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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The CSVs - How they can avoid being "Rebadges"
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The temptation amongst Laurel Resters at GM corporate headquarters is most likely to toss the refreshed Ventures - the 4 Crossover Sport Vans - out onto the marketplace like the A-body wagon clones of yore: Century, Celebrity, Ciera, and 6000 - and hope they do somewhat well until the next minivan platform comes along. Secure and confident in the ability of the CSVs to be at least somewhat competitive on their own, they have no real incentive to differentiate the vans beyond a nose job, badging, and interior color schemes. This used to be known as 1980's GM Badge Engineering.

"Eh, it's just a stop gap for a few years. We'll have a new platform in 2007, keep yer shorts on." Some might say. But is that the attitude of a company that wants to succeed in all areas of the market? I think not.

Autosite recently wrote:
"Our problem with the 2005 Buick Terraza is that it's a compromised stop-gap measure rather than a fresh design, a product that simply catches up with the competition rather than surpasses it, and frankly, we expect more from a huge corporation that could be (and needs to be) building substantially better vehicles than it does today." http://www.autosite.com/Previews/2005-buic...ick-terraza.asp

I have some ideas to help the CSV's "do more" and fit better into each of the respective GM divisions that goes beyond just some cosmetic details, but doesn't require a whole lot of money on GM's part. No, no superchargers, turbochargers, 6-speed transmissions or V8 engines. I've learned to become realistic with my expectations when it comes to refreshed GM product - though I am still holding out hope that the 3.9L engine from the G6 will become available a year or two from now.

Another reason I'd like to see them differentiate is selfish - I want to know that if I were to buy a Pontiac SV6 (That Montana name / cowboy theme is so lame for Pontiac I refuse to use it) -that it wouldn't just be a Chevy Uplander with a nose job and silver interior trim.

So here are my ideas, which are basically just factory option packages - but packages specific to each brand:

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1. Chevrolet Uplander - doesn't really need to do much - Chevy is the "base". A cargo van version will also be offered already. However, Chevy might go one step further with the "SUV styling theme" pulling away even further from the Minivan image, and offer a package with a grille guard, mudflaps, and towing hitch. I also recommend that one level of the vehicle be offered with a chrome bar across the grille - the unicolor grille moves away from the current Chevy design theme and only serves to make the vehicle look "softer".

2. Pontiac SV6 - the excitement division needs to have excitement in all of its vehicles, even CSVs. The SV6 can achieve this by taking another element of the CSVs' further - the Phat Noise system. Give the Montana higher quality, and more speakers. Make the Montana a rolling boom box of entertainment. Not a vanilla wagon playing Barry Manilow on "Quality GM parts speakers" - but instead an Urban-styled people mover with a thumpin' sound system. Call it the SV6 "Thunder" package, in homage to the old concept. No one is going to be fooled and see this minivan as a high performance vehicle, but they might see it as an aspirational vehicle if equipped with enough speakers and juice to make the ground tremble (in a legal sort of way, of course). As a bonus - double up on the number of LCD displays on the overhead rail system - or one for every seating row, or add some LCDS to the rear of the front seat headrests -- something to add a little urban flair (like oversized chrome wheels) --- something the "Montana" and its underpowered cowboy pretensions sorely lacks. Add Heads Up Display from the Aztek / Bonneville on the highest trim level, or an excellent Navigation system with an intro splash display reminiscient of an X-box or Playstation. Let the days of Sunfire-like clones of Chevy models cease. Would BMW offer a clone of a lesser make with nothing but a different grille? I think not. More differences, more unique Pontiac character=more respect!

3. Buick Terraza - Buick, to its credit, has done a pretty decent job recently of taking clones from other divisions and making them luxurious, no matter how clone-like to the Chevy "base" vehicle their other siblings at Pontiac or Isuzu might be. Buick has already done the right thing and is offering its "QuietTuning" acoustic package, so the Terraza will be different from the start. It even offers standard a form of independent suspension that is only available on the other brands' AWD models. With quality leather seats and Navigation offered, Terazza really has all of the bases covered, and I have no complaints (Of course, when one considers the price gap in a fully loaded Terraza from a base Uplander, many of these changes are to be expected.) - although I'd love to see an "Ultra" version with the Rendezvous Ultra's 3.6L DOHC engine. The Rendezvous shares the same basic platform so this should be do-able.

