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Top 10 Turnaround Tips for GM/Ford/Chrysler



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Ford - Stop designing and building limited production models. The T-Bird? The GT? When these vehicles fail, you come back and tell us they were never intended to be full run vehicles. Then why on earth build them?

    You lost your reputation by building lousy cars for the average consumer. The path to earning it back also lies in the cars for average consumers. Stop wasting money on showroom bling bling.

    Chrysler - Figure out what made the 300C a success and apply it to a smaller vehicle. (No it wasn't the grill.) Try that instead of rebadging the orginal to death. Also, don't let the 300C wither on the vine. All these rebadged variants should not stop you from redesigning the thing on a 5 year cycle.

    Chevy - Get botox injections into the lips and find the nearest Toyota bottom. :cry:
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    what is chrysler's plan with the last gen c class platform? A sub $20k car?
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    T-bird and GT are halo cars...they're not meant to sell well, but to give excitement and prestige to a brand. Every car company should have a few like's so "American". Just don't get carried away like Chrylser did with the Plymouth Prowler.

    Re the 300C, I think there's a place for both it and the Charger. Just need to differentiate them more...Charger should get more performance stuff, while the 300C can get more luxurious. But the difference has to be real, not just sheet metal.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Oh, I know what a halo car is. It's an expensive way to advertise corporate values and serve as showroom candy. It's a loss-leader used to promote abstract feel good qualities. I just don't think Ford needs any expensive advertising. And they certainly need something concrete.

    Charger and 300C... sure. With large differences to separate them (price, sheetmetal, engine options, etc.) that would work.

    Charger, 300C, Magnum, and Challenger... that's pushing your luck. All of them more or less in the same tax bracket, with only sheetmetal to separate them? Too close to badge engineering, imo.

    I think their resources would be better spent putting some effort into a smaller mid-size car.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Ford: Refocus on building dependable American cars. You're close to getting it, now just cut back fleet sales. And please give Mercury some unique product. Either give it the unique product or close it. I sometimes can't stand the local Lincoln-Mercury dealer commercials advertising "$14995 FREESTARS WITH ALL THIS STUFF!!" (albeit the guy who advertises, the owner, Larry Stovesand, is quite hilarious) because they can't move enough brand new and certified Lincolns and Mercurys. I'm sure other dealers do this, but ol' Larry here shouldn't have to get on TV himself to sell the local public on used rental Freestars.

    DaimlerChrysler: Some Crossovers please? Besides the Pacifica.. And perhaps a competitive midsize sedan...

    GM: I'll get to you later.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    On average I will agree with you that Toyota has better service.

  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    lemko, you know better than that. :P Acura and Buick being a comparison. Not to be a smart [non-permissible content removed] let's look at the line-up. :confuse:

    Acura RL, Acura TL, Acura RSX, Acura TSX, Acura RDX, Acura NSX.

    Buick Lucerne, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Rainer, Buick Rendezvous, Buick Terazza, and finally the Buick Enclave.

    I'd probably have to say the closest of the GM competitors to Acura would be a hybrid of Pontiac, Cadillac. ;)

    For the money, even this diehard GM fan/loyalist has to admit that the Acura brand perhaps is the best car money can buy in the world.

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "Oh, I know what a halo car is. It's an expensive way to advertise corporate values and serve as showroom candy. It's a loss-leader used to promote abstract feel good qualities. I just don't think Ford needs any expensive advertising. And they certainly need something concrete."

    No offsense to your car knowledge intended. :) Fair enough re the GT, but I can't imagine in the grand scheme of things the T-bird was that was mostly Lincoln LS parts and standard engines.

    And it's not like Ford is in a totally dire situation where they can't have a few cars like's passenger car line is for the most part the best it's been in years...just needs a little massaging to make it very desirable (better engine on the Five Hundred, manual available for the Fusion V6, bring Euro-Focus here).
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    True enough. The T-Bird probably wasn't terribly expensive. But it was still a niche car. And I was tempted to include the Excursion as another in the same boat.

