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HHR is hot, so GM raises target again

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HHR is hot, so GM raises target again
Automaker looks at boosting production to 120,000 annually


By Jamie LaReau
Automotive News / October 10, 2005

DETROIT -- General Motors believes it has a hit with the new Chevrolet HHR wagon but must figure out how to build more of them.

"What we're trying to do is ramp up the capacity of the components and the plant so that we can build without having to go build another plant for it," says Lori Queen, GM's vehicle line executive for small cars.

Robert Lutz, GM's vice chairman for product development, says GM plans to produce 120,000 HHRs annually. Production will "probably go up from there," Lutz adds.

Initially, Chevrolet expected to sell 80,000 to 100,000 units annually. In June, GM revised that goal to about 60,000 a year, said Jim Campbell, director of Chevrolet car marketing. Last month, Queen insisted the plan always was to build 100,000 HHRs annually.

Queen says GM is running maximum overtime to build the vehicles at its Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, plant.

She shies away from Lutz's 120,000 annual production target. "I'm hoping we can, but I don't know," Queen says. "I'm trying to understand if I can get to that level." Queen says she must determine whether components and plant capacity are available.

Last month, Chevrolet sold 8,602 HHRs. Sales of the wagon outpaced those of the Scion xB (4,459) and Honda Element (4,988). Chrysler sold 11,742 PT Cruisers last month.

The HHR starts at $15,990, including shipping.

According to the J.D. Power Information Network, the largest bloc of buyers -- 42.7 percent -- were Chevrolet owners. But Lutz says nearly half of the HHR sales comes from owners of competitors' vehicles.

"Any time we get that, we know a vehicle is working for us," Lutz says. "The top markets for it are Southern California, Houston and Dallas, which are areas where it's always hard to achieve breakthrough with a domestic passenger vehicle."


-- It's very positive that it's doing well in import-controlled cities. If GM can do well there with new products, they'll definetly have some life.
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Yep, I've seen quite a few in LA so far. It's classier and more substantial looking than the PT Cruiser.
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Interesting that the Chevrolet HHR alone might come close to matching Toyota's Scion division as a whole.
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GM should not pat themselves on the back yet. I would keep production numbers low so it doesn't have the same fate as the PT cruiser. The PTs were selling out all over the place when they came out, and now they are in the doldrums with that thing.
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Good point, RJB. I actually saw very few when it was first released (basically one or two at the nearby Chevy dealership). Now, in the past week or so, I've seen at least five, quite a few more than any other new car introduction in recent memory (excluding the LaCrosse--seen dozens of them since the employee pricing started).
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Didn't we just read of a production boost back to the original estimate of 100K last week? This 2nd increase should not have been publizied' it's puts the HHR in the 'watchdog' column for the 'doom media'. I do happen to think the goal is reachable, but still...
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Yea I keep saying that they are every where here in Houston and can't understand why some on the boards say they have only seen one. A dealer by me had 0 on the lot when I stopped by and told me as they come in they sell just that fast.
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I'm glad they are selling well but GM should not just produce all they can sell. That depreciates the value of seeing one. I just hope they dont ramp up all of this production capability and then after the initial hit no one is still in line to get one.
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GM should not pat themselves on the back yet. I would keep production numbers low so it doesn't have the same fate as the PT cruiser. The PTs were selling out all over the place when they came out, and now they are in the doldrums with that thing.


I wouldn't call 11K sales a month "in the doldrums"

I don't understand why everyone thinks the PT is such a failure.... It outsells ALL of its competition... Doesn't that make it the winner????

Didn't we just read of a production boost back to the original estimate of 100K last week? This 2nd increase should not have been publizied' it's puts the HHR in the 'watchdog' column for the 'doom media'. I do happen to think the goal is reachable, but still...


I still think GM should make it a point to PAINFULLY, publicly humiliate all of those in the media and analytical fields who tried to write off or kill the HHR (Which is pretty much everyone)

"GM will be lucky if they sell 60K a year"

Well screw you man, 'cause were going to sell 2X that many.

