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Chevy Malibu Maxx

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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So, nematode, do you like it? You were kind of vague. ;-)

    I don't see that the design breaks any new ground. Looks like a 5 door hatchback, just maybe a little taller than usual. Like a modern Saab 9000, but smaller and with less cargo space.

    Camry has gotten taller over the years, and the Ford 500 will do the same. The Maxx doesn't seem to stretch the height much more than those.

    What's funny is that Saab has left the hatchback arena. Coincidentally it'll share a platform with Saab.

    SUVs have lots and lots of cargo space, plus a nice flat roof usually with a rack for extra capacity. I don't see the Maxx as a suitable substitute for an SUV for those specific reasons.

    And GM should change the name. When you say "Malibu" I immediately think of $15,000 rental cars, poor resale, so-so reliability, etc.

    Call it just "Maxx". Then offer a turbo version and call it the Mad Maxx. :-)

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    So here are the answers to your questions:
    1) I'm never opposed to diversity in the automotive world.
    2) I like GM. I have my GM card earning pretty much maxed out.

    The problems:
    1) I'm opposed to THIS concept vehicle. The goal of a concept (other than the usual flash, techno, possibility) is to explore a niche. To do this you need to:
    a) have a niche to market. Kids love sports cars but you dont market sports cars to kids. A better market is like Buick aimed at my mom (60yo). That works.
    b) Its also the place where demand and quantity demanded come into play. The demand for the Ferrari Maranello is high but the actual quantity demanded is low....yet price is high because demand is high. If you have low demand and are in a niche market than price will not hold because people will not buy. The Aztek lesson GM should have learned. You need to target a market and make the vechicle they "NEED" to have over other choices.
    So why does this apply here? The demand for the Maxx will be low. It will be even lower if the price is high....so price has to be low....but its going after a niche market. The arguement is circular. As I see it the market will be people who dont have kids and want a few extra inches in the back seat......The niche the are going after is covered pretty well so you have to have that "something" people want. It there is nothing special about the Maxx other than a few extra inches of leg room in the rear the 10k people a year in the US who want it will buy it and then it will fall off the map. As far as tall Camry's and such.....The Camry, Accord, and even Buick Regal wagons have been done. The Camry and Accord wagons did not sell well as they came along during the upswing in SUV and, to some degree, minivan sales. They also had clunky broken lines and were pretty ugly, which never helps. If there was a Camry and/or Accord wagon now it would probably be a fair seller at best and not worth the development cost. Yes they would be different and not really better....but you cant really compare established brands with new ones anyway. If that were the case then Huyndai would rule the market right now.
    The wagon market is growing but Subaru, Volvo, Audi, Saab, and other are already there. The Mazda 6 will be the new hot one on the block too. So the Maxx is not a wagon? Ita a tall car? Sure. Same principle applies. Why would Toyota build another tall Camry? The already make the RX300 and Highlander. Honda has the CRV and the Pilot. Subaru offers the Forrester, Impreza in various versions, and the Legacy based things like the Outbak and the Baja. The niche may be saturated for "tall cars". If Toyota were to build a tall Camry, it would just be different without the looks and AWD of the other (RX300 and Highlander) options. Just different.
    2) I like GM but I'm not loyal to any company. Even with all the rebates and all my GM dollars I still got a Mazda Protege ES as my daily commuter. I dont want to see GM make a horrible mistake with the Maxx. If the are going to go after than niche it has to be with:
    a) price. Its gotta be cheap relative to others because they are not established in the niche. Niche buyers are pretty loyal so why would they switch?
    b) content. It better have AWD, 200+hp, and/or all the other goodies that come with the others in that range. Thats unless it comes in at closer to $18k in which case you could get away with less.
    There needs to be a reason to select the Maxx over an SUV (GM offering included), mini-SUV, wagon, tall car, and other stuff thats out there already and made.

    Does not mean you should not like the Maxx. Just means I dont like it and think. I used to like the close to 300hp SVO minivan (based on the Montana) that GM used to show. The one with the 18in rims, lowered, with all the boy racer ground effects. I loved that thing and hoped they would make it but I knew it would not happen. If I were in charge the Maxx would not happen until I could build something that had a fighting chance in the market.
  • Ok, nematode - I understand where you're coming from now.
    I still don't agree that the Maxx has absolutely no chance in the market, but I will grant you that it is highly dependent on the price. Obviously, it will be more attractive at $18-22K than at $30K. However, I would expect it to cost more than the regular 4-door Malibu, just like a Matrix costs more than a Corolla or a Highlander costs more than a Camry, or a PT Cruiser costs more than a Neon, etc...