    IMO, a better way to spend their money would be on an everyman kind of car with broader market appeal. In fact, they've already done it with great success. The new Mustang is exactly the kind of car they should have been using to advance Ford's performance agenda.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I think Ford's getting there.

    The Five Hundred by all reports is a good car, just with weak engines. I think an optional 4.6 V8 (which would require purchase of the AWD package) would make for a really cool big car.

    If the Fusion offered a manual transmission with its V6 engine + sport tuning, it could easily develop the image of a sorta "bargain basement BMW".

    In Europe and the UK, Ford has always enjoyed a reputation for making reasonably-priced, solid (if quirky around the edges) "working-class heroes." Could easily follow that here in the U.S. with some minor tweaking to the line-up I think. Would be a great image...let Chrysler constantly restyle to be the look-at-me car company, let GM keeping blasting us with ads about how it's the number one car company... ;)
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    "If the Fusion offered a manual transmission with its V6 engine + sport tuning, it could easily develop the image of a sorta "bargain basement BMW"."

    I bet they just didn't want to steal sales from the MZ6. Still would be nice to have the option.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Do you think the bad PR on it's crash test ratings will slow sales ???? I personally think it will slow sales some. Ford better address this issue. Many moms look at crash test ratings when buying a car for their family.

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I just heard about that on the news the other day, and it really bothered me. These days, reasonable safety is taken as a given by consumers...esp. on a middle-of-the-road sedan.

    Fusion had seemed like evidence to me that Ford was finally "getting it" again on making good cars. :mad:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    It can be tough to get it right on the first MY of a new model. Subaru received relatively poor rankings on its '05 Legacy lineup for side impact, but beefed up the '06 model to ace the test. Perhaps Ford will do the same?
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    I was pretty disappointed as well. It seemed like a car that may have sparked a "Taurus" like renaissance... Well, probably not, but a SOLID effort by any means. I notice a lot more 500 "Safest car on the roads "commercials being played since the news broke:D
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    GM has to hire better stylists. Their cars are either:

    1. downright homely (I'll spare the owners)
    2. bland (yawners, you know you who are)
    3. attractively styled from dated styling cues from 1995. (corvette, some cadillacs)
    4. weird (cadillac's sharp-edged cars)
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "4. weird (cadillac's sharp-edged cars)"

    I like the wedgy cars...I think they look futuristic and yet very contemporary at the same time. And it's nice to see at least one domestic car division looking toward the future with its styling, rather than looking back to the "good old days" or being stuck in the mid-1990s soap bubble school of design.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,641
    You can tell it's not working because no one is copying it. A sure sign of a failed styling concept IMO. With a mass market product, having a small number of admirers won't work unless those admirers were very high profile people and could convince the market that this styling was attractive.

    Everybody copies Benz and BMW and Audi, nobody is copying GM right now. (but they used to).
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    Hadn't considered that...what's the usual amount of time in the auto industry for designs to be copied?

    I still think the design is serving Cadillac well. It's very unique, and definitely stands out, which is what Cadillac needs right now. Cadillac finally has a good product that will appeal to younger needs a way to get noticed.

    And the design seems to have some "American-ness" to it, which strikes me as a good thing.

    Seems Cadillac finally took a stand against GM's corporate inoffensive blandness and said "If we're ever going to break out of the rut, we've got to take a chance and do something bold."
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Auto makers do copy designs. The lines of the Audi TT began showing up in other cars almost immediately. The shape of VW's Passat is still being copied. Shifty is right about that.

    But I'm not so sure others would dare copy the Art & Sciences theme. It's too specific. You can copy an arching roofline without being obvious. Copying Caddy's surface effects would be obvious plagiarism.

    Start a speech with, "The other day I had a vision." Most people won't notice. Start it with, "I have a dream," and they'll see through you.

    The Arts & Sciences style is one where you have to go all the way or it just doesn't work. And people would see through that.
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