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GM News, New Models and Market Share

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  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    They also resisted hail damage. I wish I were so lucky when we had both my Cobalt and old van in Rochester, NY during a hail storm.

    IIRC, the only the vertical panels like door skins and fenders were plastic. The hood, roof and trunk were either aluminum or steel (can't recall) to meet crash test standards.

    Those plastic panels also had problems with growth and shrinkage which is why panel gaps were something like 1/4" and hardly ever were consistent.

    I also recall the reliability on them was really good for the first couple of years and they were 99.9% "American made" having only something like (2) components that were sourced from outside Countries...
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    edited January 2013
    Was anything back then even close to a 4cyl Honda?

    Absolutely not IMO. In the 80's and 90's I sampled a lot of 4 cylinder cars and Honda was far superior to any domestic 4cyl and better than most others too.

    I think that likely comes from there back ground with small engines. Motorcycles, power equipment, and marine engines etc.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Launch is crucial. I wonder if they should have led with the performance model, maybe even an SS. That way you create a halo for the 'bu name.

    Then roll out the volume models, which is what people actually buy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Domestic brands had good large displacement engines - the 3.8l V6 and the small block Chevy come to mind.

    I think the idea of teaming up with brands from markets that preferred small cars made sense. I'm not yet convinced that Daewoo was the best choice, but hopefully we see quick improvement like we have from Hyundai and Kia.

    One area to focus on is weight - the Sonic would perform a lot better if it were lighter. The 1.4T could be tuned, do an SS and relaunch the pocket rocket.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I'm not sure we're going to see any SS models anymore, not with Chevy making a car called the SS. Which itself might not be wise if it competes with the Camaro and Corvette...but I digress. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nah, SS will be a sedan. It will sell to dads who want one of those but need 4 doors.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    IIRC, the only the vertical panels like door skins and fenders were plastic. The hood, roof and trunk were either aluminum or steel (can't recall) to meet crash test standards.

    Those plastic panels also had problems with growth and shrinkage which is why panel gaps were something like 1/4" and hardly ever were consistent.

    I also recall the reliability on them was really good for the first couple of years and they were 99.9% "American made" having only something like (2) components that were sourced from outside Countries...


    The hood, truck lid, and body shell were definitely aluminum and steel. So were the door frames which would definitely rust.

    My wife, my SIL, my MIL, and a few friends had Saturns and they ranged from being okay to problematic with various issues.

    My wife's '92 SL2 was reliable other than heavy oil use after 60-70k miles. My sister in-law bought a new '95 SC-1 that leaked trans fluid the first week she bought it. My MIL bought a '95 SL-2 which also had trans leak issues and was just a crude car by that time. It rode rough, was loud, and fit-n-finish was non existent. A friend of mine bought his wife an SC-1 the first year with the 3rd door. They ended up returning it under the (return policy) because the dealer couldn't fix water leaks around the 3rd door. The replacement wasn't much better and they didn't keep it long either.

    IMO, Saturn was a failure. It was a good idea which in typical GM fashion was poorly executed due to GM's toxic culture. Like some have mentioned, Saturn was successful in the beginning (though I don't think it was ever financially successful). They had a cult like following with their yearly owner meetings in Spring Hill and consumer focused dealerships and purchase process. RV'ers liked them because they could be towed w/o disconnecting a drive shaft or raising the drive wheels off the ground etc.

    But what started off as something different and successful was quickly killed by the managers of GM's other divisions. They acted like a bunch of bratty spoiled kids that felt like they shouldn't have to share resources and attention. Saturn died the day they started using parts from the GM parts bin and just became another GM brand.

    My MIL looked at Saturn again after her '95 was needing replaced. By that time it was the Ion. Neither my MIL and FIL were remotely impressed and my MIL ended up buying a Camry and now they're even more impressed with Toyota.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Korean cars were always heavy for a long time...Daewoo never got over that. Personally I don't think Hyundai and Kia did either, their cars are lighter now, but also not as structurally stiff as they were.

    I personally think GM should get into WRC. Ford is learning a lot about suspension and chassis tuning by being in WRC in addition to touring car racing and NASCAR. GM participates in NASCAR and WTCC but not WRC.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    Domestic brands had good large displacement engines - the 3.8l V6 and the small block Chevy come to mind.

    I'm only talking 4 cylinder engines. Yeah, GM certainly countered with v6 powered cars.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Nah, SS will be a sedan. It will sell to dads who want one of those but need 4 doors.

    No, it will be sold to men who's wives say "You're not getting that thing, get this so I can use it to get groceries and pick up the kids too!" :shades:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Countered? How long did they use pushrods again?
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    How long did they use pushrods again?

