NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Hell Freezes Over - GM Fades to No. 2.

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Detroit. What was unthinkable not too many years ago has finally happened – Toyota is now the No. 1 automobile company in the world, surpassing General Motors in sales in the first quarter of this year. Toyota announced yesterday that it had sold 2.348 million vehicles worldwide in the January-March quarter, surpassing the 2.26 million vehicles GM sold during the same period. Yes, it’s only one quarter, but the momentum has been building for years now, and I don’t expect Toyota to lose their lead any time soon.

To a lot of people in this town, it's a sad day. And not just for GM old-timers, either. General Motors wasn't just the largest U.S. automaker, it was the largest business enterprise in the world, a glittering showcase of American industrial might that mirrored the upward trajectory of this country in the blue sky '50s and go-go '60s. GM was a source of pride for Detroiters of all stripes, because along with Ford and Chrysler, the center of the automotive universe was right here in the Motor City - and we liked it that way.

GM's heyday was a time when giants roamed the earth - with larger-than-life characters flaunting larger-than-life egos running the most dominant industrial enterprise in the world. Back in the day, it was often said that a divisional General Manager for GM had more power than some heads of small countries. And it was true. GM dictated to the market in terms of design, engineering, vehicle content, pricing, segments - even down to the paint colors offered. GM was the New York Yankees of the auto business with the best players, the top salaries and profit championships won, year after year. GM was so dominant at one point that there was actually talk in Congress of "breaking up" the company when its sales approached 48 percent of the U.S. market.

Now? GM is clinging to a 24-25 percent share of the U.S. market, with clinging being the operative word.

The rest of the article is here:

http://www.autoextremist.com/page2.shtml#Rant

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It sickens me that everyone is still living on fantasy island with Toyota. They still make a decent product but they are not the untarnished gem they once were with the unholy like reliability. The domestics have caught up and in most cases have surpassed them in my opinion. The problem is people's remaining perception of Toyota, and it is crap reporting like this that only fuels the fire!!

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Don't worry America. We got your back. :AH-HA_wink:

I read a very interesting article on this topic this morning. It said that although they had passed them in worldwide sales, Toyota still has less than half the sales of GM in Canada.

What are the US figures like on that?

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It sickens me that everyone is still living on fantasy island with Toyota. They still make a decent product but they are not the untarnished gem they once were with the unholy like reliability. The domestics have caught up and in most cases have surpassed them in my opinion. The problem is people's remaining perception of Toyota, and it is crap reporting like this that only fuels the fire!!

FYI- Autoextremist.com (the article source) is an enthusiasts' website full of opinions, mostly Peter DeLorenzo's, an industry vet.

Perception is reality, my friend. Years of GM's shoddy indifference has led to opportunities for other manufacturers, regardless of the quality of GM's new stuff.

Why would someone who has been burned by GM's indifference invest thousands in a product that they can easily substitute with a Toyota and not worry about it? That's GM's challenge--it's a marketer's nightmare scenario that every GM dealership faces everyday.

How about offering solutions instead of carping about the situation? That would be unique on this board. I've never seen a bigger bunch of whiners when it comes to GM....Maybe all of the Japanese companies should board a ship and return to Japan, towing the Koreans with them?

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Whoops, Toyota still doesn't impress me.

Hearts and minds is key here. GM, Ford and Chrysler all have big bases of loyalists, I don't know about Toyota...if they screw up, their big meteoric rise to the top of the automotive food chain could be followed by a fast and painful plummet back to Earth if they don't have the strong loyalty that the Big Three do.

Long live Detroit.

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So what? I find I fail to give an honest $h!.

So you want the number one spot, Toyota? Fine. Take it. It doesn't mean you are the best automaker out there. When you break it all down, it's just another trophy Toyota's PR-Department-From-Hell can use in advertising and press kits.

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So what? I find I fail to give an honest $h!.

So you want the number one spot, Toyota? Fine. Take it. It doesn't mean you are the best automaker out there. When you break it all down, it's just another trophy Toyota's PR-Department-From-Hell can use in advertising and press kits.

To me, thats whats going to suck more than anything. Not the fact that it happened, but the fact that we'll be hearing about it for a long time.

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To me, thats whats going to suck more than anything. Not the fact that it happened, but the fact that we'll be hearing about it for a long time.

Well, yes, that is true but still ... I don't care, probably because I really just fail to give a damn at all about Toyota.

You know, there was a stand-up comic back in the late '80s and '90s who would just be rolling over in his grave at this moment if he managed to take one look at Toyota's PR Department.

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What comedian is that?

