GM Using The Mercedes Playbook

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The "new GM" (which looks amazingly like the "old GM" that went bankrupt last year) has adopted at least one chapter from the Mercedes playbook.
However, Mercedes should not consider imitation the sincerest form of flattery.
Advertising for the new Buick Regal concentrates on it being a reskinned version of the 2009 Eurpoean Car Of The Year, the Opel Insignia. And with that, there's an underlying assumption that people think if its German it has to be good. Well, the Germans aren't Smuckers.
The Opel reference would be lost on potential customers of, for example, a Chevrolet Malibu. They're too young to remember Opels in the US. But potential Buick owners, who are on average somewhere between retired and dead, do remember Opels. And their memories of the last Opel branded car sold in the US, a derivitive of the Chevette made by Isuzu, can't be good ones.
Those negatives aside, GM should have considered Mercedes experience trying to associate Germans with Chrysler. The Dr Z ads reduced sales every time they ran. While some Americans respected the German reputation for engineering and assembly quality, few considered any car the Germans were involved in to be a good value.
Those who investigated further found how hollow Dr Z's claims of German superority were. Chrysler was the first all front wheel drive American car company. Yet when potential customers visited showrooms, they found Mercedes had converted the big Chryslers to rear will drive so they could install truck engines in perhaps 10% of the production.
All in all, GM advertising the German origins of the Regal is a mistake on the magnitude of the old "This is not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign, which offended the few customers Oldsmobile had left at the time. At least GM has one thing to be thankful for. Dr. Z has been demoted from President of Chrysler to CEO of Mercedes, and is unavailble to do any German superiority commercials for GM..
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On Jul 11, 12:45 am, Comments4u

Maybe they'll remember the real Opels, from Germany. In fact, GM out to show the Opel GT in their ads.
Or perhaps just remind people the Malibu is on the same platform as the Opel Signum.

I bet if you ask 100 Americans to name the top 5 cars in quality, engineering, and performance, Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW would be 3 of them.

Unless you count Dakota, Ram, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Liberty, Nitro, Viper, Aspen, Durango, Prowler, ...

Dr. Z is CEO of Daimler, the entire corporation, and yes, in any corporation being CEO is a promotion from running a division.
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I doubt it. It also depends on what you consider quality. Mercedes vehicles tend to live a long time but Porsche's and BMW's tend to vanish from the road. My guess is too many expensive (but probably not major) things going wrong so they end up garaged and little used I'm guessing from my own looking into them. Exception being the 'budget' porsches of the 1980s. Of course porsche purists seem to hate those... but they deserve credit because of the large numbers that are still seemingly people's daily drivers or close to it.
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In Europe Mercedes and Volvo are popular as taxis because they are cheap to maintain and last long.
Saab, BMW etc are very good for a few months and then become expensive to keep.
Unfortunately most car manufacturers have been systematically making cars that are made up of cheap material so they become too costly to keep after 5 to 10 years.
This trend may change now if the customers begin look at resale value and total cost of ownership.
Quality may come back in fashion.
Electrical cars with only handful of moving parts and close to zero maintenance costs will grow in popularity.
Overpriced GM junk is in rapid decline.
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But not so cheap in the US.

Not really.

I doubt the idea of driving a new car every couple of years will ever go away from most of those who practice it. They might get stuck at some point but it will be with whatever car they happen to have at the time.

batteries will continue to limit the reach of electrics until such time that there is a signficant breakthrough. My guess is that the breakthrough won't be batteries at all, but some sort of onboard power generation from a fuel or as they called it many decades ago pulling power from the 'ether'.
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If the Auto manufacturers can pull energy from fresh air, expect the Governments to tax it.
--
Clive

