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GM News, New Models and Market Share

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    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: 5,192
    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: 5,192
    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: 5,192
    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: 11,322
    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: 23,567
    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: 11,322
    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: 11,322
    I guess when people here rave about cars that finished below the Malibu, one does wonder about objectivity of said persons.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,567
    I just looked in my old car book...seems like the turbocharged Corvairs didn't come out until 1962, with a 150 hp version?

    Still, the Monza came out in late 1960, and by 1961 was the most popular model. And while it may not have had hot performance, it still had the sporty stuff, like the bucket seats and such. And let's face it, most Mustangs in 1965 just had 170 or 200 CID 6-cyl engines. Basically, all show and no go.

    My old '69 Dart GT was kind of like that. It had bucket seats (but oddly, a column shift). Some sporty blackout trim here and there that made it look tougher than it really was. But, it just had a 225 slant six with 145 hp.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    Yes, the first Spyders were '62...I don't think I'd say that was after 'the first handful' of years of Corvair as was said here.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Um...turbocharged Spyder

    Turbo came in Spring 1962. Ford Mustang I mid-engine roadster, a real sports car, was prototyped in 1961, driven at a race track in Oct, 1962.

    Corvair was a potpourri of vehicles - station wagons, vans, 4-door sedans, 2-door sedans and then later a convertible. In contrast, the Mustang from its very beginning as a mid-engine roadster was intended ONLY as a sports or sporty type car. Mustang was never available in mundane station wagon or sedan formats.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    edited January 2013
    And that mid-engined Mustang was never available for purchase by the public.

    Wait...like the Captiva, someone here will say that, 'hey, if you really wanted one, you could get a new one!!!!'.

    For roadability (not straight line 'oomph'), I believe you'd find that the magazines of the day would have said a Corvair Spyder or Corsa was a better handler than a Mustang.

    A Mustang--don't get me wrong, the marketing was brilliant I think and the styling so, too--but it was a Falcon underneath and things don't get much more mundane than that.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    And that mid-engined Mustang was never available for purchase by the public.

    Did not matter. Mustang began life as a sports/sports type car. A mid-engine roadster with seating of course for ONLY two. Ford being pragmatic felt not sufficient market for a 2 person car, and thus the 4-seater with a conventional front engine, rear drive layout. That was very smart in that they could utilize existing engineering and parts bin. Also, servicing could be conventional and easy by existing Ford dealers. Unlike weird layout of the Corvair.

    Weird indeed. GM has never again put in production any US vehicle with a rear engine, rear drive layout. GM mismanagement not only in recent decades but goes back to the 1960's.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    Um, OK....whatever you say.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Way I see it there are three or four very basic bread-and-butter models that everyone needs.

    1. Compact/commuter. Chevy's entry is the Cruze, and while not a bad car, it's not class-leading in any area metric except possibly weight.

    2. Midsize/family car. Let's ignore the Impala for now, because most others do also. The previous Malibu was an excellent entry, and very class-competitive. The current one...again, not a BAD car per-se (unless you have to sit in the back seat) but really not class-leading anywhere. The Eco model doesn't even lead in fuel economy.

    3. Compact SUV. Everyone's got one, sort of the compact car, grown up some. Oh, sorry, I should say everyone's got one except Chevrolet.

    4. Midsize SUV. This is what used to be the minivan, unless you're Dodge. ;) Chevy actually has two pretty good entries here, the Equinox and the Traverse. Both are class-leading in some way, in fact. But there's one slight problem: Chevy has two entries here. :shades: Why are they cutting their own noses off again? Theoretically the Equinox is supposed to be a "compact" SUV, but it's too big for that. The Traverse is on the large end of midsize. Both are good cars. But they have to compete with each other as well as the competition!

    Funny thing, I went to compare SUV sizes in the Edmunds tool, and selected the Equinox first. Lo and behold, what popped up in the "sponsored" column? The Traverse! So it's not just me thinking they'll be cross-shopped. :P

    GM really needs to stop aiming the Bushmaster with the high capacity magazine at their own feet. Drop Equinox or Traverse already, bring in an actual compact SUV that's Forester/CR-V/CX-5/Escape sized, and move on with life. This whole too many models overkill thing has LONG been a part of GM's corporate culture, and at the very least it contributed to them needing a bailout. Problem is, even after a bailout and a bankruptcy, they're still doing it.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    GM gave up on the flat engine also, which I find sad. Then again, when you get right down to it, only two companies have been successful with flat engines. Subaru, probably because their parent company makes similar engines for aircraft and it helps defray the costs. And Porsche, because they can get away with charging a gazillion dollars for each car. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    Drop the Equinox? Surely you jest. It's one of their better sellers (although I'm not fond at all of the styling).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    This is what used to be the minivan, unless you're Dodge.