Bill Hicks. The guy hated people in marketing ... and if he were still around, I wouldn't doubt that he would be pointing fingers at Toyota.

For instance, parts of this quote in bold, in a sense, just sums up the attitude of Toyota's PR Department:

By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself. No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do. Aaah, no really, there's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no f@#king joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are f@#ked and you are f@#king us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your f@#king soul, kill yourself. Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke... there's no joke here whatsoever." Suck a tail-pipe, f@#king hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil f@#king machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that. You f@#king evil scumbags! "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags!

Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every f@#king thing on this planet!

"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a f@#king web! "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like f@#king babies at night, don't you?

Edited by YellowJacket894
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Remember marketing is all about money paid to advertising agencies... Toyota's is

Saatchi and they're paid handsomely for their services. I'm sure some would also argue it's a good investment.

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I think DeLorenzo is just venting all over his site right now - he has a 3 arrows down for Pontiac as well as the GM engineers - I think he's just taking out some frustration on GM right now.

Hey guys, lets face it, GM is improving and I think its just going to take some more time, but when people start seeing more of the newer GM products on the street, they'll see that GM builds some good products worthy of consideration. Even here in Houston, I'm starting to see more new GM cars on the road, and this is an area where Toyota and Nissan do VERY well. GM just needs to improve on their marketing - a point that DeLorenzo writes about and I think will probably be one of the most critical areas of their turnaround.

As a side note, I notice a lot of you guys are from up North so you'd probably think this is relevant or know what I"m talking about- but I"m currently watching the Sabres game - fun to watch hockey after a many year hiatus for me from watching it (I was born in Buffalo). anywho... Surprised to see the big Toyota logo on the ice at HSBC Arena - bet that pisses off some of the Tonawanda engine plant workers!

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So all GM has to do is take back they're fleet sales and they are #1 again... we all know that the fleets sales that GM gave up is what gave Toyota the #1 spot, so yeah, you could say GM gave the #1 spot to Toyota.

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So all GM has to do is take back they're fleet sales and they are #1 again... we all know that the fleets sales that GM gave up is what gave Toyota the #1 spot, so yeah, you could say GM gave the #1 spot to Toyota.

Yeah, probably..GM let down Avis, their #1 customer (I wonder what their single #1 individual fleet customer is).

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"How about offering solutions instead of carping about the situation? That would be unique on this board. I've never seen a bigger bunch of whiners when it comes to GM....Maybe all of the Japanese companies should board a ship and return to Japan, towing the Koreans with them?"

Apparently we are bunch of sniveling whiners on here that don't know anything about solving GM and resolve to attacking Toyota at any given time. If I'm not mistaken I did give credit to Toyota saying that they make a decent product. Without a doubt GM has their problems and has made many mistakes and they are on the mend. You can't wave a magic wand overnight when the bus is backed into a corner and you need to turn it around in a hurry. The product is coming out and it takes time, there is alot of very good cars and trucks on the road right now from them. The recent awards given to Chevrolet and Saturn speak for themselves, and is a signal for things to come. One of their biggest problems they have is pushing themselves in market areas that the imports have a strong hold on, marketing is not one of their best traits they have admitted it openly.

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O well....life goes on...It will all change eventually...toyota will make all of their products look like jellybean and people will get sick of it eventually.

Don't blame the Japanese. I have a cousin direct from Japan who drives...a Cobalt.

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"How about offering solutions instead of carping about the situation? That would be unique on this board. I've never seen a bigger bunch of whiners when it comes to GM....Maybe all of the Japanese companies should board a ship and return to Japan, towing the Koreans with them?"

Apparently we are bunch of sniveling whiners on here that don't know anything about solving GM and resolve to attacking Toyota at any given time. If I'm not mistaken I did give credit to Toyota saying that they make a decent product. Without a doubt GM has their problems and has made many mistakes and they are on the mend. You can't wave a magic wand overnight when the bus is backed into a corner and you need to turn it around in a hurry. The product is coming out and it takes time, there is alot of very good cars and trucks on the road right now from them. The recent awards given to Chevrolet and Saturn speak for themselves, and is a signal for things to come. One of their biggest problems they have is pushing themselves in market areas that the imports have a strong hold on, marketing is not one of their best traits they have admitted it openly.

I dodn't call you 'snivelling', nor were my comments directed only at you personally....but you make the same mistake that others here do---GM may not be 'on the mend'---radical solutions need to be sought when the deck chairs are being arranged on the Titanic.

Lutz is an excellent product guy, but Wagonner is a GM lifer....there are a number of nightmare scenarios that GM is simply not prepared for...and if they continue to hope that those scenarios do not play out, by definition they are not prepared for the future.

