The Mechanic - Pontiac and the Trailer Trash

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Posted by: The Mechanic February 23, 2009, 4:40 PM

    I don't know how to save General Motors. Do you?

    Wait, before you answer do me a favor and shut up. You don't know. Nobody does.

    Oh, there are plenty of people out there, from senators to meth dealers, who think they know how to turn the once great automaker back to great, but they don't know either. I've been covering the auto industry for more than 20 years. And in that time I've seen GM try anything and everything more than once, only to see things get worse.

    Cut costs? Been tried. Better product? Been tried. Fewer brands? Been tried. More interesting design? Been tried. Import more cars from overseas? Been tried. Build more trucks? Been tried. Build more cars? Been tried. Build more small cars? Been tried. More platform-sharing? Been tried. Less platform-sharing? Been tried. Think of them as brands, not cars? Been tried. Think of them as cars, not brands? Been tried. Restructure? Been tried. Restructure again? Been tried. Think more global? Been tried. World cars? Been tried. Export cars to Japan? Been tried. Vehicles with more features and higher price tags? Been tried. Vehicles with lower prices and optional everything including air-conditioning and ABS? Been tried. Cars with plastic bodies? Been tried. Muscle cars? Been tried? Rebadged Toyotas? Been tried. Short product cycles? Been tried. Long product cycles? Been tried. New nameplates? Been tried. Reviving old nameplates? Been tried. Consolidate? Been tried. Expand? Been tried? Increase fleet sales? Been tried. Decrease fleet sales? Been tried. Front-wheel-drive cars? Been tried? Rear-wheel-drive cars? Been tried. Tiger Woods? Been tried. Fewer dealers? Been tried. More Internet marketing? Been tried. Rebadge small cars from Korea? Been tried. Hummer? Been tried. Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday? Been tried. Race at Le Mans? Been tried. Sponsor baseball? Been tried. Build new factories? Been tried. Build cars in Canada? Been tried. Mexico? Been tried. Close old plants? Been tried. Improve quality? Been tried. Hire Bob Lutz? Been tried. Cater to us car enthusiasts? Been tried. Pander to the lemmings who love their Camrys? Been tried. Alternative-fuel vehicles? Been tried. Hybrids? Been tried. Electric cars? Been tried. Carlike trucks? Been tried. Halo cars? Been tried. Rebadged Holdens? Been tried. Rebadged Opels? Been tried. Let car guys run the show? Been tried. MBAs? Been tried. Alphanumeric names? Been tried. More chrome? Been tried. Less chrome? Been tried. No chrome? Been tried.

    And yet, after all that, they're still on the brink of bankruptcy. Disturbing. More disturbing is the implosion of Pontiac. Once a great division of the great GM, it has for decades survived on selling overstyled and under-engineered Grand Ams and Sunfires to the trailer trash of our country's midsection. And for awhile the double-wide demographic was keeping Pontiac in the black. But I never understood how selling bad cars to the low IQ, low-income, beer-for-breakfast crowd was Pontiac's actual business plan. But it was. And bad taste marketed to the dumb was good business for quite some time.

    And Saturn. Saturn was once a success story. Now it's dead. And for many of the same reasons.

    How? Why? How did Pontiac get stuck with the losers, while Honda, Nissan, Toyota and BMW became the brands of the college grads and people who eat with utensils? How did it get so upside-down? Why is there a Saturn parked beside most mobile homes, while consumers with teeth and good credit are now buying Hyundais? Why do you see more Pontiacs on the TV show Cops than any other car?

    I don't know the answers. Sure, the best thing about the Aztek was the styling (if you've driven one, you know what I mean), and the Ion was the worst car I've ever driven in my life, but every car company has made mistakes in the last couple of decades. Flops are part of the biz. Look at Acura. It had two terrible TLs nobody wanted before hitting it big with the third generation. And the RL has consistently missed the market. But the public gives Honda's luxury division a pass on these mistakes, while holding grudges against domestic brands for the similar offenses. Why is the first TL forgivable, but not the first G6?