This proves that the SSR could've sold as well had it been affordable and practical.
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They should have just said: "Our goal is 80k a year, but since we're a modern and flexible manufacturer, we're making sure we can build more if the public demands that we do." That way, they're always breaking their goal. I swear I'm not a former Toyota P.R. exec.
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I Hope they don't produce too many, they need to keep numbers down to the point where they are just enough on lots for ppl to buy, but not a lot filler, they don't need to have this thing filling 20 spots on a lot, it would be a turn of because it would appear to be less unique. Also the less there are, the higher re-sale value!
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NoNoNoNo... The only reason its hot is because its in demand, supply and demand... keep supply limited so people have Chevy on the brain... I'm gonna be pissed the day we have 35 of them lined up on the roof and we cant sell a damned one... maybe keep it at 100... although these HHR's are quite useable, where as the PT was just kind of a fasion car... HHR's are more practical... Again I'd like to see an HHR photoshoped pickup truck with like a 2 foot bed or something lol... a mini Avalanche... lol
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do they still make cavaliers or sunfires in mexico?? and they already axed the Aztec so i dont see where the production volume problem is... They could start building the HHR in Lordstown alongside the Cobalt. Lordstown could probably build an extra 20K HHR's a year..
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The PT cruiser has more interior room than the HHR, so its no less usable. I own a PT Cruiser and wouldn't buy another one unless it was a GT, so the hope for me buying a HHR is extremely slim (and I love my car).
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The PT cruiser has more interior room than the HHR, so its no less usable.  I own a PT Cruiser and wouldn't buy another one unless it was a GT, so the hope for me buying a HHR is extremely slim (and I love my car).

[post="26478"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


There is a difference between more interior room, and more usable interior room.
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There is a difference between more interior room, and more usable interior room.

[post="26495"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


P T =64.2
HHR= 63
What WILL they do with ALL that extra space........I know, indoor soccer! B)
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The HHR will have a high performance version soon enough, could be a turbo pushing more than 250 hp [scheduled for the Solstice], but definitely at least more than 200 hp. I agree with those that say it is better to keep this in limited supply. Keep the demand up high. I predict this design will wear better than the PT did over time too. I think after the first thousand PTs I was already sick of it, the HHR is actually more of a realized design in that sense. I am seeing tons over the LA area. Just the other day I was at Santa Monica beach and I saw two HHRs in the same parking lot, and then two minutes later I saw two of the same new Impalas in the same parking lot . Great to see so many Chevys!
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Again I'd like to see an HHR photoshoped pickup truck with like a 2 foot bed or something lol...

a mini Avalanche... lol

[post="26422"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Actually, that's a great idea. I always though it would be nead to bring back those old pickup trucks with the bench seat cabin and the low pickup bed. They were VERY simple
but at the same time looked pretty neat. Who made those? They are pretty old, don't see many more of those around. I think GM should bring that style back! Photoshop one of those!
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Actually, that's a great idea. I always though it would be nead to bring back those old pickup trucks with the bench seat cabin and the low pickup bed. They were VERY simple
but at the same time looked pretty neat. Who made those? They are pretty old, don't see many more of those around. I think GM should bring that style back! Photoshop one of those!

[post="26563"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I think Dodge made what I was talking about. Anyway, a miniature version of the classic
Chevy pickup would be great. I would like to see Scion or Honda come up with something that cool!
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Still think it's a PT rip-off, but it's a very STRONG rip-off nonetheless and a very nice piece itself. Having only seen one in person so far, I think it's definately nicer than the PT, especially after the latest "freshening" of the Chrysler which did nothing more than give it uglier wheels and headlights and cheapen an interior (that AWFUL new center stack) that has always been quite nice. Plus, it sort of has a "good retro" kind of a vibe about it, for whatever reason, IMHO. Then again, the PT did too in its first year....I wonder if the HHR will crap out as much as the PT after about 2 years.... B)
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3 weeks ago they built 2700 HHRs in 1 week. 2 weeks ago they built 3700 in 1 week. Last week they were back down to 2700. If they built 3700 per week that would be 185,000 per year. If they built 2700 per week that would be 135,000 per year. I know they are building a lot to get them in the pipeline but I hope thye don't over do it. Then we will be buying them for $13,000.AndGM will be making 0 dollars on them. Edited by b4z
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Why is the PT outselling the HHR?
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I'd only hope that GM improves on a few things on HHR-such as making ABS and more features standard (its a real good list for the price-but a few things would help), and make it so there's more seats-down cargo room than a 1982-94 Cavalier station wagon. HHR's a taller car, and why a low-roof old station wagon has slightly more cargo space than a tall wagon (read: its a car, not a truck) is not a good thing. There's a lot of HHR's in the Rochester area, and it deserves it-its a great car, and if I were given one, I'd take it happily.
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Why is the PT outselling the HHR? ----------------------------- PT has been out longer and better known. HHRs haven't ramped up production yet so I think the HHR is causing some concern over at Moparville.
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Chrysler was also pushing it based on price, starting at under $12K.
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