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FYI- Autoextremist.com (the article source) is an enthusiasts' website full of opinions, mostly Peter DeLorenzo's, an industry vet.

Perception is reality, my friend. Years of GM's shoddy indifference has led to opportunities for other manufacturers, regardless of the quality of GM's new stuff.

Why would someone who has been burned by GM's indifference invest thousands in a product that they can easily substitute with a Toyota and not worry about it? That's GM's challenge--it's a marketer's nightmare scenario that every GM dealership faces everyday.

How about offering solutions instead of carping about the situation? That would be unique on this board. I've never seen a bigger bunch of whiners when it comes to GM....Maybe all of the Japanese companies should board a ship and return to Japan, towing the Koreans with them?

Everyone knows what opinions are like .......... and everbody has one. DeLorenzo an industry vet? That doesn't mean much when many industry vets ignore flaws in the imports that they would complain about in a vehicle made by Ford or GM.

Perception is perception. One of my neighbors had a '90s Maxima that spent more time in the shop than any car in our neighborhood. It soon turned into a rustbucket that I was ashamed to have in the driveway next door. The neighbors perception was that it was a great car. It was his perception, but not reality.

Most of the major posters here are GM fans and tired of hearing the same old crap from the followers of the God Toyota. I've never had a bad GM car and my family (Ford fans) have never had a bad Ford. Have they all been great ... no, but most of the problems we've had are no different that what happens to owners of Toyotas, Hondas and the other foreign makes. One of my neighbors has had nothing but trouble with her E-class Mercedes. She bought it because it's a Mercedes and she writes it all off on her income tax (She has a business).

Personally, I don't believe that the Japanese or Korean companies should leave. Their day in the complaint box is overdue and it's only moment away. Still, I want "Fair Trade" between the US and other countries. If Japan or Korea institutes an unbalanced import tax on American vehicles, we must reply with an equal tax on vehicles made by Japanese companies. That's not whining, just being honest.

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Everyone knows what opinions are like .......... and everbody has one. DeLorenzo an industry vet? That doesn't mean much when many industry vets ignore flaws in the imports that they would complain about in a vehicle made by Ford or GM.

Perception is perception. One of my neighbors had a '90s Maxima that spent more time in the shop than any car in our neighborhood. It soon turned into a rustbucket that I was ashamed to have in the driveway next door. The neighbors perception was that it was a great car. It was his perception, but not reality.

Most of the major posters here are GM fans and tired of hearing the same old crap from the followers of the God Toyota. I've never had a bad GM car and my family (Ford fans) have never had a bad Ford. Have they all been great ... no, but most of the problems we've had are no different that what happens to owners of Toyotas, Hondas and the other foreign makes. One of my neighbors has had nothing but trouble with her E-class Mercedes. She bought it because it's a Mercedes and she writes it all off on her income tax (She has a business).

Personally, I don't believe that the Japanese or Korean companies should leave. Their day in the complaint box is overdue and it's only moment away. Still, I want "Fair Trade" between the US and other countries. If Japan or Korea institutes an unbalanced import tax on American vehicles, we must reply with an equal tax on vehicles made by Japanese companies. That's not whining, just being honest.

There's no doubt that Toyota's products have flaws. I alluded to the issue of perception as reality because, despite your family's anecdotal good luck with domestic product, the reality of the past 30 years is that GM's efforts (and Ford's & Chrysler's) have not been nearly as good as they could be.

While I have every respect for your opinion, the difference between you and I as follows:

1. I make a living (or do not) based on GM products. I see each and every example of what they are doing (right or wrong) every day....then I have to sell that product to someone....when its your livelihood on the line, you tend to be more focused on the reality of the situation.

2. I oversee an operation that sell thousands of used vehicles/year, and I've been doing it for 5 years....so, I've had the opportunity to see all the good, bad and ugly of used vehicles...are some domestics excellent after years of use?--absolutely. Are some Japanese cars bad?--Of course....but if you look at things like reliability, fit & finish and other stuff that makes a pre-owned vehicle 'good' vs. 'bad', there are some alarming trends----

-Domestic plastics look like ass after a few years...the interiors are notably inferior to German & 1st tier Japanese makes

-Japanese cars (other than Toyotas, Hondas) are not nearly as good as thought, but can be sold for far higher prices than their domestic competitors on my lot.

-2nd tier Japanese & Korean cars are no more reliable than domestics

-German cars are frighteningly unreliable & exceedingly expensive to fix...but if you get a good one, they'll run forever with basic maintenance.

