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FOG's GM plan (Version 3.0)

5 posts in this topic

How I would structure General Motors North America. (Broken down into 5 sections)

DISCLAIMER: I decided to sit down the other day and try to come up with a pretty cohesive plan for the future of GM given the market and their tough financial situation. My plan is probably a little on the heavy side and might need better focus. But keep in mind; although I put A LOT of thought into it, I didn’t directly research anything. So feel free to post whatever you want about the plan; criticisms, acclaims, adjustments, anything. But just remember, I’m an amateur and it’s a work in progress.


General Motors: Times are tough right now for GM. The industry is more competitive than ever, the economy is in a trough and the image of the company as a whole continues to be tarnished. Most of you know that I am a very pessimistic person, but for every negative there is a positive, just like every night brings a dawn.

GM, despite all the negativity and tough times, has more of an opportunity to transform itself in the next 5 years than it has enjoyed in the last 30 years. Sure, CAFÉ and high gas prices have changed the automotive landscape indefinitely, but with that change comes opportunity and long-term profitability. First, no longer must GM admit to being a truck company which happens to make cars. As tough as it has been financially, the market corrected this problem that GM has been wrestling with for years. No longer does GM have to take a back seat to competitors in innovation. E-Flex is up and running and WILL reinvent the automobile if GM leverages the technology to it’s fullest potential. No longer are people so ‘brand’ or ‘size’ loyal that they refuse to shop other companies. Gas prices are FORCING people to think outside of the box and find new solutions for their transportation needs that most might not have considered even 2 years ago. So, in the most optimistic terms, one could go as far as saying GM almost has a fresh slate for both itself and it’s divisions. The automobile is being re-invented, the market has been turned upside down and finally the country seems to be waking up to the fact that domestically produced goods might be a good investment after all.

GM should ‘seize the day’ as fast as it can. Management needs to promote the company as one cohesive unit that provides answers to ANY and ALL transportation needs the market has. At it’s peak, GM had a car for everyone and that should still be the case today. No more ‘Detroit; stodgy business men; crappy plastic car’ image. GM needs to leverage alternative fuels and E-Flex to promote itself as a leader in all technology. At the same time, GM needs to inform the consumer that it’s quality AS A WHOLE is on par or better than the asian companies, AND it needs to inform the consumer of what it can offer that the asian companies cannot: STYLE. People need to DESIRE to drive GM vehicles. GM will NEVER win the comparison in logic between their cars and [insert asian brand here] because people are too jaded to see the truth. Therefore, GM must initially infiltrate the buyers through their hearts instead of their minds. This is what made GM great and it is crucial in relation to the company seeing another 100 years in this cutthroat market.

In short: GM needs to promote itself as a global company with American flavor. It needs to cash in on sentimentalism all the while showing the consumer that it’s operations and business practices around the globe are first rate. This company has A LOT to be proud of and it’s okay to show that to the consumer and correct some of the blatantly wrong attitude and perception out there. GM doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, because people know that they already ‘invented the wheel’. They just need to make a better wheel that is easier to use, better to look at and does a better job.

Chevrolet: Increasingly, Chevrolet IS General Motors and vice versa. Because of that, going forward Chevrolet needs to be GM’s top priority. Chevrolet needs COHESIVE, quality product that sells well around the globe. Does Chevy need strictly generic, FWD small cars? Not entirely, but in order for the division to continue expanding (Which it must do if GM is to survive) global product is vital. The Cruze seems to be a good start from a quality and performance standpoint. However, a little more ‘american flavor’ in the design would be nice. You can’t get much more ‘american’ than Chevrolet, so why not own that identity and celebrate it in the best possible ways. To do so would exhibit pride in the corporation and to a lesser extent, pride in american design and culture. Chevrolets key phrase is EXPANSION.

Pontiac: Pontiac has no global footprint and a rather tarnished image, according to some. But that doesn’t make the division worthless. Brand equity, CAFE and volume/share are all good enough reasons to keep the division alive. I’ll save the more specific arguments for later. Going forward Pontiac will have the most focused line up of any GM division. This is for a number of reasons; 1) To repair the image of the division 2) To compliment Buick and Chevrolet now with less overlap 3) To not soak up too much investment. 4) To cater to a specific base of buyers that want smaller volume. And 5) To make the division easy to phase out IF needed. In order to repair Pontiac, GM must do something that it’s not used to: under promise and over deliver. The key phrase for Pontiac is QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.

