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IPO Talk, But New Product Tidbits from GM's Global Business Conference

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IPO Talk, But New Product Tidbits from GM's Global Business Conference

Posted Yesterday 02:46 PM by Todd Lassa

Filed under: Car News, Motor City Blogman, General Motors

General Motors made it clear before its first annual Global Business Conference it would not entertain any questions about a much-anticipated initial public offering. And since there were only financial analysts in attendance -- journalists were in "listen only" mode for the webcast -- nobody violated the restriction. We did learn a few things, including the enthusiasm some of the new execs have for the vastly changed corporate culture at the company, and a rundown of some future product.

"I saw a company that was overly complicated, that over-analyzed," Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre said of the culture when he joined. He also saw a company with global scope, scale and capacity, one that deserved to survive.

North America President Mark Reuss said GM's incentive spending is down $1,200 per vehicle since June 2009, and its inventory has been cut in half, to about 400,000. Market share is about 20 percent in the U.S., with four core brands instead of eight.

Steve Girsky, vice chairman, corporate strategy and business development, who also worked for GM in 2005-06, said the automaker has cut unnecessary reports and meetings. GM International Operations "used to do 90 different reports a month. Now they do three."

Before Girsky's presentation, Tom Stephens, vice chairman, global product operations, gave a rundown of upcoming product. Financial analysts at the GM Tech Center got to see pictures of the new models. Cameras were not allowed.

Here are highlights of Stephens' rundown (he gave a brief description of the new Chevy Aveo, for example, that I need not repeat), not in order (he began with Opel/Vauxhall):

Chevrolet Malibu: We've described this car before, and it is on a fast-track for release before summer '11, instead of fall '11 as originally planned. Stephens described it as having "flair and energy."

Chevrolet global compact van: Probably the Orlando, which has been scratched for the U.S., but will be sold in Canada and nearly everywhere else.

Traverse: The 2014 model will have a "Camaro-inspired front end," whatever that means, and more chrome accents.

Impala: "This is what an Impala should look like," Stephens said. Interior will have a "wide-open layout for maximum comfort."

Buick Enclave: The next generation, which should be a '13 model, will be "more sophisticated," with more crisp lines.

Buick GL8: The Chinese-market three-row "business" van gets an update, too.

"Baby Enclave": Buick's premium small car is still planned as a crossover.

Next LaCrosse: Design will be a closer collaboration between North American and Chinese design teams.

Buick compact: Based on the Opel Astra, it will feature "ice blue" halo headlamps.

GMC Granite: Stephens showed analysts the concept, which we believe will eventually reach production and will likely be built on a shortened Chevy Orlando floorpan.

Acadia: Also has a major facelift in the works.

Sierra: The next-generation model will feature a "bold new face" and upgraded interior featuring innovative infotainment options.

Cadillac: Stephens showed the XTS, but not the ATS rear-drive sub-CTS. He said the next-generation CTS, due for 2013, will have "compelling design with amazing proportions and richly detailed highlights."

Opel Astra GTC: The new model will have a very low roofline, wide track and will highlight Opel's new design language.

Insignia: It's in for a new front end with a wider grille, lowered graphics and enhanced sport and premium look.

Zafira: The next version of the seven-passenger MPV has the "sleekness of a bullet train," and a flexible center console, Stephens said.

Holden: Stephens mentioned only a facelift for the Commodore, and the next version of its compact, which is essentially a rebadged Vauxhall Astra.

Read more: http://blogs.motortrend.com/6693822/car-news/no-ipo-talk-but-new-product-tidbits-from-gms-global-business-conference/index.html#ixzz0sLwQhTgX

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Chevrolet Malibu: We've described this car before, and it is on a fast-track for release before summer '11, instead of fall '11 as originally planned. Stephens described it as having "flair and energy."

"Flair and energy", oh, is that what they're calling boring cars today?

Traverse: The 2014 model will have a "Camaro-inspired front end," whatever that means, and more chrome accents.