    As someone mentioned above, it's sort of ironic that Chevrolet is making a 5-door and Saab is not. This car seems better suited as a Saab.

    I still like the idea of taking some risks. Sometimes you strike out, like the Aztek, and sometimes you hit it out of the park, like the PT Cruiser.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    as you said in the $18-22k range. BUT at $22k it has to be a full content vehicle. There are too many other choices once you crack the $20k mark for it to be a sales success. If it came standard with the 3.5L motor and AWD for $22k then it would be a very interesting vehicle. I dont think it really needs the AWD in the market they want so just the 3.5L standard would be a good start. I think they should just drop the idea of the 2.2L variant unless they want to sell it at closer to $16-18k like an Accord or Camry range. So I think if it comes with the 3.5L, ABS, leather, auto, CD, power seat, power windows, rear wiper, curise, and all the other people friendly stuff like that for $22k it will sell. The only other things in that range would the Subaru wagons (no 6 in that range) , Mazda 6 (but its a tratitional wagon), and the mini-SUVs (some with 6s). There it would compete well as a people hauler. The problem is that I predict it will come in at about $28k loaded like the Aztek did and flop. I hope it does not but.....only time will tell. The MSRP is everyting on this vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Lots of home-run cars were big risks - Miata, New Beetle, PT Cruiser, and Mini Cooper. So yeah, I love to see innovation.

    I guess I want to see them push the envelope a little more than they did with the Maxx. It's just a tall hatchback.

    Look at the Murano, for instance. It's got style, space, big-league power, and a unique feature (CVT). You need all of those to compete at the $30k level.

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Camry and Accord: Build a quality car and people will forgive their lack of excitement.

    Regal/Impala: for the rental set. In the mid-size fleet there is no better rental than the Regal LS.

    The minivan in general: Its bigger than a station wagon and smaller than a full size van. Its a pot of gold.

    The SUV: made for people who dont want to be seen driving a minivan.....the Explorer et al. are basically minivans.

    The mini-SUV: its looks cooler than a Civic/Corolla. Its a little bigger than a compact car but smaller than a real SUV. Its that pot of gold again.

    I do have to admit I was shocked at the sales of the Beetle and PT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Camry reliability fell to just average lately. But they're banking on historical reputation.

    Car makers are looking for the next big thing, the next segment to explode. Right now it's actually luxury SUVs, believe it or not. The RX300 is Lexus' biggest seller, and Lexus lead the luxury segment on its back.

    Everyone is looking to crossovers to be the next big thing.

    -juice
  • The thing is - in the GM pricing model, the MSRP is almost irrelevant. Nobody pays MSRP for a GM car, except maybe a few specialty cars like the Corvette Z06 or the new SSR hotrod/truck. If the MSRP is $25K, the average "out the door" transaction price is probably more like $22K or even less with a big rebate and/or 0% financing.

    I agree with juice above - everyone is looking for that next 'segment buster', like the new Chrysler Pacifica, the Honda Element, or the new Nissan Murano, that aren't quite SUVs, aren't quite wagons, aren't quite cars.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    High MSRPs can scare people off, GM should be careful.

    Buyers are also addicted to rebates, but I hate them. For instance, in MD, you pay sales tax on the full amount before rebate. So with a $3000 rebate, you pay $150 extra in state sales tax. It's dumb, just lower the freakin' price!

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Subaru does the same thing. I remember my wifes Outback Ltd. wagon had a list price of $28k+ (including the 6CD changer and some other stuff) with everything except the gate bar, diffy protector, and auto dimming mirror. We almost left without talking to the sales guy. After about 5min it was down $2k and we eventually got it for $200 over invoice from a different dealer. At $25k its a great car with leather, ABS, AWD, seat heaters, the premium sound system, power seat, and all the goodies. At close to $30k it was not that interesting.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru's highest rebate on the Legacy for the past couple of years was $750. That's nothing compared to the $2-3 grand the Big 3 give away routinely.

    Right now they have some financing incentives, but not zero percent, and no rebates at all.