    To long;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I dunno, HyunKias had horrible crash test scores a decade ago, now they're better.

    Europe won't be booming for several years, I don't think the timing is right for WRC.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cam in block. ;)

    Hey, they worked.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    They limited revs. Not that GM knew how to build an engine that could rev past 6k safely anyway, but with pushrods you can only get so many RPMs.

    GM missed this season for WRC, but the Sonic would be an interesting rally platform if they can cut some of the weight, and the 1.4L Turbo engine is a good starting point, since current WRC rules limit things to 1.6L displacement. They could easily make the 2015 season, and could maybe squeak into 2014. Hyundai's going in in 2014 (and they really need to also, they have NO idea how to do sport chassis, steering, OR suspension).
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    Hey, they worked.

    True
  • fho2008fho2008 Posts: 393
    Not Again Stupid Carbs And Rednecks

    Remember the superbirds? I'm no Dodge fan but they were playing by the rules.....hey Ford and GM cant keep up you gotta go.

    The so called "stock cars" they run now please, go buy a V8 RWD Chevy Impala with a carb....what you cant?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    The only thing "stock" about those cars are the decals. NASCAR doesigns them, NASCAR sets out the specs, NASCAR declares what tweaks that can and cannot be done to them, NASCAR wants it to be "about the drivers and crews" and then claims that manufacturers should get into it because it helps advance automotive technologies.

    Technologies like pushrod V8s, 4 speed manual transmissions, recirculating ball steering, and (until 2012) carburetors, and now port fuel injection.

    In the meantime, WRC uses turbocharged 4 cylinder DOHC engines, DCTs, rack and pinion, and direct injection.

    Tell me, which racing spec is more in line with where the market is again? :shades:
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,899
    GM missed this season for WRC, but the Sonic would be an interesting rally platform if they can cut some of the weight, and the 1.4L Turbo engine is a good starting point, since current WRC rules limit things to 1.6L displacement. They could easily make the 2015 season, and could maybe squeak into 2014. Hyundai's going in in 2014 (and they really need to also, they have NO idea how to do sport chassis, steering, OR suspension).

    Do manufacturers really have anything to do with building a WRC car/team other than sponsoring and providing the money for the race teams to do the work?
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Manufacturers can enter as sponsors of a team and provide a car that meets WRC's specifications. Unlike NASCAR or F1, manufacturers in WRC and WTCC have a lot of latitude in how a car is designed (both use the Super2000 set of specifications). Frankly, GM is already using a Super2000 Cruze in WTCC, they could modify that for WRC as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_2000
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    IMO, Saturn was a failure. It was a good idea which in typical GM fashion was poorly executed due to GM's toxic culture. Like some have mentioned, Saturn was successful in the beginning (though I don't think it was ever financially successful). They had a cult like following with their yearly owner meetings in Spring Hill and consumer focused dealerships and purchase process. RV'ers liked them because they could be towed w/o disconnecting a drive shaft or raising the drive wheels off the ground etc.

    My younger daughter (born in 1987) had a classmate whose parents could have easily been the Saturn "ministers of propaganda" for the first few years of production. At any event where either was present, the subject of how great Saturns were always arose.

    By the time the girls reach High School, their attitude had started to change, and talk resembling dissatisfaction was much more common. By the time the girls graduated, her parents had moved on from Saturn to non-GM brands.

    The problems that I recall hearing them speak of were mainly drive train issues, especially transmission woes and poor response from the dealership/Saturn on repairs and related expenses. Also, by that time frame, Saturn had pretty much become American Opel and moved away from the original promise Saturn espoused.

    I remember other folks that owned Saturns who were no different than the average car owner, but this couple really stood out. If I had a condensed time-lapse video of the discussions over the years, it would be an excellent demonstration of how one can lose faith in a brand/product over the years.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,899
    Thank you for the info.

    I responded due to your Hyundai example. I would presume that they would leave the engineering and design to the pros.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    I have an aunt and uncle who have given Saturn some pretty good business. My uncle used to drive something like 120 miles per day for work, and went through either one or two S-series models. The one I remember had over 200,000 miles on it when he got rid of it.

    At some point after they got married, they bought a Vue. And, it must have served them well, as they now have an Outlook. However, at this point, I don't know if they're Still Saturn-huggers or not. My uncle was always a Ford guy, and has had several F-series trucks over the years (and still has one), as well as an 80's Bronco. But I guess when he decided he needed an economy car, the Saturn impressed him enough to lure him in.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Large displacement engines didn't need revs, though.

    Good low end torque allowed tall gearing, which is how the Corvette got a 25 mpg rating on EPA highway. Not bad given the performance.

    Even with modern tech they're not doing significantly better now.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,050
    Even with modern tech they're not doing significantly better now.

