tama z71

How to sell the 355 platform

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Will 2006 be the year of the 355?

Two trucks need to outpace one in 2006

A Tama Article

The difference may only be less than 5700 units, but the pressure for sales will continue to mount on GM in 2006.

Chevy Colorado - 128,359

GMC Canyon - 34,845

Toyota Tacoma - 168,831

Despite having twice the models, twice the dealer network and the hugely successful employee pricing program, sluggish year-end sales put GM behind Toyota in the 2005 midsize truck market.

A total loss? Probably not. GM managed to climb from the number three spot with the 355 twins to outsell the Ford Ranger for the first time, and locked up a solid second place in terms of sales. But GM can no longer be happy with "just an improvement". If they are as serious about regaining power as they say they are, GM must take the mentality that second place is just the first place loser.

With the new year but 2 months young, the 2006 models have already been locked in, making any significant changes impossible until the '07s are rolled out. That doesnt mean the General need sit on it's hands for another 11 months, though. In the meantime, GM can make a few small adjustments that will bode well for sales in 2006.

Marketing

Updating the trucks will have to wait. Updating the image will not.

In this arena more than any, GM perenially gets shamed by the PR juggernaut that is Toyota. To answer the challenge, GM need only adopt Toyota's new method of advertising to Generation-Y. Such ads as "Meteor Proof" and "Adrenalitis" speak in an overstated tone of sarcasm and humor that defines the generation molded by the humor of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. Take this method and throw it back in their faces. Show a twenty-something guy with a lab coat and jeans mention and question Toyota's claim of "meteor proof." Chip a golf ball at a Tacoma, and on impact, blow the thing up with an explosion so profound that it could be taken only as comedic genius. Fight explosions with explosions. Or something like that.

Also, attack the competition. Call out the Tacoma's poorer gas mileage. Attack it's "too big for parking lots and gas consumption" size. Play up GM's technological advantage with its "state of the art" inline 5. Toyota may very well have the edge in any one of these areas. If GM can advertise to the contrary, then people will believe the Colorados to be superior in all areas. People believe what people see, and no advertising group makes that more true than Toyotas PR department.

Creative Advertising

I have sitting in my garage a one-off pickup truck. It runs on tapwater, generates 400 horsepower, can tow a small house and has an interior that catches Lexus with their pants down. Next to it is a 2004 GMC Canyon. It gets 25 mpg highway, has enough power to two tow full-size atv's and a bedfull of cargo, and has a 4wd system that will get me out of mud, sand and knee-deep jello.

No one in the world has ever heard about the super truck. No one has ever heard of the Canyon, one that is identical to the 34,845 of them that sold last year, either. Why not? I wont advertise my truck, and GM won't advertise theirs.

The lack of exposure is just painful. Throw in some TV spots, and hit especially hard on Comedy Central during Daily Show and Colbert Report hours. Grab ads on sites for EXPN and Outdoor Life Network, and make the truck visible to the 20-somethings who will be buying it. Sponsor a year long wakeboard tour, and put the Colorado on a floating display in the middle of the lake. Vortec engines are used in all wake and ski boats, giving the Chevy automatic recognition.

One untapped market is mountainboarding. The sport is rugged, raw and an off-roaders wet dream. To be the first sponsor around and create a loyal relationship with a major manufacturer (www.mbs.com), as well as establish your own perennial tour, opens you up to a whole new customer base. Canyon doesnt fit the Professional Grade mantra. This is a prime target.

If the automotive market has tought us anything, is that perception is 90 percent of reality and one hundred times more important. GM needs to improve 355's image as much as the product itself.

2007 holds tangible changes, but we cannot wait that long. It's time for GM to take the mask off its PR department and let them get creative, and it needs to be done now. GM can't afford any more bad press.

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eh. GM needs more than just fancy marketing to sell these trucks. They need new interiors, more power, and more differentiation STAT!

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The I5 hurts them in the spec sheet battle, especially when most people look at the engine and think "buy 4 get one cylinder free." A full Atlas I6 with 250hp+ would do wonders, IMO.

The lack of advertising surely does hurt, though. I remember almost as many ads for S-10 Xtremes or whatever as I do for Canyons period, more for Colorados of course. Speaking of which, somewhere, someone is this vast land of ours is asking a Chevy salesman where can he find him some S-10s.

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The Colorado needs a new front fascia, and better (at least better sounding  :blink: ), engines.