GMC: Gone for now are the days of GMC being the second best selling division at GM, so GMC must focus on profitability. GMC IS the GM truck division, and likewise it is a mid-lux counterpart to Buick in the B/P/GMC channel. For the future, if a customer desires a real truck or luxury truck, they’ll go to GMC, not Cadillac and not Chevrolet. Certain parts of GMC will also fill the role of Hummer after it is sold. The reason for this is simple; GMC already has a great reputation established as a maker of fine, upscale trucks and the market as a whole is moving AWAY from trucks. So, the volume division (Chevy) needs to chase volume and the luxury division (Cadillac) needs a more capable competitor for the new European unibody luxury crossovers. The key phrase for GMC is PROFITABILITY or R.O.I.

Buick: Given it’s success in China, the warm reception here to the Enclave, the potential growth of the mid-lux market at the expense of luxury makers (economy, fuel and transaction prices) and GM’s ability to pump fresh product into the division immediately, I think Buick is prime for expansion. In fact, I think Buick should become the dominant franchise in the B/P/GMC channel. There simply is no sense in this channel trying to sling ‘lesser’ (Thanks to Chevrolet getting all of the big $$$ and a better image) volume Pontiacs at the same market as GM’s afore mentioned volume division. Can my Pontiac line up pull volume? Sure, but not much compared to Chevy. So I would rather this channel focus on PROFIT per car sold. The Chevrolet channel can sell numbers and make money that way, this channel can sell less (Because, they aren’t volume divisions anyway) with higher transaction prices by way of an extended and FRESH Buick line and still make good money. The new Buick will compete (ON A LUXURY, STYLE AND COMFORT LEVEL) with the Lexus ES, Acura and Infiniti. The majority of buyers only care about that (As opposed to drivetrain and performance) anyway. And if Buick isn’t enough, they’ll have a small volume line from Pontiac and exclusive rights to the ONLY GM luxury truck division to complement. The key phrase for Buick: REDEFINE and EXPAND.

Cadillac: Cadillac should be the standard of the world. That means no watering down, no volume chasing and no compromises. As a result, Cadillac needs to develop a more cohesive line up, work very hard to establish a larger global footprint, work even harder to push up transaction prices and resale and deliver the best that money can buy from GM. As of right now, Cadillac doesn’t need to worry about volume, it needs to build excellent vehicles all around the world. Once that focus is met, the volume will come naturally. The key phrase for Cadillac: TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Saab: With Saabs heritage and the image the Swedish companies enjoy, it has HUGE potential now that the automobile is becoming more technology focused and green. This brand, like Saturn of yore, seems to slip by the “anti-GMers” sentiment that is so popular in our society. But alas, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will a Saab buyer base. GM would be remiss to relinquish total control of Saab, since they are a valuable asset on the global level. So, for now, Saab needs to establish itself in America AND expand abroad. The best way to do this is through technology. Saab can, in spirit, become the new Oldsmobile in that it can be the new technology division at GM. At one time, GM tried to pair Oldsmobile and Cadillac and use Olds as a step to Cadillac ownership. Now that Saab is paired with Cadillac in the sales channels it can occupy that exact position, except with it’s own ‘heritage inspired niche” (as inaccurate as that is) and less stigma. Key phrase for Saab: ESTABLISH YOURSELF

Saturn: Unfortunately, Saturn will become independent of General Motors. All products have been relocated to the core brands. Chevrolet can absorb the volume and hopefully Buick can absorb the image.

Hummer: SOLD to the highest bidder!!! Sad to see it go, but sometimes you have to cut some roots so the tree will survive. GMC will expand to occupy what is left of the Hummer niche.


*** Before anyone gets too worked up, please see the explanation behind some of these decisions in section 3. ***

The way I see it, GM can operate on 8 (Maybe fewer) global architectures. Here is the GMNA line up based on the eight I would refine and re-engineer for the future.

Gamma: Engineered to provide much better and a wider variety of cars here than the current Aveo. Idealistically this platform will be AWD capable, but I know that probably isn't cost sensitive.

1) Chevrolet Beat (5 door -- Smart sized)

2) Chevrolet Groove (wagon -- A Smart sized "suv")

3) Chevrolet Aveo & Aveo 5 (sedan & 5 door -- Battles the Yaris and Versa, one size up from the Spark/Groove)

4) Pontiac Corsa (3 door -- No 5 door, so as not to compete with Aveo. Will be positioned premium to Aveo)

5) Pontiac Tigra (convertible)

6) Saab 9-1 (3 door & wagon -- The premiere Gamma)

Delta: Basically Delta II

1) Chevrolet Cruze, (sedan & coupe)

2) Chevrolet HHR (wagon)

3) Chevrolet Orlando (Just like the concept, a people mover to battle the likes of the Mazda5)

4) Chevrolet Volt (sedan)

5) Pontiac Vibe (wagon -- premium to HHR and more focused)

6) Delta Buick (sedan & 5 door -- Replacement for the Saturn Astra)

7) GMC Meriva (van)

8] Saab 9-3 (3 door, sedan & convertible)

Epsilon: Basically Epsilon II. This platform can be stretched or widened to accommodate larger cars.

