buyacargetacheck

2 G.M. Brands, a Similar Car, but Very Different Results

125 posts in this topic

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/business...amp;oref=slogin

Something feels a bit slanted about this article. NYT pronounces the Sky as a brand image success over the Solstice even though the Solstice sells better overall and the Sky is the "fresher" product. Will Sky sales hold up once the novelty has worn off a bit? I doubt it if the Solstice (and every other new "hot" car) is any indication.

The stupid thing about this is, once again, GM could have put a shot-in-the-arm for Chevrolet's brand image if Chevy had gotten this car instead of the lame-duck brands. The Solstice has done almost nothing for Pontiac's brand image overall because there's a lot of bad Pontiac history in people's minds for those who even think about Pontiac. Baby boomers may have fond memories of '66 GTOs and '70 Firebirds, but these buyers now drive Lexus or Mercedes (if they want to show off) or SUVs if they are median buyers.

Anyway, Chevy could have sold a ton of these things (PROFITS!!!) and the performance image would have been credible and enhanced thanks to 50+ years of Corvettes.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/23/business...amp;oref=slogin

Something feels a bit slanted about this article. NYT pronounces the Sky as a brand image success over the Solstice even though the Solstice sells better overall and the Sky is the "fresher" product. Will Sky sales hold up once the novelty has worn off a bit? I doubt it if the Solstice (and every other new "hot" car) is any indication.

The stupid thing about this is, once again, GM could have put a shot-in-the-arm for Chevrolet's brand image if Chevy had gotten this car instead of the lame-duck brands. The Solstice has done almost nothing for Pontiac's brand image overall because there's a lot of bad Pontiac history in people's minds for those who even think about Pontiac. Baby boomers may have fond memories of '66 GTOs and '70 Firebirds, but these buyers now drive Lexus or Mercedes (if they want to show off) or SUVs if they are median buyers.

Anyway, Chevy could have sold a ton of these things (PROFITS!!!) and the performance image would have been credible and enhanced thanks to 50+ years of Corvettes.

Normally we see eye to eye on things, but giving the Kappa to Chevrolet would not have been feasible, at least in a high volume mode as you want it to be. GM is restricting the line speed to a certain number of vehicles per hour, I'm not permitted to tell you what that number is, but it is low. GM has it's own corporate reasons for doing this. So even if Chevy got the Kappa, it would not have been able to sell it in much higher volume than what is being sold now.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that is just your opinion. Others would argue that these cars are doing the job for each brand... that is, bringing in people to Pontiac and Saturn dealerships that would've never done so in the past. The only problem for Pontiac is that they really have no other products to compare with the Solstice in the looks department.. well.. not quite yet. Saturn was lucky because the Sky was just one of many new attractive vehicle offerings from the brand.

Why would GM want to hurt sales of it's Corvette? That's exactly what would happen if Chevy received a Kappa variant. Though, it wouldn't put a huge dent in sales, it would still hurt them nonetheless.

And like Pontiac Custom said, GM wasn't expecting this to be a high-volume vehicle and considering that there are far more Chevy dealerships then there are Pontiac or Saturn, it would've been extremely hard to keep up with demand. Look at how difficult it was with the Solstice and Sky.

Pontiac and Saturn were the right brands.

Edited by Cadillacfan
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever GM's "corporate reasons" are, they may or may not be valid. I can understand "quality" being a reason for maybe the first year of production. If the real reason is keeping demand slightly higher than supply while maximizing profit plus keeping resale values high, fine. But GM is once again cutting its nuts off by dividing image benefits amongst brands that need and will continue to need for many years help. As long as people remember the N Grand Am and GM continues to sell G6s along Solstices Pontiac's image will never match Lutz's talk. I'll believe an all rear-drive performance lineup when I see it. By the way, who's ever heard of an all performance-lineup from a mass manufacturer anyway? And don't say BMW. BMW may be the "Ultimate Driving Machine" but most folks buy the automatics with the base engines. And BMW's performance packages are mostly bought for looks (speaking as someone who should know).

