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GM drops Camry, Accord test drive program

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More lies and spin from GM. If this was such a successful strategy why aren't they continuing it with the Aura and implementing it with the Malibu, potentially a much greater payoff? The peanut gallery here at C&G could do a better job at marketing GM's cars - probably for free.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/31/autos/gm_v...rce=yahoo_quote

The Aura program was successful, said Matt Armstrong, GM's Saturn marketing manager.

Aura sales increased 24 percent from June, when the program started, through July, he said. At the same time, the overall market for midsized cars went down 14 percent. July was the second-best month for the Aura since the car's launch in 2006, said Armstrong

The Saturn test drive program had always been intended as a summer promotion to boost awareness of the Aura, which was an entirely new vehicle and name for Saturn.

Edited by buyacargetacheck
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Perhaps there were too many dealers who didn't want to have to go buy a Camry and Accord, or perhaps GM thinks the new Accord is too good.

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perhaps GM thinks the new Accord is too good.

I think you hit the nail there.

I personally can't believe there's a new one already, the outgoing one still looks so new.

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GM drops Camry, Accord test drive program

Customers were to be able to test new Malibu against Camry and Accord at dealerships. Program was working for Saturn, GM says.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

August 31 2007: 1:50 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors has quietly dropped a marketing strategy it announced in May where it would bring other car makers' vehicles to its Chevrolet showrooms for customers to test against its redesigned 2008 Malibu

The company was already running a similar program for its new Saturn Aura sedan where dealers were bringing Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys into the showroom and allowing customers to inspect and test those vehicles in comparison to the Aura.

GM (Charts, Fortune 500) has also stopped marketing support of that program. The company is, instead, shifting its Saturn marketing dollars to the just-released redesigned 2008 Saturn Vue SUV. Dealers can voluntarily continue the program on their own, a GM spokeswoman said, but GM would no longer be advertising it.

Saturn dealers, which are independently owned businesses, paid for the competitive vehicles themselves. For the most part, dealers either purchased or rented competitive vehicles for the purpose. Dealers who also owned Toyota (Charts) or Honda dealerships could "borrow" vehicles for the program.

The Aura program was successful, said Matt Armstrong, GM's Saturn marketing manager.

Aura sales increased 24 percent from June, when the program started, through July, he said. At the same time, the overall market for midsized cars went down 14 percent. July was the second-best month for the Aura since the car's launch in 2006, said Armstrong

The Saturn test drive program had always been intended as a summer promotion to boost awareness of the Aura, Armstrong said, which was an entirely new vehicle and name for Saturn.

"We made the decision to shift our resources over to Vue," Armstrong said.

GM gave no specific reason for dropping plans for the similar program involving the new Chevrolet Malibu.

"It's really been off the table for quite some time," said Nancy Libby, communications manager for Chevrolet.

The Malibu launch will be marketed with some sort of innovative approach, Libby said, but not the one Saturn used, as had originally been discussed.

"We really just didn't think that was the best approach we could come up with," she said.

Chevrolet has about 4,100 dealers compared to about 400 for Saturn, Libby said, but the sheer number of retail sites was, while a complicating factor, was not the reason for dropping the side-by-side-by-side concept.

The 2008 Malibu will be based on the same engineering fundamentals as the current Saturn Aura. The Malibu, which is expected to launch in November with a starting price of $19,995, is available with a base 4-cylinder engine that is not offered on the Aura. The Malibu's steering and suspension are also tuned to be somewhat lighter and more forgiving than the Aura's.

The company recently invited journalists to its vehicle test center in Milford Mich. to drive different versions of the 2008 Malibu in a series of tests against the Camry. Participating journalists had to agree not to write reviews based on those test drives until November.

Honda (Charts) recently revealed a redesigned 2008 Accord which is set to enter showrooms in September. The Saturn Aura's so-called "Side-by-side-by-side Test Drive" program had involved the 2007 Accord, not the new version.

GM has called the Malibu the company's strongest offering ever in the competitive mid-sized sedan category. Currently, that vehicle segment is dominated by Toyota and Honda

source:

http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/31/autos/gm_v...sion=2007083112

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
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A shame to give this up. It was a brilliant idea and working.

Chris

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Dropping the program just in time for the '08 Accord. Not much confidence in the new Malibu?

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So the Malibu will be better looking inside and out vs the Aura but have lighter steering and a softer suspension. I can't win.

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For the sidebysidebyside comparison, AURAs had the advantage of a "free" V6 to compete against 4-cylinder Accord LXs and Camry LEs. Retail Malibus won't get the 3.5.