    -juice
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    But, but, but...

    The Big Three, particularly GM, pad prices (including invoice prices) in order to allow huge incentives later. This is especially easily seen in the difference in pricing in the Matrix and Vibe.

    This does help those who cannot otherwise come up with a down payment, though.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    The PT Cruiser, Vibe, and Matrix have proven that there is a market for tall wagons. It's not a stretch to conclude that there would be a market for a larger, more upscale tall wagon. I haven't seen any info on the height of the Maxx. Anybody know? I tried to scale it off of a photo and got 61 inches. Don't know how accurate that would be, though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did you see that Saturn now offers rebates? That was just about the last thing left to distinguish them. :-(

    Autoweek had a funny little tidbit about SoCal dealers stuck with leftover Lincoln Blackwoods. For the $53 grand or so MSRP, they would throw in a FREE Mercury Cougar! Both leftover 2002s. The funny thing is the dealer still made a 1-2 grand profit.

    Now THAT is price padding! Jeez!

    Any how, the Blackwood is an important lesson - you have to offer utility, period. Cadillac is selling Escalade EXTs at huge profits while Lincoln had to swallow huge losses with the Blackwood. Guess which one has a functional midgate and 4WD, and which one doesn't?

    Malibu Maxx should have AWD and lots and lots of cargo space and utility. Make a roof rack standard, with cross bars. Offer a tow package option. Hopefully they can avoid $3000 cash back.

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    "Malibu Maxx should have AWD and lots and lots of cargo space and utility. Make a roof rack standard, with cross bars. Offer a tow package option."

    Thats about what I was getting at. I want it to work but I have not like the press I have seen on the Maxx. GM needs to make a vehicle that has a fighting chance. Just throwing out ANOTHER tall wagon is not going to work. Off the top of my head:
    Volvo has 2: XC90 (on the way); and the Cross country.
    Subaru: They are all tall wagons but the Outback, Baja, OBS, and Forester reall look like tall wagons.
    BMW: The 2 X5 variants are supposed to be SUVs but are basically tall wagons.
    DC: Pacifica (out soon), the ML series
    Toyota/Lexus: Matrix, if you want more of the SUV look you can go with the RX350 (and its bigger brother) or Highlander.
    Honda/Acura: The Pilot is supposed to be an SUV but its also more tall wagon (and its really big), if you want tall minivan you can go MDX, or smaller in the CRV.
    GM: also has their own version of the Matrix (Vibe). I think the Vibe tops out at about $19k so if they made a bigger Vibe for say $20-22k it would have interesting...if thats what the Maxx is then why is under Chevy?
    DSM: has the Outlander which looks pretty cool on paper and undercuts the Forester/Outback in price. Its definately a tall wagon.
    Nissan/Inf: Has the Murano under Nissan and the bionic cheeta thing (I forget the name) under Infinity on the way. Both are tall wagons. The Maxx actually looks a little like the Murano.

    There are simply too many choices in that range. Giving it a 3.5L V6 (perhaps a bored and stroked H6 from the Subaru), AWD, roof rack, stability control, ABS, full power package all standard would set it apart to some degree if the price was right. Leather, wood trim, towing package, and a fancy sound system would be nice options. If they could offer a loaded model with everyting for around $30k it would work. I think it would hammer the middle of the segment and get a nice foothold. I think down scaling the Maxx would be a huge mistake. If they want to do that they should release a cheaper FWD (less content) version under Pontiac as a bigger Vibe. Chevy does not need any more down scaling of its reputation.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You can add X3, Aerio, Focus, FX45, an upcoming Dodge, a Ford 500 variant, and Element, to the list.

    It's getting crowded, so they have to find a way to stand out, or noone will even notice it.

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Thats the bionic cheetah right? I think thats the one I thought was really interesting when they mentioned it was getting the Q45 V8. The looks are "interesting". Not really my style but if you are going to do it......and V8 will not hurt you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kinda wierd looking to me, and I'm a HUGE wagon fan.

    -juice
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    You guys are either not doing the research or missing the point.

    The Maxx rear seats are designed to either fold flat, roll up, or possibly to be removed all together. Racks are always options in cars like the Maxx.

    The idea is to have a car with a roomy rear seat for two adults that can then be reconfigured to near cargo van interior.