4. Saturn Relay - along with Pontiac's SV6, this one stands a fair chance of being called an outright clone. It doesn't even have the plastic side panels. Aside from the buyer who values the unique Saturn sales approach, you might as well buy an Uplander at a volume Chevy dealer with heavy discounts and that GM card. Light colored fake wood trim? Is that it? That's hardly what I would call "Saturn-like". And since the Relay is offering old tech like a column-mounted shifter and a 4-speed transmission, you'd think GM would put a little more effort into differentiating this one that is so un-Saturn-like. I suggest some optional interior features be taken from the Aztek's playbook. The Aztek was killed by its exterior looks, but had some truly innovative and cool interior features, like the center console that doubled as a cooler. But they seemed not quite in touch with the Pontiac theme. Why not put one of those in the Relay? It would seem to suit its young, trendy target image. Have a Relay "extreme sport" package with the cooler, cargo nets all over the interior, and waterproof seat covers - also an idea from the Aztek. Go with a different, active sport theme, and integrate these cues into the interior. Otherwise, watch Relay sales be as brisk as L-Series sales when people realize they can get EXACTLY the same thing in a Chevy.
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"Eh, they'll still be rebadges."

Sure. But at least giving them unique option packages from the factory (or dealer installed) will serve to give people a reason to buy one over the other. And give the vehicles that little push away from utter clonedom where ad actors dressed as cowboys are needed in the brochures to spice things up - and towards an acceptable level of differentiation. In this case an ounce of effort on GM's part could yield a pound of results.


 

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I think that GM had no choice. They had to proportion capital spending on other more lucrative projects. They only have so much money that they can use to reinvest in new products. I think that the CSV's were a case of managemnt saying make 'do with what you have'.

With Venture sales already down, they needed to guarantee that they could keep the Doraville assembly plant at full capacity. The only way to do that was spread a few more vehicles around in the A-Car fashion (Much like you mentioned.)

I agree however, that these will miss the mark. Unlike the A-Cars in the early 80's these things are nowhere near competitive. The A-Cars only had ChryCo K-Cars and Ford LTD-II's to compete with. They were competitive (hard to believe).
As a result GM sold a helluva lot of A-Cars.

These CSV's are not remotely competitive with the Odyssey, Sienna, DCX Vans, or the Free Star.

If I Worked in Doraville I'd be a little concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Originally posted by GM-10@Apr 21 2004, 10:41 AM
I agree however, that these will miss the mark.  Unlike the A-Cars in the early 80's these things are nowhere near competitive.  The A-Cars only had ChryCo K-Cars and Ford LTD-II's to compete with.  They were competitive (hard to believe).
I'm trying to look beyond my initial disappointment with the exterior (from the front back), the choice of engine (no 3.9L as rumored), and the clone-like nature of them, and deal with it in a positive way.

I'm hoping distinct, and different option packages in each CSV can work for them.
 

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i wonder if perhaps there'll be a grand am/skylark/achieva (mid to late 90's) thing going on, where one (grand am) is very successful, while the others (silly pointy-nosed skylark and achieva) founder. i can see the SV6 selling decently (a little underpowered for a SPORT van, but should be trimmed to appeal to the intense soccer-mom), and the uplander doing okay (lotsa people like vanilla), while the relay and terazza sit and get mouldy.

but i agree with whoever said that a company like GM shouldn't be so far behind in any market. these 4 vans combined will never outsell the DCX vans or the freestar, which is troubling. it's close to inexcusable that GM is lagging. the minivan market isn't growing, but it's still substantial, and if they are willing to try harder with lambda in a few years, there's no reason they shouldn't have tried harder a few years ago. too late for that now, but these CSV's won't quite fit the bill.
 

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Originally posted by Ming+Apr 21 2004, 03:44 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ming @ Apr 21 2004, 03:44 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-GM-10@Apr 21 2004, 10:41 AM
I agree however, that these will miss the mark.  Unlike the A-Cars in the early 80's these things are nowhere near competitive.  The A-Cars only had ChryCo K-Cars and Ford LTD-II's to compete with.  They were competitive (hard to believe).
I'm trying to look beyond my initial disappointment with the exterior (from the front back), the choice of engine (no 3.9L as rumored), and the clone-like nature of them, and deal with it in a positive way.

I'm hoping distinct, and different option packages in each CSV can work for them. [/b][/quote]
I think some engine options sure would help. I think that if each had a specific engine option, it would be helpful.

Chevy-3.4 OHV

Saturn-Honda-V6, Ellesmere Port V-6 (which Saturn used to use) or the 3.0 unit Saab uses (W/O) turbo

Pontiac-3.9 or one of the above supercharged

Buick-whichever pontriac didn't use.

THe thing that surprises me is that they didn't change the dashboard on each. That worked so well for the A-Cars. I know the A-Cars weren't the most lauded cars. However, they were perfect examples of how to stretch a budget.

The audio package I dea is great. I think they should partner Saturn, Pontiac and Buick up with a particular good audio/Visual company...and send Chevy the Delphi route.

I hope that's a little more positive.

