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My Take on this mess

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For those who are actually car lovers, these next years will be very hard to take.

A rough guess would say about 16 models will not see the end of this decade.

Thus, within a decade, I've watched my 2 favourite car brands of my childhood - Oldsmobile and Pontiac - disappear. I'll never forget the Oldsmobile announcement...it came a few weeks before Christmas 2000 and too close to my birthday. It sent a shudder through me. It was like a "quick erase" of all my childhood memories and stories. I was entertaining buying a new Intrigue at the time.

Agreed... I may come across as a merciless bean-counter (to an extent I am one, at heart and in training in the context of the Accounting and Finance weighted Commerce degree I'm currently going for) but I have feelings beyond the rational in this situation. My family has bought GM almost exclusively as long as they could afford cars. I have a special kinship to Pontiac and other GM brands, and have had for most of my life. I taught myself to read at three and a half on 1993 & 1994 Model Year Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Pontiac Brochures. As I grew up I learned to appreciate the 1990s and early 2000s GM fare that kids my age simply didn't aspire to. I lusted after Bonneville SSEis, Oldsmobile Eighty Eights, Roadmaster Estates, the final gen Park Avenues, Rivieras, Auroras, Eldorados, Devilles, Dustbuster vans, Cutlass Supreme coupes, but most of all the big 'ol Fleetwood.

Seeing Pontiac go is a sad thing, I agree with you folks but when you see somebody you once knew in a hospice who has become a shell of the self they were even ten years ago, what do you really have left to say? No Firebird. No GTO. No vehicle even initially intended and designed as a Pontiac except for the Solstice and the somewhat inexcusable G6. No rebel "bad boy image", just "EXCITEMENT!!!". End the suffering. The Oldsmobile demise was something painful for me because Olds was on top of their game when it happened. I may have been ten years old but I'm not going to forget that day for a very long time. Pontiac had potential that was squandered beginning in the mid-late 90s for some reason. I don't want to mull on why because that's what happened. While Chevy, Olds and Caddy had a renaissance, Pontiac has made an astonishing backward motion.

By the time we see the end of this GM will consist of Chevrolet and Cadillac (Global), plus GMDAT and Buick (China only). I am certain that will be all and there is a lot of blame to go around to a lot of parties, but the House of Sloan is in such disarray and has been for such a long time that this outcome has been necessity. In my mind some things are beyond saving, and people around here probably disagree with me but I’m afraid that the cancers that threaten these brands have simply become malignant. I do, however see some positives in the future. If the administration gets it right, the new GM (probably won’t be called GM) will come out swinging with great product and very little in the way of crippling long term liabilities. Spreading product development across two or three brands seems to make more sense and who knows, we may see them come out and build cars that not only “equal Toyota” but blow them out of the freaking water.

I think I'm really at a crossroads with General Motors and perhaps cars in general. I will only buy an American car, which is my edict both out of respect for my own upbringing, as well as my own personal beliefs and preferences. I like a lot of European cars and frankly I respect them for being damn good, but they're just not for me (the sporty models too sporty, the plush models too showy, and I don't really care for VW)- and Japanese cars, let's not go there. In the past and no doubt into the future I've been the staunchest defender of the domestics in my own social circles, often with the result of some sort of mocking (Grandpa Chris, Mr Eisenhower, living in <insert year from 1945-1968 here> etc etc). Regardless of the detractors I really like big American cars. Not just big in size, but big in presence, big in feel- a car that feels substantial when you drive it from the way it ponders about the pavement- for me that and six to eight cylinders is what driving is all about. This doesn't of course, change my belief that people have the right to buy whatever they see value in themselves, be it American, Japanese or Martian- of course I will only judge if people decide to judge my decisions first.

I'm currently watching the amount of cars that hold my interest currently offered at GM and other American brands shrink and perhaps they will one day be completely depleted. Whereas six years ago there were likely over twenty American (mostly GM) products that I could see myself spending money on and driving, today, in 2009 there are not even ten (Town Car, Marquis, Impala, DTS, Lucerne, W-LaCrosse, Taurus, Charger and MKS) and of these ten only four are GMs. Of the remaining cars over half won't be in production beyond 2010. This bothers me and only compounds the pain of watching a company that I have literally grown up with and hold in very high regard be ripped to shreds financially and given a verbal dressing down on every channel, on every radio station. It's gotten to the point where I just cannot listen to it- I haven't watched network television since just after the inauguration for this reason alone. It's too depressing and depending on the dimestore commentary it's offensive and angering. I for one have also had enough of a couple professors ranting every other class about how "you have to be a total idiot to purchase an American car". Listening to that a couple times a week is really irritating. I completely understand how 68 and company feel- I don’t have a problem with B-Pillars and FWD but I feel me and my interests are crowded out of the market. Perhaps this is because the people with the same tastes in cars as me are slowly moving to cemeteries.

I sat back recently and actually really looked at the GM line-up and I was just simply shocked at what’s happening. I was initially positive on Epsilon 1 as a platform but I’ve got to say in a test drive or two of a G6 V6 without EPS and the good two and a half years we’ve had our Maxx with EPS, I’ve got to say the platform and its components have degenerated on me rather than growing on me- I don’t like how these cars drive and sincerely hope that the EPII feels more meaty... because if it hasn’t been improved I can’t see myself buying them. I sincerely hope that the suspension, steering and such hold up better on the new Malibu because the constant rattling from the front end the dealer can’t diagnose is a really annoying thing and makes the car feel cheap and frankly unpleasant to drive- and yet the Impala with only about 6000mi less on the clock still feels tight as a drum on ALL fronts- I just don’t get it at all. I have fewer misgivings about Delta; I’ve never been a small car person but the Cobalt rides nice for its size so I can’t complain. The only thing wrong with this car is the plastic dashboard and the uninspiring sedan styling. I have the Impala and I’m happy for that, and much like gm4life and his Bonneville, I would like to keep said car indefinitely. When I look at the kind of car I’d like to buy looking say four years into the future (when I keep telling myself I’ll get a second car) I’m going to have to say that I’ll probably end up buying a nice black five or six year old DTS from Florida or Arizona... My internal practicality detector goes off and tells me I’m freaking crazy for wanting to have two big cars, one of which getting 15MPG City, but maybe a few years down the road from that I’ll throw both of them in a garage and finance some third second-hand appliance like car to drive in the winter and such, soes to preserve the other two best I can. Then and ONLY then will I compromise or “play their game” of buying some smaller appliance like Ford or Chevy.

So there you have it... that's all I have to say about this mess for now and likely for a long time to come.

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I think there are more people than you think that would agree with you.

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I think I am just going stick with older cars, I think.

I am getting tired of all the bad new car news.....

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