1) Chevrolet Malibu (sedan & coupe)

2) Buick Lacrosse (sedan -- Replaces Lucerne)

3) Buick Invicta (convertible -- same size as Lacrosse)

4) Buick Regal (sedan -- Opel insignia)

5) Buick Riviera (coupe -- instead of an Alpha variant for Buick)

6) Saab 9-5 (5 door & wagon)

Gamma, Delta & Epsilon seem to be where the heart of the market is going so the product is heavy on these platforms for obvious reasons. More models mean more chances for success and share. (As long as the models are differentiated in characteristics, price and channel) This part of the market is thick, so it can handle multiple entries from GM (And by that I mean 2; maybe 3 in some cases) The key here is to EXECUTE the product correctly. So many buyers have the thought that American small and intermediate cars are BAD, because for a long time they were. This new generation needs to extinguish that perception.

Alpha: It is assumed that this platform could serve 2 purposes; it’s original goal and underpinning slightly larger, bigger displacement cars on a widened or stretched version. (a.k.a. available V8 power) This platform needs to be Cadillac's pet project because IT IS their future. By putting the majority of their entries on it, we can build exclusivity, universalize handling/driving characteristics (think BMW) and make operations more efficient. More efficiency could help Cadillac react to the market quicker, or help GM package the division in a sell off if times get that tough. (Think Sigma-exclusive based Cadillac)

1) Chevrolet Camaro (coupe & convertible -- on the smaller version)

2) Chevrolet Impala (sedan -- on the stretched version)

3) Pontiac G6 (sedan -- on the smaller version)

4) Pontiac GTO or Firebird (production limited coupe -- on the smaller version)

5) Cadillac BTS (sedan, coupe & wagon)

6) Cadillac CTS (sedan, coupe, wagon & convertible)

7) Cadillac DTS (sedan -- stretched version)

8] Cadillac Sixteen (sedan -- stretched version, but could be custom if the car realizes it's true potential)

Super Car: Formerly known as Y-Body, this platform can be re-engineered to be more flexible (As was rumored before C7 work stopped) and of course, better

1) Chevrolet Corvette (coupe & convertible)

2) Pontiac Solstice (coupe & convertible)

3) Cadillac Cien (coupe)

Theta: Encompasses both Theta and Theta Premium (a.k.a Theta-Eps)

1) Chevrolet Equinox (Theta)

2) GMC Terrain (Theta premium)

3) Buick Theta (Theta)

4) Cadillac SRX (Theta premium)

5) Saab 9-4X (Theta premium)

Lambda: As is, except with updates.

1) Chevrolet Traverse

2) Chevrolet Colorado (Basically a de-contented Denali XT)

3) Chevrolet El Camino (Basically the G8 ST)

4) GMC Acadia

5) Buick Enclave

6) Cadillac Escalade & EXT

GMT-1000: Since “real” trucks will supposedly become LESS important in the future, why not take a play from Nissan's strategy (except do it right) and build all of your real trucks from one platform that can accommodate multiple sizes and flavors instead of building from both the forthcoming GMT700 and full size platforms?

1) Chevrolet Silverado

2) Chevrolet Silverado HD

3) Chevrolet Suburban

4) GMC Sierra

5) GMC Sierra HD

6) GMC Canyon

7) GMC Yukon

8] GMC Savanna

***CHANGES: Eliminated Omega and refelected the repositioning of Saturn models and addition of new models.***


This section is meant to kind of segment the vehicles on a size and status basis and breakdown why specific vehicles are on specific platforms.

Chevrolet: is the volume division and as a result needs to remain relatively neutral in its offerings, for the most part. By that I mean, user friendly and value based, not boring and de-contented. The meat of the line up needs to be attractive basic transportation for anyone.

1) Spark & Groove: Basic transportation with no extravagance. No performance models.

2) Aveo & Aveo 5: Better refined and more competent to go head to head with the Fit and Versa. GM can gain a lot of sales in this area in the future with a competitive Aveo line.

3) Cruze, HHR & Orlando: Cruze and Orlando need to be best quality and value in the class. HHR; same execution, except with heritage inspired sheet metal and character. GM has a niche here that has BIG potential if buyers migrate to small cars like some expect. The HHR can become an image car for Chevy if the market swings that way.

4) Malibu & Malibu Coupe: Malibu keeps going strong and adds a coupe of either the same lineage or a different name. This coupe is better equipped (as opposed to Camaro) to compete directly with the FWD import coupes such as Altima and Accord.