Net-net, I still say 30,000-35,000 Chevrolet Kappas would have helped GM more than 18,000 Solstices and 12,000 Skys.

Normally we see eye to eye on things, but giving the Kappa to Chevrolet would not have been feasible, at least in a high volume mode as you want it to be. GM is restricting the line speed to a certain number of vehicles per hour, I'm not permitted to tell you what that number is, but it is low. GM has it's own corporate reasons for doing this. So even if Chevy got the Kappa, it would not have been able to sell it in much higher volume than what is being sold now.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To explain why they said the Sky was the better brand image builder over the Solstice, consider the three cars that immediately followed each Kappa in their respective brands.

Sky: Aura, Vue, Astra

Solstice: Torrent, G5, G6 GXP

For the average on-looker, the Sky clearly signifies the start of something new and different at Saturn. Meanwhile, the Solstice almost looks like an anomaly in the Pontiac lineup, as it's released amid ho-hum products and thinly disguised Chevrolets. I conveniently left the G8 off the Pontiac list because that car will probably end up being the image builder for Pontiac.

As for the Kappa-to-Chevy thing, I just don't see it necessary given the low-volume nature of Kappa. The brands that needed them the most got them. Besides, Chevy has the Corvette and will have the Camaro. No need for a third roadster. I'd much rather see GM offer a barebones Corvette in the low 30s.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The stupid thing about this is, once again, GM could have put a shot-in-the-arm for Chevrolet's brand image if Chevy had gotten this car instead of the lame-duck brands. The Solstice has done almost nothing for Pontiac's brand image overall because there's a lot of bad Pontiac history in people's minds for those who even think about Pontiac. Baby boomers may have fond memories of '66 GTOs and '70 Firebirds, but these buyers now drive Lexus or Mercedes (if they want to show off) or SUVs if they are median buyers.

There's wrong an there's wrong and then there's this above statement.

The new crop of Pontiacs ARE improving brand image among people. The only catch is they are YOUNG people (My age; 25 and younger)

The G6, GTO and Solstice have ALL helped improve what Pontiac is... I see more G6's around this area (a LARGE college area) driven by young people than any other domestic. Just the other day I notcied 2 identical coupes parked together in the garage.

I recently took 2 friends (One 21 and one 23) who are not in the least car people, to a car show. A Solstice GXP sat parked next to all of the classics. Conversation ensued and both flat out told me that they really like the new Pontiacs, specifically mentioning the later 3 cars.

The image for Pontiac is changing; it's just going to take time.... A LOT of time if GM keeps the introductions both lean and low key.

whose flagship sedan had become known as the “Bland Am.”
I don't ever remember hearing this... I know the Trans Am CERTAINLY could not be referred to as bland and the Grand Am was summed up a lot of ways, but certainly not bland.
But the car, while a hit, did not generate much more interest in the Pontiac brand over all, and as a result even the Solstice itself appears to be hurting, just two years into its lifespan.

2 things wrong with that statement. 1) I see A LOT more Solsti than Sky, so I'm not sure if that statement is entirely true (Granted "sightings" aren't that reliable as predictors, but still FWIW) and 2) Pontiac ALSO didn't have the marketing injection that Saturn recieved NOR did it receive any additional introductions... Other than the Solstice, the last major Pontiac intro was the G6 which is getting pretty dated. Compare that to Saturn which, for all intents and purposes has a BRAND NEW PORTFOLIO of NEW SKOOL GM designs and the sales difference is logical and justified.

“It looks pretty cool, but ultimately it’s not able to overcome some of those barriers people have within their mind with regard to the brand image.”
I still don't understand exactly why Pontiac has such a HORRIBLE image... The recent car have been solid and the brand has HUGE historic value. But I guess since people want to kill all that is distinctly american and since Pontiac *is* GM's most vulnerable division, we get slander pieces and attacks like this.
Meanwhile, demand for the Solstice’s fraternal twin, the costlier and more angular Saturn Sky, has shown no signs of subsiding. G.M. has about one month’s worth of the Sky available, and many buyers still have to wait several weeks or months for their Sky to arrive.

