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Old 05-26-2008, 08:55 AM   #1
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Default Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

You know, what he suggests sounds a lot to me like what Saturn was, before GM dismantled it and turned Saturn into another standard marketing division!

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Old 05-27-2008, 01:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

Last I heard, Jay Leno will be out of a job soon.

This is just common sense which is what American car companies executives are lacking. Instead of concentrating on building quality econocars, they keep trying to get Americans to fall for gimmicks (2.99/gallon gas) or build new cars with different names hoping that Americans will fall for their next game play.

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Old 05-27-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

The overhead at the Big Three is so high because the unions are bleeding them dry. That is why nothing is made here anymore because the unions feel that assembly line workers need to be making 100,000+ a year. Until this changes American car companies will continue to struggle.

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Old 05-27-2008, 07:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

Nice article. Unfortunately it's going to be a hard sell to get drivers out of their Camry, Altima, and Accords.

I saw a new Accord up close today and it was amazing how tight and accurate the body panels were aligned. It looks a bit larger than the previous version.

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Old 05-27-2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

Quote:
Originally Posted by TXSaturn02 View Post
Last I heard, Jay Leno will be out of a job soon.

This is just common sense which is what American car companies executives are lacking. Instead of concentrating on building quality econocars, they keep trying to get Americans to fall for gimmicks (2.99/gallon gas) or build new cars with different names hoping that Americans will fall for their next game play.
Yeah, I agree. The domestic brands were reluctant to give up the cash cows and said cows have now come home to roost. Most dealerships in my area will not accept sport utility vehicles in trades because they end up lingering on the lots for months on end.

For what it's worth, I don't think our auto executives are lacking in common sense so much as they tend to overlook long term pain for short term gain in order to keep the shareholders happy. The small car segment is not the most profitable, but that doesn't seem to bother Toyota and Honda and to a lesser extent Hyundai. Ford under Mulally's guidance is getting it, as they have stopped truck production for the remainder of the year so that inventory doesn't get out of hand. Meanwhile, they can't build enough of Focus and Edge.

As far as Jay Leno being jobless, that was his choice. He passes the baton to Conan O'Brien at the start of next year. Letterman wants to ride off into the sunset, too, and Jimmy Kimmel is his likely replacement in 2010.


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Old 05-28-2008, 09:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

The short term pain for long term gain is what the Japanese figured out years ago: build the best inexpensive small car you can and develop a loyal market for your bigger more profitable cars to come. A long term strategy that has netted them generations of repeat customers.

GM has always acted as if the small car buyer was a bottom feeder, not someone to be cultivated as a life long customer. I have read that the Vega was designed the way it was to get people who downsized from something larger and bought it, out of it and into a larger car ASAP. Their corporate cynicism toward the small car/entry level/1st time buyer is perfectly reflected in the last Cavalier and the current Cobalt, both left to rot on the vine with few improvements over the years.

How many times have we heard "It's going to be different" ? 1971 with the Vega/Pinto. 1979 with the 1980 X Cars, 82 and 83 with the Js and the As,Mid 80s with NUMMI, 1991 with Saturn, 1997 with Malibu,"The Car You Knew America Could Build", 2005 with the Cobalt, Chevrolet's Premium small car and the one GM was going to set the standard with [since MIA and left to rot until 2010].More lip service from Lutz and crew about how things are going to really be different this time. What decade are we in now ???? Just use our last press release and change the dates.

And Chrysler said yesterday it's expecting a turnaround with the introduction of it's new Ram pickup truck. WTF world are they living in ? Avenger/ Sebring Caliber etc. were their BEST offerings as passenger cars ? Now they can get back to trucks?

How many times in the past nearly 40 years have we read the same article ? You could put 05-28-1998, 0r 05-28-1988 or 05-28-1978 on this same piece and the message is still the same.

And they still are not getting it. There is NO reason for the ignition switch problems suffered by Cobalt/ION/Canyon/Colorado owners have had to endure, nor sub par strut rod bushings etc etc etc. except for the maniacal cost cutting demanded for short term price appeal and expecting the suppliers to give anything but garbage for the price. Let's just get them sold, we'll worry about the problems [and pissed off customers] later.

The engine and trans in my ION will run forever. I am not sure about the rest of it.