5) Impala & Camaro: Impala is basically what the G8 was except with Chevrolet sheet metal (hopefully the 60s inspired design we heard of) Production is relatively small both because of lower demand and CAFÉ. Camaro is downsized to Alpha. SS Camaro models could feasibly be V6 equipped while the line topping Z28 features a V8 and lower production.

6) Corvette & Volt: The halo cars. These two represent the very best at Chevy. Corvette keeps going strong, with the top trim continuing to be the fastest production car at GM. Volt continues to revolutionize the automobile.

Chevy Trucks: Drastic changes are coming for the truck market. The volume of the market is moving away from BOF vehicles and that gives us a chance to get creative. Since Chevy IS GM’s volume division and GM already has another excellent truck division, Chevy needs to move with the market.

1) Colorado & El Camino: The Colorado is basically a Chevy Denali XT (Minus some of the bells and whistles) and the El Camino is basically the G8 ST with Chevy cues. (Can even share the same body work as the Colorado or even Impala for the real purists) If people want to buy a true BOF small truck, they can go to GMC. The bulk of the market will probably end up here though.

2) Equinox: With expanded significance in Chevy’s line up, the Equinox is now SUV #1 to go head to head with the Highlander.

3) Traverse: The Traverse is the volume program off of Lambda and should be used to pull in Tahoe and Trailblazer buyers as well as large crossover buyers.

4) Silverado & Silverado HD: Don’t mess with success. Even though BOF SUVs seem to be a thing of the past, trucks will continue to be strong sellers because a lot of people need them. Therefore, both Chevy and GMC can continue to sell trucks. In this iteration, the Silverado absorbs the Avalanche midgate technology to save on marketing, build costs and CAFÉ concerns. I toyed around with keeping the Avalanche name in some form or another, but Silverado Avalanche edition was just too much IMO.

5) Suburban: Call me sentimental, but I just can’t kill off such a long-standing name. And I also wanted Chevy to keep at least one BOF offering. So, for those that need it, the Suburban will, as always, be there in the background at your local Chevy dealer.

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Voltec Silverado line.

GMC: Now we can focus our attention on GM’s other truck division. GMC will morph even more into a mid-lux or “Professional Grade” division. It doesn’t have to sell volume because of high R.O.I. GMC will expand to pick up a few die-hard Chevy people, Hummer clientele and some Escalade buyers.

1) Meriva: This van is exclusive to GMC now and should be a better sale than average minivans in urban areas. GMC should work hard to flesh out this niche in both commercial (Give it a nicer, quaint euro image instead of an American ‘stripped down’ image) and retail sales.

2) Terrain: This will be one of two Theta SUVs in the B/P/GMC showroom. The way it works is that THIS Theta is what the HX was supposed to be. Lower level Terrains can pick up Wrangler and would be Bronco buyers while the Alpha trim can appeal to would be Hummer HX buyers. The Buick theta will likely pull most of the volume between the two offerings because it will be less extreme and more simplistic in execution. That fits right in with Buick becoming the lead franchise in the channel.

3) Acadia: Keep it simple. The Acadia will be largely unchanged from what it is now. The reason is so that it can continue to draw in buyers looking for a simple crossover or SUV (The people GMC has been appealing very WELL to for quite a while now) The Enclave will be bumped up market as the premium Lambda (Now that the Escalade is on Omega and is a horse of a different color) and as a result will sell at higher prices than the Acadia.

4) Canyon: GM’s coverage for those that want a true small truck. It can be had from the basics all the way up to the Alpha trim that essentially makes it GMC’s version of the H3T (Not bigger, just better off road)

5) Sierra, Sierra HD & Savanna: Sierra and Sierra HD will continue, just like the Silverado. However, they will continue to carve out a more premium image than the Silverado through the Denali and Alpha trim levels. The Savanna was left at GMC for a number of reasons. 1) It can be a good volume booster 2) GMC is GM’s truck/commercial division 3) Chevrolet already has a big people mover in the form of Suburban 4) Conversion vans seem to come across better with the premium GMC image.

6) Yukon: This Yukon is supposed to be a bit smaller than the current Yukon, for CAFÉ purposes. This is the SUV for those left in the market who just MUST have a BOF SUV. The Denali version will bring in ex-Cadillac Escalade buyers who are turned off by the new Escalade. I made this decision because the average Denali buyer has a higher income than the average Escalade buyer. So while the Escalade sells image, Denali sells product. The image buyers are likely going to fade because of the economy. So the Denali is the more stable choice. The Alpha trim will reel in H2/H3 buyers as it will be the more efficient, better-executed ‘tough truck’ offering from GM.

