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GM News, New Models and Market Share

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Comments

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    if you're going to be that general then the Corvair was actually GM copying the VW Type 1 "Beetle."

    That's a very good point.

    The Corvair may have identified a previously unrecognized market segment potential, so give it credit for that.

    On the other hand, I could give credit for the Corvette to Henry Ford, who identified the market demand for faster, more reliable transportation than a horse and buggy.

    In the end, it all simply boils down to a measuring contest to see who has the biggest one. Like everything manufactured, each generation is built upon the foundations of previous generations. One can "bob and weave" if they wish, but at the end of the day, its just plain silly...
  • keystonecarfankeystonecarfan Posts: 181
    edited January 2013
    Several Ford executives have gone on the record as crediting the success of the first-generation Corvair Monza with enabling the Fairlane Group to push through the car that became the Mustang. The debate on that point is over and done.

    This information has been out there for decades. The Reckoning was published in 1986, and articles in Special Interest Autos since the 1970s and Collectible Automobile since the 1980s have told the same story.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    keystonecarfan, trying to get certain folks to admit stuff here is...like trying to buy a Model T that wasn't black! ;)
  • This information hasn't exactly been hidden in Indiana Jones's secret jungle cave.

    Mr. Sperlich and Mr. Iacocca, in particular, have openly admitted the influence that the Corvair Monza's success had on Ford's direction in the early 1960s. Several articles and books have been written about this, which isn't surprising, considering that the Mustang was one of the most successful American cars ever built.

    It's not as though we are discussing the history of an obscure car like the Henry J...
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,759
    BTW, the only problem I ever heard about the Solstice and Sky was that the top was clunky.

    Come on now, has anything positive been said about either of those cars?

    They certainly didn't help GM avoid bankruptcy, nor their makers from extinction.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '17 VW Golf Alltrack SE 4-Motion 1.8T, '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6T
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    Did anyone think a two-seat car was going to save GM from bankruptcy? We discussed sales performance of these cars ad-nauseum compared to the competition here, before. They were not abject sales failures.

    Frankly, I always heard good things about styling and price of those two, and I agree.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,759
    THEN why were they both discontinued, never to be seen again?

    The Miata is still available.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '17 VW Golf Alltrack SE 4-Motion 1.8T, '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6T
  • I remember reading that there were problems with the operation of the top.

    Of course, the real problem was that they diverted precious development dollars from more critical GM vehicles at a time when cash was rapidly becoming scarce.

    Malibus and Impalas aren't exciting, but those are the type of vehicles that help pay the bills for successful car companies, not two-seat sports cars. GM needed to make the Malibu and Impala its priority, and, unfortunately, it did not do this.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Looks like a small RWD sports car is back on the radar again, FWIW.
  • Because there isn't a large market for two-seat sports cars in this country. GM did not have the time or the money to further develop the Solstice or the Sky. (At any rate, one of them should have been sold as a Chevrolet - it would have been a better fit.)

    Note that the Toyota MR-2 and Honda S2000 are also long gone.

    Also note that, even with the success of the original Miata, Mazda would have gone under in the 1990s if it hadn't been bailed out by Ford. Now that Ford has divested most of its stake in Mazda, the company is in a precarious position yet again. Any full-line company that stakes its fortunes on a two-seat sports car won't be around for long.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    edited January 2013
    Looks like a small RWD sports car is back on the radar again, FWIW.

    Knowing GM it will still be 500 pounds heavier than the FR-S.
  • berriberri Posts: 9,750
    edited January 2013
    One thing America has always been strong in is innovation and invention. GM took the VW and extended it by offering sporty options like the Monza. Same thing with Chevy II and the Nova. So I agree with Keystone that in many ways Corvair was a precursor to Mustang. At first, Ford extended the Falcon with the Futura and I believe Mopar did the same thing with Valiant and Dart, just like GM did with their Chevy's. The Barracuda was I think technically the first true pony car, but was issued as an extension of the Valiant line. The Mustang then came out shortly thereafter. What it did was bring the Pony car into it's own segment, and quite phenomally if I might add! Another point that I think bolsters the argument is that GM pursued the niche initially by expanding marketing for the Monza and Nova and the affordable small, sporty car concept. It was only after Ford's great success with Mustang that GM subsequently came out with the Camaro. Back in those days Detroit and the auto biz was almost small town like in that word frequently got out quickly about what was going on with the competitors. If GM thought the Mustang was going to catch on so big, I think they would have phased out the Corvair and brought on the Camaro much earlier than '67. Now, I don't want to get Uplander too excited, but there might be an argument that some of the base Studebaker Hawks were first in this segment actually.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    Now, I don't want to get Uplander too excited, but there might be an argument that some of the base Studebaker Hawks were first in this segment actually.