    And now Dodge is dropping sliding doors on one of their two minivan lines. I'm in shock. :-)

    GM should put sliders on the Traverse or just build a new minivan; love to see the sales numbers on a rig like a Traverse with sliders compared to the regular doored 'Nox. Well, maybe that's not such a good idea.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Actually, I think that's an excellent idea. They've got too many SUVs, turning the Traverse into a minivan solves the problem pretty neatly. Then they just need a compact SUV.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Drop either the Equinox or the Traverse is what I actually said. Look, they've got a large-midsize SUV, and a small-midsize SUV. They have NO compact SUV. They also have both a large SUV (Tahoe) and an extra-large SUV (Suburban). That's just way too many. Obviously the Traverse is not filling a large SUV role.

    Steve's right, the Traverse should really be a minivan. Heck, it's actually filling the minivan role at Chevy, just with swing-out doors instead of sliding ones.

    I notice there's no mention of the M.I.A. compact SUV entry at Chevrolet. :shades:
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    In reality, the Equinox matches up with the Edge and Journey size wise while the Traverse matches up with the Explorer, Highlander, Pilot, et al.

    What they really need to do is offer the Chevy Trax to compete in the compact segment against the RAV, CRV, Tucson.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Steve's right, the Traverse should really be a minivan. Heck, it's actually filling the minivan role at Chevy, just with swing-out doors instead of sliding ones.

    That's right it fills the minivan role but put sliding doors on it and it'll languish on the lots. The minivan market is down to 500K units annually. Chrysler, Honda and Toyota have that segment filled.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    edited January 2013
    Ok, tell you what, let's just consider it a minivan anyway, at least that leaves Chevy with a single midsize SUV, which is a little more sane. And who cares what everyone else thinks, we have officially dubbed it Chevy's Sortaminivan. :)

    Now we just need the Trax. Which of course Chevy will refuse to bring us because Americans Don't Buy (whatever excuse)
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    I think the Buick Encore should be a Chevy instead.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited January 2013
    The minivan market is down to 500K units annually.

    It's that low now? Snowboard sales and rider numbers have crashed big time too. All the kids are riding twin tip skis and taking over the terrain parks.

    Where's my official "I'm a dinosaur" card anyway? Must be in the (postal) mail. :sick:
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    Dieselone can correct me--which may be necessary--but didn't they even rate the unloved Eco version above the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

    That is correct, the unloved Malibu Eco was rated higher than the even more unloved Sonata Hybrid.

    With CR anyway the Malibu is rated about the same as the Sonata/Optima as it's positioned between them in the ratings.

    Where the Malibu continues to lag is against the Camry and Accord which will continue to dominate sales this year. I'm curious to see how the Fusion will be rated. Currently CR doesn't list the Fusion at all.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    It probably should be. I think the Encore might be a mistake for Buick...if only I could figure out what Buick's image is supposed to be exactly.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    if only I could figure out what Buick's image is supposed to be exactly.

    I tend to agree. The Regal obviously isn't working out. The Verano works, but then they throw in the Encore.

    The Verano has sold better than I thought it would, so maybe the Encore will too. But I just don't see young people shopping at Buick. They haven't so far. Unless 50+ is young, which I guess considering where they were, I guess it is;)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    I guess when people here rave about cars that finished below the Malibu, one does wonder about objectivity of said persons.

    No disagreemnt. But you really haven't answered the question - why are GM afficionados giving GM such a pass on turning out a decent, "midpack" sedan that is the heart of the family car market? They can do much better. I would hold my kid to a higher standard than average. Same with GM. If GM wants to reverse the perceptions, they need some home runs, and not in a $40K 4 seat hybrid, either.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Way I see it there are three or four very basic bread-and-butter models that everyone needs.

    I think you've made a great list.

    Also, I might put in a subcompact, and surprisingly GM has TWO here, too - Spark and Sonic. Are they both considered subcompact?

    Their entire product line is pretty much a mess. Duplications in many categories, yet gaps in others. And actually competitive in the lower volume markets (Corvette, ATS, Volt (but not on price)) and not in the main markets(except perhaps large trucks and SUVs).
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Drop the Equinox? Surely you jest. It's one of their better sellers (although I'm not fond at all of the styling).

    I actually agree with this. It's better to compete with yourself than a competitor. Only issue is that the effort to develop another vehicle in the same segment would have been better spent plugging one of the holes instead.

    I don't like the Equinox styling, either.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    Then they just need a compact SUV.

    Seems to me the Cruze chassis might make a good foundation for a compat SUV. Isn't the CX-5 based on the Mazda 3? Same idea.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    The Spark, while technically a subcompact, is really one class below subcompact, known internationally as the "A segment." Same class as the Scion iQ and the Smart FourTwo. Some refer to them as "city cars" because they're pretty useless and pointless on the highway, they're designed and geared for good city mileage and for taking up very little space.

    They're also cheap, which may be the actual attraction here, since we have rather goliath-sized parking even in cities.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Probably would just be cheaper to bring down the Trax, which is Sonic-based. That already exists, just not in the US (Canadians can get it). Could probably make it on the Sonic line, actually.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,192
    It probably should be. I think the Encore might be a mistake for Buick...if only I could figure out what Buick's image is supposed to be exactly.

    They're heading down the same old road they were on before. Not much differentiation between divisions.

    Let's see, the "commoner" division is Chevrolet. But, uh, they have the Corvette, which is an exotic sports car.

