Hopefully that tells them something.
It might even help if they surveyed their customers desires, but
building cars the customer wants may be too much for them after years of
telling the customers what they should buy.
This evening I saw the first intelligent auto ad in years.
It was locally (Vancouver, BC) produced for the Chrysler Caliper.
If their vehicles are getting higher marks with Toyota on the nameplate
then what the market wants is the nameplate, you dumb idiot, not
the features of the vehicle.
I don't see how you can complete with that. GM ought to just turn their
back on that market and go find a different one. A perfectly obvious
market would be the car buyers that don't want to spend the $20K
or so that a new Toyota costs but still would like to buy a new car and
not have to be stuck with someone's off-lease, used Toyota.
If GM brought out a same-feature car as a Toyota in the $8K range,
there would be a market there for it. It wouldn't be the market of
people buying new Toyotas, it most likely would be the market of
people buying USED Toyotas.
It isnt the nameplate, but you are not far off. It is the reputation that
that nameplate, merited or not.
GM and even Ford, if they can stay alive long enough and, if they will
devote themselves to producing a quality item and treating their clients
courteously and fairly, can regain or even improve their images.
If they can't adopt a code of progress and fairness, then maybe they should
enter banking, or the stock market, or fast foods.
It's also the type of car. I bet there would a different response if GM put
a Toyota nameplate on one its trucks instead of a car.
Well, a problem is that they have too many clients, the dealers. Instead of
most dealers selling over 1000 cars, like they do for foreign nameplates,
Ford and GM dealers sell maybe 500, on average. That means more dealers are
supported, which makes for more ligistical problems.
It would also help if, when there is a problem with thedesign of their cars,
they own up to it and fix the cars right without owners have to jump through
hoops. They might save $2000 on a repair, but they won't sell the owner
his/her next car.
Why? Without treating costumers right, they won't make it in any business.
People tend to buy what suits them, with lots of emotion where styling
is concerned. For me styling must be good but it follows function.
I'm looking for a replacement for my Chrysler, but Sebring sized.
Nothing new from Chrysler for several years meets several of my most
For example I need a full sized matching spare, and I don't like how GM,
Ford and Chrysler have cheapened the body construction so the rear door
edge forms the front edge of the wheel well.
I'm also preferring a station wagon body design.
These are just two of several functional aspects I don't like about the
new cars from the big 2.5.
In tune with current leading edge engines I want a VVT engine.
Unfortunately I need to go beyond the big 2.5 to meet my functional
requirements. The Ford Fusion comes closest to my needs with the big
2.5, but several "foreign" makes do meet my needs.
Since my Chrysler is still running very well I can wait it out a bit
longer, but if I suddenly had to buy a replacement car the big 2.5
wouldn't be on my short list with their current products.
No doubt that's a strong motivator for some customers. The 100,000 mile
warranties were designed to appeal to them.
It is, after all, what I do at home. I don't spend much money at all fixing
my cars. Maybe $100 a year per car, if that. My expectations are going to
be hard to live up to.
Actually, this is an inexpensive thing for the car makes to do. Some of the
repairs they already cover if there is a design problem with the car or
truck. And most vehicles don't need major covered repairs in the first
100,000 miles. Things like brakes are considered normal wear and tear items,
so they aren't covered. So it is usually not a big cost for the car makers.
Some Hyundai dealers near where Mike lives purchase insurance contracts (aka
extended warranties) on the drivetrain for their costumers for between
100,000 and 200,000 miles (after the regular 100,000 mi warranty expires).
Most people don't keep their cars that long, so it is a small risk.
And to others, being treated right means the manufacturer fixing what
are very obviously design mistakes in the vehicle even if the warranty
has expired. :)
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
address with the letter 'x')
"Design mistakes?" Maybe.
When these problems show up and are not corrected nor supported for LONG
of time, one might wonder if these defects are not planned obsolence, or
Considering that the next version of the engine or transmission has this
problem fixed, I doubt it is a design feature, as you suggest.
The other thing is that the automaker who made the faulty vehicle is less
likely to get repeat business, whether it is to buy a car for the owner's
kid or replace the fault vehicle.
One thing is clear, there are fewer new cars on the American road than last
year. Auto sales are down like 2.6% from the previous year. They were down
in 2005, too. And Americans are driving more each year. Cars are more
durable than ever before. It used to be that car engine would last maybe
100,000 mi, if the owner was lucky. Now engines regularly go to 150,000 or
200,000 mi or more.
This was good for my dad and my college education. Dad owned a machine shop
that rebuilt engines. He also made lots of money selling tail-pipes, shocks,
carburetors, spark plugs and ignition parts. With fuel injection, electronic
ignitions, longer-lasting shocks and stainless steel tailpipes, they rarely
sell these parts, now. And there is far less engine-rebuilding work now than
20 or 30 years ago. In fact, one of the five machine shops in town closed
completely, the staff at his shop is down 75% (from 6 to about 1 1/2), two
of the remaining shops have much small staffs, too.
The market also changed with a lot of the tailpipe and shock business going
to chain stores that don't go local independent warehouses; a lot of garages
put on new rotors rather than have them resurfaced because the cost of new
rotors is better. In addition, dealerships will often get new short blocks
or engines for in-warranty work rather than send out to work to a machine
So the loss of business is due to both the increased longevity of engines
and the changing market.
I am specifically referring to the plastic plenum problem which continued
The old rusty rot under the rear window problem continued for a number of
GM knew about it, chose not to fix it. It was a simple fix which they found
convenient (and perhaps profitable) to avoid, according to people on the
There are others.
I've read that GM didn't correct that nasty failing intake gasket
problem because most were failing after the guarantee period.
Unfortunately when they failed the engine was often toast.
Great for new car sales if their customers are stuck on GM in spite of
having big problems with their cars.
Well, let's get it right. The intake problem and the plenum problem did not
toast engines. Both of these were very survivable even after many, many
miles were put on the car in that condition. It took a lot of driving with
failed intake gaskets to cause engine problems. The leaks started on the
outside of the engine and were visible. But... owners today don't even open
a hood unless it's to put windshield washer fluid in, so many never even
noticed they had a problem.
Their car otherwise ran so trouble free that no one who might see and pay
attention to the leak, ever had occasion to notice. This problem is at once
both a plague and a praise to GM.
That isnt my experience, Mike. On our car there was no external leak.
Wife drove it home from bridge one day and it was missing badly. Made it to
and the cylinders filled with water causing hydraulic lock.
It was sudden, no warning. Had she been on the road, it might have been
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