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Voltec Alpha models of the Terrain and Yukon.

Buick: Buick is becoming the lead franchise in the B/P/GMC channel. My idea here is to have Buick positioned IN COMPARISON TO; not AT, Audi. It needs to sell premium cars that convey conservative luxury with a hint of technology. And by that I mean, the technology is there, but style and amenities are the main sellers.

1) Delta Buick (Astra replacment): This needs to be a well-rounded, nice luxury car. It needs to be an easy sell to people who want to try the division, or GM, out. Not many options, not many variations, just a solid car to introduce luxury into the segment.

2) Lacrosse & Invicta: This will become the meat of the Buick line up. They can share the same basic styling and mechanicals to minimize investment. But the marketing and promotion need to be top notch to get ‘butts in the seats’ This duo should be Epsilon at it’s best on the luxury front.

3) Regal (The Insignia) & Riviera: This is as sport as Buick needs to get. Smaller than the Lacrosse/Invicta with optional AWD and emphasis on luxury and comfort. If the buyer wants better performance dynamics he can go for the more capable Alpha line at Pontiac.

4) Theta Buick (Rendezvous?): The volume Theta in this channel should mirror the Delta Buick in its simplistic nature. A good all around package for those interested in trying Buick. These ‘entry cars’ need to convey the new image of Buick instead of trying to be what they’re not; old, floaty and tacky (to some).

5) Enclave: The top of the line on the Lambda platform and at the Buick dealer. The Enclave should continue to be a status symbol for big, plush beautiful design. This is the ‘traditional’ Buick to aspire to own. Idealistically it will sell near the top of the B/P/GMC channel in pricing.

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Voltec Epsilon luxury sedan “Electra”

Pontiac: You all know that Pontiac is my favorite GM division. Now, before you traditionalists look at this and write it off as , think about what I’m doing for a second… Consider the following: 1) Pontiac, like it or not IS the entry point to the P/B/GMC division. 2) Like it or not, GM cannot get the margins that cars like the G8 are going to need to keep selling them through Pontiac (a.k.a. Pontiac transaction prices aren’t good at all and can’t justify the investment the division needs) 3) Like it or not, Pontiac is going to have to rebuild it’s image or die. (Either totally or in spirit as it becomes cloned Chevies) 4) The market is resizing and Pontiac MUST cash in on that to survive and be relevant in the eyes of buyers. Now consider these points: 1) Pontiac has a TREMENDOUS history of building SMALL performance cars. The original GTO is a great example, they took a relatively small car and mounted a huge engine in it. The Firebird and Trans Am were both small cars for their time. The Fierro is another excellent example of how well Pontiac builds small cars. 2) Pontiac also has a history of finding ways to make big power out of smaller engines. The turbo Trans Ams are just one example of this. Now fast forward to 2008 when the flagship Pontiac to MOST of the public is THAT EXACT FORMULA, a small car with a turbocharged engine. Pontiac has accomplished SO MUCH with the Solstice, both from a performance standpoint and an image standpoint. Everyone I talk to loves the car and wants to see more like it, even if they hate Pontiac.

So, for the future, we’re going to focus on delivering actual sport tuned Pontiacs in the segments in which Pontiac can make GM money. I choose to keep the G6 name because even though it's dumb, part of me thinks we need to take a page from Cadillac’s playbook and emphasize the PONTIAC name to rebuild the image of the division and increase it’s equity.

To kick things off; The Corsa, Tigra and Vibe will offer best in class performance. Even if GMPD has to tune the cars, they will deliver a driving experience matched by few other competitors. Each needs to at least offer AWD. Pontiac's cars need to be focused, pre-packaged sales in that they come in limited body styles and feature limited power train options. (Partially to reduce investment) Chevrolet can offer its performance variants to try and match the Vibe. (Remember, nothing lower than the Cruze will be hot-rodded at Chevy) However, Pontiac gets exclusive rights to AWD and maybe a few higher-grade performance bits and drivetrain options. Remember, Pontiac IS PREMIUM TO CHEVROLET, after all.

1) Corsa & Tigra (change the names to whatever): Focus on technology, efficiency and style. This is a full on assault to challenge American conventional wisdom about how nice and fun a small car can be.

2) Vibe: We begin with the current GT as the base model and expand from their to add more Pontiac identity, more of a premium feel and more performance. Think Mini Clubman, except cheaper. This is the point that I expect most shoppers to 'fall' into the brand. I think Corsa and Tigra buyers will be people specifically looking for that kind of car.