    GMC is the "professional grade" division. Yet they have the family SUV, the Acadia. And a bunch (all?) of their vehicles are rebadges of other division vehicles.

    OK, but Buick is the semi-luxury division. And they have the Regal - is that near luxury? And the Verano - what is the size difference between it and the Regal? That's also why they have a rebadge of the Chevy Acadia, now know as the Enclave. Except that in China, Buick is complete luxury with models that even make some of our Caddys look cheap.

    Caddy is the REAL luxury division. That's why they have the Escalade, a tarted up Chevy Suburban.

    We won't even talk about Holden or Opel. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    edited January 2013
    Though, by the good looks (IMHO) of the pearly white one with side molding I saw last Sunday, I'd foresake some of the 'comparo' stuff to have a car that doesn't look like a Camry or Sonata! But again, we're not a tall family and I do think that is the single biggest strike against the car. I'm able to admit that.

    Back to the Equinox discussion--THAT vehicle is too damn small IMHO, and we test-drove one. That, and the fact they weren't dealing on them all, and my disliking the styling and 'image' of the thing, were all negatives. Even my wife ended up coming to the same conclusion.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    With CR anyway the Malibu is rated about the same as the Sonata/Optima as it's positioned between them in the ratings.

    Again, sales of the Sonata show GM is not leading whatsoever in mid-sized category. They blew and they know it. The leaders are so far ahead, it's laughable, sadly! ;)

    Why does that continue to happen...

    "Don't worry about it, Dan. We have the Government in out back pocket. We can live on Silerado sales in the US and concentrate on cheap cars in Asia. We pay Uncle Sam back at a small loss so everyone forgets we failed in the first place. We can decontent the refresh on the Malibu and add room to the back seat and still come out aead."

    Regards,
    OW
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    When I mention 'sales', I get 'ah, that's not the most important thing, it's how the mags rate the car'. When I mention that a mag rates the Malibu as better than quite a few of the Asian and German competition, the response is, 'ah, it's about sales'.

    Exhausting.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    I believe one of the reasons the Miata was such as success that there had not been a car like it on the market for some time. It was like a Triumph Spitfire that actually ran reliably. I recall folks overpaying for them when they debuted.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    With CR anyway the Malibu is rated about the same as the Sonata/Optima as it's positioned between them in the ratings

    Again, I don't own the issue, but I'm pretty sure that in the Feb. issue they would not recommend the Sonata Turbo because of its much-worse-than-average reliability record according to their survey.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    Basically the malibu is rated well below the segment leaders and sales aren't even among the top 20. I doubt that is what gm was shooting for.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,729
    The sonata turbo and hybrid are not recommend. The non turbo model is recommended.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,322
    edited January 2013
    Oh, no doubt that Malibu has been a sales disappointment. Is it a horrible car as many have said or implied here? I don't think so. There are worse choices that have been highly recommended here.

    There are a lot of reasons to buy a car, but buying one solely off of a magazine writer's choice is a lame one IMHO. ;) There are a lot of personal things that aren't reflected in a writer's review, of course.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Back to the Equinox discussion--THAT vehicle is too damn small IMHO

    Ok, that concept is just scary considering how huge it is.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Automotive News has a story about how GM plans to address the back seat issue.

    General Motors Co., seeking to revive sales of its new Chevrolet Malibu, is working on speedy design changes to the sedan -- including the rear seating -- to make it more competitive with other midsize models

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20130117/OEM04/130119831#ixzz2IL9QaloX

    I think that's the correct plan of action. Old GM would have just slapped huge incentives and dumped them in to fleets.

    Now they're actually using the feedback to improve the car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Equinox has tons of rear legroom, but overall passenger volume does not impress given outer dimensions (2013 models per EPA):

    Forester 107.6
    CR-V 104.1
    CX5 103.8
    Tucson 101.9
    RAV4 101.9
    Outlander 100.4
    Sportage 100
    Equinox 99.7
    Escape 98.1
    Rogue 97.5
    Tiguan 95.4

    Having said that, only the Rogue and Tiguan are truly undersized.

    The 'nox is also only mid-pack in cargo volume seats and and also seats down.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Given how much rear legroom it has, that sounds more like efficient packaging than a true disadvantage.
  • xrunner2: 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 Monza debuted in the spring of 1960 and for the time, it was considered to be a "sporty," as opposed to a "sports," car.

    xrunner2: The rear-engine design and early offerings of Corvair more closely resemble the VW bug layout. Defininitely not a sporty type car.

    The Monza was a coupe with bucket seats, console and special interior and exterior trim. It was considered sporty for that time.

    xrunner2: Ford was successful with their original car layout. Mustang still around after 50 years. Corvair, a flop, long dead.

    That doesn't prove that the first Monza didn't inspire what became the Mustang. And the first-generation Corvair sold well...unless you consider sales of 250,000-300,000 annually to be a flop. Most people don't.

    The Valiant, Dart and Falcon are also long gone...but check their annual sales figures in the 1960s. They outsold the Corvair in many years. Are they flops, too?

    We don't have rear-engine, air-cooled family sedans any more because other layouts work better. VW has also abandoned this configuration for its passenger cars. Was the original Beetle a flop, too?
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