1 word: MARKETING... The Sky has received MORE and BETTER marketing than the Solstice. I barely even saw any exposure on the Solstice and when I did see it, it somehow (in typical GM PR fashion) destroyed the looks of the car and botched it's virtues.)

Sky, which is produced in more limited numbers, every month.

Ummm... Yeah, maybe THAT has something to do with the difference?!?!?!

reports that Solstice buyers are getting an average discount of $475, while the Sky is selling at sticker price. (Saturn dealers have a no-haggle pricing policy.)
We're splitting hairs about $475 on a $22-25,000 transaction?!?!?! Please....
“The car is just a joy,” Mr. Waldrop said. “When the top’s down and you’re on a twisty road, I can’t imagine anything would be more fun. Even today, I cannot stop at a gas station without someone walking up and telling me how much they like it. Almost everybody guesses it would be a $40,000 car if they don’t know what it is.”

THIS is KEY! GM, if you continue to build PASSION into vehicles like this for Pontiac; the division WILL become relevant again. Any good business man will tell you that it takes money to make money... GM cannot simply expect to produce LOW BROW cars on a cut rate budget and expect it to be 'the good ole days' again. It's going to take INVESTMENT TIME and INGENUITY to bring the divisions back. Especially the divisions that seem to be really far gone.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the Solstice may be bringing in folks new to Pontiac, but it sure isn't helping sales is it? As far as Saturn is concerned the jury is still out. It's no great mystery why Saturn sales have gone up (LOTS OF NEW PRODUCT!!!!). But let's see what happens over the next couple of years. I predict little to no growth.

BS, Kappa would have little impact on Corvette. Corvette buyers and Kappa buyers are obviously in two different price ranges and are looking for two different things. Kappa is "cute." Corvette is "brute."

Chevy having a hard time keeping up with demand would be a new and refreshing change. Can you imagine such a situation? Sounds like a recipe for great resale values.

Pontiac and Saturn are the dead brands walking. Correction, Saturn might make more sense if they were simply renamed Opel. The logo is much better. I'd love a new Manta Rallye.

Well, that is just your opinion. Others would argue that these cars are doing the job for each brand... that is, bringing in people to Pontiac and Saturn dealerships that would've never done so in the past. The only problem for Pontiac is that they really have no other products to compare with the Solstice in the looks department.. well.. not quite yet. Saturn was lucky because the Sky was just one of many new attractive vehicle offerings from the brand.

Why would GM want to hurt sales of it's Corvette? That's exactly what would happen if Chevy received a Kappa variant. Though, it wouldn't put a huge dent in sales, it would still hurt them nonetheless.

And like Pontiac Custom said, GM wasn't expecting this to be a high-volume vehicle and considering that there are far more Chevy dealerships then there are Pontiac or Saturn, it would've been extremely hard to keep up with demand. Look at how difficult it was with the Solstice and Sky.

Pontiac and Saturn were the right brands.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, who's ever heard of an all performance-lineup from a mass manufacturer anyway? And don't say BMW. BMW may be

No one...

That's the point.

GM has the brand equity, so why not use it to INNOVATE like the company used to do?

Who ever heard of a brand of small cars that sell on personalization? No one, until Scion.

Who ever heard of a brand that sells nothing but hybrids? No one, until Toyota rolls out the varying Prius models in a few years.

Get my point? GM has assets and it needs to start using those asset (Brands, powertrains, capacity) or it will die. Sure, Chevrolet might suffer *a little* as a result of Pontiac's investment. However that is better than the alternative of SHUTTING divisions down in a hyper competitive environment and thus losing major assets as well as ground that even a juggernaut Chevrolet will NEVER regain.

