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GM thinks big with small Cobalt
New model seeks to turn tide of losses
Ed Garsten / Charles V. Tines
The Detroit News

STERLING HEIGHTS — Small cars and big profits are two ideas that go together about as well as Los Angeles Lakers fans and hope.

But Lori Queen, who’s in charge of small cars for General Motors Corp., believes the automaker’s latest little entry — the Chevrolet Cobalt — has what it takes to overcome high incentives and low prices to help the automaker eke out profits from its small car lineup.

The Chevrolet Cobalt arrives in the fall and replaces the aging Cavalier in Chevy’s lineup. It will be more expensive and more expansive, available in both a sedan and coupe that have little in common aesthetically, including completely different rear ends.

But where the Cavalier’s price range reaches far down market in an effort to grab entry-level buyers, the Cobalt is being postioned a rung higher, leaving the Korean-made Aveo to occupy Chevy’s bargain basement.

“The Aveo will take a lot of the pressure from the low end,” Queen said. “The Cobalt picks up right in the middle, where the heart of the market is, and can go all the way up to compete with the (Volkswagen) Jettas and premium side of the small car market.”

Queen won’t reveal sales targets or exact pricing for the Cobalt, but she predicts it will sell at least as well or better than the Cavalier. Through May, Chevy had sold 84,755 Cavaliers, down 10 percent from the first five months of 2003, according to Autodata Corp.

With a higher price point, Queen believes Cobalt will appeal to budget buyers with more upscale tastes who “wouldn’t have normally bought a Cavalier.”

Ann Asensio, GM’s director of advanced vehicles, says the upgrades in small car design seen in the Cobalt are a sign the automaker is taking small cars much more seriously.

“What you’re seeing here is a small revolution of seeing real attention to customer needs — especially women,” Asensio said in an interview last week. “They don’t want to give up any of the things they want.” That includes more refined interior and exterior styling and safety, Asensio said.

But with the profit-eating incentives that will inevitably be offered on the Cobalt, and high corporate structural costs, GM faces the same tough challenge as its domestic rivals in trying to make money on small cars.

It’s not impossible, says Ron Harbour, president of Troy-based Harbour Consulting, which publishes a widely-read annual report on auto plant productivity and efficiency.

“Right now, on the typical (Ford) Focus or Cavalier, the companies are losing $1,000 to $2,000 for every car they build,” Harbour said. “You’ve got to get the price up and costs down on the small cars to have a chance.”

Queen says Cobalt is up for the challenge, in large part because it does not reach down, price-wise, as low as Cavalier.

For the entire article and picture link:

http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0.../b01-183847.htm
 

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I really hope that GM prices the car just right. If they goof up on that and make it a little more expensive I’m sure the incentives will hit it and that would be a shame since the car looks the part of a VW fighter. We know the market it is supposed to reach but the big question remains.. will the public buy into it?
 
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I'm cautiously optimistic.

:mf_boff:
 

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Price will make all the difference. They need to offer a SS s/c under 20,000. That is a given, no way around that.

No one will give this car any credit for value with cars like the SRT-4 offering more HP for less. (New MSRP of 19,995 went up 500 with addition of the LSD.)

They need to release some ballpark figures so I can plan on what I'm getting!

And they need to assure the buyers that nothing dramatic will change in the following year.... people (like me) will just wait until the "better" version comes out. (like the addition of 5 HP or a LSD, as an example)hint, hint...
 

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Originally posted by killerrd2@Jun 15 2004, 02:14 PM
“Right now, on the typical (Ford) Focus or Cavalier, the companies are losing $1,000 to $2,000 for every car they build,” Harbour said. “You’ve got to get the price up and costs down on the small cars to have a chance.”
Hopefully that's the 10K Cavelier's.

I keep getting the feeling that they will screw up the price thinking they have this awesome car deserving of a 21-23K price tag.

Also, now we know.....Yellow and Red are SS-SC colors for sure, and Blue will be a SS-nonSC color for sure.

Any word on other colors or other combos....I'm sure red will come in all trims.
 

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Originally posted by MalibuZ31@Jun 15 2004, 05:22 PM
Price will make all the difference. They need to offer a SS s/c under 20,000. That is a given, no way around that.

No one will give this car any credit for value with cars like the SRT-4 offering more HP for less. (New MSRP of 19,995 went up 500 with addition of the LSD.)

They need to release some ballpark figures so I can plan on what I'm getting!

And they need to assure the buyers that nothing dramatic will change in the following year.... people (like me) will just wait until the "better" version comes out. (like the addition of 5 HP or a LSD, as an example)hint, hint...
Outside of the performance aspect, the Cobalt offers much more car for the money. No to mention people can get one in a coupe. Its handling will probably be even with the SRT4. Too match the powerhouse engine int he Neon, GM is going to have to do a little work, but the car will most definatly be a power house for cheap. If they undercut the SRT4, they will be selling a lot.

And the LSD in the SRT4 is a 1k option. GM is looking into an LSD for the Ion and Cobalt as an option, perhaps late in the model year. Im sure that a turbo model will show up soon, to take over the supercharger.
 

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Queen won’t reveal sales targets or exact pricing for the Cobalt, but she predicts it will sell at least as well or better than the Cavalier. Through May, Chevy had sold 84,755 Cavaliers, down 10 percent from the first five months of 2003, according to Autodata Corp.
Based on the sheer number of rental Cavaliers I've seen at airports, for Chevy's sake I hope they can sell as many as the Cavalier without giving them away to fleet.
 

