Another sign of GM's desperation

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CNNMoney.com http://tinyurl.com/35nhlt
If you want to test drive a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, starting next month you'll be able to do it at a Saturn dealership. General Motors is
asking Saturn dealers to have one or more of the competing models in the showroom so customers can look at it, sit in it and drive it.
Of course, Saturn dealers can't sell you an Accord or Camry. But they hope that, when you see a Toyota or Honda sedan next to the Saturn Aura, you'll decide to buy the Aura...
Later this year, Chevrolet dealers will be doing the same thing as they introduce customers to the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu, which shares its engineering platform with the Aura.
In focus group research, GM has shown potential customers new GM models next to competing vehicles with all brand identifications removed and, said LaNeve, customers have reacted well to the GM products...
According to industry newspaper Automotive News, sales for the Saturn Aura http://tinyurl.com/yst75s which was voted Car of the Year by automotive journalists in January, 2007, have been disappointing for GM.
Part of the reason GM is willing to take this step, said LaNeve, is because the company has little to lose. Midsized sedan shoppers often don't even consider GM products, he said, instead going straight to Honda and Toyota dealers.
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are now the two best-selling cars in America.
"Over the course of a few years that became the default choice," said LaNeve.
GM has sold about 48,400 of the current version of the Malibu so far this year. Meanwhile, Toyota has sold 145,000 Camrys...
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"MPG" ...

I don't see the point of that. If the person walked into a GM dealership, weren't they intending to go with those to begin with?
Any car can be flashy with bells and whistles, but people buy Toyotas and Hondas for their quality/economy most of the time, not for extras. Hell, I'll be the first to admit domestic vehicles are usually more superficially attractive than my Echo, but I bought the brand, not the style.
Natalie
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Not necessarily.
Lots of people will go drive Brand X, then Brand Y, then Brand Z, then make a decision among those choices. Yes, some set out to buy a particular make and model, and don't test drive anything else. But it looks like GM is trying to cater to the XYZ- buyer by providing a X and Y to test drive, along side the Z that they are selling. They seem to think that when a buyer sits in (and drives) the X and Y, then they can close the sale on the Z right then and there. The salesman can compare the two or three cars side by side and show that his car is better than the other(s). If he lets you walk off the lot to go down the street to test drive the X or Y after you drove his Z, then he isn't in control anymore, and is at your mercy to return.
Personally, I think it is a good strategy ...

GM is banking that they can convince you (not YOU, perhaps) that they offer as much quality and reliability as the "other guys." (I don't know that they can or can't, but I certain they will claim that they do and they will want you to drive as many of the others as you can stand just so you see that they offer just as much as the other guys offer.) The deal is, they want you to NOT leave the car lot without a new car. If they can control the environment, the odds favor them handing over the keys as opposed to the next car lot down the block.
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It's a good strategy with one flaw...
The CNN article states:
"Part of the reason GM is willing to take this step, said LaNeve, is because the company has little to lose. Midsized sedan shoppers often don't even consider GM products, he said, instead going straight to Honda and Toyota dealers."
If they don't even consider GM products, they won't be in GM showrooms to begin with.
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That assumes they develop the marketing strategy of having competitor products in a vacuum. If they don't have it yet, they will have an ad campaign that challenges Toyota and Honda buyers to stop by and look at the Aura, or whatever it is.
They don't need to attract all of the Toyota and Honda buyers out there, they only need a few of them. All they want if for some guy to say, "Gee honey, the new Saturn looks kinda nice, let's go look at one." When they get to the lot, "Look honey, they even have the other cars we were considering. We can drive two or three cars right here! Isn't THAT cool?"
Maybe they settle on the Accord instead of the Aura, but that is the chance that Saturn is taking.
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IMO, it is a gutsy move and, it may just work. Just that fact they have the balls to do such a thing will get some attention and it may be what gets people into the showroom.
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On Fri, 25 May 2007 17:27:18 -0400, "Wickeddoll"

I've seen lots of really nice interiors and radios in GM and Ford vehicles. Detroit really can get the inside, as well as the overall styling, right.
In fact, I really like the aesthetics of the Fusion, Charger, '07 Tahoe and Silverado, and current F150.
I always thought the perfect vehicle would be a Toyota drive train and a Detroit body, built @ NUMMI. <G>
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"Bonehenge (B A R R Y)" ... "Wickeddoll"

Exactly - match the quality with the extras.
It's like how I feel about Madonna and Whitney - if Whitney sang the songs Madonna did, I'd buy Whitney's records. I can't stand that whiney voice of Mad-Donna's.
Natalie
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On Fri, 25 May 2007 17:27:18 -0400, "Wickeddoll"

Considering the IQ's of the average Loyal GM customer, they might think the dealership was one for Horses or Mailboxes.
I think this is a great move by GM, to capture their customer base of 80-90 IQ.
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, A non coffee lover Said:

Where do people with less IQ's, like yourself go?
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A non coffee lover Said:

The question doesn't apply to me. Who were you speaking to?
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, A non coffee lover Said:

The question does apply to you, hence the reason I hit the "Reply to Sender" button.
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wrote:

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, A non coffee lover Said:

80. They all know that Japanese Ice is colder than American ice, even when both have a temp of 29 degrees.
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, A non coffee lover Said:

WAY less trouble-free than any domestic cars I've owned.
But I also would probably buy a domestic large vehicle, rather than a Toyota. It's been my experience that the US is good with big, wasteful, powerful vehicles, and Japan excels at efficient (small), economical vehicles.
Everyone has their strengths.
Natalie
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, A non coffee lover Said:

But... what about the Highlander? Or the Sienna, if it counts as large?
Cathy

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"Cathy F."...

I'd still probably go domestic. Neither of those seem particularly impressive for their class.
Natalie
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non coffee lover Said:

29F Degrees hu? Ok, yeah you have the big brain.
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GM would be wise to simply put every dealerships next to a Wal-Mart.
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"Siskuwihane" ... Coffee Lover "Wickeddoll" A non coffee lover Said:

Natalie
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