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Thread: GM's belly flops

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    GM's belly flops

    Making fun of GM's mistakes is almost dirty pool - kind of like teasing a kid with Down's Syndrome. Only GM hasn't got the excuse of having been born a bit on the slow side - supposedly, anyhow.

    Consider the evidence:

    * Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005) -

    No car since the Edsel has been the object of more abuse than this body-cladded mobile dumpster/refugee from an '80s-era low-rent sci-fi flick. GM didn't even get the spelling right. Someone could have looked it up. It's "Aztec," chief. Or maybe someone within the company thought it would be "hip" and "with it" to emulate the cre8tive spelling that's become popular among the trailer trash set in the expectation that the moms and dads of all those Kaytees and Hailees out there would want to clamber aboard.

    Unfortunately for GM, they didn't. It seems even the Wal-Mart set has some standards.

    The Aztek (also known as the "Asstek") has been voted - justly - the ugliest car in the world and did to GM's credibility what "wide stance" did to the reputation of Republican lawmakers.

    It was, however, the first so-called "crossover" GM ever built and though the Aztek was discreetly shelved after the '05 model year, it lingers on the downlow in the guise of the less visually offensive Buick Rendezvous.

    * Hummer (all of them) -

    Wildly successful for a few short years, the entire Hummer line has become a multimillion dollar albatross swinging around GM's neck.

    It all began with the militaristic frenzy that was ignited by the first Gulf War, when the public saw ArmyHumvees barreling across the Iraqi deserts. Then big-necked action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger took to driving one around - and GM, driven by the lust for profits promised by a 10 mpg road pig in an era of $1.35 premium unleaded, quickly worked a deal with AM General and began selling multiple Hummers (the H1, the Chevy Suburban-based H2 and then the Minnie Me Hummer H3) through an all-new Hummer division, complete with its own dealer and service network.

    But even as gas prices began ticking up alarmingly around late 2004, GM did ... nothing. By 2007, with gas prices over $3 per gallon, Hummer was in serious trouble. Sales of the largest Hummer - the Humvee-based H1 - had fallen to a couple hundred per year. The poseur-mobile H2, meanwhile, was fast becoming a 6,000 lb. lawn sculpture that dealers couldn't give away - literally. Incentives as high as $8,000 or even $10,000 off made no impression on buyers, who were casting their eyes on 40 mpg hybrids and compacts.

    So what does GM do? It brings to market for 2009 - just in time for $5 per gallon gas! - a V-8 version of the H3 (which had formerly been offered with only a five-cylinder engine shared with Chevy's mid-compact pick-up truck, the Canyon) proving that either someone's on the pipe in GM's boardroom ... or maybe really does have Down's Syndrome.

    * Chevy SSR (2003-2006) -

    "SSR" supposedly stood for Super Sport Roadster - but "lemon" would have been much less a mouthful - and a lot more accurate. The "roadster" part was kinda sorta true in the sense that the SSR did seat just two people and could become a convertible when its power folding hardtop went down. But when people speak of roadsters, they usually mean a car of some type - usually a sports car - and the SSR was a pick-up down to its full-frame chassis, battleship girth and two-ton-plus curb weight.

    Despite a 300 hp V-8, the original SSR was slow, barely out of the 16s in the quarter mile and only able to heave itself to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. That made it slower than most mid-size family sedans with 100 less hp and twice the gas mileage. No surprise thatin 2004 GM could only find buyers for 9,000 SSR - and had to idle the plant that built them.

    GM tried to inject some performance by up-sizing the SSR's V-8 to 400 hp - and teaming this Corvette-sourced engine with a six-speed Tremec manual transmission - but while this improved 0-60 times, sales continued to flatline. Over its entire three year run, only 24,150 or so SSRs found buyers - a record so pitiful it almost makes the Aztek seem successful.

    * Chevy Uplander (2005-present) -

    No one likes minivans - not even the poor breeder suburbanites stuck driving them.They're useful, even necessary - but they're embarrassing to be seen in (if you're a man) and absolutely no fun to drive. A minivan is the equivalent of a baby seat for adults.

    Enter the Uplander - which, as you'll note, has a rugged sounding name and a front end designed to look rugged, too. For a brief moment - if it's really dark outside, you're 100 yards away or maybe a little bit lit - it almost looks like it might be an SUV. And that was the idea: Build a minivan that doesn't look like one.

    Well, sort of.

    But the Uplander is in fact a minivan - down to its Venture-sourced DNA. That means it's ugly, it's slow and good for nothing except carting around a bunch of snotty kids. Ay least you won't care when they blow their boogers on the seatbacks - or spill their Juicy Juice all over the carpet.