    I lean towards '60's Studes, but I cannot think of a passenger car with a back seat that did the long-hood/short-deck thing before the '56 Hawk. I grew up on GM, but they were doing short hood/long deck through about '64 (with an exception or two).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,377
    edited January 2013
    Many 1930s era cars were long hood/short deck, which was maybe an inspiration for the basic proportions of the Hawk/Starlight - jaunty rakish classics.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    You are absolutely correct, thank you. I tend to not even think about prewar cars, a mistake since there are so many beautiful ones out there.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,463
    I always thought those '53 Lowey coupes were one of the first incarnations of what would become the "personal luxury coupe" in later years.

    As for sporty compacts, I had forgotten about this, but on the Valiant, Mopar offered an option called the "Hyper-Pak" for the tiny 170 CID slant six. It consisted of a 4-bbl carb, improved exhaust flow(don't think it was dual though...hard, but not impossible to do with an inline engine), hotter timing, etc.

    It boosted hp from 101 hp to 148. It was only offered in 1960-61. For 1962 it's not showing as being offered in my old car book. I think that year, they started making the bigger 225 version optional in the compacts, and it was big enough to put out 145 hp with just a 1-bbl carb and no special tricks.

    For comparison, in 1960, the Corvair offered a 140 flat six with 80 or 95 hp. That year's Falcon had a 144 CID inline-6 with 90 hp. They made a 170 CID enlargement with 101 hp optional for 1961.

    Studebaker was shoving 259.2 V-8's under the hood of their compact Larks for 1960, offering either 180 or 195 hp, so they were the musclecars of the bunch in that day. A 169.6 straight six with 90 hp was standard.

    Ramblers came with a 195.6 CID inline 6 with 127 hp or 138 hp (there was a 90 hp version that was only used in the smaller 100" wb American), or a pair of 250 V-8's with 200 or 215 hp.

    Looks like Rambler actually created the mold of what would be the typical "standard" compact in later years, by offering a base 6-cyl engine of adequate power, at least, and with a V-8 option that would give pretty good performance. Studebaker was close, offering strong V-8's, given their displacement, but came up just a touch short in the 6-cyl department.

    But oddly, for 1961, Rambler quit offering a V-8 in their compacts.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    edited January 2013
    But oddly, for 1961, Rambler quit offering a V-8 in their compacts.

    True. I think their '63 Classic was a handsome car, and Motor Trend's Car of the Year, but a V8 wasn't even available until mid-year and a hardtop, even in their Ambassador line, wasn't available at all.

    Studebaker offered V8's of 180, 195, 210, 225, 240, and 289 hp in '63 and 64. Well, they sold them in those horsepowers...plus this one 335 hp job:

    http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/2004/08/01/hmn_feature20.html

    I've seen this car in person, and NPR actually played the sound of it running while visiting the International Meet in South Bend in '02. A total sleeper.

    All the production and retail sale paperwork the owner talks about were kept at a NOS parts place located in an old Studebaker factory building in South Bend, before they ended up in the Studebaker National Museum archives. That parts place is gone now, but until about ten or twelve years ago survived and you could see painted between the windows on the fifth and sixth floors, "Studebaker Carriages and Harnesses". My wife and I did production order research at that place in the early '90's--when she would still do that kind of stuff with me. ;)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,658
    GM needed to make the Malibu and Impala its priority, and, unfortunately, it did not do this.

    Ageed. GM never leads. You'de think the new 'bu would have been far better then the Asians at this point.

    Simply not so, as usual. :)

    Regards,
    OW
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Malibus and Impalas aren't exciting, but those are the type of vehicles that help pay the bills for successful car companies, not two-seat sports cars. GM needed to make the Malibu and Impala its priority, and, unfortunately, it did not do this.

    A few issues back, Motor Trend had an opinion piece on that subject.

    It's the everyday, bread and butter vehicles that make the specialty cars possible.

    Over the years the Corvette has been as successful as any sports car, but I doubt it could have survived on its own (profitably, anyway) without the development costs spread out over the entire fleet of GM vehicles.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    edited January 2013
    Apparently, it's better than quite a few of the "Asians" per the Feb. CR that so many here say I need to pay attention to. Dieselone can correct me--which may be necessary--but didn't they even rate the unloved Eco version above the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,188
    The general consensus in Detroit, prior to the debut of the Monza, was that small cars were primarily purchased by people too poor/cheap/dumb to buy a "real" (meaning, full-size) car.

