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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ford put a lot of emphasis on its F-150 launch this year, and rightly so. We know from past experience that GM will put a lot of effort in its Silverado / Suburban redesigns.

But I submit that it is the Chevrolet Cobalt, and to a lesser extent the success of the Malibu that will make or break Chevy and GM's domestic brands.

Chevy should be putting a lot of weight on the Cobalt release. Even more than they did with the Malibu. No bland Malibu styling allowed - this time there will be no Pontiac variant, remember?

Chevy runs the risk of becoming irrelevant if they produce a lackluster product like the Saturn ION. They might as well become "Chevy Trucks" with a better than so-so Malibu for the rental fleets. They need to score a run on all of these accounts:

1. Performance
2. Value
3. Fit and Finish
4. Quality
5. Styling
6. Safety

That's a tall order. But Chevy / GM MUST learn from the mistakes of the Saturn ION. They MUST look at all of the Motor Trend and Car & Driver articles poo-pooing the Saturn as the "most disappointing domestic car of the last decade" and fix all of the concerns the journalists had. The Chevy design team should be actively taking this negative feedback and altering whatever they can in the half year before launch.

No center stack speedo. No poor body fit and panel gaps. No bumper car steering wheel shenanigans. No anemic acceleration. No funky electric steering that is hard as a rock on the highway, and too loose at low speeds. No oddball "unique" styling.

Here's a clue: Work with Opel and its Astra design. Opel isn't perfect, but even a cursory glance at the difference between the Opel Vectra and the Malibu - exterior and interior - tells me that they know attractive design, and Detroit's designers often don't.

Maybe it's too late now, with 6 months or so til the Cobalt is released, to make these demands. But whatever Chevy can do now, it had better do. Instead of staying the course, the same course it had when GM was hyping the Saturn ION as the next big thing, they need to change and realize the reality --- the ION was and is a bomb with the critics. Saturn hard core fans will buy it, and probably like it. And a similar Cobalt would probably impress previous Cavalier owners. But if Chevy wants the Cobalt to make conquest sales, it had better take this segment seriously.

Forget about making it cheap for profit. If it is cheap, the customer will see it, and will demand 4000 dollar rebates. Where's the profit then?

The UAW also needs to take it seriously, because it may well be the last compact they are ever allowed to make if the Aveo and Canadian Optra prove more profitable and get better reviews.

Seeing as how the Cavalier has lasted largely unchanged (engine excluded) for a decade, GM will be stuck with the Cobalt for a long time. So they need to get it right now. Toyota and Honda won't sit on their laurels and wait a decade to redesign theirs.

This is a plea to GM designers. Work with Opel. Get it right. Knock our socks off.

Or just go ahead and pass all small car responsibilities to Daewoo...
 

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I wouldn't care if they just rebadged the Astra. It is what we deserve, or better.
 

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I think the new Cobalt will be a great small car. The ecotec family has just scratched the surface of what is possible from a performance standpoint and reliability is excellent and should get even better with the next-gen ecotec that debuts in the Cobalt. I am optimistic about the styling based on reports from those who have seen the car and the spy pics that are posted elsewhere on this sight. The SS needs to come out right away to become the halo car for Cobalt, and I think it will. As long as it handles well and has the instrument panel where it should be, I think it will be a success. It might take awhile for the general public to notice, however, because GMs marketing is still questionable and the press is still basically anti-GM (Impala is an example of this... great car that took a few years to become a huge sales success). We'll soon see.
 

