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Dear General Motors:

Thursday, 30 November, 2006

You are in trouble. Only the premium lines are profitable. These premium lines are sold on image alone. The people who buy these cars don’t really care what they get, it is merely an emotional consumerist action. You do not make a single product which is superior within its class in any way. It has gotten to the point were you somehow to create an amazing product, no one would believe it. People interested in such a thing would never so much as pass a GM dealer on the freeway. So you do what you have always done and jump on whatever happens to be cool among the people willing to pay a premium for their transportation device. Preferably a premium with no value whatever attached. Hybrid, plug in hybrid. You guys know as well as I do this won’t go well with the GM demographic, but it will get a couple of lines of positive bullocks in Motor Week.

On the other hand, your sales network can sell literally anything as long as it has four wheels and an automatic transmission, as long as it can be sold cheaply. The Monaro/GTO didn’t work in America because people interested in such a vehicle would never set foot in a Pontiac dealer, and the Pontiac demo found the price and perceived quality alienating. In short, you can’t sell a good vehicle at a price reflecting its value. Period. That’s not what GM can do, anymore.

Toyota is getting too big, too successful, and too vain. Ford outright refuses to release the quality vehicles they sell in other markets outside their non-niche marques. DCX doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing; they’re in panic mode. This would be a good time to re-evaluate the objective of making a vehicle for every purse and purpose.

You are going to blow the new Camaro/Firebird twins, so I’m not even going to consider those. The time has come for GM to pursue their own Project Taurus. JFDI. Gather together the best people for every vehicle subsystem. Create a team of no more than 50 people for each project. The projects shall be:

  • a practical, durable four-seater which will adapt into a hatchback, sedan and a station wagon. It seats four adults. It will achieve 40 miles per gallon. It will go 50K miles without service, if it has to. Everything else is optional.
  • A premium luxury vehicle to be sold as a Cadillac. It is obscenely opulent and will become the Maybach or Rolls Royce of North America and be sold at a comparable price.
  • A classic six-seater four-door American sedan, with a station-wagon option; excellently appointed and beautiful inside and out. The best $25K vehicle on the road, with a gorgeous interior and totally novel exterior.

Your primary demo will buy anything you have on offer. The object is to attract people who would never, ever buy GM. Sell these vehicles at a profit and with no “dealing”. No bullocks. You go like you go to the grocery and put down your money at a fixed price and drive away in a new GM.

No more bullshit.

You also need something that will replace the Ford Ranger in the hearts of America’s fleet managers. Tough, not too little, and with a certain efficiency. Flair not required. Rather, flair will be inherent in this vehicle’s innate practicality.

or go the way of Studebaker. See if I care.

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