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Old 05-28-2008, 06:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
The short term pain for long term gain is what the Japanese figured out years ago: build the best inexpensive small car you can and develop a loyal market for your bigger more profitable cars to come. A long term strategy that has netted them generations of repeat customers.
That's why Corolla and Civic are still kicking butt and taking names a quarter century later. Say what you will about them, they're bland, blah, blah, blah, they get the job done. Never felt that way about a J-Body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
GM has always acted as if the small car buyer was a bottom feeder, not someone to be cultivated as a life long customer. I have read that the Vega was designed the way it was to get people who downsized from something larger and bought it, out of it and into a larger car ASAP. Their corporate cynicism toward the small car/entry level/1st time buyer is perfectly reflected in the last Cavalier and the current Cobalt, both left to rot on the vine with few improvements over the years.
When a customer gets into a bigger and more expensive vehicle, the salesperson makes a higher commission. There's no profit in a small car, so that's why they act as if you're wasting their time. I know that when I bought my Escort hatch 15 years ago, my salesperson would probably have wanted me to buy a Taurus or Crown Victoria.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
How many times have we heard "It's going to be different" ? 1971 with the Vega/Pinto. 1979 with the 1980 X Cars, 82 and 83 with the Js and the As,Mid 80s with NUMMI, 1991 with Saturn, 1997 with Malibu,"The Car You Knew America Could Build", 2005 with the Cobalt, Chevrolet's Premium small car and the one GM was going to set the standard with [since MIA and left to rot until 2010].More lip service from Lutz and crew about how things are going to really be different this time. What decade are we in now ???? Just use our last press release and change the dates.
More times than I care to count. Saturn was on to something but Chevy and the other divisions started pissing and moaning. There's no guarantee that the GM core divisions would have used the money spent on Saturn to improve their 1992 offerings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
And Chrysler said yesterday it's expecting a turnaround with the introduction of it's new Ram pickup truck. WTF world are they living in ? Avenger/ Sebring Caliber etc. were their BEST offerings as passenger cars ? Now they can get back to trucks?
That's why Chrysler needs Nissan to help make them a microcar. Go figure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
How many times in the past nearly 40 years have we read the same article ? You could put 05-28-1998, 0r 05-28-1988 or 05-28-1978 on this same piece and the message is still the same.
Point taken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
And they still are not getting it. There is NO reason for the ignition switch problems suffered by Cobalt/ION/Canyon/Colorado owners have had to endure, nor sub par strut rod bushings etc etc etc. except for the maniacal cost cutting demanded for short term price appeal and expecting the suppliers to give anything but garbage for the price. Let's just get them sold, we'll worry about the problems [and pissed off customers] later.
And they're still paying for that attitude today, even if the reality has improved over the perception.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Citation84 View Post
The engine and trans in my ION will run forever. I am not sure about the rest of it.
That's a testament to Saturn's potential.


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Old 05-31-2008, 08:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American

GR898SL2: yeah, it's shame there was no one with the foresight to see what has been happening over the course of so many years was making any long term decisions for the companies.

Totally understand the profit margin on small cars is small. But satisfy a first time customer there and they will be back for more expensive product later. Product made just to be "good enough to compete in the segment" has been GM's attitude across the board, as well as "something for each division to sell"
to their detriment. 3, 4 or 5 versions of the same barely competitive car smear the whole corporation.

And you are sooo right that the other divisions might have just continued to squander the money used on Saturn to do mid cycle facelifts and allow the corporate big wigs to chase "diversification" schemes pour even more money down rat hole Saab as well as paying out even larger bonuses and perks to the same fools who have run GM into the ground.

I still believe the entire Saturn experiment could have been more easily accomplished with GEO and the conversion to Opel based product much sooner for a whole lot less money and using the same low key sales methods and ideas as saturn had originally.

The Corrolla and Sentra may be bland and boring but they're cars as you said that were many people's introduction to those brands. This was where customer loyalty was built after the initial gas scares drove people to the small Japanese cars in the 70s. A long term plan missing in GM's J bodies as you said. I couldn't agree more. Bland and boring is good in a small commuter car. Who needs any drama just to get to work ?

It will take an entire overhaul of GM's lines with product of the caliber of the CTS, Aura, Malibu and the crossovers over the course of at least 10 years to remove the rep they have acquired. It grieves me that they simply wasted the past 30 years paying lip service to meeting the Japanese head on.

Someone in another topic referred to GM's cars as 80-20: 80% good 20% bad but the 20% bad is the part that people remember. I couldn't agree more.

BTW: my example of the ignition switch , sway bar and other problems GM has allowed to get through are recent examples, which leads me to question how serious they are about the quality of their cars. This seems to be entrenched in them still, to this very day. Not an argument for proving they've turned things around yet.

Last edited by Citation84; 05-31-2008 at 08:38 AM..

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