3) G6 & GTO (Grand Prix & GTO): This model could either be used to push volume OR build Pontiacs credentials as a performance division. Most G6’s will be V6 or 4 cylinder equipped and feature excellent driving dynamics (except not tuned by GMPD. They can only tune the GXP. I don’t want to encroach on Cadillac turf) The GXP and limited production GTO coupe will feature a V8. Or we could even make the V8 an option on the G6 GXP in favor of a blown V6 if CAFE becomes a problem. G6 will be the ONLY RWD sedan offering of this size and price available from GM.

4) Solstice: The Solstice will basically be a de-contented Corvette that has been designed for the track. It could have a base power plant of a turbo 4 or 6 cylinder depending on how light and small it is. The GXP would be a full-blown, track ready V8 or blown 6 or 4-cylinder car. Idealistically, the Solstice GXP should AT LEAST be able to out perform the BASE Corvette on the track, if not in all aspects. Then, of course, it could be built by its owner to perform even better. Because, lets face it, most people buy base Corvettes for boulevard cruising. The Z06 and ZR1 are where it’s at in Corvette land. If the Supercar architecture needs volume, this car should help things out. The Solstice will be a true sports car as opposed to a more tame traditional performance coupe (Think: fourth gen Camaro verses previous GTO –or- Ford Mustang verses Nissan 350Z… Different demeanors and different flavors) If the buyer wants a traditional coupe, then they can walk across the room to the GTO or they can shop the Buick Riviera and Invicta.

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Voltec sports car.

Cadillac: The number one priority for Cadillac right now should be the BTS line and development of Alpha to roll out across the globe. Other than that, the mission is simple: become the best again.

1) BTS: Priority one. This will help establish Cadillac as a global brand and is the most appropriate business move for the times. Volume will come with excellent execution, so volume should not be the primary motivation. It should offer as complete a line as possible

2) CTS: Keep this line up fresh. It has the most equity of any Cadillac line now and is vital to Cadillac’s success. More variants.

3) DTS: Priority number two. You can’t claim to be the standard of the world with a 15-year-old, FWD V6 flagship. In the new scheme of things, the CTS can compete with the 5 series and this car will compete with the 7 series.

4) SRX: The perfect place for hybrid and plug in technology to make a MAJOR appearance in the Cadillac line. Not only is this the right vehicle, it’s also the right segment as Cadillac can now directly counter the Lexus RX hybrid.

5) Cien & Sixteen: These cars might be pie in the sky right now, but plans need to be made now about entering these segments. If Cadillac is to be what it should be, someday it must take on the top players in the luxury market (RR, Bentley, Lambo, Maserati) The Sixteen should be very true to the concept and the Cien could become the mid-engined ‘vette project we’ve heard rumors about. Instead of basically being a derivative of the Corvette (a la XLR) the Cien should be a more direct competitor to cars outside of the prestige and price category of the Corvette. Even though the top trim Corvette might be a bit faster, it will be geared more toward the track than the custom tailored luxury of the Cien. Power for these cars will likely come from a V8 or V12 powerplant.

6) Escalade & Escalade EXT: The Escalade can do battle for luxury crossover sales with MB and BMW. People who want 'soft' luxury can opt for the Enclave and those who have to have a BOF truck can go to GMC. Going forward, the Escalade needs to be more pure in driving dynamics than the current truck.

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Build the Converj!!!!

Saab: Saab sticks around because I think it is vital to GM's global operations. I don't think Cadillac will be accepted in the size classes that Saab will excel in. Likewise, I don't think any other brand can cover the premium entries that Saab has in these classes (a.k.a. I don't think Cadillac can pull off something from Gamma or Delta and I don't think Pontiac or Chevrolet can command the premium image that Saab would have in that segment)

1) 9-1: 3 door (as a throwback to classic Saabs) that introduces luxury and performance to the small car segment. In the small end of the market, this IS GM’s only luxury offering and provides a door into the Saab/Cadillac channel for ‘junior execs’

2) 9-3: Saab’s bread and butter model with the traditional offerings as well as the throw back 3-door design. If one car represents what Saab is, this should be it.

3) 9-5: This is where Saab and Cadillac merge in the channel. The 9-5 is the option for those that value an image of technology and European style over that of the more extravagant and performance biased Cadillac BTS.

