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Acadia - The Softer Side of GMC


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Acadian Allure
GMC's new crossover builds interest with women
Link to Original Article @ AutoWeek | Published 03/19/07, 1:38 pm et

Posted Image

Posted ImageClick here to view Acadia's launch commercial, 'Inspiration'

GMC's TV commercials traditionally have featured pickups and SUVs plowing through work sites and deserts, as gravel-voiced announcers addressed a distinctly male audience.

So viewers may be startled by a commercial for GMC's new Acadia crossover. As soft music plays, a depiction of a man and woman asleep in bed gives way to images of colorful fabrics, diamond necklaces and luggage that flow through a blue sky and become parts of an Acadia.

A female narrator describes the crossover's "advanced amenities, unparalleled safety features, refined styling and better fuel efficiency than any eight-passenger SUV."

GMC isn't quitting the guys' club. But with the Acadia, it wants to reach women, who make up 25 percent of all GMC buyers and 42 percent of the brand's SUV customers.

Emotional connection

"Acadia is a chance to expand the GMC target with the new crossover segment," said Mary Kubitskey, GMC's national brand advertising manager. "Men know that GMC builds world-class trucks and SUVs. But women don't have an emotional connection to GMC."

GMC also seeks to appeal to women with its Envoy mid-sized SUV, "but not with as much energy as we are positioning Acadia," Kubitskey told Automotive News.

Marti Barletta, CEO of the TrendSight Group, a Chicago consulting firm that specializes in marketing to women, says GMC can make a stronger connection with female consumers by putting more people in its ads.

"Women are pulled in by people, and they want to hear the benefits of the product," says Barletta, who has worked with Ford division and Volvo.

The Acadia commercial talks about styling but emphasizes exterior shots, Barletta notes. Women think of styling in terms of a vehicle's interior, she says.

GMC is placing the Acadia launch commercial on TV shows that attract large numbers of women. These include NBC's broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards and the series "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC and "CSI" on CBS.

Cable TV, too

GMC also is promoting the Acadia on the HGTV cable network. The grand prize package in the channel's "Dream Home" sweepstakes this month included an Acadia.

In addition, the company is placing the Acadia in video series on the AOL Web site that offer advice on cooking, home improvement and entertaining. The goal, Kubitskey said, is to "speak to female insights."

GMC seeks to build broader appeal among women for its other vehicles as well. But Kubitskey said: "You don't want to make any brand a chick brand. Women don't like that."

She added: "With more women in our target set, going more emotional is our objective. It's going to vary if we're advertising a heavy-duty pickup versus a beautiful Acadia. We need to find a way for them to both be professional-grade."
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It would seem dumb IMO to keep them around now, with their low rent interiors and aged styling. If I looked at an Acadia first and then an Envoy just on interiors alone, I wouldn't give the Envoy a second thought.

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I still think the Envoy is rather handsome, the Trailblazer muscular in SS form, and the Bravada simply classy. However, I think its time for the TB and Envoy to return to their roots. Build the next-generation as Colorado/Canyon companions.

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I still think the Envoy is rather handsome, the Trailblazer muscular in SS form, and the Bravada simply classy. However, I think its time for the TB and Envoy to return to their roots. Build the next-generation as Colorado/Canyon companions.

There won't be a next-generation TB or Envoy. GM will have a Chevy Lambda and I suspect 2-row Lambdas will follow, but it's debatable whether the 2-rows are even necessary.

The only argument for keeping the TB and Envoy around is to capture the people that buy midsize utes to tow stuff. But, this is where Hummer's true value shows. While everyone else moves toward crossovers, GM can target these buyers with Hummer. That is also why Jeep is so valuable.

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It's unibody, but other info is sketchy as the program is still years away.

Initially sounds to me like it would essentially be a SWB Lambda. Sort of like Lambda is GMT370 and this would be GMT360, which would make sense.

More deets when they're available would be nice.

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NG T360 is dead, but it has a replacement (and it's not T355-based or Lambda-based).

That just bothers me. I was hoping that the Envoy & Trailblazer were going to return to their roots using teh GMT-355 platform, much like the Hummer H3. I could see the Chevy being more of the rugged version, while the GMC remains rugged yet being more upscale and the Hummer still being the all-rugged, all-the-time much like it is now. I think the Lamdba-based Acadia is a perfect replacement for both the Envoy and Envoy XL and would have liked to seen a GMT-355 version SUV return to GMC's lineup.
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The Acadia is becoming my favorite Lambda, not to mention my favorite GM vehicle. The stars aligned perfectly on this architecture and it shows what GM can do when it actually wants to.

Unfortunately, my mom is turned off by crossovers. She hates minivans and they remind her of them. She'd rather have a BOF SUV.

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I have never understood the appeal of truckish vehicles.

How would you not prefer the Acadia, which is carlike?

The Acadia hardly feels like a minivan. And it does not feel like a starch crossover, like the CX-9 (now there's a creepy vehicle). The Acadia feels like a proper people hauler.

Why drive a truck if what you need to get around is a car?

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  • 1 month later...
Motortrend recently did a comparo between the MDX, CX-9 and Acadia.


Yeah, it didn't make any sense to me, either.

From Motor Trend:


On mountain roads during our test, the Acadia's size and mass were felt, and not in a positive light. "It's heavy and not a lot of fun in the twisties," notes one editor. "Its heft is its Achilles' heel-it just feels like a big, heavy rig," says another. Numb steering that needed consistent corrections, soft nonadjustable dampers, and a spongy brake pedal that went incommunicado for the first inch of travel did little to help things.
Also from Motor Trend:


The Acadia's ride is measurably less harsh, but well buttoned down. There's never any excess body motion, but the chassis follows the contour of the road quite faithfully-it never floats above it.


On twisting roads, the chassis proved solid and mostly quiet-the preproduction unit we drove did have the occasional low-frequency thunk here and there-and felt stable.
But the GMC drives like a smaller vehicle, one that's easy to maneuver through rush-hour traffic.

Also, from this comparo:


options that compensated for the comparatively low-rent plastic and lack of a backup camera
And from other Motor Trend articles:


The Acadia comes off as the fanciest of the three, from its high-grade materials to the brightly-lit electroluminescent-look gauges.


Expect a backup camera to become available after launch.
But the key to a vehicle like this is the interior, and GMC has done a terrific job of combining good looks, versatility, and a bit of luxury. The cabin uses a tasteful black and beige color scheme with brushed-aluminum accents, a power front sunroof and a fixed one over the second row, a 110-volt outlet, head-up display, and plenty of power ports. Triple door seals keep the interior pleasantly quiet.


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