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March 20, 2005

GM In Trouble...? « Social Issues »

I've been reading The End of Detroit by Micheline Maynard over the last few days, so I'm really not surprised to see this bad news.

The Big3 don't really know how to pay attention to customer desires. They are still chasing after the "Gotta Have It! Car" Will-O'-the-Wisp, thinking that will save them.

That method did save Nissan with the Xterra, but Nissan followed up on it with a pretty hot Maxima 2001-2, and then an excellent Altima after that. They put good quality cars out with excellent engines, and they refuse to allow any shoddiness that might cause even one customer to be disappointed. The Big3 don't really think that way, it seems. They think "good enough" is "good enough", and it isn't.

It was good enough to have a nice looking car when drivers weren't that sophisticated. It was good enough to have impressive straight-line power when the roads were used little enough to allow drag racing, and when gas prices weren't so inhibitive.

But the Big3 haven't really noticed that it is possible to fall in love with a car for other reasons, and then learn to love its looks. That happened with me with my old Volvo 240 DL, and it happened again with my '95 Honda Civic 4-door w/ stick-shift.

Of the Big3, Ford has the Freestyle, the F-150, the Focus, and perhaps the Five Hundred to catch people's attention. The Focus has decent handling and gets decent mileage for a decent very nearly competes with some Japanese cars....except on the quality/reliability part. Chrysler has the 300C, the Crossfire, and the PT Cruiser to excite people and draw them in. But GM? The Malibu Maxx seems to have fallen flat, much less the original Malibu. People on the inside swear it has European handling, good power, decent fuel economy...but there isn't much buzz among the non-GM employees. The Silverado sells well, but they pretty much seem to be a step behind Ford in almost every category. The Cobalt should replace the Cavalier whose name they ruined...but it doesn't seem to be garnering much excitement at large.

GM is just the best example of the problems the Big3 all face: an inability to understand what people want, an inability to make a completely reliable car line, an apparent inability to look beyond immediate profits...

I think the internet has hurt the Big3, too, because they can no longer depend on someone walking on the lot and being able to convince him to buy that day. Rather, consumers these days research, try things out, and aren't so vulnerable to the hard sell these days. And the Big3 just don't make a good enough product any more.

Too bad.

Posted by Nathan at 07:27 PM | Comments (2)

You're right. My wife had a Toyota that lasted for 300,000 miles before it died hard, and it rarely had anything break on it. I had a cavalier that lasted 110,000 miles, and constantly had problems. My stepfather had a new Ford Zepher, which constantly had problems, he sold it for $200 before it’s 8th birthday. At best, I had a 71 Plymouth Sebring that lasted 200,000 miles, and was gorgeous, drove like a dream, but they don’t make’em like that anymore.

I was in the market for a new car, I wanted reliability, something that gets good gas mileage. I chose the Toyota Prius, the hybrid. That car is packed with features, it’s more than just a car, everything is well thought out. You just don’t find the American car companies designing something like this, and forget about the reliability, an American car doesn’t last for 300,000 miles. It’s sad, America’s pride can’t even design and build a car, I thought this was America?

Posted by: Dr. X at May 6, 2005 07:32 AM

you guys are so right volvo and mazda are so much better then ford products oh ya thats right they are ford product look at the ford website. the big three sell more cars and have more divisions than you ignorant f___ers realise. most of the so called foreign vehicles you talk about are owned by the big three and some people don't like foreign car designs, they don't like the feeling a monkey gets when he is trying to f___ a football. toyota is on there own along with Nissan. there is two companies that are way over rated. always looked at as "high quality good mileage vehicles" but if anyone reads any magazines which you hoity toity motherf___ers probably don't you could see they don't perform all so hot. To be honest they perform worse than Cheverolet, Dodge, or Ford(in the same class)

Posted by: Dana Elmhorst at May 13, 2005 01:01 PM
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