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Chevy Uplander/Pontiac Montana SV6/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza



  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    "Anyone know when the new vans are coming? Have not seen anything yet."

    According to GM, it will not be before Fall 2004. But as somebody mentioned above, it may not be until end of the year, and GM will even produce some current models for 2005.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I posted the following on the Freestar board, but thought it applies to the GM vans too. Let's get some discussions going...

    Personally if we could afford the Sienna, or Quest and Odyssey for that matter, we wouldn't go with the Freestar unless it's close to $10K cheaper comparably equipped. Not to say the Freestar is not a capable van, it's got a few good things going for it such as safety and exterior looks. But the engine power, fuel efficiency and resale value simply are not up to its competitors level. Plus once you add a few necessities (e.g. canopy etc), you're looking at a price in the same range with the imports even after the rebates. That's just not gonna cut it for me.

    Just off the top of my head, I wanna throw out some strategic moves to Ford AND GM AND Chrysler/Dodge:

    1)make radical design changes inside and out to make your vans at least look modern and appealing! Need I say "Quest"? Style sells!

    2)make radical engeering changes too. First, save all of us some trouble--just drop one kick-butt engine with kick-butt power and fuel efficiency (if you have one...if not MAKE one!) into all of your trim models, like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all do! And while you're at it, drop in a 5-speed auto too. Or be a class leader--use a CVT transmission!

    3)make all airbags(side, canopy, knee, etc), ABS and traction control standard. That takes care of the all important safety. Then make all of the cool features standard such as double power doors, power lifetgate, Stow-n-go or whatever else you wanna call it, adjustable pedals, etc. Leave the DVD and Navigation as options. And this takes care of comfort.

    4)copy Hyundai's warranty!

    Mass production of these extras will lower the cost. A better product will raise the price threshhold that the customers are willing to fork over. Then you set the MSRP somewhere in the middle to make it an irresistable value, and you have a winner! I garrantee you if you do this you'll shut up A LOT of people. And I'll be sure to get in line to check them out.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    The Quest hasn't been selling all that well, from what I've read.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Styling sells but not when it is goofy, like the dash styling of the Nissan Quest which is an ergonomic nightmare.

    I still like the DC minivans exterior styling the best of the bunch, and with two wheel base versions and options from strippers to fully loaded, they cover the range of consumer budgets with a single platform with short and stretched versions.

    Making all those features you mention standard would be severely limit any manufacturer's customer base by driving the base model cost upward, just as only offering a stripped down model would do the same.

    Odd that you advocate a kick butt engine, then in nearly the same breath want all the safety features you can buy. The quality of the driver is still the biggest safety issue around, and gobs of available power can conflict with safe operation. No matter what you think, there is still a trade off between power and mpg, especially when that power is used for hard acceleration. Besides, these are minivans, not sports cars! Once you get to a point of adequate acceleration, which nearly all the current vans have when equipped with more than the base engine, you are talking very diminished demand by the vast majority of minivan customers.

    Radical engineering changes bring about potential radical quality/reliablility issues. I'd prefer constant continuous improvement over radical design changes from year to year, with a more major update every 5 years or so. This allows for more resources applied to important features such as improved fuel efficiency, brakes, transmissions, etc, rather than styling related sheet metal redesign. Plus there is tremendous tooling costs for any radical new designs, which again will drive costs of production upward. Nissan is currently fighting the quality issues brought about by rapid introduction of many new models.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Quest is definitely not selling well and it's laced with issues. Our neighbour has one and he wishes he didn't. Wipers don't work properly, lots of rattles and awkward controls to name a few of the issues.

    Side air bags are on the new GM vans but head curtains are not. A few years ago no one had curtains but I guess GM should try and get them in there. It's an issue but not a big one for most.

    Nobody should follow Hyundai warranties. Hyundai has to have them, the big 6 makes do not. They hurt the bottom line and are not a big selling feature.

    I don't think the new GM vans are any breakthrough, but I think they will be decent and will hold market for them till the all new vans (Lamda?) comes.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Maybe GM doesn't need to make all of their vans as unique looking as the Quest. But GM could conceivably design several distinctly looking vans for its Chevy, Pontic and Buick brands that are compatibly with each other mechanically, and gear each brand accroding to its different customer base in terms of engine choice, standard features and all. I don't know if the cost of doing that would be prohibitive.

    A 240 hp with good low end torque and 27 mpg mileage is kick butt enough for me, which is what the imports are already offering. Personally I actually don't think sportiness or the lack of is a big deal for minivans. Like badgerfan said, who is going all out in their minivan. That said, the D/C's 150 something hp and a 3-speed auto transmission is just pathetic. I hope they're not still offering those. I have to disagree with the notion that a high power engine is inherrantly incompatible with safety. It should help in that matter in the event of an emergency, as long as one exercises common sense in daily driving.

    I guess my bottom line is in order to compete with the imports, the big three have to outdo them in every aspect. And that certainy requires something radical.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I believe the stripper short wheel base Caravan still has the four cylinder engine available (but it is an OHC design) and has a 4 speed automatic.