For the average on-looker, the Sky clearly signifies the start of something new and different at Saturn. Meanwhile, the Solstice almost looks like an anomaly in the Pontiac lineup, as it's released amid ho-hum products and thinly disguised Chevrolets.

About 2 years ago on this very board I preached that GM's divisions needed to have co-hesiveness and theme. Look at the Nissan revival and how the consumer noticed... Look at the Mazda sales surge... Each of those divisions have a THEME and mission because all of the models convey the same message to the consumer while at the same time being outstanding products (Mazda anyway) on the side of utility.

When I look at Pontiac, I see a Solstice that says "Sex on wheels" I see a G5 that says "I've been put in the corner because GM is embarassed that I'm a cross dressing Cobalt"--- as it is at most Pontiac displays I see a G6 that says "I'm as good as Ronnie Z and the old skool GM could do" I see a Vibe that says "I'm actually an old Toyota, yet I'm as good as most of my stablemates here" and I see a Torrent that says "I'm a nice attempt, but I should've went to some other division."

That makes for a schizophrenic Pontiac that says "Hey I'm GM's excitement division!!! Or am I.... Well I was.... Umm, maybe now I'm the volume catch all... If you can't buy a Chevy, buy me."

It's the same problem Lincoln has and the same problem Kia has and the same problem (sadly) that Plymouth had for many years.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 word: MARKETING... The Sky has received MORE and BETTER marketing than the Solstice. I barely even saw any exposure on the Solstice and when I did see it, it somehow (in typical GM PR fashion) destroyed the looks of the car and botched it's virtues.)

Ummm... Yeah, maybe THAT has something to do with the difference?!?!?!

Friend, I love your enthusiasm for keeping the dead brands walking. But you have unwittingly nailed why GM will continue to lose traction in a world where the competition doesn't take a break. GM will never be able to spend enough money promoting all its brands all the time. Meanwhile, the crown jewels wait their respective turns in the soup line. Saturn's original purpose has been fulfilled and now remains just another unneeded distribution channel. Pontiac will never return to greatness if the last 30 years are any indication.

BTW, nearly all the under 25 kids I ever see driving late model performance cars are driving Subaru WRXs, Mitsu EVOs, SRT-4s or Civics. I can hardly remember the last time I saw anyone in a G6. But, then again, I only live in the world's most single important car market (even for GM!) - Los Angeles, CA.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a note here, all of my cousins wouldn't even think of buying a domestic, but one thing they do give is that if they had to, they would buy a Pontiac for its styling. They think Saturns are ugly, and Chevys look cheap and bland. Sometimes, a brand has more potential than one thinks it does...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a note here, all of my cousins wouldn't even think of buying a domestic, but one thing they do give is that if they had to, they would buy a Pontiac for its styling. They think Saturns are ugly, and Chevys look cheap and bland. Sometimes, a brand has more potential than one thinks it does...

GM thinks they way you are thinking.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't use Nissan as an example since they really aren't setting the world on fire even with all their new products. Mazda has been selling the same number of cars for years. Ho-hum. I don't get why there's so much enthusiasm for the ugly and small 3??? Don't get it.

Since you're under 25 you haven't been waiting long enough to tire of GM's promises. You'll come around to the truth that what GM says and what they think they must do are two different things. Every company must do this to a degree. They've got to stir you up enough to get you to buy their overproduced, overpriced crap. It's what keeps our economy alive. But, don't make the mistake that there are Pontiac "mavericks" and "enthusiasts" who can't wait to get out of bed everyday to kick ass and run the show at GM. Most of them hate their jobs and wouldn't know the difference between a johnson rod and connecting rod.

No one...

That's the point.

GM has the brand equity, so why not use it to INNOVATE like the company used to do?

Who ever heard of a brand of small cars that sell on personalization? No one, until Scion.

Who ever heard of a brand that sells nothing but hybrids? No one, until Toyota rolls out the varying Prius models in a few years.