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I haven't heard anything about DOD on GM's DOHC 4-cylinders. Just on OHV V6's and V8s.

Nice yellow photo from the article:

 

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I can only imagine people shopping around for a powerful
sport compact are going to notice the Cobalt SS lagging in
power behind the SRT-4. The SS S/C needs to be $20K or
they are not going to sell well (only to dedicated GM kids).
Unless there are a bunch of creature comforts that we get
with the Cobalt that you do not get with the SRT-4.
 

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Originally posted by thehemi@Jun 15 2004, 09:51 PM
I can only imagine people shopping around for a powerful
sport compact are going to notice the Cobalt SS lagging in
power behind the SRT-4. The SS S/C needs to be $20K or
they are not going to sell well (only to dedicated GM kids).
Unless there are a bunch of creature comforts that we get
with the Cobalt that you do not get with the SRT-4.
How about a decent interior, leather, and Corvette-inspired rear lights?
 

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DOD on a 4-banger? I can't wait! I can tool around on the freeway on just 2 cylinders! I honestly hope the Cobalt succeeds, but GM has some catching up to do in the compact market. I would consider the coupe, but NEVER the sedan, but anything is better than the Cavalier it replaces -- whiny little lawn mower whose 4-speed automatic couldn't decide on a gear if it's life depended on it.
 

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Hey! Hey! Hey!



Colour keyed interiors :eek:

Let's keep our fingers crossed that these are production models :D :D :D

My favorite part of the new GTO is the interior with colour keyed seats and door panels. In my opinion the cobalt looks just as good!
 

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I would hope that people's tastes, when it comes to cars, are not so dulled that they will not appreciate the subtleties that will clearly make the Cobalt a better car to drive than the Neon.

I, too hope that the interiors in the pictures are production interiors. There's one thing there that is nice to see...color! I mean it. I am so sick of seeing cars with interior choices of beige or grey an maybe black. It may be cheaper to produce, but I'd almost rather see the dark green, light green, and maroon (among others) velours of '70s cars. I'd rather see seats trimmed in brocade cloth than all these (yawn!) "tasteful" neutral colors.
 

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Originally posted by MaxLegroom@Jun 16 2004, 02:20 AM
I would hope that people's tastes, when it comes to cars, are not so dulled that they will not appreciate the subtleties that will clearly make the Cobalt a better car to drive than the Neon.

I, too hope that the interiors in the pictures are production interiors. There's one thing there that is nice to see...color! I mean it. I am so sick of seeing cars with interior choices of beige or grey an maybe black. It may be cheaper to produce, but I'd almost rather see the dark green, light green, and maroon (among others) velours of '70s cars. I'd rather see seats trimmed in brocade cloth than all these (yawn!) "tasteful" neutral colors.
Agreed....plus the fact is there is red, yellow, and (possibly) blue keyed inserts, rather than the inserts being restricted to one color.

I don't mind blan interior colors, but this interior will really help the Cobalt stand out initially.
 

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Originally posted by Dumb_Ass_2003@Jun 16 2004, 12:42 AM
Hey! Hey! Hey!



Colour keyed interiors :eek:

Let's keep our fingers crossed that these are production models :D :D :D

My favorite part of the new GTO is the interior with colour keyed seats and door panels. In my opinion the cobalt looks just as good!
Now that's the spirit.

Really, how difficult is it to do the colored insert on the seat and door panel? I bet they could charge 500 bucks for that as an option, and the kids who bought it would be ecstatic about their cars.
 

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Originally posted by MaxLegroom@Jun 16 2004, 02:20 AM
I, too hope that the interiors in the pictures are production interiors. There's one thing there that is nice to see...color! I mean it. I am so sick of seeing cars with interior choices of beige or grey an maybe black. It may be cheaper to produce, but I'd almost rather see the dark green, light green, and maroon (among others) velours of '70s cars. I'd rather see seats trimmed in brocade cloth than all these (yawn!) "tasteful" neutral colors.
Ah, Max, you've tipped me into one ov my favorite rants: the modern car interior color scheme.

At GM, as at most manufacturers, you get your choice of black, gray and snot color. That's it. Even on Cadillacs.

Pathetic.

Remember GM's glory years? When people got excited about their cars? The interiors were red, green, blue, turquoise, white, espresso and on and on and on! Of course there was black, too. And people ate it up.

Does GM think everyone has gone color blind? That we don't care anymore? That we really LIKE snot colored upholstery?
 

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Originally posted by AMcA+Jun 19 2004, 01:44 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (AMcA @ Jun 19 2004, 01:44 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-MaxLegroom@Jun 16 2004, 02:20 AM
I, too hope that the interiors in the pictures are production interiors.  There's one thing there that is nice to see...color!  I mean it.  I am so sick of seeing cars with interior choices of beige or grey an maybe black.  It may be cheaper to produce, but I'd almost rather see the dark green, light green, and maroon (among others) velours of '70s cars.  I'd rather see seats trimmed in brocade cloth than all these (yawn!) "tasteful" neutral colors.
Ah, Max, you've tipped me into one ov my favorite rants: the modern car interior color scheme.

[/b][/quote]
That's one of the things I like best about the GTO - the wild interior colors available. Red, blue, yellow, and even PURPLE seats! The GTO get's pretty much universal praise on it's interior at least. Let's hope GM and others take notice and start offering interesting interior color choices again.
 
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