    Nematode, most of the vehicles you discuss in #41 are going to compete with the Cadillac SRX. I just do not even follow the argument at all.

    Then your argument becomes even more confused. A few posts up, you said the Maxx should be less expensive. Now you are saying it should be more deluxe. The Maxx is meant to be a varient of what will be Chevrolet's mid market car. Mid market today is approx 18.5 to 28 or so (you can pay in the 30s for a maxed out Passat, but few do). The Maxx will probably come in the middle, as Chevrolets always do.

    More than likely, the most expensive Malibu will be a Sedan SS model with a supercharged V6. Another Chevrolet tradition.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd have to see interior measurements, but it doesn't seem like it'd be any bigger than a RAV4, and much smaller than an Element, as a cargo van.

    -juice
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Research? As juice mentioned not much has been released. What I do know is that starting in 2004 the Malibu will go on the same front-drive Epsilon platform as the latest Saab (9-3). Thats smaller than the new Camry unless the modify it considerably. The difference for the Maxx is that the platform will have a 4-6in stretch in the wheelbase to allow for the sliding (and possibly removable) rear seat. Thats fine and even interesting but the Maxx better start below $18k if thats its only drawing point. In the clippings I have seen the seats are supposed to slide and fold (for sure) and possibly be removable. My bet is that they are not going to be removable because they will have to be made lighter (and less comfortable). The maket they are going after will want to transport 4 adults in comfort. Removable seats are generally not comforatble. The only other things I'm aware of are that a rear-seat sunroof and a rear-seat entertainment system may be in the plans for options. The rear seat sun roof is supposed to be a "new" thing but my wife Subaru Outback Ltd. (2000) a $25k out the door car came with dual ones standard. Still, thats good for the Maxx too because they will have to offer lots of content for less than market for it to have a chance. I know its supposed to be an alternative to the wagon or minivan BUT wagons are not passe now. In fact I bet the Mazda 6 wagon is a huge sales hit as are all the little wagons and the higher end Audi wagons. People like wagons now because they dont remember the Buick Roadmasters and Estate Wagons my parents uesd to cart us around in. The wagon avoidance era was in the 80s and 90s. Now, as juice mentioned is the luxury SUV era.


    Here it is: I predict that the Maxx will tank because there is no reason to select it over things that are out there already.


    There is no reason to waste development money on a middling car, with middling looks, and middling performance. They should have learned that from the first generation Malibu. It started out as a good idea and then they just let it die. Until GM learns they have to enter the market with something better and then keep improving it they will keep losing market share. One of my favorite comments from my old thesis advisor was: Different is not better. Only better is better. The Maxx is different. Its not better than other stuff thats already out there so there is no reason to go and buy one.


    "The Maxx rear seats are designed to either fold flat, roll up, or possibly to be removed all together. Racks are always options in cars like the Maxx."


    Yes, this is a good idea but it cannot be the only draw. Most minivans so this and have lots more room. Most wagons have folding seats too that will give you about the same amount of room. Racks should be standard but its not a deal killer for me.


    "The idea is to have a car with a roomy rear seat for two adults that can then be reconfigured to near cargo van interior."


    Once again, a good idea but its a VERY small niche that would buy a car just for that reason. People who really want room will get a minivan, SUV, truck, and so on. How much room? None of this has been released. The Buick Regal has lots of rear leg room and so does the Camry. How much more does one need? Unless one is over 6'4" most passenger cars are fine in the back seat and SUV and minivans have even more room. I doubt the seats will be removable but if you really need that kind of room why not an SUV or minvan or wagon? Still, once again its interesting but as a major selling point? Perhaps for a low volume banner car but I dont think thats what they want for the Maxx.


    "Nematode, most of the vehicles you discuss in #41 are going to compete with the Cadillac SRX. I just do not even follow the argument at all. "


    Then let me be more clear. You are confusing 2 separate points. GM can go two ways with the Maxx. Either sell it cheaply (less than $20k well equipped) as a larger Vibe but then it should have stayed in Pontiac for better visibility. OR go after the higher end stuff in which case it better come with AWD, ABS, and everything else standard. In this case it should not have been put under Chevy. Also the 3800 V6 will not fly in that company. Its got lots of grunt and I like it overall but its simply too unrefined to even come close to the Honda and Toyota (and some other GM) offerings.