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All the domestics have a tough road.
Any car that comes out as a domestic is given the thumbs down by the auto mag writers. Half of them probably never looked under the hood of the test vehicle. Get in, couint the cup holders, note where the radio buttons are and write an article. Most of them are sheep that do not want to stray from the flock no matter how wrong they are.
Take the introduction of Ford's Focus. It was heralded as a car that looked oh so European. The first years proved that they were junk, unreliable and unsafe (wheels falling off, car fires). Yet the writers did not lambast these short comings. Only Consumer Reports gave it a poor rating for reliability.
How come these reporters never bring up the *** junk that were the early Toyotas and Datsuns. When these first cars hit the midwest winter salt, they literally rusted from the inside out. My brother-in-law's pickup had headlights that almost fell out due to the rust. In only a few years.
Reporters, in my mind, have no technical credentials.

If Chevy comes out with a Cobalt or whatever, I applaud them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by 69nova@Nov 21 2003, 02:40 PM
All the domestics have a tough road.
Any car that comes out as a domestic is given the thumbs down by the auto mag writers.
Look at Auto Week. They gave a good review to the Grand Prix GTP, a better review to the Cadillac CTS, praise for the GTO, and a decent review to the Malibu.

They blasted the Saturn ION into little Ion particles.:plasma:

Let's hope the Cobalt is more like the other cars, and less like the ION.

I just have this creeping suspicion that GM is going to green light a rebadged ION with Cobalt sheetmetal. That would be such a mistake. <_<
 

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No center stack speedo. No poor body fit and panel gaps. No bumper car steering wheel. No anemic acceleration. No funky electric steering that is hard as a rock on the highway, and too loose at low speeds. No oddball "unique" styling.
maybe you guys weren't aware of this, but saturn has done away with the small steering wheel and have already put into production a bigger, more "standard" sized wheel. i'm pretty sure the ION will be the only one with a centre IP stack, and i doubt that either the cobalt or pursuit will have poor fit/finish problems or big panel gaps, as opposed to the ION which is made of plastic. mind you, if you compared a saturn to any other plastic car, i bet that the saturn gaps would be the smallest and at least set industry standards. unfortunately, saturn is the only one doing polymer side panels. too bad everyone forgets to mention that :( don't ask me about the interior. i personally like hard "cheap" plastics everyone complains about. i guess i'm just an oddball. :p

i honestly think the cobalt will at least meet the industry standards. i don't care if it surpasses them, just as long as it can at least be on par with everything. then, with the insane amount of powertrain choices, GM can bring the cobalt into light and destroy its competition.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Nov 21 2003, 10:00 PM
I just have this creeping suspicion that GM is going to green light a rebadged ION with Cobalt sheetmetal. That would be such a mistake. <_<
what's the problem? the cobalt is a rebadged ION from the get-go, and the ION is a rebadged, downgraded opel.

the fact is, if they "change" the ION to be more like the cobalt, there really won't be a difference. besides, the saturn will probably keep the polymer side panels. for the time being at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
True. I want to see the ION keep its character, but consider these quotes from AutoWeek, that are characteristic of reviews from magazines that have praised other GM vehicles:
http://autoweek.com/search/search_display....703615&record=8

*The steering is overboosted and unresponsive at low speeds; at freeway speed, it becomes rock hard. They have a long way to go.

 *you?ve 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 Ive worked here. Panel fit is dreadful, the plastic assault is unrelenting, rattles and squeaks are here at 2000 miles. It struggles to get to speed and lets you know it as the engine wails.

*I tried... I really tried. I wont go as far as Floyd and say this is garbage. It has redeeming qualities: The four-door coupe idea is cool and works well. But: The suspension crashes and bangs over road imperfections, the steering is way light, the interior materials are lousy, seats are uncomfortable, the exterior styling is so-so, the gearbox inspires zero confidence and finally, the sticker price is a joke?and not a funny one. My question: How can GM do world-class trucks?and I mean that yet turn out the Ion? It baffles me. Compared to a Civic or Corolla, this thing just aint in the ballpark. Again, I tried. I cant take it anymore.
Squeaks and rattles at 2000 miles? I just rode in a buddy's 40K mile 2001 Camry and it was silent even over railroad tracks. Inexcuseable.