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I personally can't believe there's a new one already, the outgoing one still looks so new.

:scratchchin: I still cannot look at the Accord and see a car worth over $24,000.

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:scratchchin: I still cannot look at the Accord and see a car worth over $24,000.

Most of them aren't over $24k though. The interior is plenty worthy of the price tag, whether the exterior is crappy or not.

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Dropping the program just in time for the '08 Accord. Not much confidence in the new Malibu?

Maybe they could be revamping it, just to go toe-to-toe with the Camry. In my area at least, the Accord tends to be almost in a different category than the Camry. Most of them I see are loaded, with the V6, and driven by younger people. One family I know own two, and said they'd never cross-shop with a Camry, because they believe Toyota is too "boring" , and for "old people" . One of their Accord's is a stick too.

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Most of them aren't over $24k though. The interior is plenty worthy of the price tag, whether the exterior is crappy or not.

You're joking right? The current Accord's interior, although well designed, is almost entirely made up of HARD PLASTIC.

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More dumbassed GM marketing moves...

The Malibu will compete fine against the new Accord... But now, because of this we have the arrogant Honda brigade looking down their noses and saying That's what I thought."

If GM indeed doesn't think the malibu is as good as the Accord it is evidence of a larger problem with the Detroit industry in general... They've become just like Pavlov's dogs in that they are conditioned to be helpless. What does GM do in the face of a media so cynical that it BLATANTLY places bias in it's reviews and boasts about it? They cower in the corner like Pavlov's dogs. What does GM do when a competitor introduces a new product that has historically been better than GM's offering? Cower in the corner....

This is because GM and it's workers and the public have all been conditioned to think that Detroit makes second class sheetmetal.

Here's the kicker: and please GM, if you're reading this, take it to heart. If you do not believe that you're any better than your competitors, YOU NEVER WILL BE. It's the CONFIDENCE that is and has been missing in Detroit for 10-15 years now. If you do your best as a corporation, that's all we can ask: WIN or LOSE.

And yes; I think GM did chicken out... I just don't see any other reason why they would phase out such an effective and successful campaign (Even Ford's head2head ads are working for the Fusion) And unless GM continues to be aggressive towards the imports, they will never win the fight.

I hope I'm wrong; but more and more I'm seeing the old schizophrenic GM with $h!ty marketing, little to no commitment and wasted opportunities.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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I suspect a lot of GM's marketing is driven by the so-called experts of the dealer body. If the dealers were not behind this program (ie., going out to lease or rent or whatever an Accord or Camry for the show room), then the plan would have failed anyway. I know insurance regulations would be a nightmare up here in Canada. We tried it with 'overnight' test drives a few years ago, but it had to be structured as a rental, to keep the lawyers happy.

And don't forget, too: there are quite a few traitors in the midst. Many, many dealers already own Toyota or Honda franchises and have been recently forced to spend a lot of money on new buildings, upgrades, etc. to handle all the newer/bigger models. You guys should see the sheer audaceous size of some of the Honda and Toyota stores that have expanded recently in the Toronto area. These multiple brand dealers (and you know who you are) would not want to see this happen either.

Let's face it: if your 30 year old Pontiac building was paid for, but you had a $5M mortgage on your Honda building - would you want to see this plan succeed?

Just saying, is all................

I think GM needs to shove it up the ass of Toyota and Honda.

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:scratchchin: I still cannot look at the Accord and see a car worth over $24,000.

Exactly.

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You're joking right? The current Accord's interior, although well designed, is almost entirely made up of HARD PLASTIC.

No, I was serious. What midsize family sedan as a better interior?

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The dash might have hard plastic, but every family sedan has plastic there, and the Accord's door panels are much nicer than everything else. Perhaps the cheap models are not very nice, but for $24k you can get an EX-L.

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Stupid Move... and for the UMPTEENTH TIME, the 3500 VVT should be a retail option!

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I've got to back Northie up, the Accord has the best interior in the class. The Fusion has mostly decent materials, but the design is plain, the current Malibu is unspectacular, the Camry is ok, nothing great and the Sonata...well, its a Hyundai. So yeah, the Accord has the best interior available at the price point. Anyone who thinks any current GM offering in the class is better is obviously biased and blind to objectivity, perhaps a borderline ignorant hick.

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Dropping the program just in time for the '08 Accord. Not much confidence in the new Malibu?

Other favorite Honda Myths......