4) 9-4X: Saab’s first REAL foray into the crossover market has to be executed absolutely correctly. This should be another volume seller for Saab. (Along with the 9-3)

*** FUTURE PRODUCT IDEA: Saab 9-2X, a Delta based crossover.

*** CHANGES: Chevrolet has added the Aveo and Aveo 5 back into their line up as the Spark appears to be smaller than I previously thought. Chevrolet has also added a coupe variant to it’s Malibu line as I believe it would be better positioned to compete with the likes of the Altima and Accord coupe. Pontiac has added the Corsa and Tigra to it’s line up to help reposition the brand and give the B/P/GMC channel product in the lower end of the market (READ: fastest growing part of the market) The addition of these models was also made in an attempt to begin establishing Pontiac as more of a PREMIUM brand in relation to Chevrolet, the division it most closely overlaps with. The Pontiac Vibe has been redefined with it's focus in the entry level market narrowed. GMC has added the Meriva van to add volume in both the retail and commercial markets. The Saturn Aura and Astra niches will now be covered by Buick in an attempt to expand that brand to a new clientele and build sales.


This section is meant to provide an illustration of the stair step effect, size and price relationship of each channel. It’s simple brainstorming and nothing technical. So don’t harass me too much if it’s way off.

Chevrolet channel:


1) Beat & Groove

2) Aveo & Aveo 5

3) Cruze, HHR & Orlando

4) Malibu & Malibu coupe

5) Impala & Camaro

6) Corvette & Volt (Up here because of price and status)

Chevy Trucks

1) Equinox

2) Colorado & El Camino

3) Traverse

4) Silverado & Silverado HD

5) Suburban

Pontiac, Buick & GMC channel:

Pontiac & Buick

1) Corsa & Tigra

2) Vibe

3) G6, GTO & Delta Buick

4) Regal & Riviera

5) Lacrosse & Invicta

6) Solstice

Buick & GMC

1) Meriva

2) Terrain

3) Acadia & Buick Theta

4) Canyon

5) Sierra, Sierra HD & Savanna

6) Yukon & Enclave

Cadillac & Saab channel:

Saab & Cadillac

1) 9-1

2) 9-3

3) 9-4X & SRX

4) 9-5 & BTS

5) CTS

6) DTS & Escalade

7) Cien & Sixteen

*** CHANGES: The Saturn & Saab channel is eliminated.


Gone are the days of slapping a performance logo on a product simply because you made improvements to the product that bring it UP TO PAR with the class (Equinox Sport, G6 GXP, Lucerne Super, etc.)

Each division, except Chevrolet, will have a more focused line up of ‘specialty models’ This will elevate the desire to own the products and give the divisions more individual identity to market. As for Chevrolet, well, they are the volume division so they’ll get more specialty vehicles than any other division to simply cover the market and better establish their branding (Just in case the divisional structure implodes some day)

Chevrolet: Specialty Designations: SS & Z. In the Chevrolet car world, SS will mean style and performance, much as it does now and the Z prefix will mean high performance. The Z suffix will be phased out in favor if a simpler LS/LT line up. (Same cars, just badged as LT now) Example: The Camaro will come in SS form and then an even hotter (and lower production) Z28. SS will be the top performance option on sedans as the Z moniker can only be given to coupes.

SS Cars:

1) Cruze

2) HHR

3) Malibu

4) Camaro

5) Impala

Z Cars:

1) Cruze (Coupe)

2) Camaro

3) Corvette (You can’t “SS” a Corvette)

Cars with NO performance trim:

1) Beat & Groove

2) Aveo & Aveo 5

3) Orlando

4) Volt

Chevy Trucks: Specialty Designations: SS & Z. In the Chevrolet truck world, SS will mean top-notch performance while the Z prefix will mean off road capability or luxury amenities. The Z suffix will be phased out in favor of a simpler LS/LT structure.

SS Trucks:

1) El Camino (AWD only)

2) Equinox (The spiritual successor to the Trailblazer SS)

3) Silverado

Z Trucks:

1) Colorado (AWD only)

2) Silverado

3) Suburban

Trucks with NO performance trim:

1) Traverse

2) Silverado HD

Pontiac: Specialty Designation: GXP. Pontiacs, especially the entry level Pontiacs in the market will already be tuned to higher performance specifications than anything else GM offers. Remember: under promise and over deliver. If people are looking to buy from this division and channel for the first time, we want to put our best effort forward automatically.

1) Corsa & Tigra GXP: (Carried over straight from OPC)

2) Vibe GXP: (This GXP will not be as expansive as the G6 and Solstice because the Vibe, being the at the typical shoppers entry point needs to already be VERY impressive, from a performance aspect in base trim)

3) G6 (GXP)

4) GTO (Just like you can’t “SS” a Corvette, you can’t “GXP” a GTO -- Expect a "Judge" package to surface as a limited run)

5) Solstice (GXP – The Solstice will already be very performance biased, the GXP should propel it firmly PAST the base model Corvette at the track, with even more potential)