    But how is it a flop? One word: crossovers. While GM tried to put lipstick on a pig, other automakers figured out that you could build a vehicle that did the things a minivan does well that wasn't also a minivan. An entire new category of vehicles was born - and has become hugely popular - while traditional minivans like the Uplander are destined to become the K-cars of the early 21st Century.

    The good news is you can get a great deal on one of these things. Just sign away your soul on the dotted line... .

    * Chevy Camaro (2009-?) -

    Camaro (and its Pontiac cousin, the Firebird) was once a hugely successful franchise for GM. Hundreds of thousands were sold annually at the peak in the late 1970s -and the car continued to do well through the '80s and into the '90s, until GM bolixed things up with a disastrous re-do in 1994 that led to crashing sales and Camaro being cancelled after the 2002 model year.

    Seven years have passed since then - and GM is on the verge of releasing a new Camaro as a 2010 model in early 2009. But the timing couldn't be worse. Camaro's being re-released just as the economy is sliding into a recession and gas prices are hovering near $4 per. The very last thing most people are looking to do right now is blow $30k (and then some) on a fun and pretty but pretty useless 15 mpg V-8 muscle coupe. SUVs at least have the virtue of being capable of carting around a family; a Camaro's a toy.

    And when people are worried about making the mortgage and keeping food on the table, buying a toy is not on their To-Do list, no matter how much they might wish for a trip down memory lane.

    Prediction? It'll last two years before GM realizes it has backed itself into another automotive Stalingrad - and shuffles the Camaro off to the gulag.


  2. #2
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    Typo: discretely should be discreetly

    Otherwise -- good picks.

    I've noticed that whenever people attack the Aztek, there's always a few owners that pop up and say "but I *like* mine! I got a good deal on it, and does everything I want!"
    They probably listen to polka music, too.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    Typo: discretely should be discreetly

    Otherwise -- good picks.

    I've noticed that whenever people attack the Aztek, there's always a few owners that pop up and say "but I *like* mine! I got a good deal on it, and does everything I want!"
    They probably listen to polka music, too.

    Chip H.
    Fixed - and thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    And to think that a couple of Chevy execs had the nerve to suggest that the SSR was the replacement for the Camaro.

  5. #5
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    When the BIG THREE had their grubby little hands on the consumer, they could care less about product reliability, or customer concerns, or what the consumer wanted. All they cared about is how to sell you the latest gagetry and for how much. Be it a high performance car, that could smoke a set of bad boots right before your eyes. Or a land yacht that you could get seasick in. When gasoline started climbing up in price,in the 70's, the guru's of Detroit ignored the little put-puts coming from the house of "The Rising Sun". People noticed. Even at $.65-85 per gallon, people noticed, boy did they. And then there were the gas lines. Want to wait three hours or more in line for ten gallons? Every other day? My wife did. Turned out to be a good business for her. No kids, and time on her hands. We had such cars as the Datsun, Toyota, Mazda, and of course the VW. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all seemed to think this gas thing was just a belch in the gas supply and it would return back to what it was. I know ,I was one. But as more people started buying these little cars, which where kind of a kick to drive if you didn't have to make a major trip, the BIG THREE just stayed with their big boat format. Yes, they had their toys as well, Pinto, Maverick,Monza,Vega, and a bunch of others. Oh, I forgot, the CHEVETTE diesel. Yup, all kinds of toys, because that's what people were buying. In the Seventy's and Eighties with the new EPA rules, CAFE standards, economy, smog, price of fuel, it kind of hit everyone kind of hard. Then they couldn't sell these Queen Mary's, so they started putting the designers of Star Trek, Star Wars,Deep Space Nine, and a host of others to work on the drawing board. Some of the stuff that came from the BIG THREE and others. looked at home parked at the space station. To me, some of the most butt ugly cars came from the BIG THREE, as well as poor quality control, to much stuff that's not needed, lack of get up and go. I can't get over paying $40-50k for a pickup that you can't put a camper on it. I blew the trans on mine at 30k just pulling an utility trailer. And the front end has been rebuilt at 20k, 35k, and now at 50k, it needs it again. And like most people, I can't afford to get a new truck or car every other year, or every five or ten years. Looks like I will be going back a few years for my next rig. At least I can put a camper on it and pull a trailer. :

  6. #6
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    This article has been posted on the main site with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...0&Itemid=10919


  7. #7
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    Hummers.....

    The cops here have them as patrol cars on the highway...... No doubt someone in the force wants one or someone in our wonderfully honest state government does so they put them on, and then after a few months, amazingly hey wont be available to the public at the government auctions...cynical...sure am!!!!