    I think that was Detroit's attitude until around 2007.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    edited January 2013
    The Monza coupe might have shown there was a market for small sporty American cars, but I don't know if the same people bought both it and the Mustang.

    The "sporty" part of Corvair was not part of the first handful of years of Corvair. These early Corvairs were definitely not sporty, but mundane. Sporty came some years later with introduction of convertibles. The early cars offered were a 4-door sedan, 2-door sedan and station wagon.

    The rear-engine design and early offerings of Corvair more closely resemble the VW bug layout. Defininitely not a sporty type car.

    In 1961, Ford had the Mustang I mid-engine prototype built and had it operational in October, 1962 at the U.S. Grand Prix. It was a roadster and was driven there in a test, not a race, by U.S. race driver Dan Gurney.

    The Ford Mustang I being a roadster and two seater was completely different in character to the Corvair. It was sporty, much different in character from the Corvair sedans and station wagions. Corvair introduced convertibles and "sporty" in later years.

    Ford decided to not approve the two-seater mid-engine roadster for production in favor of 4-seating and traditional front engine, rear drive layout and had the front engine rear drive "sporty" long hood, short deck car ready for sale in Spring, 1964.

    Ford was successful with their original car layout. Mustang still around after 50 years. Corvair, a flop, long dead.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,188
    edited January 2013
    I remember reading that there were problems with the operation of the top.

    Of course, the real problem was that they diverted precious development dollars from more critical GM vehicles at a time when cash was rapidly becoming scarce.

    Malibus and Impalas aren't exciting, but those are the type of vehicles that help pay the bills for successful car companies, not two-seat sports cars. GM needed to make the Malibu and Impala its priority, and, unfortunately, it did not do this.


    You have made exactly my point and why I've been harping on the new Malibu.

    GM spent inordinate amounts of money on light, two-mode, and Volt-style hybrids (yes, that's THREE different kinds), and on two seater cars for Saturn and Pontiac, and yet they don't seem to put the attention into the HEART OF THE AUTO MARKET. I don't understand why with >$50 billion in bailout money they can't put out a family sedan that it at least near the top with the leaders in the segment.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,188
    edited January 2013
    Apparently, it's better than quite a few of the "Asians" per the Feb. CR that so many here say I need to pay attention to. Dieselone can correct me--which may be necessary--but didn't they even rate the unloved Eco version above the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

    You are being way too soft. For the world's largest automaker (give or take one) and the subject of a bailout, midpack at best is not good enough. Were you happy getting C's in school? There were probably a lot of kids getting D's and F's, so is a C student great?
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    edited January 2013
    Time Magazine has the 1961 Chevy Corvair on its list of the 50 worst cars ever in the world. They said about it: "It leaked oil like a derelict tanker. Its heating system tended to pump noxious fumes into the cabin. It was offered for a while with a gasoline-burner heater located in the front "trunk," a common but dangerously dumb accessory at the time." I had also heard from a old car collector, of Corvairs, that they threw fan/accessory belts often. These had to be fixed on the fly. Savvy drivers and mechanically inclined knew how to do this and also carried spare belts.

    The Corvair is in distinguished company of the 50 worst ever cars some of which are: Yugo, East German Trabant, Ford Pinto, AMC Gremlin, Chevy Chevette, Cadillac Cimarron, Cadillac 8-6-4.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    edited January 2013
    The "sporty" part of Corvair was not part of the first handful of years of Corvair. These early Corvairs were definitely not sporty, but mundane

    Um...turbocharged Spyder?

    Color promotional film from '62:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_keCJUvFrY
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,463
    You have made exactly my point and why I've been harping on the new Malibu.

    Yeah, it's sad. Once upon a time, we could hold our heads up high, and proudly proclaim that the Malibu was "The Car We Knew America Could Build".

    Unfortunately, with 2013, it seems the Malibu is "The Car We Knew America Would Build" :blush:

    Sorry, I can't take credit for that. Edmund's said it, in reference to the 2000 Impala...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    edited January 2013
    Well, I know I consider Time magazine to be at the forefront of automotive journalism and I hang on every word.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,062
    I guess when people here rave about cars that finished below the Malibu, one does wonder about objectivity of said persons.
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