Wailing engine? I thought that was a Saturn "quirk" that had gone bye bye with the SC1.

Seats uncomfortable? How hard is it to design a comfortable seat these days?

:angry:

Saturn can have its center stack. It can have the oddball 4 spoke wheels. It can have the cool suicide doors all to itself, and a CVT transmission.

You're right too about the plastic panels on the exterior. I hate when they get down on Saturn for that. But there's no excuse for poor fit and finish in a Saturn INTERIOR that leads to squeaks and rattles a couple of weeks off of the lot.

I just want them to lose the quality problems listed above. All I'm asking is that GM inject the 2005 ION and Cobalt designers with copious amounts of humility and react to the claims made above BEFORE releasing the Cobalt half-baked. Or put their hands over their ears and "lalalala" let the competition win. :kama:

i honestly think the cobalt will at least meet the industry standards. i don't care if it surpasses them, just as long as it can at least be on par with everything. then, with the insane amount of powertrain choices, GM can bring the cobalt into light and destroy its competition.
I want that to happen very much. But I'd bet if we go back to pre-ION launch time we'd find optimism towards the ION just as strong. GM doesn't need optimism. It needs a dose of reality and elbow grease. With that, they can destroy the competition like they should have back in 1994(?) when they redid the Cavalier.

But you may be right. Look at the sales of the mostly decade old Cavalier right now. Sales are incredible. Imagine what GM could do with a truly world class replacement. "Destroy" would be a mild word.
 

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see, here's the thing you brought up but i don't understand: why is it that the editors say the ION's engine "weezes" when it's using the ECOTEC that's found in every other small and small/midisze car GM offers? i know it makes less horsepower/torque than the chevies/pontiacs, but i dont' get it? what gives?

also, the new tuning in the ION RL is supposed to make up for the steering issues. i don't know if this will make it to base cars, but apparently the new calibrations on the RL are much better than what's currently offered.

remember though - the ION was GM's test bed for an americanized astra. you have to take into consideration that the ION would have a few bugs that would need to be worked out. that way, when GM unveils its two siblings, they'd be brought to market with no - or at least fewer - mechanical issues. think of the ION as a prototype brought to market.

one thing, though, is the interior. the rear seats suck moneky shlong. plus, the arm rest gets in the way. but aside from that, i think the ION is pretty decent for what it is. the styling is subjective. i like it, most others don't. big deal.

anyway, back to the subject at hand. the cobalt will soon dominate. if it doesn't, i'm declaring a jihad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Originally posted by mackingu@Nov 21 2003, 10:07 PM
see, here's the thing you brought up but i don't understand: why is it that the editors say the ION's engine "weezes" when it's using the ECOTEC that's found in every other small and small/midisze car GM offers?

remember though - the ION was GM's test bed for an americanized astra. you have to take into consideration that the ION would have a few bugs that would need to be worked out. that way, when GM unveils its two siblings, they'd be brought to market with no - or at least fewer - mechanical issues. think of the ION as a prototype brought to market.

The ION uses a different transmission, I think - a "newer" 5-speed. I've heard bad things about it.... Very disappointing - it would be nice to have a 5-speed like so many other automakers in the Cobalt that does more than just improve gas mileage 10 percent and then slow the vehicle down or something.

If what you are saying about the ION being a "prototype" is true, then I'm getting what I ask for in the Cobalt, since they'll use the "test data" to improve the Cobalt. No reason they can't apply some of those fixes to the 2005 ION while they're at it.
 

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Originally posted by Ming+Nov 22 2003, 03:11 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ming @ Nov 22 2003, 03:11 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-mackingu@Nov 21 2003, 10:07 PM
see, here's the thing you brought up but i don't understand: why is it that the editors say the ION's engine "weezes" when it's using the ECOTEC that's found in every other small and small/midisze car GM offers?

remember though - the ION was GM's test bed for an americanized astra. you have to take into consideration that the ION would have a few bugs that would need to be worked out. that way, when GM unveils its two siblings, they'd be brought to market with no - or at least fewer - mechanical issues. think of the ION as a prototype brought to market.