Get my point? GM has assets and it needs to start using those asset (Brands, powertrains, capacity) or it will die. Sure, Chevrolet might suffer *a little* as a result of Pontiac's investment. However that is better than the alternative of SHUTTING divisions down in a hyper competitive environment and thus losing major assets as well as ground that even a juggernaut Chevrolet will NEVER regain.

About 2 years ago on this very board I preached that GM's divisions needed to have co-hesiveness and theme. Look at the Nissan revival and how the consumer noticed... Look at the Mazda sales surge... Each of those divisions have a THEME and mission because all of the models convey the same message to the consumer while at the same time being outstanding products (Mazda anyway) on the side of utility.

When I look at Pontiac, I see a Solstice that says "Sex on wheels" I see a G5 that says "I've been put in the corner because GM is embarassed that I'm a cross dressing Cobalt"--- as it is at most Pontiac displays I see a G6 that says "I'm as good as Ronnie Z and the old skool GM could do" I see a Vibe that says "I'm actually an old Toyota, yet I'm as good as most of my stablemates here" and I see a Torrent that says "I'm a nice attempt, but I should've went to some other division."

That makes for a schizophrenic Pontiac that says "Hey I'm GM's excitement division!!! Or am I.... Well I was.... Umm, maybe now I'm the volume catch all... If you can't buy a Chevy, buy me."

It's the same problem Lincoln has and the same problem Kia has and the same problem (sadly) that Plymouth had for many years.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad they aren't turning the Pontiac lineup inside out with fresh products like Saturn. That would make more people sit up and listen, but at least the G8 is coming.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GM can style any of their cars anyway they want. As Pontiac Custom-S has said, it's a simple matter to change the badges. In other words, the Pontiac Solstice could become the Chevrolet Solstice almost overnight.

Just a note here, all of my cousins wouldn't even think of buying a domestic, but one thing they do give is that if they had to, they would buy a Pontiac for its styling. They think Saturns are ugly, and Chevys look cheap and bland. Sometimes, a brand has more potential than one thinks it does...

Edited by buyacargetacheck
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chevrolet shouldn't get a Kappa for one simple reason: it has it's owns special halo car...the Corvette. It outperforms everything in GM's lineup...that's special enough for Chevrolet.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't get why there's so much enthusiasm for the ugly and small 3??? Don't get it.

Class-leading driving dynamics, interior, as well as having options not available on most C-segment cars in NA, like Xenon lights and Nav system. You calling it ugly is just a matter of your opinion.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If something were to happen... wouldn't Buick get the car from Pontiac? Remember that Bengal concept??

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Buick two-seater is ridiculous, IMO. The Reatta failed and that had trunk space. Four-seater - a true four-seater, SC430 - is the only acceptable vehicle for Buick.

The 3's interior isn't anything to go nuts over and the Nav/Xenon options are meaningless since the vast, vast majority of these cars aren't built as such.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd assume anything with "Buick" on it would have more of a boulevardier character to it. The Kappa is sportier.

I like the idea of GM making Buick and Pontiac into forces to be reckoned with. But they haven't even done that with the core brands Chevy and Cadillac yet. First things first. As long as Buick and Pontiac expend brainpower and money GM will never get ahead of the curve. Anyone who's been watching GM long enough and who can put their emotions aside for their favorite discontinued cars can see it.

Instead of business as usual, GM needs to grow some balls and get some swagger. Both Chevy and Cadillac need to be expanded and quickly. GM should restructure so that every new model year Cadillac and Chevrolet get two or more really new vehicles. Get everything on a four year lifecycle. Chevy and Cadillac come first. That's all they can handle.

If something were to happen... wouldn't Buick the car from Pontiac? Remember that Bengal concept??

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Buick two-seater is ridiculous, IMO. The Reatta failed and that had trunk space. Four-seater - a true four-seater, SC430 - is the only acceptable vehicle for Buick.

The 3's interior isn't anything to go nuts over and the Nav/Xenon options are meaningless since the vast, vast majority of these cars aren't built as such.