    I don't fault DC for offering it. It may be underpowered, but still serves a market segment. Anyone who wants more power can easily get the 3.3 or 3.8 V-6's that are adequate. Choice is good in my opinion.

    I'm certainly not defending GM, I have thought their minivans were mediocre and a step behind the competition dating way back to GM's first belated entry into this market, and the new ones are more of the same.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Are the new GM vans completely new from ground up?

    The current D/C vans do look decent if a tad conservative to me. Maybe they can style them in a more modern and appealing fasion when it comes to redesign. Vans don't have to look either goofy or antique. They could be radically classy and unique.

    The Quest does seem to suffer from teething problems. But they'll be soon ironed out and Nissan will have a killer product.

    GM owning so many brands certainly has the flexbility to come up distinct vans for distinct customer base in terms of price, style and options. The new vans look essentially the same inside and out for Chevy, Pontic, Buick and Saturn.

    Don't get me wrong. I think all the domestic vans are very decent and will serve most of the folks just fine. But again, the big three will NOT hold their grounds for long if they're just satisfied with adequite vehicles. This applies to their complete line of products. Toyota already outsells Ford and is currently No 2. To compete, you have to OUTCLASS and OUTPERFORM your competitors in every way. Your products have to make your customers fall in love with them at first sight and completely blow them away. Think outside the box GM!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for the info, Andy.

    I think perhaps people in vans don't care as much about alloy wheel looks, it's not like you're going to get stares driving along in any why try?

    Perhaps GM's secret to success could be quicker or interim updates? Seems like the life cycles last forever.

  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Many owners are still using their early 90's Astro's as family vans and love the 4.3L V6 that has much greater torque than any other minivan + a large fuel tank for great cruising range.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I would also like to add that if your company is perceived as having poor quality, reliability and products, you have to take even more effort just to stay on buyers lists. It'll take several generations of kick butt engine minivans that are all fully loaded and a irrestible value for consumers to change. GM products have to OUTPERFORM, OUTCLASS and most importantly, UNDERPRICE. If I can buy a Saturn Relay for $28,000 and a Honda Odyssey EX for $28,000, which one am I going to buy? Obviously the Odyssey since it has a kick butt engine, safety features, convienience features and it's a great value. (well the 04's are, at least) I'm not going to pay $38,000 for a Terrazza when I can get a better designed Sienna XLE Limited for the same amount of my money. The Malibu is a first step, it's up there with the Big Four, according to CR. (Passat, Accord, M6, Camry) And the Malibu is a good buy. But that's just one model. The ideas of the Malibu have to carry over to other GM models in order to stay being the largest automaker in the world. Your opinions on this issue?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you're onto something.

    Perception lags behing reality, usually by several years. A good example is Hyundai, they beat Toyota in JDP IQ study overall, but they're still joked about. Maybe that'll change in 3 years.

    So yeah, even if the new vans are great, they'll have to sustain that greatness for a few years to appear on enough radar screens to gain market share.

    Also - resale value will be based on the outgoing model. So they'll have to sell based on value and rebates until they can boost resale values as well.

  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Precisely my point! I came to this revelation just in the last few months when we finally checked out the "pricier" imports vans. The price differences were actually minimal for comparably equipped vans.

    Your assessment is right on. Bottom line is Detroit needs a RADICAL and drastic strategy. Hyundai did exactly that and they're winning over hearts everyday.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Yes, but did you see where Hyundai fell on JD Power's 3 year dependability study? (5th from last, with 100 more problems per 100 cars than the industry average).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, a poor showing, but I think those were 2001 models, something like that, i.e. previous generations for the most part.

    But you bring up a good point - there is a further lag that occurs to measure the improvement, assuming there is one.

    So if it takes them another 3 years to improve on the durability stufy, public perception might take, well, forever basically, to catch up! LOL

  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Precisely my point! I came to this revelation just in the last few months when we finally checked out the "pricier" imports vans. The price differences were actually minimal for comparably equipped vans.

    Your assessment is right on. Bottom line is Detroit needs a RADICAL and drastic strategy. Hyundai did exactly that and they're winning over hearts everyday.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    ateixeira, Hyundai as a company still ranks low on long term reliability and I still think they are built from cheap parts though initial quality is indeed up.

    I think the new vans may surprise some doubters as I still think the current offering has one of the best ride qualities in the van biz. We shall see in a few months I guess.

    In terms of looks, Chrysler still wins with me. Very attractive and modern. The Quest looks like a frog, way over the top and the Honda is too conservative. Toyota could be good if they fixed the nose.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I agree completely on styling.

  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    SV6 at Mcdonalds today. Only saw the outside and it looked better than I thought. Still pretty much looked like the old minivan from the windshield back. Looked good in red though.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    I agree with you - the CSVs aren't great, except on interiors which are best in class IMHO. While some of thsoe on this board will tell you that most people will overlook side-curtains, they are wrong. The buying public is smart and when buying a car, most people look at different models from different makes. So if they see that every other minivan in this class has a certain feature(s) and the CSVs do not have those, then obviously the smarter shopper will move to a DCX, Freestar, Quest, Sienna, or Odyssey.
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