    I don't understand it. Does anybody? -- The Mechanic, Inside Line Contributor

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  2. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Poor Old Nagger Thinks It's A Cadillac
     
  3. Tiberium

    Tiberium Active Member

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    GM filing for bankruptcy and wiping the slate clean? not been tried.
     
  4. MrEous

    MrEous OT Supporter

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    UAW...
     
  5. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    How about

    1. FIND A PROFITABLE MARKET NICHE;
    2. BUILD THE EXACT CAR THAT NICHE WANTS WITH 6-SIGMA QUALITY;
    3. BUILD A RABID FANBASE THAT GIVES YOU SUGGESTIONS FOR FREE;
    4. AS SOON AS ANYONE ELSE TRIES TO COMPETE, ROLL OUT A NEW VERSION WITH ALL THOSE SUGGESTIONS INCLUDED;
    5. FIRE ANYONE ON-THE-SPOT WHO TRIES TO TAKE CREDIT FOR SUCCESS AWAY FROM THE CUSTOMERS WHO BUY THE PRODUCT.

    Have they tried that yet?

    Oh wait, that's what they did with Saturn. Except for Step 5. Instead, when they realized Saturn was a hit, they fired the independent management and replaced it with yes-men.

    Giving customers credit for the success of the product is crucial. Look at Honda. Look at Subaru. Look at Toyota. They don't say "We're the Heartland of America" or "You gotta put [x] on your list", they say "people who buy our cars are special, and that's what makes our cars special." Shit, Subaru even says that literally. How about making the customer feel like part of the team, like you realize it's their money you're spending on R&D'ing the products you sell?

    It would also help if they led the market in anything besides full-size pickup trucks. They still make the best pickup trucks ever, but that's not profitable right now.

    GM would recover if there were a public (and permanent) outing of absolutely everyone in the company who makes important decisions, with nobody spared. What they need is a Coup d'Etat, not Chapter 11.

    Of course, it's probably too late at this point, because they've been running themselves into the ground for so long that there aren't any profitable market niches left. Shit, the Japanese even build better muscle cars than we do now, except perhaps for the Corvette. Well...there's the Volt, which a certain segment of the population is foaming at the mouth over, but it'll be a while before that's profitable. Let's see if they shitcan it before they break even.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  6. J_75

    J_75 New Member

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    What are you talking about? Having employees sit in breakrooms watching TV for years while getting paid $30/hour is integral to success.



    The funniest guys I ever worked with were retired UAW guys and the stories they told about what went on at plants. Drinking on the job. Clocking in and sleeping the rest of the day in their cars. Getting managers fired because they dared to enforce company policies.
     
  7. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It's telling that those retired UAW guys weren't ashamed of that shit.
     
  8. Havsie

    Havsie When I die, bury me inside the Pepsi 1893 store OT Supporter

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    :rofl:
     
  9. dr.zed

    dr.zed DR.ZED OT Supporter

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    I had a customer who worked in the paint plant at Ford in Oakville, ON.

    Damn the stories he used to tell me. Union rules mandating 3 people needed to be hired for health and safety so one guy could push a broom.

    It went on an on.
     
  10. J_75

    J_75 New Member

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    Yep, it's pretty awesome.

    One of the guys I worked with (at a temp company) was 28 years old, had worked for GM for 5 years @ more than $30/hour on the line, and GM bought out his contract for 100K + benefits......i.e. they paid him 100K to leave AND gave him some benefits (obviously not as high as what he would have gotten with the union).



    Ashamed? Them there workers are real AMERICAN MEN! These boys are what the country was BUILT ON! A union man is the only REAL MAN!

    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

    Talk to a union guy sometime. You would think they were descended from Jeeeeeeeezhus Christ his darn self.
     

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