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GM speeds development of cars delayed during battle for survival

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GM speeds development of cars delayed during battle for survival

RICK KRANZ

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

DECEMBER 17, 2009 - 12:14 AM ET

DETROIT -- With bankruptcy behind it, General Motors is speeding up the development of vehicle programs that had been delayed.

One car, the next generation Chevrolet Malibu, will go on sale in two years. In August, GM executives said that car would debut a year later, in 2012.

“Once we got out of the bankruptcy and started having money available, we were able to pull a lot of our programs forward,” said GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.

He said “a bunch” of other vehicles were being pulled forward, without being more specific or identifying them. He was interviewed at a press preview Wednesday night staged to show some of Chevrolet's future vehicles and highlight the brand's marketing strategy.

Through November, Chevrolet sold 142,194 Malibus, for 25 percent of its U.S. car volume. Amid this year's industry sales collapse, Malibu sales have slid 11 percent, while the division's top-selling car, the Impala, has dropped 38 percent.

Siblings

The next generation Malibu will share a front-drive vehicle platform with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse and 2011 Regal. It will be as wide as the LaCrosse, Lutz said, but the overall length will be slightly shorter than the current Malibu. He said interior space will be larger that today's Malibu; the wheelbase will be slightly shorter than the LaCrosse.

“We are going through the whole portfolio and pulling forward as much as we can,” Lutz said. “It is not forward from where it should have been. It is forward from back where we had deferred in bankruptcy.”

A mockup of the car was displayed at the preview. All of the sheet metal is new. Lutz said he's particularly fond of a chrome strip that surrounds the side glass.

“Nothing adds perceived value to a car faster than that chrome surround around the side glass because it is a hallmark of German and Japanese luxury products,” said Lutz. The high end Malibu also will have chrome door handles and other similar touches.

“If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer's perceived value of the car by $500 or $600,” he said.

Lutz said all of GM's future cars will have a chrome strip surrounding the side window glass. The lone exception is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. It was too late in the product plan to make the change.

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Somewhere in Europe, chrominium_steel is rejoicing.

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More chrome doesn't sell cars. How many Pontiacs had spoilers, body cladding, and chrome wheels on them, and that didn't work. It's the engineering, build quality, materials, and little details that matter. Camry's don't have chrome, they sell fine.

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Bob's just trying to point out that the little things count. A $50 piece of chrome gives a better impression of a car. GM is image building and the details that will set them appart are important.

As we already know with Toyota it is not the real quality but the precieved quality that people believe in.

Make $17K car look like $30K and you will sell a lot of them.

This kind of thing is what make the Genesis Sedan sell so well. It is precieved as a great value. It looks more expensive than a Toyota and give it to you and a same or less price of the Toyota.

Bob knows what he is doing as he has many times in the past put the lipstick on the pig and sold a lot of cars.

Chevy in 1955 started this same trend. They gave you things similar to a more expensive car but at a Chevy price. V8 power and a lot of style with value in the tri five cars sold a lot of cars. It's an old formula that accountants forget about and car guys know works.

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This kind of thing is what make the Genesis Sedan sell so well. It is precieved as a great value. It looks more expensive than a Toyota and give it to you and a same or less price of the Toyota.

Bob knows what he is doing as he has many times in the past put the lipstick on the pig and sold a lot of cars.

Chevy in 1955 started this same trend. They gave you things similar to a more expensive car but at a Chevy price. V8 power and a lot of style with value in the tri five cars sold a lot of cars. It's an old formula that accountants forget about and car guys know works.

The Genesis is well engineered overall, the V8 alone cost them something like $200 million to develop. They didn't just dress up the Azera and expect it to sell for $40,000, they built the car right from the ground up.

Bob thought the Solstice, Sky, STS, G6, Aura, Astra, GTO and G8 were all great cars. Bob's lipstick on a pig plan will fail. The Impala has chrome strips on it, sales are down 38% this year. The Malibu which I think looks better than any of the japanese midsizers is struggling with sales. Bob thought the Malibu would blow the competition away, but it came up short. He doesn't realize how far GM has to go to compete.

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Bob's just trying to point out that the little things count. A $50 piece of chrome gives a better impression of a car. GM is image building and the details that will set them appart are important.

As we already know with Toyota it is not the real quality but the precieved quality that people believe in.

Make $17K car look like $30K and you will sell a lot of them.

This kind of thing is what make the Genesis Sedan sell so well. It is precieved as a great value. It looks more expensive than a Toyota and give it to you and a same or less price of the Toyota.

Bob knows what he is doing as he has many times in the past put the lipstick on the pig and sold a lot of cars.

Chevy in 1955 started this same trend. They gave you things similar to a more expensive car but at a Chevy price. V8 power and a lot of style with value in the tri five cars sold a lot of cars. It's an old formula that accountants forget about and car guys know works.

Thank you!

Finally, 5 posts in someone gets it.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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More chrome doesn't sell cars. How many Pontiacs had spoilers, body cladding, and chrome wheels on them, and that didn't work. It's the engineering, build quality, materials, and little details that matter. Camry's don't have chrome, they sell fine.

05936_2009_Toyota_Camry.jpg

Chrome around the side windows.

Lutz 1 SMK 0

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Lutz said all of GM's future cars will have a chrome strip surrounding the side window glass. The lone exception is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. It was too late in the product plan to make the change.

I burst out a hearty laugh when I read that!

Really? Thats the biggest problem with GM cars? :confused0071:

I don't think its a bad idea at all, but to come out and say "yeah, we are gonna apply more chrome to all our cars going forward" just sounds really silly!

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05936_2009_Toyota_Camry.jpg

Chrome around the side windows.

Lutz 1 SMK 0

where are the foglamps? ;)

chrome = excitement.....in a different sort of way

Edited by regfootball
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A mockup of the car was displayed at the preview. All of the sheet metal is new. Lutz said he's particularly fond of a chrome strip that surrounds the side glass.

“Nothing adds perceived value to a car faster than that chrome surround around the side glass because it is a hallmark of German and Japanese luxury products,” said Lutz. The high end Malibu also will have chrome door handles and other similar touches.

“If you skimp on $50 of chrome, you are reducing the customer's perceived value of the car by $500 or $600,” he said.

Lutz said all of GM's future cars will have a chrome strip surrounding the side window glass. The lone exception is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. It was too late in the product plan to make the change.

Hallmark German luxury automakers BMW and Audi charge extra to not have chrome around the windows...

Personally I'm sick of the chrome overkill on many GM cars. I've seen the new Equinox with chrome window surrounds, mirror caps, wheels, roof rails, door handles, and skid plates and it was *not* pretty...

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Chevy in 1955 started this same trend. They gave you things similar to a more expensive car but at a Chevy price. V8 power and a lot of style with value in the tri five cars sold a lot of cars. It's an old formula that accountants forget about and car guys know works.

In 1957, GM created one of the most beautiful cars of all time with a great engine. They lost the sales lead to Ford.

You can't sell on quality and reliability if nobody cross shops your cars. GM needs to cut prices to get rears in seats... by offering value that can't be doubted... only after getting mindset back can they make inroads. This isn't 1955, when everybody is pushing blah styling, and people accept it, you can't get people in the dealerships on good looks.

I burst out a hearty laugh when I read that!

Really? Thats the biggest problem with GM cars? :confused0071:

I don't think its a bad idea at all, but to come out and say "yeah, we are gonna apply more chrome to all our cars going forward" just sounds really silly!

The only chrome on my '99 Bonne SLE is the strip around the roof and the wheels. Car has enough black for Darth Vader... perfect. ;-)

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