You could be looking at a V8 sport sedan giving 30+ mpg on the highway, while providing V8 performance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
I respectfully disagree. It will spike down to low 30's then shoot right back up to high 30's after it's no longer available. It's got collectors car written all over it. Look at the values of nice 2005-2006 GTO's and G8 GXP's. 1996 Impala SS, some other low production performance cars....Even a not very low production Trailblazer SS goes for 2-3x as much as a loaded trailblazer LTZ.

The way I see it, it wasn't really designed for American people, but GM knew it was a great car so they through us a bone and offered it the only way they knew they stood a chance of breaking even, typically high profit fully loaded model, minus the high profit. If only one model is available, I'm glad it's a loaded one and not a stripped model like the GTO was.
The 96 Impala SS retailed for about $20k in 96, now ones in the same condition as new sell for...wait....$20k. 19 years later and a financial wash for a garage decoration.
 

·
Premium Member
News Contributor
Joined
·
5,624 Posts
I think the telling sign of what GM will do with the Impala is going to be contingent on the size and market position for the next-gen Malibu. If the Malibu does move up in size and content to near the current Impala, then that should be an indication that the next-gen Impala just might move to the Alpha platform.

It would then make sense for a dedicated Alpha assembly line outside of Cadillac.
1. Camaro
2. Impala SS
3. Buick Riviera (or GN/GNX)
4. Holden Commodore HSV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,689 Posts
I think the telling sign of what GM will do with the Impala is going to be contingent on the size and market position for the next-gen Malibu. If the Malibu does move up in size and content to near the current Impala, then that should be an indication that the next-gen Impala just might move to the Alpha platform.

It would then make sense for a dedicated Alpha assembly line outside of Cadillac.
1. Camaro
2. Impala SS
3. Buick Riviera (or GN/GNX)
4. Holden Commodore HSV

I've wondered this myself. But Ford is, apparently, going ahead with a new FWD Taurus that will be about the the same size as the Fusion. The Fusion has a wheelbase only 1/2" shorter than the current Taurus, is nearly a full 12" shorter in length, but I think it is roomier than the Taurus.

I think the next Taurus will likely have much different specs, but I wonder if it's going to be different enough from the Fusion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
GM could always develop a RWD car based on Alpha to send to AUS and use it as a Chevrolet, but I really don't see it coming. hope I'm wrong and GM sorts out its non-Cadillac RWD portfolio.
That was actually the plan when GM decided to shut down Holden, and there is still strong indication that the next Impala might just be that Holden replacement. But as I said on another thread, until they approve money to fund OEM contracts and until the car actually starts moving down the assembly line....

Not everyone wants a Cadillac.
Just think what a good package a 5.3 or 6.2 in a cts would be, only sold as a buick or chevrolet, AWD, 10 speed automatic with Tula modifications producing 15+% additional fuel economy. You could be looking at a V8 sport sedan giving 30+ mpg on the highway, while providing V8 performance!
Let's not kid anybody here for goodness sakes.....If you want a large V8 sedan with AWD, you DON'T care about fuel economy or V8 "performance".....if you do, you're living on another planet where reality doesn't exist.

The 96 Impala SS retailed for about $20k in 96, now ones in the same condition as new sell for...wait....$20k. 19 years later and a financial wash for a garage decoration.
Don, please stop doing drugs, and please detox from the drugs you are doing now...they distort reality and tend to rewrite history.

Impala SS in 1996 base priced not at $20,000 but at about $25,000.

If you don't have time to pull up an inflation calculator, that's equal to over $37,500 today.

That's for a standard issue Chevrolet Caprice with seats from Buick's Roadmaster, the 350 LT1 that was available on all Chevrolet Caprices for $550 on the option sheet, and the police suspension and braking package on a Caprice that started at a mere $19,000 at the time (Caprices ran about $22,500 loaded....that's about $33,000 today).

General Motors made SERIOUSLY BIG money on every Impala SS they sold since all they really did was develop a center console, create a cheap plastic grille, and find a set of aftermarket wheels.....everything else was off the shelf.....and they charged just over $4,000 for the effort.