    That's because they're using that modern tech to get more performance out of the cars. Plus, the engines have gotten a bit bigger. At some point they quit using 350's and went to a 6.0, which I think is around 365 CID? And now they're using a 6.2, which probably comes out to around 375-378 CID.

    And, all things considered, they're still surprisingly economical. The 2013, with the base 6-speed stick, is rated at 16/26. If you go way back to 1985, under the current rating system, the stick is only rated 15/20, and the automatic is 15/21.

    The Corvette even offers a monstrous 7.0 Liter, which is probably around 425-427 CID, which gets 15/24.

    It does kinda make you wonder though...if they had taken all of the technological advancement since 1985 and applied it toward fuel economy, rather than performance, what kind of mpg it would get today? Of course, then we'd have to put up with a Corvette that takes a long 5-6 seconds to get from 0-60 with the stick, and probably 6-7 with the automatic.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,651
    edited January 2013
    That's because they're using that modern tech to get more performance out of the cars. Plus, the engines have gotten a bit bigger. At some point they quit using 350's and went to a 6.0

    Except for the 5.3 which replaced the Vortec 350 in the trucks and SUVs. The 5.3 gained HP vs the 350 but is short on torque. All the power is at high rpm with the 5.3 vs. 5.7. I think the 350 torque output peaked at 2,500rpm or so vs over 4k for the 5.3.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited January 2013
    My former next door neighbor (they moved 2 years ago) bought a red colored 2nd generation Vue for his wife a few years back. He had (maybe still does) a Pontiac G6 hardtop convertible that he tried to swap his wife for the Vue, but she would have nothing to do with it.

    AFAIK, their Vue has been very reliable, but I can't say how many miles it has on it. I remember liking its looks when I first saw it.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    My family has owned 5 Saturns over the past 10 years:

    '01 L200
    '03 L300
    '05 VUE
    '06 ION
    '08 VUE

    The only one left is the '06 ION - my daily driver.

    A few personal observations about Saturn ---

    The dealership experience was second to none. My wife loved buying Saturns, since the process was so easy (all but the '01 L200 were bought new).

    Service was great, too. Felt like a member of an extended family every time one of our vehicles was brought into the dealership.

    The reliability of the cars was average - the '03 L300, especially, cost quite a bit to maintain after the warranty was up.

    The panel gaps were tough to get used to, but knowing that you weren't going to get any parking lot dings sort of made up for that.

    Overall, I was kinda sad to see Saturn "assimilated by the Borg" that was GM. I always thought it should have offered more Euro-flavored products (the Astra and Sky were too-little, too-late, IMO). But, I understood that the finances made it close to impossible for GM to continue with "a different type of car".

    RIP.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,766
    But, I understood that the finances made it close to impossible for GM to continue with "a different type of car".

    Yes, but their finances didn't make it possible to continue with "the same old types of cars", either.

    IMHO Saturn was a huge missed opportunity that they squandered.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Yes, but their finances didn't make it possible to continue with "the same old types of cars", either.

    IMHO Saturn was a huge missed opportunity that they squandered.


    Agreed .. GM couldn't, or wouldn't, deal with the myriad of issues that they faced since the mid 1960's.

    Saturn could have been much more euro focused in their product line, if GM had decided to bring over the right models.

    Back in 2006 I wrote a document that outlined the Vauxhall (Opel) lineup and opined whether or not that model should come to the US:

    Agila - Rebadged Daewoo. Surprisingly, I think this might be too small for the US Market, but if the Smart car gets some traction, I suppose an argument could be made for offering it as a 'city' car.

    Corsa - As has already been mentioned, a new version is just being released, and GM is stating that the "next" iteration will be brought over to the US around 2010. Would compare with the Fit, Yaris, etc.

    Meriva - Small MPV - smaller than the Mazda 5. Might be able to compete with the likes of the Scion xB. Looks nice and is quite configurable, seating-wise.

    Tigra - Hardtop convertible, but looks to be a 2-seater. Probably not meant for Saturns' lineup, what with the Sky.

    Astra - Will be brought over as the ION replacement starting next fall. World class car; lets hope GM doesn't screw it up for the US market. Will be offered as a 3-door and a 5-door.

    Astra Twin Top - Another hardtop convertible, but this one has 4 seats. Might make life difficult for the VW Eos and Pontiac G6 Convertible, so bring it on!

    Zafira - An MPV that is larger than the Meriva, and available with 7 seats. This one would compete with the Mazda 5 quite nicely.

    Vectra - See Aura.

    Signum - See Malibu Maxx, but with way better styling, IMO.

    Monaro - Pontiac GTO; probably not for Saturn.
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