GMC: Specialty Designations: Alpha & Denali. GMC will appeal to all truck buyers now. They can buy a standard model or they can tailor their choice to luxury via the Denali trim, or they can go off-roading with the help of the Alpha trim. Keep in mind, the Alpha trim is explicitly designed to be good off-road. It isn’t a poseur package like Z71 or SR5. Alpha is supposed to bring in Hummer and Jeep buyers. (Yes, I know that most Hummer owners never went off road, blah, blah blah, but you get the picture)

Alpha models:

1) Terrain (Spiritual successor to the HX)

2) Canyon (Spiritual successor to the H3T)

3) Sierra (Z71 replacement, except actually different. The least extreme Alpha)

4) Yukon (The spiritual successor to the H2 & H3)

Denali models:

1) Canyon

2) Sierra

3) Yukon

Models with no performance designation:

1) Meriva (Maybe later a Denali version can be added, if the vehicle proves to be a big success)

2) Acadia

3) Sierra HD

4) Savanna

Buick: Specialty Designation: Super. The Buick Supers will be much like they are now, except better. The performance is more luxury biased than barn burning and the badge is more about the complete package than what is under the hood. Here’s the breakdown:

1) Delta (None – Just needs to be a well executed, almost loaded, luxury small car/entry point to the brand)

2) Theta (None – Yet again, a small, well executed entry point to the brand)

3) Regal (Super - NOTE: A special T-Type could be done instead, if the right powerplant is added)

4) Riviera (Super)

5) Lacrosse (Super)

6) Invicta (Super)

7) Enclave (Super)

Cadillac: Specialty Designations: V-series & Platinum trim. Cadillac did everything right with the CTS-V, so it needs to stay the course with the new models. The Cien and Sixteen are supposed to represent the very top of their classes, so the policy there is that, for now, this is the best we have to offer. Once the brand is established, if needed, the V moniker can expand. Here’s the breakdown:

1) BTS (V)

2) CTS (V)

3) DTS (V)

4) SRX (Hybrid – This is a great place to start Cadillac’s hybrid/E-Flex revolution. Not to mention, Theta won’t take the V treatment too well IMO)

5) Escalade & ESV (Platinum – In this market, there is no need for full blown V series Escalades, so the Platinum trim remains the top option. A V series edition can be executed in the future if need be.)

Saab: Specialty Designation: Aero. The main thing dictating Saabs level of performance is Cadillac. Since they share the same channel and Cadillac is a better platform for performance vehicles, the Aero trim will be restricted to small cars only (The 9-1 and 9-3) The 9-5 and 9-4X need to showcase technology as their selling point.

*** CHANGES: Pontiac models are altered for even more emphasis on performance with the Vibe adding a GXP on top of an already impressive package, OPC tuning the Corsa and Tigra and the GTO adding a limited production "Judge". Buick adds the possibility of the Regal T-Type returning.***


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I can agree with a huge portion of this.

I have to tell you though, I want no parts of a Lambda-based El Camino, nor an AWD SS.


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I remember reading about the possibility of an Acadia Denali a little while back, something I would have liked to see. But hey, this is your plan.


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I can agree with a huge portion of this.

I have to tell you though, I want no parts of a Lambda-based El Camino, nor an AWD SS.

Well... The Colorado and El Camino were sticking points with me. I simply don't know what else to do with them other than Lambda.

I thought about Alpha, but if Alpha is to be the basis for 95% of Cadillac going forward, it is going to have to be 1) expensive and 2) technical (probably not that tough) and if Alpha is to be the basis for sports coupes and sedans, it needs to be light. So, that pretty much ruled it out.

Not to mention 95% of buyers looking for a trucklet in the future won't mind if it's car based and FWD, now that the unibody craze has caught on. Imagine how many sales GM could add to the Colorado line if it were built on the very competent Lambda platform and marketed at 1) urban warriors 2) small businesses and 3) ridgeline intenders, to name a few.

I also thought of basing it off of Theta, but based on what PCS has said, Lambda is and always was the platform of choice for a truck like this.

In order to be a true SS, it needed to be special and perform well. AWD seemed natural.

Maybe I can call it something else now that the concept has evolved a bit... maybe Borrego? (Anyone remember that concept car?)

I remember reading about the possibility of an Acadia Denali a little while back, something I would have liked to see. But hey, this is your plan.

That's something I considered... But I figured that most Acadia Denali folks would be just as happy in a Yukon Denali, especially since it's a more familiar sell anyway.

Maybe it can be added down the road... My main 2 concerns with the Acadia were 1) It needs to be optimized to pull volume now that the market is shifting that way (keep it simple) and 2) I didn't want it to compete with the Enclave that is sharing the same showroom.


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Leaving El Camino quite dead would be preferable.

Do it right or don't bother is how I see that one.

And Lambda is totally unappealing to me.


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