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Better yet, don't make the vehicle, or at least let Opel designers do it for you. :rolleyes:

Heck, Daewoo could'a done a better job.

FLOYD: Whatever Bob is smoking, Cheech and Chong will want some because youve got to be higher than a U2 spy plane to think this is anything more than a four-wheeled disaster. For the base price, I would get a Civic, Corolla, Protegé, Focus, Neon, Sentra, Elantra or Aerio before I set foot to this cars pedal. Where to start? The interior build quality is about the worst I?ve seen in the years I?ve worked here. Panel fit is dreadful, the plastic assault is unrelenting, rattles and squeaks are here at 2000 miles. I do like the door setup. I wouldnt call the exterior styling terrible - it looks okay. It struggles to get to speed and lets you know it as the engine wails.

The only answer I can come up with that makes sense is this:

GM North America feels the need to design its own small cars like the ION and Cobalt with cheaper materials and short cuts because the Unions that build them do so at such a price disadvantage when compared to the other small car competition out there.

In other words, GM is capable of making a great small car. But they simply can't afford to make one that is within an acceptable price range due to labor costs.

That's just my guess. This is the same company that produced the Cadillac CTS that Autoweek editors (probably the same guys) love.

So we can't make this out to be a "bias" thing. Ignoring the fact that the ION is sub-par for its class won't make the problem go away. I've read reviews from critics saying they WANTED to like the car - they went in with a positive bias, and still couldn't justify how unrefined and disappointing it was. For Joe who's never bought anything but Saturns, it might be a step up - but for people who cross-shop...

Let's hope that GM learns from the critics, and builds the Chevy Cobalt differently. And in the 2005 ION model year, fixes these problems.

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The union excuse for poor interior workmanship probably doesn't hold water. While no one will argue that the Big 3's labor rates are competitive, it doesn't make sense to skimp on perceived quality to balance it out. This approach would cost more in the long run. People are going to spend only so much on a cheap-looking car. If the perceived quality of a small car is high, take VW for instance, the consumer will pay more for the car AND more of them will be sold. This combination creates more revenue and (potentially) more profit, and it's the only firepower the Big 3 have against such internal inefficiencies.

That said, I'm at a loss to explain just why GM's interiors, save Cadillac, are so shoddy. A given supplier may make interior components for GM and, say, Toyota. The Toyota components often turn out more polished than the GM components. Why? Well, the OEM still has most of the design responsibility, meaning they'll influence whether fit and finish is good. There is more "****pit" outsourcing these days, so a supplier might have more responsibility for the "fit" part of the equation. But the "finish" part relates to materials and processing choices, and that's still the territory of the OEM. Good fit does not have to cost much if proactive engineering discipline is sound. Good "finish", as it relates to better materials, does cost money.. no way around it.

So, the bottom line is that GM can easily control the perceived quality of its interiors. The know-how is in the supply base and accessible to all OEMs. If sloppy execution finds its way to the dealers' lots, it's either stingy cost-cutting as you suggest, or it's simple cluelessness. When development of the ION started, probably around 1996, the competition had better interiors than the Ion does now! It's bad enough to fall short of 2003 standards, but to fall short of 1996 standards is inexcusable. Will any heads roll at Saturn? Nope. They'll be given another chance to botch it. GM's biggest problem is there... no accountability. It's time for Jill to stop making excuses.
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