GM-10
 

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I can't wait 2 see if some happy owner is going 2 put brush guards on their new CSV. :lol:
 

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The more things change etc etc... I would like to see the Chevy with the 3500, the Pontiac with this engine as standard and at least the 3900 as an option and the Buick with an Ultra model with the 3.6 hf motor like it already does in the Rendezvous. I mean come on! With the prices Buick is going to charge for this thing the customer should be getting something other than badge engineering, woodgrain and a little more insulation. The Saturn Relay is the van that should be the most different. It already has a 5 speed auto in the Vue and that Honda V6 would sure give this thing some nuts. And shouldn't saturn have there own steering wheel and interior design and features?
 

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Well, when available, if I decide that I need a GM minivan, I'll just compare the prices among the brands. That'll probably be the only difference anyway.
 

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What some people are failing to notice here is that..


1-The mini-van market is in a state of decline right now.

2- What are the differences from a Dodge Caravan, to a Chrysler Voyager to a Chrysler Town and Country, they all have the same dashes, almost identical front ends and interiors. Whats the big deal?

offering old tech like a console-mounted shifter
3- Ahem...if you look at 99% of the mini-vans on the market, they all offer steering colum mounted shifters...so I guess it's only old tech if GM does it, right?

4-The 1990 Lumina APV, Trans Sport and Shillouette, were all "clones" of the same van. The 1997 Venture, Trans Sport/Montana and Shillouette, were all "clones" of the same van.....do we see a pattern here....what did you want, GM to do a all new version of each van, with completley different styling for each van? Yeah..lets spend a ton of money in a declining market...

5- Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey are "clones" and re-done versions of the Windstar, which was a flop.
 

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k, i didn't notice the column shifter comment anywhere, but not only is MCGARRETT right (they're in most vans), they really make sense in a minivan. it's much more convenient for a parent to scoot around and walk back through the space between the seats to attend to a child if there's no console and shifter in the way. sure, nissan has a console, but i don't think most minivan buyers are gonna be too put ogg by a column shifter. they're used to them by now! also leaves more room for stuff (and we all know minivan people love filling their minivans with stuff!).

one other point... windstar was a flop? i hadn't heard! i think they did quite well. freestar seems like a flop so far, but i believe the windstar handily outsold GM's trio of minivans. doesn't mean the windstar was any good... just means it sold well. but that alone lifts it above flop status, in my opinion.
 

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I dont understand what the big deal is. Dodge and Chrystler have done this for years, and let me check... yeah, they are still the #1 best selling mini van?
Moms dont care about rebadging, they care about saftey and gadgets to keep the kids entertained, and I think GM realized this.
With that said, the CSV's do miss on a few big areas.
#1- Saftey. The lack of side air bags in case of a side crash will really put the CSV's in the back of the mind of most buyers really. This was a needed saftey item for this line of cars, and they dont have it.
#2- Engine power. Soccer moms arent going drag racing, but the Dads that drive the car dont want to feel like they are driving a Civic. It should have at least the 3.5 and the 3.9. They are push rods, they are cheap to make, they need to be an option. Engine power will be nice to have if the family is going on a vaction, and its loaded with kids, luggage, etc.
#3- Lack of stow away seats. This seems to be a big thing with all the other mini vans. The seats folding flat are good, but cuts down on the space that the Dodge van now has.

There are good things about this car like its SUV like look that will attract some buyers, along with the features inside and the interior style of the vans. The inside of the Buick CSV is great. Seats are nice, everything felt good. I think that the CSV's are good, but do miss in some area's but its not in Rebadging. Everyone that has more then 1 van seems to do the same. Ford and Merc vans, Dodge vans, and GM's vans. Only because there are 4 of them to the 2 from Ford and Dodge doubles the rebadge factor, but I dont see any real need to get all bent out of shape about that. GM did a great job on features and appearance, but lacked in saftey and versitility.
 

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Originally posted by bigals87z28@Apr 21 2004, 08:08 PM
With that said, the CSV's do miss on a few big areas.
#1- Saftey. The lack of side air bags in case of a side crash will really put the CSV's in the back of the mind of most buyers really. This was a needed saftey item for this line of cars, and they dont have it.
they don't? not even seat-mounted? that's crazy! they're available in the aztek and current minivans, so it's not like they don't exist. if you're right, that's a huge step back! but surely they're at least an option.
 

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If they do, I havent heard of it. It is possible that they do, but again, I dont remember seeing it?
 

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:mf_boff: I have to agree i dont see a problem with GM rebadging a MINIVAN its not a new concept by any means as stated before but what i dont understand is seeing how little the diffrence between the Chevy Uplander and Venture why is there a name change, i think it would be better to wait ti change the name untill there was some major platform changes or something, and a question was there bad press or something with the Venture what sparked the name change and i dont buy the whold Sport Van BS or is that Gms only reason?
 

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#1- Saftey. The lack of side air bags in case of a side crash will really put the CSV's in the back of the mind of most buyers really. This was a needed saftey item for this line of cars, and they dont have it.