    "Maxx should be less expensive. Now you are saying it should be more deluxe."


    Its not confused at all. The Maxx needs to offer more for less. Thats the only way it will sell. If they dont put something out there that has a fighting chance to expand sales. Its gonna tank. If GM wants to carve out a new segment then it needs a impact maker. A little extra leg room is just not enough. I'm saying that the Maxx needs to cost less and offer more to have a chance no matter what price target they set. Its that simple. GM is the under dog here. Not the dominant make.


    So I think the new Malibu is a good idea. The Maxx was a waste of development money that could have gone into making the Malibu better. GM is losing market share because they are not putting out products that compete well. I dont think the Maxx, going after a niche market that may not even exist, is a step in the right direction.


    I would have rather seen GM put its development money and Subaru owner ship to good use into making the Malibu an AWD full content vehicle on a modified Episilon platform. Then take direct aim at the Camry and Accord. AFTER the Malibu name started to mean "better than the Asian makes" then I would have tried something like the Maxx (but much higher performance).

  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Well, you cannot have been very thorough in your research. The Maxx is simply a US version of the Opel Signum. There are multiple sites with definite specs and information about the Signum. The data is metric but easily converted.

    The rest of your points are not points at all, but prejudices to something new.

    As the Maxx will be nothing more than a reconfigured Malibu (thus its name) developing it is not that expensive.

    The Pontiac Grand Am will be a variation of the Malibu so who is to say Pontiac will not have a Maxx like vehicle as well?

    The Maxx is a niche vehicle -- projected 20k units per year are niche numbers. Making it profitably is possible because it will borrow its design and workings from existing vehicles.

    GM is not losing market share. It gained market share last year, and will gain this year. Making a niche vehicle that may draw buyers who otherwise would not buy a Malibu does not hurt market share, it helps market share.

    Your statement that wagons are a hit is a gross exageration. Wagons are doing better than they have. I am not aware of any wagon that sells much beyond 20k units per anum.

    The Maxx should sell for around the same price as the Malibu. You have never once made a cognizable argument why it should not.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    "Well, you cannot have been very thorough in your research."


    I dont really research things before I post them. I do it from memory or post my opnion. When I'm wrong I admit it. I'll tell you where I stopped about 1 month ago in this case:


    Opel Signum:

    19.4 cubic foot (seats up) approx 550L

    49.4 cubic foot (seats down) approx 1400L


    Pontiac Vibe

    19.3 cu. ft. (seats up)

    54.1 cu. ft. (seats down)


    Unless my conversions are way off its smaller than the Vibe. The Maxx is not a simple cut and past issue. Which is why I kept bringing up the Vibe. The Maxx appears to be a larger Pontiac Vibe (which even looks like the Signum). If you make it wider and longer you get the Epsison platform that Saab uses now for the 9-3. If its the size that I think it is then it has to be on that platform. If you further stretch the wheel base another 4-6in you get the Maxx. Its like comparing the Corolla to the Camry. Similar but not at all the same thing.


    If its based on the Signum then its going to be tiny. If its based on the Epsilon platform (like I think it will be) it will be about the size of the last generation Camry. Dont kid youself. Developing a larger vehicle, even based on an existing platform, costs a ton.


    "GM is not losing market share."

    Really??? Please see the link below. You do know that GM is down to about 27% (including fleet sales) right? They have had years where they have gained slightly using low finance rates or huge rebates only to fall fruther than they started. Its been going on since the mid-70s. They used to sell about 75% of the cars in this country. Soon it will be 25% because they dont produce mass market products that compete well. Thats not only my opnion.....its public opnion. Its fact.

    http://www.edmunds.com/news/column/carmudgeon/48483/article.html


    http://www.ebnonline.com/story/OEG20010727S0052

    http://www.forbes.com/2002/12/17/cz_jf_1217flint_print.html


    http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_gm_halt_shrinking/


    This one is also interesting:

    http://www.autofieldguide.com/columns/upham/0600ind.html


    "Your statement that wagons are a hit is a gross exageration"

    Really? How about the Subaru Legacy / Outback line. I bet they sold at least 20k of those. I think Subaru sold about 90k cars (Legacy based cars) last year and since the OB is their best seller I bet its a good chunk of that number. What about the Vibe and Matrix? Impreza and WRX wagons? If you dont consider them wagons then I see your point. I think they are all wagons.


