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Mr.Krinkle

The Last Great Differentiator

8 posts in this topic

more uncle bob.

http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/busin...5071127,00.html

After years of stifling management and a risk-averse culture, the design inmates are running the asylum under Lutz, GM's 74-year-old vice chairman and global product czar. Empowered designers are creating eye-catching cars and trucks, which could be key to the survival of the automaker.

"This place is so switched on," Lutz said of GM's design team. "There's a sense we're winning again. GM is back to being a design-driven company."

"When the design director of General Motors is no longer in charge of what comes out of his own shop, you truly have a dysfunctional organization," Lutz said. "Design had been relegated to putting a wrapper on something that everyone else had decided what the dimensions, the proportions and the (interior) package were going to be."

Lutz pushed designers to create the Solstice based on his instinct that a stylish sports car would be a hit with consumers.

"Once you get this spirit of creativity going, you propagate the notion that you're in the art and entertainment business. Then it becomes OK for designers to have fun."

With GM and Ford pulling closer to Toyota and Honda in providing reliable transportation, Lutz calls "design the last great differentiator. That's our one big weapon, that must-have appeal."

gotta love that optimism.

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Agreed, but with some people it won't matter until public perception is turned around, which could take a long time. And well, with some people they'll never come around.

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You tell 'em, Uncle Bob! We're pullin' for ya, sir! :)

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You tell 'em, Uncle Bob!  We're pullin' for ya, sir! :)

205951[/snapback]

Yes we are! Funny I was thinkinfg about Lutz this morning when I pulled into a Saturn dealer on my way to work to check out a truckload of Aura's being dropped off. Finally a great interior on a midsize GM car now if only Lutz could get it some decent wheels and not those leftover Sebring ones.

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A few words from a review in the Washington Post

" Even in base form with cloth seats, a 224-horsepower V-6, and a four-speed automatic transmission, the front-wheel-drive Aura sedan is a no-apologies car. It compares well with similarly equipped Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat sedans.

In the premium mid-size sedan segment, the upscale Aura XR, with supple leather seats, a 252-horsepower V-6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, gives the front-wheel-drive versions of the Audi A4 and Volvo S60 sedans a very good run for the money.

Fit and finish on the base Aura XE are impeccable. Gaps between exterior panels are barely noticeable. All interior materials, including the seat fabric, are first-rate. Driver-seat comfort is excellent, as good as, if not better than, that of substantially more costly cars. In short, the Aura XE's passenger cabin is a winner, a visually stunning knockout, the best of any produced by GM's Saturn Corp. subsidiary since its founding in 1985."

THANKS BOB 8)

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And well, with some people they'll never come around.

That's fine and as it should be. Even with only FoMoCo, ChryCo, AMC and a smattering of VWs, GM never achieved higher than circa 52% of the market. No car --no; not even the camry ;) -- appeals to the majority of consumers. The level of homogenization & pasturization neccesary to do so would turn off more than it would attract, anyway.

Frankly, 'we' don't want the 'unturnables' at all.

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Agreed, but with some people it won't matter until public perception is turned around, which could take a long time. And well, with some people they'll never come around.

205933[/snapback]

you're absolutely right on the first point. you are right on the second point but design and hitting the market with the products that appeal to all different strokes of upscale people with the right design again, will help curb this.

Lutz sure knows how to rile people up with these quotes. It's a nice speech, let me see him put his money where his mouth is. [is that how that saying goes?]

Edited by turbo200

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Guest YellowJacket894

Lutz is dead right on this. Extraordinary styling on mainstream products will create dozens and dozens of "gotta-have" products and contribute a great deal to awarding back GM the status of "alive and kicking."

In a new Automobile magazine interview, there was an interview with a Honda designer, the man responsible for the horrible, busy design of the new CR-V. To paraphrase the article, he said -- and this kills me -- that he was surprized that Americans saw Hondas as nothing more than mere appliances, in styling and purpose.

That proves that Americans are just buying from the main two Japanese companies, Honda and Toyota, on reputation alone. If GM manages to turn their perception around at least 85 percent, combined with Toyota's quality struggles damaging the notorious reputation gained by the said automaker, for some Americans, the love affair with Japan's Main Two may just be about over.

GM also has something going for them in the styling department that Honda only wishes it had: heritage. And such designs like the new Camaro proves that GM knows how to recognise that heritage and look to the future all at the same time. Honda has nothing here -- they've never designed a hot product that evoked an emotional reaction from a customer in their entire career of crafting cars. GM has placed a big emphasis on design in the past and that is what they're going to do again. Americans will take notice.

Now, I also realize that styling isn't the only key ingredient for GM's sucess with their new products. The new products have to be reliable, which it most certianly will be. They must have great fit and finish, and recent models show that GM is making great progress here. They must feature word-class powertrains, and GM is going to make advances here as well. They must also age well and sales must not drop off in noticeable amounts after the first two years of sales (we know the LX cars, while they are great cars, disappointingly did this -- everyone who wanted one had one).

GM's future, no matter what the Death-watchers say, is looking pretty bright. They're starting to focus on making cars again, not just money.

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