Relax...

Side impact airbags are available on the CSV's .

4 wheel disc brakes are standard and, as far as I know, the GM CSV's will be the only mini-vans with available all-wheel-drive.


#2- Engine power. Soccer moms arent going drag racing, but the Dads that drive the car dont want to feel like they are driving a Civic. It should have at least the 3.5 and the 3.9. They are push rods, they are cheap to make, they need to be an option. Engine power will be nice to have if the family is going on a vaction, and its loaded with kids, luggage, etc.



Really....lets look at the "best sellers" in your words.....

The CSV's will come with a standard 3.5 litre OHV V6 with 200hp and 220 lb-ft of torque

2005 Dodge Caravan has a standard 150hp 2.4 4cylinder and an available 3.3 litre OVERHEAD VALVE V6 with 180hp.

More than the CSV's...nope

2005 Chrysler Town and Country has a standard 3.3 OHV V6 with 180hp and an available 3.8 litre OHV V6 with 216hp.

Just a little more than the CSV's, but with the optional engine.

2005 Ford Windstar-WOW...talk about inefficeint engines...standard 3.9 Litre OHV V6 with 193 hp and an availalbe 4.2 Litre OHV V6 with 201hp.

Not only are the engines larger than the CSV's but they also make equal or less hp than the 3.5 in the CSV's. WTF?

Notice all the OHV engines?


Now..yes..the Toyota Sienna, Honda Oddessy and Nissan Quest all have more hp.

Oddessy-3.5 V6 with 240hp and 242lb-ft of torque
Quest- 3.5 V6 with 240hp and 242lb-ft of torque
Sienna- 3.3 V6 with 230hp and...you guessed it...242lb-ft of torque

Why do they all have 242lb-ft of torque?

OK....so you dont think that the 3.6 DOHC V6 with 255hp will be in at least the Buick Terraza by 2006?


The Mazda MPV has a 3.0 litre V6 that makes 200hp, again WTF Ford? How a$$-backwards is that? How can Ford put the 3.9 V6 making 193hp or the huge 4.2 V6 with 201hp in the Freestar, when the Mazda MPV makes more power with a smaller engine.

Yeah...GM is really screwed up.... :rolleyes:


The CSV's are way on par with the segments best sellers.
 

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ah, so they do have side air bags.
And I thought they were getting the 3.4, not the 3.5? If they are getting the 3.5, I have no problem with that. I thought they were getting the 3.4, which had me a little upset. Ok, well then if thats the case, I only have a problem that the mini vans dont have stow away seats, but they fold flat so thats good.

and McGarret, edit that post will ya!
 

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edit, ming, where did your post go?

and as for the Mazda comparision... Mazda has to have teh Zoom Zoom! :roflmao:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Originally posted by bigals87z28@Apr 21 2004, 05:50 PM
edit, ming, where did your post go?

and as for the Mazda comparision... Mazda has to have teh Zoom Zoom! :roflmao:
I decided I was too harsh against our lubbable CSVs, and wasn't being constructive by likening them to pigs. :p
 

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Hp numbers are just that... hp numbers. The real showing is the torque. Dodge has 245 lbs ft available in most of it's Grand Caravans and Ford has 240 lbs ft with the 3.9 and 263 lbs ft with the 4.2. Now I have driven 3.8 Caravans and Freestars with both 3.9 and 4.2 engines and I can honestly tell you guys that GM's heavier CSV's with the slightly stronger 3.5 motor will not stand a chance against these. I have driven lots of 3400 extended length Olds and Pontiac vans and while they have decent low end power unloaded, really bog down with people aboard and the A/C on. I really doubt with 15 extra hp and 10 more lbs ft of torque carrying a heavier van that there will be little if any difference in 04 models vs 05 CSV's. I could be wrong on that cause I don't know what gears GM will use and how much the weight increased. But I do know that if I was shelling out 40 large for a Buick van loaded up I would expect a more potent engine under the hood. Just my 2 pennies!
 

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the problem with the terrenza/uplander is the fact it truely is a minivan that wishes it was an suv. minivans have sold well in the past and will probably continue to do so, and it wasnt because it had aggressive styling or looked cool because they didnt. think GM should have stuck with a traditional minivan body lines and spent more time with features and safety.

anywho, back to the true topic about this "crossover sports van" :plasma:
IMO , only way to not loose credibility in this market, would be to give each brand its own front end sheetmetal. in the past, this has been successful. for example, to the casual observer it was obvious the 90's b-body impala/caprices were on the same platform , some might have noticed also the olds custom cruiser..but would be more difficult to see the relationship to the cadillac fleetwood and buick roadmaster. so it is possible, but its sheetmetal that needs altering, and doesnt look like gm wants to spend the time/money to do it. recently buick did give the ranier a front end look that does give it its own identity, and thats what would be needed here.
 
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