    "The Maxx should sell for around the same price as the Malibu. You have never once made a cognizable argument why it should not. "


    I never even tried to make that arguement. I said that GM would overprice the Maxx and kill it before it got a chance. Where did I say that the Maxx would not sell for the same price as the Malibu? IF the Maxx came in at $18-20k fully loaded it would sell. I think I even posted that the range should be $15-18k to get good sales. So, I'm really not sure what you are getting at. The current Malibu FULLY loaded with everything GM offers sells here for about $18.5k (or less). I dont know what the MSRP actually is but the price is pretty good for what you get. I have a feeling that GM will bring in the Maxx at more like $25k or more. It simply will not sell there without being a full content vehicle. You can get a lower end Malibu brand new for about $15k. I know that for a fact because I looked at it before I got my Protege. If the Maxx were to come in at $15-18k it will sell. I think I said that already. If it goes over $20k then its going to have problems because there are plenty of other / better options. If it gets near $30....it has no

  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    And I'm bored.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I was gonna say...

    Sounds like the Maxx has more passenger space than the Vibe, but not more cargo space. Plus it'll pamper them a lot more, and offer a V6 I'm sure.

    Subaru sold 55k Foresters, 95k Legacy/Outback models, and 35k Imprezas in 2001. So the Impreza wagon might be the only one under 20k (they don't split it up by bodystyle).

    -juice
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Your argument makes no sense. The Signum IS based on the epsilon platform.

    GM's market share increased to approx. 28% last year and appears set to increase to approx. 28.9% this year. What is going up cannot be going down, opinions notwithstanding.

    The Vibe/Matrix will sell about 140k units combined. The Corolla more in the area 300k units. The Vibe/Matrix are doing all right but they are hardly market captains.

    The Camcords (and by the way, Toyota and Honda both dropped their wagon versions of the Camcords) combined sell something like 800k units per year. All the models you mention do not even come close.

    You are confusing the current Malibu with the new Malibu sedan set to debut next year as an '04 model. (Or perhaps you do not realize that GM also plans to launch a Malibu sedan next year) The '04 Malibu will also be based on the epsilon platform. In short, it will be the same car underneath as the Malibu Maxx. Thus the name -- Malibu Maxx. Funny how that works, huh?

    I am not aware of GM having distributed any pricing for either the '04 Malibu Sedan or the Malibu Maxx. Whatever the prices are, the Malibu Maxx will probably base in the middle range of the '04 Malibu price spectrum. The Malibu SS, which will be a super sport version of the sedan will be the most expensive. I doubt that the even the SS will be anywhere near 30k.

    And yes, GM has suggested there may be a Malibu wagon as well.