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'national security', we will likely not see it.
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Re Bjorn & Brent:
Cheap Volvo & Merc taxis. In North America one does not see the bottom-end diesel cars one has in Europe. Plus in Germany and many some other countries Mercedes provide a high level of maintenance service for taxi drivers.
Nevertheless, Merc has lost ground to other brands (Volvo maybe mainly in Scandinavia) such as Skoda, the 'cheap' end of Volkswagen Group.
I also don't agree with the "cheap materials" unless somebody provides evidence.
Brent: "My guess is too many expensive (but probably not major) things going wrong so they end up garaged and little used." I agree with you in the sense that it is a pure guess. Presumably you do not live in LA? If so you would see stacks of BMWs and other such cars. Do you have numbers to back up your claim? Top end (new) Porsches, BMWs etc are mainly for the wealthier anyway, so not so many around, except in the wealthier areas. Loads in central London, for example.
Brent: "Exception being the 'budget' porsches of the 1980s". If you mean the VW Porsches then there aren't many left, not very good. Line was discontinued quite quickly. So which and what do you mean by "large" numbers? (944s?)
DAS
To reply directly replace 'nospam' with 'schmetterling' --
writes

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You've clearly misunderstood. I did not say the cars were uncommon. I stated that older ones vanish into garages or somewhere, because they aren't seen often. I see newish ones daily, several times a day usually. If Chicago's road salt were eating them I would see rusty ones far more often. But instead there is just a cliff at about 8 years old where the cars seem to just disappear. My guess is they become too expensive to use as daily drivers. I'll see the Japanese luxury cars and practically every other car expensive or not decline into beaterdom and their numbers drop off slowly. BMWs... porsches? they just seem to go *poof* as far as road use goes after about 8 years or so. MB has the same decline as every other make. Audi again... I see them slide away too... I just don't see some 15 year old beat down 911 driving around... very rarely do I see them at all. a 0-5 year old 911? Sure, common sight. Buying the older ones? Easy to find. Seeing them in daily use? not particularly. My guess is things like this:
http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/1995-to-1998-porsche-911-2.htm Item Name     Repair Cost A/C Compressor     $1,500 Alternator     $1,000 Automatic Transmission or Transaxle     $3,100 Brakes     $790 Clutch, Pressure Plate, Bearing     $1,800 Constant Velocity Joints     $2,300 Exhaust System     $890 Radiator     $2,200 Shocks and/or Struts     $6,250 Timing Chain or Belt     $1,635
Not to mention the environmental attack on the materials in this climate. It just costs too much to use these cars for daily tasks.

Pretty much. Those are still in daily service in Chicago's harsh car-eating environment.
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In GB, very few cars fail mechanically. Most are retired because of rust caused by our continuous use of road salt during the winter months. I have seen maps of where cars last a little longer or shorter but the average car fails it MOT through rust at between 9 to 11 years old, and is subsequently replaced by a new or newer one.
--
Clive

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Brent schrieb:

Eight year old luxury cars go into export to Middle East, Africa, Asia und South America. The average export price of a MB or BMW is about 6000 EUR and their expected life time is about 20 years. It is much cheaper to run an old MB than a small new Toyota or VW.
--

Roland Franzius

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Germany’s BMW The Bavarian carmaker is making a new plug-in electric car. It is one of the first designed from scratch to use an electric motor rather than being converted from an existing model and to use no steel.
The car is built as two modules: an aluminum chassis containing the electric drive-system and battery, and a body made almost entirely of carbon fiber is fitted onto it.
Carbon fiber is 30% lighter than aluminum and 50% lighter than steel. The fibers are extremely tear-resistant. When woven into a lattice structure and impregnated with resin they can produce a part that is stronger than steel.
Carbon fiber is an expensive alternative to steel or aluminum, but besides being extremely strong it is also very light. It is found in high-performance parts, such as aircraft wings, bits of super- cars, and the frames of pricey mountain bikes.
This car has a driving range of 600 km before a recharge is needed. The price for the base model is 19.876 Euros. Because of the extended range BMW is the first real mass produced electrical alternative to hybrids.
BMW has created before this created long range electrical light weight motorbikes.
More technical details are available at the official BMW website.
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I suspect a number of people in Europe do not understand the size of Chrysler in the late 90s and how PROFITABLE the company was.
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We know of complete firms owned by them that crashed, such as the "Rootes group"
--
Clive