Dreadful idea... This is like the late '70s/early '80s when it seemed like everything Pontiac got a version of the '77 Firebird nose. Or when the dustbuster minivan get a Bonneville snout. Good design is not necessarily good design if its just tacked on.

Impala: "This is what an Impala should look like," Stephens said. Interior will have a "wide-open layout for maximum comfort."

In other words, a boring stretched out W-body. The only thing in GM's line which has a "wide-open layout for maximum comfort" is a Suburban.

Next LaCrosse: Design will be a closer collaboration between North American and Chinese design teams.

Somehow this is not real appealing sounding to me.

Buick compact: Based on the Opel Astra, it will feature "ice blue" halo headlamps.

Bling Bling! Hope the headlights blind your reason for buying an overpriced Cruze.

Holden: Stephens mentioned only a facelift for the Commodore, and the next version of its compact, which is essentially a rebadged Vauxhall Astra.

Oh, yeah... hardly any news for the only interesting car in the GM worldwide lineup.

Do not feel bad... They do not have anything for me either.......

Same here.

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Not enough here to condem anything yet. You need real info or a real look before we trash it.

We all need to cheer for these cars to work as they will lead to what is for you once they fix the cars that make the money and create the cash flow.

GM survives on Malibu's, Cruze and Pickup trucks not Camaro's. Or would it be Cruze's? Either way these are the cars that sell stock and pay the bills not Vettes and Z/28. They help but do not deliver the bulk of the cash flow needed.

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Not enough here to condem anything yet. You need real info or a real look before we trash it.

We all need to cheer for these cars to work as they will lead to what is for you once they fix the cars that make the money and create the cash flow.

GM survives on Malibu's, Cruze and Pickup trucks not Camaro's. Or would it be Cruze's? Either way these are the cars that sell stock and pay the bills not Vettes and Z/28. They help but do not deliver the bulk of the cash flow needed.

Which were not shown or talked about either.

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No condemnation, just no interest.

Nothing to drag me into the showroom.

My point is we still need to cheer these cars on so we can get to the cars that will drag us in. These will pay for the fun cars.

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Unless I'm really impressed, I think my cheerleading days are over.

Even the running backs have to cheer for the kicker. His points add up and often win the game for everyone.

You need to snap out of this doom and gloom funk. How many times did we think we would not get any fun cars in the past? In 1982 did anyone think the Vetter or Camaro would have more than 400 HP? You have 440 HP coming in a new engine and it will not just be used in Pickup trucks. You day is coming.

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Even the running backs have to cheer for the kicker. His points add up and often win the game for everyone.

You need to snap out of this doom and gloom funk. How many times did we think we would not get any fun cars in the past? In 1982 did anyone think the Vetter or Camaro would have more than 400 HP? You have 440 HP coming in a new engine and it will not just be used in Pickup trucks. You day is coming.

HP isn't everything. The cars had space and character in 1982.

Cars in 1982 I would be happy to own...

Corvette

Coupe De Ville

Eldorado

Camaro

Monte Carlo

Malibu

Impala/Caprice

Riviera

Electra/LeSabre

Regal

Cutlass Supreme

88/98

Toronado

El Camino

Bonneville

Firebird/Trans Am

Cars in 2010 I would stretch to consider...

Corvette

Camaro

CTS Coupe or Wagon.

STS

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I was not being negative either. They just do not make anything for me anymore. If I did not support GM still I would not be here posting all the news everyone likes to read here. I stay because I have hope that one day GM will get it. They are starting to get it. This article was posted by me the other day and no one responded. This guy gets it. I will repost it here. I put in bold the very reasons why Camino feels the way he does and why others said what they said.

Mercury: Why kill a favorite brand?

FRED W. KORKISCH, Santa Barbara, Calif. The writer teaches macroeconomics. June 28, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

To the Editor:

Slowly, politicians and industry realize that globalization is killing U.S. industrial jobs. And rationalization will go on as long as there is some industry left. Maybe there won't be in 25 years or so. This is a warning to politicians, unions and manufacturers.

We face such developments not only because of foreign competition but also because of shareholder greed and managerial lack of vision -- besides closing down brands, plants, jobs, etc.

