Sign in to follow this  
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Small minivan plans shrink

7 posts in this topic

Small minivan plans shrink

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Will Chevy's loss be Ford's gain?

The recently eliminated Chevrolet Orlando was one of the most intriguing vehicles in GM's new-model program. Slightly longer than a Honda Civic, the seven-seat compact minivan promised highway fuel economy of around 30 m.p.g. and had breakthrough looks.

GM planned to launch it in the U.S. around a year from now, six months or more ahead of Ford's traditional-looking Grand C-Max compact minivan.

I haven't driven either vehicle, nor even sat in a production model, but I was more intrigued by the Orlando. Its styling broke the mold, and GM has a record of building very roomy and useful small minivans in Europe.

There's no history of compact minivans selling well in America, however. It looked like the Orlando, Grand C-Max and other likely competitors might squeeze all the profit out of the market segment.

By dropping the Orlando, GM may have boosted Ford's chances of selling a profitable number of Grand C-Maxes. Chevrolet thinks it has a full house of family vehicles in its existing Malibu, Equinox and Traverse models.

Room for another small Chevy?

GM could offset the rakish Orlando's departure by offering another creative small-car design. Ford's plan to dramatically increase sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles hinges on offering a wide variety of body styles and models, while GM appears to count on the old-style model of selling large numbers of a single car.

GM's announced compact car lineup consists of the conservatively styled Chevrolet Cruze sedan and the totally unproven compact sedan envisioned for Buick.

Chevrolet generated a nice buzz and surprisingly high sales a few years ago with the stylish, fuel-efficient and affordable HHR station wagon.

GM might be wise to search its design studios around the world for innovative compact cars and crossovers that can add pizzazz to its small-car lineup. The rumored Cruze station wagon and hatchback could be a start.

Trouble at Honda?

Despite turning a tidy $774-million profit in the first three months of this year, there should be some head-scratching going on at Honda.

The Honda brand's U.S. sales were distressingly weak in April. While Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler and GM's four remaining brands all soared 20% to 36% versus last year, the Honda brand rose an anemic 11.7%.

Perhaps most worrying, sales of Honda's stalwart Civic compact fell 4.6% while the overall U.S. market grew.

At first glance, the news looked better for Honda's Acura luxury brand, which rose 21.6%. However, sales of all Acura cars except the TSX fell. With 154 sales, deliveries of Acura's flagship RL sedan could be mistaken for a rounding error.

Acura's MDX and RDX crossover SUVs both notched strong increases. The sporty new Acura ZDX crossover scored 234 sales.

Headhunting gets help from Hyundai

GM knows it needs help convincing Americans to give its cars a second look, so it turned to a man who helped Hyundai overcome an image for building unreliable, low-quality vehicles.

Joel Ewanick, GM's new chief of North American marketing, laid the groundwork for Hyundai's recent successes before leaving the Korean automaker in March for a cup of coffee at Nissan and moving on to GM last week.

Ewanick's successes included the peace-of-mind program under which Hyundai pledged to take its vehicles back if the buyer lost his or her job.

GM will expect Ewanick to work the same magic for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. Of course, it helps when you have steadily improving quality and hot new products at good prices, like Ewanick did at Hyundai.

link:

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100509/COL14/5090493/1210/BUSINESS01/Small-minivan-plans-shrink&template=fullarticle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    5,170
The sporty new Acura ZDX crossover scored 234 sales

To put that in some perspective, that number is about 100 units less than BMW's X3 which is selling at 1/10th the rate of the new SRX.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pow    106

To put that in some perspective, that number is about 100 units less than BMW's X3 which is selling at 1/10th the rate of the new SRX.

And the ZDX is brand new, in contrast to the X3 that was released in 2003.

Honda really needs fresh, new products - or at least updates - to keep their game up. They haven't been investing in anything new - no full hybrids, no new V6 (the J-series has been around forever; no forced induction or direct injection), few six-speed automatics - and their driving dynamics, ergonomics, and styling have all taken a fall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drew Dowdell    5,170

And the ZDX is brand new, in contrast to the X3 that was released in 2003.

So a brand new Acura is selling worse than a 7 year old BMW that always had mediocre sales.... and it's not considered a failure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
regfootball    253

To put that in some perspective, that number is about 100 units less than BMW's X3 which is selling at 1/10th the rate of the new SRX.

"like"

exactly. the ZDX got huge buzz at the auto show, but mostly it was people who ultimately bitched about how small the backseat or cargo area was or commented on how ugly Acuras are now. SRX got all sorts of love at the auto show.

X3 is a turd. So is the X6, a big heavy turd. And BMW is bringing an X1?? LMAO

too many models, that is BMW. Perhaps they should concentrate on trimming their lineup, both in number and in pounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Z-06    493

"like"

exactly. the ZDX got huge buzz at the auto show, but mostly it was people who ultimately bitched about how small the backseat or cargo area was or commented on how ugly Acuras are now. SRX got all sorts of love at the auto show.

X3 is a turd. So is the X6, a big heavy turd. And BMW is bringing an X1?? LMAO

too many models, that is BMW. Perhaps they should concentrate on trimming their lineup, both in number and in pounds.

To the Contrary, there will soon be baseball, apple pie and BMW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this