That $20,000 "wash" you mention is actually a $17,000 worth of depreciation over the past 19 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,063 Posts
GM is not going to change the way they approach the Chevrolet SS, not for the current generation anyway.

The car as it stands is a specialty vehicle that will appeal to a very small niche of customers. (Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I would be one of those customers in that niche to whom the SS is appealing.) It looks and sounds great reading the car's stats from the page. But the car itself is the definition of sleeper. The lines of the car are "okay", not awesome. But the front clip screams "Hertz/Avis fleet queen!"

Modern Americans like their performance cars to be a bit more, shall we say, "expressive" in their design. Camaro, Corvette, Challenger, Charger, Mustang, CTS-V, and even the last gen Firebird performance models are/were all much more flamboyant vehicles that had the "hey, look at me" designs to match their performance.
The SS, and the last gen GTO just didn't have that. Now, the sleeper look of both of those Holden built vehicles does appeal to me. But I know I'm in the minority.

I didn't include the G8 in that because, frankly, I think the G8 looks much better than either the GTO or the current SS (Though the interior of the SS is phenomenal, we've seen how the poor interior of the Camaro hasn't hurt its sales one bit). I think the G8 was easily the best looking version of the VE line. It wasn't looks that killed the G8. It was being launched during "carmeggedon," the time of a disastrous turn of the American & world economy, and being born to a brand that was literally on its deathbed long before talk of a GM bankruptcy. Folks simply were no longer going to line up to purchase a Pontiac (a brand that at that point that specialized in providing vehicles for rental fleets) for over $30k. There were a few of us willing, but certainly not the masses that would've done it just 10 years prior...

It's true the option of a manual tranny may get a few performance junkies to ignore the SS' rather bland design. However, and I may be wrong on this, there aren't any manuals available yet, are there? I'm not aware of any 2015 SS models being available at all, at this point.

I like the idea of the SS. I like the finished product that Holden has produced, as I liked the GTO and G8 before it. I'm one of the last remaining old school muscle car guys of my generation (Gen X) who is very willing to purchase a V8 powered sedan equipped with a manual tranny. However, as I'm writing this, it's still a toss up for me whether I will order an SS/6MT, an ATS Coupe 2.0T/6MT or wait for the next gen Camaro. The sleeper aspect, as well as the scarcity of the SS and its V8/6MT appeals to me. I love coupes as well, and they're also a somewhat dying breed. The ATS doesn't have the roar of the V8, but it does have enough power to satisfy my daily driving needs. Some say the styling of the ATS Coupe is sedate or even dated. I find it to be a handsome vehicle, and I love its driving dynamics. The Camaro is the wild card here. I've had Camaros/Firebirds in my younger years, and had plenty of fun. I like the current model, but I'm intrigued about the car's migration to the Alpha platform, which I love in the ATS & CTS. With the Camaro's impending unveiling, my car future will become clear very soon...:yup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
Don, please stop doing drugs, and please detox from the drugs you are doing now...they distort reality and tend to rewrite history.

Impala SS in 1996 base priced not at $20,000 but at about $25,000.

If you don't have time to pull up an inflation calculator, that's equal to over $37,500 today.

That's for a standard issue Chevrolet Caprice with seats from Buick's Roadmaster, the 350 LT1 that was available on all Chevrolet Caprices for $550 on the option sheet, and the police suspension and braking package on a Caprice that started at a mere $19,000 at the time (Caprices ran about $22,500 loaded....that's about $33,000 today).

General Motors made SERIOUSLY BIG money on every Impala SS they sold since all they really did was develop a center console, create a cheap plastic grille, and find a set of aftermarket wheels.....everything else was off the shelf.....and they charged just over $4,000 for the effort.

That $20,000 "wash" you mention is actually a $17,000 worth of depreciation over the past 19 years.
Aside from your rude and hostile tone, you've actually supported my point. This "collector's item" that people thought would be worth a fortune is actually quite the contrary. I never said GM didn't make money, my point was that just because something is limited (and in this case a very similar vehicle) doesn't mean it will be worth a fortune over any amount of time.

I'm not sure what the purpose of your post really was, or why it was necessary to be unnecessarily rude, unprovoked no less, but regardless it only supports what I was saying.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top