10. Plastic decals add 10 horsepower, easy.

9. The Honda Ridgeline can too go off-road and not break all its suspension mounting points.

8. The Honda Ridgeline is not a minivan. It's "minivan-inspired".

7. VTak is the only engine technology worth owning.

6. http://videos.streetfire.net/hottestvideos...80c011963f0.htm

5. The Z06 doesn't stand a chance against my NSX. Absolutely none.

4. What 5-speed automatic transmission problems?

3. http://www.carspace.com/videos/play!id=.5b3c926f

2. Every car should have a 3 foot wing AND cheap bumpers.

1. Torque doesn't mean a damn thing below 7000 rpms.

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They probably got good feedback from people who declined to purchase an Aura. My instincts tell me people don't like to be put on the spot to make a choice.

It might be better to let one reach their own conclusions rather than have it thrust upon them.

Also, it almost reeks of desperation. It's a tough segment and with the new Malibu it's tougher. The product should speak for themselves but unfortunately having all three in a Saturn or Chevy dealer that is not the spin.

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No, I was serious. What midsize family sedan as a better interior?

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The dash might have hard plastic, but every family sedan has plastic there, and the Accord's door panels are much nicer than everything else. Perhaps the cheap models are not very nice, but for $24k you can get an EX-L.

2007 Volkswagen Passat 2.0T: $24,180

The VW Passat has better interior materials and a more upscale appearance inside and out.... plus you get VW's 2.0L I-4 200 HP compared to the Accord's 2.4L I-4 166 HP.

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However, I wasn't questioning the styling, but the interior material quality. The ones used in the current Accord are worse than the credit given to Honda. Hopefully, the new Accord has received upgraded interior materials. Unfortunately, I doubt the new Accord will match the Passat's interior quality considering the distance between the two at the moment.

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More dumbassed GM marketing moves...

The Malibu will compete fine against the new Accord... But now, because of this we have the arrogant Honda brigade looking down their noses and saying That's what I thought."

If GM indeed doesn't think the malibu is as good as the Accord it is evidence of a larger problem with the Detroit industry in general... They've become just like Pavlov's dogs in that they are conditioned to be helpless. What does GM do in the face of a media so cynical that it BLATANTLY places bias in it's reviews and boasts about it? They cower in the corner like Pavlov's dogs. What does GM do when a competitor introduces a new product that has historically been better than GM's offering? Cower in the corner....

This is because GM and it's workers and the public have all been conditioned to think that Detroit makes second class sheetmetal.

Here's the kicker: and please GM, if you're reading this, take it to heart. If you do not believe that you're any better than your competitors, YOU NEVER WILL BE. It's the CONFIDENCE that is and has been missing in Detroit for 10-15 years now. If you do your best as a corporation, that's all we can ask: WIN or LOSE.

And yes; I think GM did chicken out... I just don't see any other reason why they would phase out such an effective and successful campaign (Even Ford's head2head ads are working for the Fusion) And unless GM continues to be aggressive towards the imports, they will never win the fight.

I hope I'm wrong; but more and more I'm seeing the old schizophrenic GM with $h!ty marketing, little to no commitment and wasted opportunities.

There's confidence, and then there's naive overconfidence. I've been in the '08 Malibu, and my honest opinion is that it just doesn't match up with the Accord. It's much better than the old one, but it still has quite a few flaws, including interior build quality/materials and rear seat accomodations.

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There's confidence, and then there's naive overconfidence. I've been in the '08 Malibu, and my honest opinion is that it just doesn't match up with the Accord. It's much better than the old one, but it still has quite a few flaws, including interior build quality/materials and rear seat accomodations.

Agreed... Only be balzy if you know for certain you CAN win.

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I've got to back Northie up, the Accord has the best interior in the class. The Fusion has mostly decent materials, but the design is plain, the current Malibu is unspectacular, the Camry is ok, nothing great and the Sonata...well, its a Hyundai. So yeah, the Accord has the best interior available at the price point. Anyone who thinks any current GM offering in the class is better is obviously biased and blind to objectivity, perhaps a borderline ignorant hick.

Agreed. The outgoing Accord has the best interior in the family sedan biz. The new Accord's interior looks to be of high quality as well, if a wee bit less cohesive and attractive in overall presentation.

I don't generally include the Passat as a "usual" family sedan as its engineering, design, and perceived interior quality, as well as source of origin (Germany) place it in a slightly more advanced league than the other mainstreamers that unfortunately ends up placing the Passat falling between two stools. Not affordable and contented enough to really charge at the heart of the midsize market, and capable of being pricy enough to be pitted against smaller sedans of its homeland such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series to those from other nationalities such as the Acura TL and Infinti G35 to the Cadillac CTS but lacking the brand cachet to make the difference.

It's one of the reasons VW is "between a rock and a hard place".

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