-Certain domestic car/truck lines have some issues that are consistent across almost all production--Ex. Explorer & Taurus trannies, Chrysler 2.7 V6 sludging, etc....

-depreciation on domestics is awful, most trades are AT LEAST $2k upside down, making a new deal that much harder

and some positive trends:

-domestic quality is way up, and equal to the 1st tier Japanese in every measure

-GM's new stuff is class leading---the GMT900's & the Lambdas are impressive

-Chrysler's LX platform make the best large car products the domestics have EVER done

-The 4 speed tranny looks like its going the way of the dodo

Toyota isn't God, but there are very valuable lessons to be learned from their rise to the top....and I'm not entirely certain any of the domestics have the time to process and act on those lessons.

These are dark times for the US auto industry--hopefully, its not too late to turn the ship around.

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Everyone knows what opinions are like .......... and everbody has one. DeLorenzo an industry vet? That doesn't mean much when many industry vets ignore flaws in the imports that they would complain about in a vehicle made by Ford or GM.

I totally understand your frustration - and I agree that there are many who hold domestics to a much higher level of scrutiny (imports can have parts fall off or tranny failures and somehow STILL win comparison tests against domestics). But if you're not a regular reader of autoextremist.com go read the whole article and then some of the previous "Rants." You can tell that DeLorenzo is at heart a GM fan (he worked for their ad agency for years and his dad was a GM employee) and I genuinely think he wants them to succeeed. He's had several articles recently about the signs of improvement at GM and his high opinion of their future product and many of their turnaround plans. He most definitely is NOT a big fan of Toyota. He's often said that he thinks there is a lot of smoke and mirrors to their sterling reputation and called them out on the fact that they claim to be such an environmentally friendly company - touting their hybrids while they, and apparently the environmentalists, too, forget about all the 9 MPG trucks they're selling.

I personally would rather have a strong, profitable, high quality GM that is #2 than a company that has to heavily subsidize sales (fleet) to be #1.

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No one agrees more than me about GM's bad years. It was a shame that it happened and had a lot to do with the replacement of "car people" in management with outsiders and bean counters. I guess I was lucky in buying my cars, even the ones that were a year old when I bought them.

What really bothers me is that most of the auto media seemed to enjoy badmouthing GM or Ford, when the same flaw existed on an import that they loved. During the same period that GM was producing less than stellar cars, the imports were producing rust buckets that weren't any better than the GM cars, but were much cheaper. The car mags loved them.

I wish the depreciation on GM cars was less, but it helped me to upgrade my car purchases in some instances.

The rubbermaid dash on my Trailblazer isn't very pretty, but it's proved to be much more durable than the dash on my step-sons Ford F250 or the Tundra next door. I didn't like the dash of my CTS when I bought it, but it's grown on me and with the exception of reseting the DIC, I can use the controls without taking my eyes or my concentration off the road. The CTS has been such a driving pleasure that it'll be replaced with another, when my pension allows.

As for dark times, but I'd hate for this old saying to happen: "As GM goes, so goes the Nation".

Edited by RichW5
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No one agrees more than me about GM's bad years. It was a shame that it happened and had a lot to do with the replacement of "car people" in management with outsiders and bean counters. I guess I was lucky in buying my cars, even the ones that were a year old when I bought them.

What really bothers me is that most of the auto media seemed to enjoy badmouthing GM or Ford, when the same flaw existed on an import that they loved. During the same period that GM was producing less than stellar cars, the imports were producing rust buckets that weren't any better than the GM cars, but were much cheaper. The car mags loved them.

I wish the depreciation on GM cars was less, but it helped me to upgrade my car purchases in some instances.

The rubbermaid dash on my Trailblazer isn't very pretty, but it's proved to be much more durable than the dash on my step-sons Ford F250 or the Tundra next door. I didn't like the dash of my CTS when I bought it, but it's grown on me and with the exception of reseting the DIC, I can use the controls without taking my eyes or my concentration off the road. The CTS has been such a driving pleasure that it'll be replaced with another, when my pension allows.

As for dark times, but I'd hate for this old saying to happen: "As GM goes, so goes the Nation".

The mags are super-hard on the domestics, but if you go back to 70's and 80's editions of the reputable mags, they were not as generous to the foreign makes as you think.

As for your experiences, I'm glad you've been happy with your ownership experiences....lots of people have been either less lucky or less forgiving.

Not as criticism, but as an observation, the fact you're talking about your pension indicates that, unfortunately, you're not the audience GM is concerned about losing. My generation is the one treating GM like it has the plague, unfortunately.

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