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Sticking up for GM
Posted Apr 19, 2005, 1:33 PM ET by David Thomas

The big news that GM is going to be hit big with job cuts should not be celebrated by anyone. We’ve taken our shots at GM for questionable product development and execution but that is part of our job. We don’t take pleasure in one of the country’s top employers looking at the prospect of losing more jobs, market share and profits. Who knows how GM will come out of this, but if the company can’t be fixed there will be repercussions throughout the country. So while other groups offer their own restructuring plan let’s give our own.

Cut copycat cars but keep the brands

We don’t want to lose Buick or Pontiac. So, instead of losing a brand lets lose the multiple platform minivans and SUVs. Pontiac should carry the Solstice, GTO and G6 line only. Lose the Bonneville and send those folks to Buick. Buick should stick with the much improved Lucerne and LaCrosse and the Rendezvous SUV. These slimmer line-ups will certainly simplify buying decisions and people will still get their favorite nameplate.

If Saturn can pull off their new products they will get a stay of execution as well. The Aura sedan, a new SUV and even the Sky Roadster (to draw people in) will do well. They just need an Ion replacement (coupe, sedan and hatch) to round out their line-up.

GMC and Hummer should join

Chevy will still need to make trucks so we’d say kill GMC if they didn’t sell so many darned vehicles. It makes sense to keep them around but stop building Hummer dealerships. Put them with GMC. Guys who come in for an Envoy might pick up a H2 instead. You never know.

The only brand that should be killed is Isuzu.

Cadillac is doing fine. Leave them alone.

Sell Saab. Find a buyer fast and sell. Maybe Richard Branson, or some other rich nutball, wants to buy their own eccentric car line.

Chevy can kill the HHR and SSR now. Use their financial troubles as an excuse. Neither one will sell. Then dump the Impala (fleet only) and Monte Carlo. A brand new Buick Grand National will sell better than an aging Monte Carlo. And it will get people into Buick dealerships. You don’t need something as radical as the Velite concept to bring people in. A Subaru-sourced turbo GNX would be huge and solve the “where’s the Camaro” problem. Plus a base version, sans turbo, would be an affordable coupe that isn’t a Monte Carlo.

Chevy should stick to affordable transport and the Corvette. It doesn’t need a bigger sedan than the Malibu. Send those folks to Buick.

I think we just trimmed the fat and offered some good ideas for GM brass. What would you guys want added and deleted to help GM?

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I think GM for too long has tried to be everything to everybody in each division and then ended up satisfying nobody. They need to decide what they want each brand to focus on and then do it. Go back to the roots.
Chevy= entry level + Corvette should not compete with Buick or Pontiac. No ON-Star, power roofs or seats in any car. Keep it simple
Aveo is ok where it is at.
Cobalt: Cheaper but more durable interiors, less options and models, lower price with no rebates
Monte Carlo: dead
Malibu: Dead
Chevelle: Mid-size platform front drive.2.4l Ecotech 4cyl, 3.5l pushrod. Make a 2dr, 4dr, and wagon with the focus on entry level.
Impala: Full-size rear drive car. Police and taxi package. Bench seat. Power from a 3.8l v6, a 4.8l v8 and a 6.0l for the Impala SS and cop cars. Buckets available in the SS. Again no power seats, no roof, very simple entry level.
Camaro: (here's were some will disagree) Monaro platform, but like Ford did with the Mustang Solid rear axle. Smaller overhangs. Smaller lower body and shed 400lbs minimum. De-content it. Same engine choices as the Impala. Base, RS and Z28. SS model will have hotter cam Factory headers functional scoop etc... This car needs to be the entry level Vette.

Buick= Luxury. All Buicks should have suspension focused on 75% ride 25% handling. Think Avalon suspension. All buicks should have leather from a top quality hide, dual power seats, heated seats, Bose sound, ON-Star and the only options are Nav system, Moonroof, and in the largest options for heated rear seats and DVD.
Standard: (yes that's the car name) Mid-sized Chevelle platform 3.8l v6
Lesabre: as is with 1 model
Limited: Version of the Sts. Same northstar as whats in the Bonne GXP now. all wheel drive optional. Think Audi a6 killer.
Park Ave: 6" stretch of the Impala. 6.0l only engine.
Roadmaster: Yukon Denali
Roadmaster Limited: Yukon Denali XL
Riviera: Luxury version of the Sky

I like the Hummer/GMC idea. GMC should be Work Trucks only. Yukon and Envoy killed. Canyon killed.

Saturn: Fight BMW and Audi with this.
RS: Small all-wheel drive platform. Use this car to fight the BMW 3 series. Make it that good for 10k less. Lose money on everyone till people get used to the concept. Same platform as WRX and 9-2. Redline is the STI with luxury options. Get 325hp out of the engine.
Vue: Redline and current v6 models only. Move upscale to meat the BMW X-3. Give Chevy the base Vue.
Sky: cool as is if it has 200hp plus. Make a red-line with 300hp.
LS: (rename?) Cts platform V-6 3.2 and 3.5. Aim for the entry-level A6 and 5-series. Redline is a supercharged 3.5 v6 with 350hp.

Pontiac: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, VW fighter.
Tempest: Think Cobalt but with top quality interiors. Have it equipped with pw pl etc standard, base engine 2.4l ecotech, supercharged optional. Options Sunroof, leather, nav system, better sound system. GT model would be supercharged and have bigger brakes wheels tires rear spoiler.
G6: as is but get a step up engine with 250 plus hp and add an all-wheel drive option.
Catalina: full size step up from the Impala. Add a wagon option called the Safari. Try woodgrain sides as an option on it. This car should not be as loaded as a Buick but should be able to get close and have a lot sportier flavor.
Grand Prix: 4dr Commodore from Holden.
Gto: AS IS ( what else could I say here) Wait add a sunroof option and get a better sound system in it. Optional Nav system too. Make the JUDGE. Use the LS7.
Solstice: YES

Sell Saab.
Chevy Trucks: Make a real SS. Short bed, regular cab, 6-speed LS2 power. That would be one hot little Colorado pickup. Silverado SS would be LS7 powered.

Cadilac: Don't mess with success.

Make sure all cars are redone every 4 years. Give people a reason to trade their current GM in on the same model with improvements. Price realistically and do not rebate. If you need to reduce supply use hidden factory to dealer incentives.
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