Funny.. no one felt that way when the car was a concept being considered..

Posted Image

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bengal was a four-seater, hence the rear doors. They don't look comfortable, but they do look roomier than the SC430...

Posted Image

Also, unlike the Kappas, the Bengal had luggage space. People who buy a 'soft' roadster/convertible are more likely to want utility from their car, for golfing or whatnot.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does not make any difference. If something should happen to Pontiac, who would they give that vehicle to in GM's line up?

One of two guesses:

SAAB or Buick. Take your pick.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neither. If something should happen to Pontiac (which won't be instantaneous, then by the time its over, Kappa should be dead. Introduce a better, more flexible KappaII/Alpha Bengal/Velite/whatever for Buick with four seats or at least a trunk.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First lets address reality.

Pontiac has not started the rebuilding yet as the G8 and the Solstice is the only real first full Lutz efforts. Now Saturn has already added many models and has a lead on it's rebuilding because they were even worse off than Pontiac.

Second Pontiac is not going anywhere but up as it gets new models over the next few years.

Third It would be insane to sell two 2 seat sports cars in the same line up of you value leader car line. 2 Seat cars are a limited market and really only one will do the work that two would do. The many spent would be much better off in the Malibu or other high volume higher profit car.

We are going to see Pontiac turn into a more sport performance division with Euro flair. Plain as some might think it that is what is selling. If Pontiac can give quality and perfornace at a great price it will live on. The sooner the SUV crossovers and G5 or 6 are updated or eliminated with much better product we will see these changes.

GM realized that killing Olds was the wrong thing to do as they lost all equity of a once proud name. GM is in some way kind of returning to their roots where each division will only offer a couple cars. In the old days you did not have 16 Pontiacs choices, you had 2 or 3.

Most of us here see and understand what GM is doing and where they are going and a few will just never catch on.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Pontiac will go down in sales not up once the Grand Prix is axed and especially IF the G6 is axed and replaced by a small low-volume cramped rear-driver. A line-up of the Solstice, G8, RWD G6 and GTO would yield 100,000/yr if they're lucky.

First lets address reality.

Pontiac has not started the rebuilding yet as the G8 and the Solstice is the only real first full Lutz efforts. Now Saturn has already added many models and has a lead on it's rebuilding because they were even worse off than Pontiac.

Second Pontiac is not going anywhere but up as it gets new models over the next few years.

Toyota did it for many years successfully when it sold the Supra (essentially a 2 seater) and the MR2. Where is it written that a mass manufacturer cannot sell two 2-seaters priced $25,000 apart at very low volumes under the same roof???

Third It would be insane to sell two 2 seat sports cars in the same line up of you value leader car line. 2 Seat cars are a limited market and really only one will do the work that two would do. The many spent would be much better off in the Malibu or other high volume higher profit car.

Quality, performance and price with one car are not enough. GM would have to weed out the vehicles that don't match the desired image while adding ones that do. Further, they have to do this consistently over many years such that buyers don't have to be beaten over the head to understand what a brand means. Nobody but nobody has to explain what Jeep and Corvette and BMW are. See what I mean?

We are going to see Pontiac turn into a more sport performance division with Euro flair. Plain as some might think it that is what is selling. If Pontiac can give quality and perfornace at a great price it will live on. The sooner the SUV crossovers and G5 or 6 are updated or eliminated with much better product we will see these changes.

That's a good one. I don't think GM regrets one bit axing Oldsmobile. On what basis other than your love for Olds do you make that statement? I totally understand what GM is doing and I can read between the lines. Buick and Pontiac and Saturn have one last chance and then its ax time. It's hard to see any of them lasting 10 years.

GM realized that killing Olds was the wrong thing to do as they lost all equity of a once proud name. GM is in some way kind of returning to their roots where each division will only offer a couple cars. In the old days you did not have 16 Pontiacs choices, you had 2 or 3.

Most of us here see and understand what GM is doing and where they are going and a few will just never catch on.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room