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wrote:

Crashing a sick company is a lot different than crashing a healthy one.
It is most obvious that Chrysler's management in the 60s and 70s did not know what it needed to know to turn around junk companies selling cars sized for roads built for Roman chariots.
It is most obvious Mercedes management did not know what it needed to know to continue the success of a very successful company selling low and medium priced cars in the worlds largest auto market.
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Knowing about both Chrysler and Fiat, I believe it's a case of the blind leading the blind. If you Merkins buy Fiats, I'll know you don't recognise quality, even the Italians are avoiding them and their market share is continuing to drop. I'm happy to wait and see what happens.
--
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wrote:

Why would there be a question in your mind about whether we'd buy Fiats with a Chrysler or Dodge nameplate on them. We aren't buying Mitsubishis with Chrysler or Dodge nameplate on them.
Course, we're not buying any of the goofy stuff Jergen Schrempp etal came up with either. Which is the real point which you've dodged.
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edward ohare schrieb:

It obviously didn't expect such a shortness in engineering skilled people. Sending German experts to develop Chrysler cars and combined global producing overstretched the companies ability to find sufficently many skilled engineers in Germany.
Btw the largest auto market is the EU. See eg http://www.worldometers.info/cars /
Mostly the US are an interesting market for foreign car manufacturers during periods with an overvalued US$ for luxury car exports or during periods of an undervalued US$ for shopping tours of stumbling companies.
--

Roland Franzius

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On Mon, 19 Jul 2010 17:33:21 +0200, Roland Franzius

Yea. Uh huh. The Germans showed up and decided the guys who made Chrysler shine in the late 90s were incompetent. They left. And what we see is the rsults of the German "experts".
Sorry, These guys should have stuck to expensive cars where their inefficiencies aren't evident.

Nice try. Chrysler was the most successful US company when Mercedes took over. The last of the Chrysler people's designs, the 00 - 04 models, would be more competitve TODAY in 2010 than what Mercedes came up with and what they're stuck with trying to sell.
Converting the bread and butter cars to rear wheel drive. Ignorant for that market segment. Coil springs on the big trucks. Why? Oh, yea, I know, better wheel location control but more expensive. And most importantly, better or not, NOT what truck buyers want. Anyone remember how much better Chevy did when they canned rear coils after 72? How long Ford stuck with antique front I beams because that's what the cutomers wanted? Even if you come up with something better, it doesn't matter if customers don't think its better.
Oh, let's get rid of the Ram Van so we can ship kits to the US and Chrysler can build the Sprinter. Oh, yea, its OK for a city delivery van. But they gave up a chance at the people mover van market and the cutaway van market. Notice those U Haul etc trucks are built on a GM or Ford van now? No Sprinters there.
Chrysler got there first with the bigger small truck, the Dakota. GM and the imports are making bigger small trucks now. And the Dakota doesn't sell well anymore. First because its ugly. Second because they cut themselves out of the commerical market by not offering a work truck package or even a standard cab.
And then there's the product differentiation problem. Know when to make things different. So they took some vehicles styled as Jeeps, and stuck in a Dodge-ish grill. Sorry, doesn't get it.
But then the other side where the Dakota and Durango don't share front sheet metal any more. What's the deal there?
OMG, no one's building station wagons. We'll turn Dodge into a station wagon brand and get 100% of the market! Well, you know, there's a reaon no one builds station wagons, and what they were aiming for was 100% of almost nothing.
Mercedes make decisions the old Chrysler crew wouldn't have made if you held a gun to their heads. The only thing worse than having Schrempp and Zetske running Chrysler was having the ex Home Depot CEO running it. And I'm beginning to think even the people from Fiat might be an improvement.
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You obviously think you know best. Good luck to you,
--
Clive


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