The ION uses a different transmission, I think - a "newer" 5-speed. I've heard bad things about it.... Very disappointing - it would be nice to have a 5-speed like so many other automakers in the Cobalt that does more than just improve gas mileage 10 percent and then slow the vehicle down or something.

If what you are saying about the ION being a "prototype" is true, then I'm getting what I ask for in the Cobalt, since they'll use the "test data" to improve the Cobalt. No reason they can't apply some of those fixes to the 2005 ION while they're at it. [/b][/quote]
exactly. the 5-speed is a getrag, if i'm not mistaken. i mean, you really can't say anything bad about it, other than GM made a bad choice chosing it. GM didn't build it so you can't really blame saturn for its bad shift qualities, right? someone tell C/D that ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Originally posted by mackingu@Nov 21 2003, 10:20 PM

exactly. the 5-speed is a getrag, if i'm not mistaken. i mean, you really can't say anything bad about it, other than GM made a bad choice chosing it. GM didn't build it so you can't really blame saturn for its bad shift qualities, right? someone tell C/D that  ;)
oops, I was wrong, it was the Getrag Manual 5-speed Autoweek tested. That's been in the Cavalier/Sunfire for some time now. No reason for them to blast that...

POWERTRAIN: 2.2-liter I4; fwd, five-speed manual OUTPUT: 140 hp @ 5800 rpm, 145 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

The one I read bad things about was a 5-speed automatic new for the Saturn (Cavalier/Sunfire use a 4 speed auto):

Transmission
5-Speed Automatic Transmission
$900
 

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There is not a FWD 5spd Auto on the GM Powertrain site, I wonder where it comes from?
 

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Uhh, I guess I should have said under Hydro-matic.

Japan. Hey, it handles close to 250#tq. Better than the 4t40E & 4t45E, not bad. Check out that gap form first to second-> 4.69 - 2.94, does that seem like a lot?
 

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yeah, too bad it shifts like a dog and destroys what little beneficial attributes the ECOTEC offers the ION. the aison = doggy poop :D
 

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The Ion's look is what I thought didnt sit right with the editors and also it didnt have as nice as fit and finish as the cars in its pack. I would have to read teh review again. The cobalt so far looks like a good little car. It has that funny looking front end like the new cavi's have sort of, which I dont like that much but a better improvement over the old ones. I havent seen that many pictures of the car to really pass judgement. Are they around here or is GMI holding back till the embargo is lifted for the LA auto show?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm pretty pleased with what I have seen since I wrote the first post. The Cobalt looks ready to at least compete with the imports on a level playing field. The VVT 170hp/170 torque Ecotec looks great on paper and will eliminate the "anemic acceleration" complaint, no doubt. Will it stack up to a turbocharged Neon? Will a supercharged 2.0? Probably not. But all around I think the Cobalt will be a success. Now the key is to keep updating it as the years go by, and not let it become stale and moldy like the Cavalier.
 

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Originally posted by mackingu@Nov 22 2003, 03:20 AM
exactly. the 5-speed is a getrag, if i'm not mistaken. i mean, you really can't say anything bad about it, other than GM made a bad choice chosing it. GM didn't build it so you can't really blame saturn for its bad shift qualities, right? someone tell C/D that ;)
oh it doesn't matter WHO built the transmission... it's what GM decided would go in the car. and if it truly is as poor as C&D says, then GM deserves the blame. the ion, as it sits now, is the car GM decided to sell. ANY flaws are most certainly GM's fault, and not excusable.
 

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This is one car I'm hoping does well, as it is to be competition for the imports.

I'm assuming that there will be an aftermarket support to where drivers are able to make visible changes to the stock look. Hopefully a good price tag, making it a threat to the current import market.
 
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