Why have U.S. car magazines for decades downgraded U.S. car quality, cars that cost half as much as European cars and are cheaper to maintain?

Now there is a tendency to simplify products, production and logistics, preferably linking a company with only one brand to enhance "brand value." It is assumed by marketing and production cost experts that different brands are mainly competing with the main selling line. But diversification will always raise market shares. When Chrysler dropped DeSoto, it lost the cash flow of 100,000 cars for good.

And how about tariffs on imports and spare parts, tax breaks for manufacturing?

The simplifying philosophy killed DeSoto, Plymouth, Pontiac and now Mercury; next could be Buick and GMC. But originally the idea of different brands was to have different sizes and different purchasing prices. The system was abandoned when each brand had so many different models and price categories that a fancy Chevy could be more expensive than a well-equipped Buick.

And why are new special cars emerging every year? There are certainly a desire and a market for something that is not called Chevrolet or Ford. Why kill a favorite brand simply to cut advertising costs? Is Mercury not competitive? Then ask yourself why and how that could be changed.

Read more: http://www.autonews....2#ixzz0s9QDG6BX

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The simplifying philosophy killed DeSoto, Plymouth, Pontiac and now Mercury; next could be Buick and GMC. But originally the idea of different brands was to have different sizes and different purchasing prices. The system was abandoned when each brand had so many different models and price categories that a fancy Chevy could be more expensive than a well-equipped Buick.

And why are new special cars emerging every year? There are certainly a desire and a market for something that is not called Chevrolet or Ford. Why kill a favorite brand simply to cut advertising costs? Is Mercury not competitive? Then ask yourself why and how that could be changed.

Read more: http://www.autonews....2#ixzz0s9QDG6BX

Good one 88

Pretty much what we discussed in the Mercury thread. I hope GM brings back some brands in limited numbers. You cannot attack a bigger circle (market share) with one big circle (one product) you need smaller circles to fill the void.

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Even the running backs have to cheer for the kicker. His points add up and often win the game for everyone.

You need to snap out of this doom and gloom funk. How many times did we think we would not get any fun cars in the past? In 1982 did anyone think the Vetter or Camaro would have more than 400 HP? You have 440 HP coming in a new engine and it will not just be used in Pickup trucks. You day is coming.

Where's the beef?

Seriously though, just because a given car is not what I would buy does not mean it can't impress me. I've been impressed by cars that are not my thing in the past. It's just that the list in the OP doesn't contain anything like that.

Sow me a really good compact pickup, or a barn burner of a small 4cyl. sportscar, or a back-to-basics SUV, or an electric performance coupe that undercuts Tesla, or a stunning Buick convertible...

Then I'll be impressed with something out of my normal range.

Edited by Camino LS6

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In other words, a boring stretched out W-body. The only thing in GM's line which has a "wide-open layout for maximum comfort" is a Suburban.

in other words, a car i see no problems with, then again there isn't really much to cheer about.

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Where's the beef?

Seriously though, just because a given car is not what I would buy does not mean it can't impress me. I've been impressed by cars that are not my thing in the past. It's just that the list in the OP doesn't contain anything like that.

Sow me a really good compact pickup, or a barn burner of a small 4cyl. sportscar, or a back-to-basics SUV, or an electric performance coupe that undercuts Tesla, or a stunning Buick convertible...

Then I'll be impressed with something out of my normal range.

Is it good to seek the past? Does it not rob the present?

Grasshopper If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

Take a look at the sales charts and good things will come. Much of what we are seeing is only things that were done prior to chapter 11 for the most part. The thinks we have not seen yet will be the major changes.

As things stand now we see less and know less of the future GM than ever as they no longer show the long range hand on things not already shown like the Volt ETC.

New Camaro's, Vettes and small pick ups are there just not seen yet. From my feelers the core feedback group is already being used for the planning on the 2015 Camaro. This time from the start not he end of the program.

GM had a lot of needed fixes and not all of them are going to be exciting.

Edited by hyperv6

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