I think the front fascia is good. I know its a selling point for many of the people who own their 355s, myself included. With the 900s though, they should go one-piece headlamp, aero fascia and power dome hood as well. I think itd look excellent. Something like the old Canyon AT4 concept.

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I think the Colorado can soldier on for years with a new interior and a V8. It has by far the least power of its competitors (except the ancient Ranger). The Colorado was bungled by the start with a very powerul 4-cylinder, but a completely average (and below in many respects) I5 for the top engine. There's nothing wrong with keeping the I5, but the V8 is very much needed. The only thing that concerns me about the V8 is that it will only make the absurdly priced Colorado even more expensive. (I haven't checked--did they lower the sticker prices during the value pricing initiative?)

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I think the Colorado can soldier on for years with a new interior and a V8. It has by far the least power of its competitors (except the ancient Ranger). The Colorado was bungled by the start with a very powerul 4-cylinder, but a completely average (and below in many respects) I5 for the top engine. There's nothing wrong with keeping the I5, but the V8 is very much needed. The only thing that concerns me about the V8 is that it will only make the absurdly priced Colorado even more expensive. (I haven't checked--did they lower the sticker prices during the value pricing initiative?)

You're right, pricing is still obscene. My Canyon listed for 28K and sold at 22. They need to bring it down 3-4K all around the board.

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Yeah, the inflated pricing structure before incentives makes people who would otherwise want one - like my father - strongly consider a used or leftover fullsize pickup instead.

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I think the front fascia is good. I know its a selling point for many of the people who own their 355s, myself included. .

Really? Just my own personal opinion, but I think it looks weird.

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The Canyon and Colorado should look different. The Hummer H3T concept from a few years ago should be the GMC Canyon. The current Colorado needed a redesign the moment it went on sale. The design doesn't flow well.

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Really? Just my own personal opinion, but I think it looks weird.

The headlights down low like that below the spear looks odd..the front end is very blocky with strange angles..reminds me of a Transformer toy for some reason.

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I am a big fan of the Colorado's styling myself, expecially a Superior Blue Z71 with painted flaired fenders.........

I have road in a 5 speed 4 cylinder and it shocked me the power it had, I think this is one plus GM really needs to take advantage of.....

The I5 is a great idea just it as the top engine in the truck market now really hurts its appeal. Though I think the I5 would be a very good engine if it and the I4 can get the upgrades that were made on the I6 in the Trailblazer......291hp that just completely embarrases the competition and makes some of the v8's in the full size trucks look weak. I believe that if these same upgrades were made the I5 would have around 240+ hp and the I4 would have a mind numbing 195hp or more.......

Though I think a V8 model is needed but make it apart of a SS package make it available on every configuration of the Colorado with the engine being able to add to preformance of the utility of the truck. Like the Z71 or Z85 package could benefit from the added power and being able to tow mroe than the competition. And for the ZQ8 model it adds power and speed to a sport tuned truck making it a formatible foe to the hot rod trucks that the competitions have out.

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The headlights down low like that below the spear looks odd..the front end is very blocky with strange angles..reminds me of a Transformer toy for some reason.

I agree, the front end styling is quite bizarre IMO - and not in a good way. I think the S10 was sooo much better looking.

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Didn't we see a spy pic of a 3.7L I5 in a Colorado mule? If the I5 is given the same upgrages the I6 got (to give the I6 291hp) and the size was increased to 3.7L, it would make 255hp, which is very respectable, IMO.

I would like to see a 5.3L also end up in the Colorado with Active Fuel Management (DOD).

If given an interior upgrade, I think the pricing wouldn't have to be lowered to much, but as is it is much too high.

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Yes, I believe it was in MT and it had the beefy suspension.

It was an H3 that we saw the 3700 Vortec engine cover. Joe on Cz28 has basically confirmed the 3700 I5 being done. I fully expect to see it next year, hopefully a few new interior peices or trims will be offered. Also a V8 option would be killer.

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The Colorado needs a new front fascia, and better (at least better sounding  :blink: ), engines.

Yeah....SOUND better.

Every time I start up a Colorado and drive it, I grimace at the coarse sound and rough feel of the I-5

What happened to 5-cylinder engines having a unique, off-beat, 5-cyl warble?

Volvo 5cyls are decently smooth and nice-sounding.....

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I think the Colorado can soldier on for years with a new interior and a V8. It has by far the least power of its competitors (except the ancient Ranger).

The Ranger may be ancient....but the uplevel 4.0L OHC six WAY overshaddows the Colorado's I-5.

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