    Again, I respectfully suggest you are confusing several issues here.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    seemed pretty clear. It has several points not all reated to the topic at hand:
    1) Opel Signum is not the same as the Malibu Maxx. That was your original claim. Not mine. The Signum is smaller than the Pontiac Vibe. Its not as simple as just selling it in the US. A wider, longer, more US friendly version needs to be developed. The Signum is tiny whereas the new Malibu will be the same size as the previous generation Camry. That is the standard Epislon (family car/Saab) platform. The rest are derived from it but are not the same thing at all.
    2) The aforementioned development, even from the Malibu plarform, will cost money because its not the same platform as the 04 Malibu. Its similar, but not the same. The frame will be stretched about 4-6 inches to allow for the trick back seat. The base (not Maxx) Malibu and the Saab 9-3 will be on the same platform, be roughly the same size, and may even share some parts. A Malibu wagon would be fantastic. GM has made some nice moves to buy some interest in Subaru. They should offer an AWD Malibu tall wagon. That would be cool and worth the development cost. However, I suggested that since its going to look an awful lot like a larger Vibe is should have been under the Pontiac badge. I think it fits better there. It can still be a stretched Malibu but sell under a different name like the Regal/Grand Prix.
    3) I think that if it comes in at $18 for a well equipped vehicle then it has a good chance. IF it comes in at $25k it will tank unless it becomes a full content vehicle. I dont think it has a shot at 20k a year at that price. I would say it would sell more in the range of 5-10k a year. I have no idea what they are going to charge for the Maxx. All I suggested is that they have to decide if its going to be a full content vehicle OR sell in the $18-20k mass market range. I also suggested that it would do well in the the $18-20k range rather than the over $20k because there are better options for space and transporting people when you get close to $25k.
    4) Wagons are selling very well as far as I can tell. Your claim was that most did not sell 20k a year. Thats clearly not true. Juice provided more numbers but most wagons are selling more than 20k a year and a well designed wagon from GM would also sell more than 20k a year. BUT they should let Juice or I design it :).
    5) Toyota and Honda dropped their plans for wagons because of the development cost involved. When they have SUVs (Highlander, Pilot, RAV-4, CR-4) selling a couple of hundred thousand units a year at or above MSRP why would they spend the money to develop a wagon? Thats nuts. Honda and Toyota also have minivans that really sell well too. When we were looking at the Honda minivan most of the quotes we get were at or above MSRP. They are in high demand so their buisness model would suggest put all your money into production when sales are not. Development is nice too but when things are selling well there is really no reason to throw something new out there. Still, Honda has the Element on the way but I'm not sure who it for. Has to be younger kids because it just looks screwy to me.
    6) GM used to sell 2 out of every 3 cars in this country. Since 1970 their market share has ben trending down to a low near 2000/2001. As of late it has been hovering between 27-30% INCLUDING FLEET SALES. Without fleet sales its acutally lower. It has been going up which I'm happy to see because I want GM to do well. BUT the reason for the bump from 27 to near 29% is the low finance rate and HUGE cash back allowances. Its fine too but its not going to last. Its not the same as putting out a competitive product. Its not just the Asian makes either. DC, VW, and the Korean makes have also taken a chunk. It was just a side point but GM needs to focus on making mass market cars that, not only compete with, but are better than the Camcord. Its their only hope of getting back market share in chunks. My hope is that the new Malibu will be that car that gets GM back in the game. I dont want them to screw it up by throwing it out there with an inflated MSRP that scares away potential buyers. I also dont think they need to waste their development money on low volume vehicles at this point. Perhaps when the Malibu catches on but not now. I think their goal should be to put out a mass market car that is more refined and more reliable than the Camcord. I hope the Malibu is that car. The Impala was also a good start but its just not as refined as other in the segment. Once again, they start something out well and then just let it flounder without improving it. As far as the Maxx, I dont think its a good idea because that money could be better spent making the Malibu better. The fact that I think its ugly and people will not buy it just based on that is up for debate. So what? Thats my opnion. Sure, I would love a Malibu wagon with AWD for $20k but I would rather see a Malibu that as better than the Toyota and Honda mass market offerings.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    You are mixing platforms -- which are expensive and difficult to build -- with the body -- which are not. The Opel Vectra, Saab 9-3, Opel Signum, the '04 Chevrolet Malibu, the '04 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, the '05 Pontiac Grand Am are(or will) be built on the same platform. The Epsilon platform to be exact. The bodies will be different, the cars will not.

    You are wrong about the Vectra/Signum -- Malibu/Maxx. The Opel Vectra has roughly the same dimensions as the Malibu will have. The Opel Signum has roughly the same dimensions as the Maxx. The US versions might be a little wider and a little longer to suit US tastes, but not by much.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Also, I do not understand your thinking when you say Honda and Toyota do not need a wagon because they sell a lot of SUVS but GM does need a wagon. You are aware that GM will finish the year either neck and neck or slightly ahead of Ford at the top of the SUV sales hill?
  • I've never been interested in Chevrolet, or most U.S. badged vehicles (I'm 40), but the Maxx appeals to me big time! I hope they don't screw up the Signum when they rebadge it Chevy.

    The biggest thing they could screw up is drop in an old-school American powerplant that has gobs of torque but horrible mpg. Ideally (but it won't happen in this 1st half of the decade), is they drop in a latest gen turbo-diesel that has all the torque Americans love but with maybe 38 mpg!?

    Also, I want either an advanced manumatic of a buttery-tight stickshift. Now I know loads of you will think why doesn't he just get a Passat Wagon (I have one) or maybe a new Mazda6 wagon. That's an option, but they don't have the back seat / cargo coolness of the Signum.

    BTW, the Honda Element is indeed very cool, but it is a small tricket that doesn't get very good mpg. Again, an Element with 38 mpg, 150hp and maybe 230 foot-pounds of torque at 1,500 rpm would be total coolness.
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