Marketing Genius or Sham? Inside GM's Way

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I've come to really have a love/hate relationship with GM as of late. I love the prices, you can get nearly any GM product for 20-40% off sticker price. I love the new C6. But then there are some things I truely hate. Why cant they make a friggin sedan to compete with the Accord/Camry/Altima? The new Malibu is a complete waste of metal. Why can't they ADVANCE with the rest of the manufacturers and start using SOHC and DOHC 3v/4v powerplants in more cars (the Northstar engine is simply one of THE best DOHC V-8's out there right now, they seem to be stuck with 'updating' the old tired OHV 3.8 in their mainstream cars and it simply cant match the power or even refinement of competitors anymore). The one tihng I truely hate though, the way they market the same vehicle in multiple brands. They do this to the best of their ability. For instance lets take the 'new' Chevrolet Uplander minivan/SUV whatever. The near SAME exact vehicle is sold in FOUR of GM's brands.

Chevrolet Uplander -
$24,350 base

Buick Terraza -
$28,825 base

Saturn Relay -
$24,485 base

Pontiac Montata SV6 -
$25,235 base

Yup, and guess what it's powered by, a very underpowered OHV 3.5L V6 putting out only 200hp while all competitors are in the 230hp-255hp range with the same size or smaller DOHC and SOHC V-6's.
Now, the real question is... Is this a smart or dumb move? I mean, three out of the four have nearly the same exact base price with only the Buick being more :cough: 'upscale'. Now from a marketing standpoint this might work in that people don't realize they are the same vehicle and can get hassled into paying more in one brand than another, but even then the prices are relatively the same. So what gives here? This is why I don't understand GM sometimes. Anyone else share this rant with me? :banghead:

posted by  thunderbird1100

I agree with you on the new "crossover" vehicles. They are all the same, and came out almost unnoticed. I never see ads for them, and didn't know there existed the 4 minivans until I saw them on the dealer lots. The Malibu isn't exactly a strong competitor to the Accord/Camry, but it isn't too bad. The way Chevy marketed the Malibu Maxx however is one of the most clever. It doesn't resemble a station wagon too much and is very useful. However, I would go with a Pontiac G6 before any Malibu, just because the styling is pretty good and its very clean and sophisticated.

The engines are pretty sad at GM right now, except for the Northstar and truck engines. Finally GM has a V8 they can stick into cars. Next generation Impala and Monte Carlo both have an optional 5.3 litre V8, which is pretty exciting. However the pushrod system is old and not very efficient. 200 horsepower from a 3.8 litre isn't too great.

posted by  moostang104314

Metal? Since when did GM start using metal in their vehicles again? :laughing:

Actually, it's very efficient for 2-valve/cylinder engines.

Not that what I'm about to say is fact, but it's a theory that just popped into my head. It seems as though a pushrod engine with a good rocker ratio would have less valve-train power losses than an OHC engine that has NO rocker ratio.

posted by  DodgeRida67

I was glad to see a V-8 make it back to the Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS, But GM totally ruined the entire package by keeping them FWD. Who the hell wants all that torque steer?

posted by  thunderbird1100

How much horsepower do you really need in a minivan??? I've test drove just about every V6 2005 minivan on the market, and they all have plenty of pep. The amount of power under the roof shouldn't be a deciding factor when purchasing minivans. Soccer moms don't race their minivans on Sundays!

posted by  Chris1222

I should of put more words into the OHV units from GM being not nearly as refined as the other SOHC and DOHC units from other manufacturers. I've seen that several places have complained about the GM 3.5 OHV (200hp in all those GM minivans) being very underpowered and very unrefined. Also, it's hard to imagine but they have people out there who modify minivans... So more power couldnt hurt for competition. I'll tell you this much. Our 2000 Town and Country 3.8 OHV (185hp) is just a plain slug to drive. The engine has no life at all above 3000rpms. We just drove one of the new Odyssey's (3.5L SOHC 24v 255hp) and it brought a realization to me that minivan's can actually be fun.

Just for fun...

posted by  thunderbird1100

I kinda liked the new Malibu, I didn't like the looks of it, but once I gave it a try, I liked it. My mom owns a 2003 Malibu and it's tons better than it.

posted by  ThirdeYe

GM has lots of Sedans, don't know where you've been, but that's pretty much their biggest money-maker. Grand Prix's, Grand AM's, Cobalt, Pursuit (Cobalt and Pursuit will compete with all them jap cars, and beat them at the same time, just like the Cav and Sunfire did), not to mention all the Cadillacs, and many, many more cars. Also, the new GTO, with the upgrade from the 5.7 to 6.0, putting out 400hp, might not be the most beautiful car they've ever came out with, but it is a mechanical masterpiece.

First off, it's quite genius if anything. You know what marketing a vehicle under different brand accomplishes? Well, say you're a buick guy and you like a Pontiac vehicle, and just so happens GM released a Buick version of it, you're going to be happy and go buy the Buick version. Also, why would they make 5 different vans for 5 different companys? Why not just make one? You have ANY idea how much time, money and effort goes into designing and building a vehicle? Why do you think GM is the biggest automotive company in the world? For making bad decisions?

GM's doing everything right.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

If GM is doing everything right, how come ALL of those minivans with their sales combined won't even come close to competing with the sales of Siennas or Odysseys? I mean when you just update an old platform (ala all those new minivans from GM) people drive them compared to the much more appealing minivans from Honda/Toyota and think : "Now why in the hell would they even try and put these on the market". I think it's just a dumb move to put a low selling non-competitive vehicle on several of your own brands. KNOWING it's still not going to sell.

And where did the 'GM makes lots of sedans' come from? I never said they dont make sedans. I just said they dont make anything competitive to the Accord/Camry. Honestly though, the GTO is a big disappointment for me. The 2004 GTO was painfully underpowered with only 350hp for its near 3800lb curb weight. It was more of a travesty they came out with the GTO name but just rebadged a Holden Monaro instead of actually designing a NEW GTO. Sales reflected this big time as they sold only 18k units and were expecting to sell WAY more. The 2005 GTO is big step up as now they are actually TRYING to form the Monaro into looking like a GTO by the dual rear exit exhaust and hood scoops. Also the 50hp increase to 400hp is much much needed but the car still needs to lose 300lbs in weight. The car was hyped up too much, I dont consider it an engineering masterpiece one bit. People hyped up the car's handling so much but when the actual numbers came out it handled along the lines between a SN95 GT and Cobra. Which isn't anything to write home about in my book.

posted by  thunderbird1100

Maybe not in the mini-van market they aren't so brilliant, Chrysler is pretty much the best known for that with their Caravans. Anyway, GM may not be at the top of all categorys, but, they're always right up there in most categorys, when other companies get at the top in one and are no-where to be seen in the rest. GM is more of a variety company, they have anything and everything. Where-as the other top companies major in just a few categorys such as trucks, sports cars, and as you said, mini-vans. I'd rather be in the middle all the way around, than at the top in one or two and no-where to be seen in the rest.

I completely agree with you on the GTO being a dissapointment, I can't believe they'd do that to such a classic car, but, the new GTO doesn't look like it's going to be much of a dissapointment, from what I've seen and heard of it, it sounds like it's going to be an excellent car (despite the oh so famous pontiac looks...).

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

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