    H3.... they are not selling methinks...rod tests say they are great off road, but most I have seen have been pimped up with low profile tires and huge chrome wheels.... is the new standard off road stuff?;D

    Toyota Prado gets a better write up..for being a better all rounder...just slightly down in he off road stakes but better economy
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    * Hummer (all of them) -

    Wildly successful for a few short years, the entire Hummer line has become a multimillion dollar albatross swinging around GM's neck.

    It all began with the militaristic frenzy that was ignited by the first Gulf War, when the public saw Army Humvees barreling across the Iraqi deserts. Then big-necked action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger took to driving one around - and GM, driven by the lust for profits promised by a 10 mpg road pig in an era of $1.35 premium unleaded, quickly worked a deal with AM General and began selling multiple Hummers (the H1, the Chevy Suburban-based H2 and then the Minnie Me Hummer H3) through an all-new Hummer division, complete with its own dealer and service network.

    But even as gas prices began ticking up alarmingly around late 2004, GM did ... nothing. By 2007, with gas prices over $3 per gallon, Hummer was in serious trouble. Sales of the largest Hummer - the Humvee-based H1 - had fallen to a couple hundred per year. The poseur-mobile H2, meanwhile, was fast becoming a 6,000 lb. lawn sculpture that dealers couldn't give away - literally. Incentives as high as $8,000 or even $10,000 off made no impression on buyers, who were casting their eyes on 40 mpg hybrids and compacts.

    So what does GM do? It brings to market for 2009 - just in time for $5 per gallon gas! - a V-8 version of the H3 (which had formerly been offered with only a five-cylinder engine shared with Chevy's mid-compact pick-up truck, the Canyon) proving that either someone's on the pipe in GM's boardroom ... or maybe really does have Down's Syndrome.


    UPDATE to earlier message...
    Now here's a laugh... The Queensland Police are trialing the H3 with the intention of using it as an undercover car......... They won't stand out ;D

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/s....html#comments

    BUT ..........even funnier
    The Department of Corrective Services had some armoured Hummers as PPVs (Perimeter Patrol Vehicles) and these were a $3million failure.
    Now the stupid bastards want to waste more of our money.



    Probably some bureaucrat wanting a Hummer for his personal use has recommended it, and our Police Minister ( who always comes across as "not hitting on all six cylinders") has probably told them to go ahead.

    Queensland claims to be the Smart State, but really it's as thick as pig poo!
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: GM's belly flops

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    * Hummer (all of them) -

    Wildly successful for a few short years, the entire Hummer line has become a multimillion dollar albatross swinging around GM's neck.

    It all began with the militaristic frenzy that was ignited by the first Gulf War, when the public saw Army Humvees barreling across the Iraqi deserts. Then big-necked action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger took to driving one around - and GM, driven by the lust for profits promised by a 10 mpg road pig in an era of $1.35 premium unleaded, quickly worked a deal with AM General and began selling multiple Hummers (the H1, the Chevy Suburban-based H2 and then the Minnie Me Hummer H3) through an all-new Hummer division, complete with its own dealer and service network.

    But even as gas prices began ticking up alarmingly around late 2004, GM did ... nothing. By 2007, with gas prices over $3 per gallon, Hummer was in serious trouble. Sales of the largest Hummer - the Humvee-based H1 - had fallen to a couple hundred per year. The poseur-mobile H2, meanwhile, was fast becoming a 6,000 lb. lawn sculpture that dealers couldn't give away - literally. Incentives as high as $8,000 or even $10,000 off made no impression on buyers, who were casting their eyes on 40 mpg hybrids and compacts.

    So what does GM do? It brings to market for 2009 - just in time for $5 per gallon gas! - a V-8 version of the H3 (which had formerly been offered with only a five-cylinder engine shared with Chevy's mid-compact pick-up truck, the Canyon) proving that either someone's on the pipe in GM's boardroom ... or maybe really does have Down's Syndrome.


    UPDATE to earlier message...
    Now here's a laugh... The Queensland Police are trialing the H3 with the intention of using it as an undercover car......... They won't stand out ;D

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/s....html#comments

    BUT ..........even funnier
    The Department of Corrective Services had some armoured Hummers as PPVs (Perimeter Patrol Vehicles) and these were a $3million failure.
    Now the stupid bastards want to waste more of our money.



    Probably some bureaucrat wanting a Hummer for his personal use has recommended it, and our Police Minister ( who always comes across as "not hitting on all six cylinders") has probably told them to go ahead.

    Queensland claims to be the Smart State, but really it's as thick as pig poo!
    Well, I'm sure GM is happy that someone is buying them!

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