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#134 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting 
Jan 08, 2007 (7:23 am)
"Listen, I feel sorry for you in terms of the problems with your car. That said you have to be smart enough to know that the overwhelming majority of GM vehicles run a lot longer than 5 years without incident...The fact that you had problems with your car doesn't mean that GM as a whole is incapable of building reliable vehicles"
I've gone through 3 GM vehicles - all had major issues well into their 5 year run. this is not a unique situation. A co-worker of mine has a late model Alero he purchased new. Without exaggeration it is the very definition of a lemon having been in the shop more times then he can count. No this is not unique to GM as it can apply to all manufacturers. The point is whether you look at the stats or not, its the public perception of past performance that GM has to overcome. They have to prove to people they can build the Malibu that can exceed import spec. More importantly, they have to prove to the Average Joe that their Malibu will be just as reliable as their neighbour's Camry and Accord.
"I can fully understand going with a Camry after having problems with a GM vehicle. Go ahead and do that but do not act like there is some magic formula that could make you forget about your bad experience and run down to your Chevy dealer. "
Not sure I understand what you are saying here. Are you saying that there is nothing GM can do to win over customers like myself? If so then they may as well pack-in the towel and call it quits.
"Other than lacking nav the Malibu is on point and as I said it will be cheaper than the import competition. what else can Chevy do?"
Chevy could offer a longer bumper to bumper warranty to show they stand behind their product (it should be at least 5 years). Heck if they really want to cause a ripple they could do something like a guarantee where if the same major component fails twice in a 5 year span they will buy back the car. Put their money where there mouth is and give people a reason to trust in the brand again
"Contrary to what you are stating the MAJORITY of car buyers do not drive imports and they will consider domestic products."
And how many car buyers are switching to Toyota when their domestic is traded in? Last month's sales in Ontario showed they were a top gainer and the Camry continues to dominate the sales charts.
"I dont know why people like you cant accept that many people have no intentions of ever buying domestic regardless of what JD POwers and others say about improved reliability."
Awards are a funny thing. They're like stats which can be skewed anyway you want to spin it. Telling me that GM has the best plant in the northern hemisphere is about as funny as saying GM has the plant in my city. They should have the best plan in the world, period. Why break up award categories to such a granular degree? As an aside, an interesting read on awards:
"Some wont buy domestic because of image, others because of bluetooth, others because they got burned by an American car 30 years ago, etc. Those who worship anything designed and made by foreign companies will find ANY reason to not buy domestic and the actual products produced by Detroit are almost besides the point."
Well I got burned with a '96, your exaggeration not withstanding. The point again is that the Malibu needs to wow the customer. It's a step in the right direction but frankly this was the car they should have came out with 5 years ago.
"Yes Toyota is about to pass GM in WORLDWIDE sales, but not US sales."
Coles notes version: Toyota US sales are closing in on GM when we look at cars. GM is lucky they dominate in Truck/SUV sales. What's totally remarkable about this is that Toyota can do it with just 2 brands (lost count the number of badges GM produces) and with less reliance on fleet sales to pump up the numbers.
"GM sells no cars in Japan which is the 2nd largest auto market so its kind of hard for Toyota not to be #1."
Not true. GM sells cars in Japan - whether their domestic market actually buys the vehicles is another matter. I will agree that there are probably trade and tariff issues in place which hamper GM's ability to compete in the Japanese market.
In short: the Malibu looks good on paper, let's hope the final product can deliver (because yes I do want this model to succeed).
#135 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting [mrdisco33]
Jan 08, 2007 (8:45 am)
You are missing one major point here. Evry potential car buyer hasnt been burned by GM as you have. You are assuming that anyone in the market today has the same experiences you do and thus has reason to doubt GM. That isnt the case. Many people have owned GM products that have been reliable. What about those people? Others have never had a bad experience with GM but have never owned one because of what others (or CR) have said about american cars. Other had problems with another kind of dometic vehicle and have lumped all American cars together are hesitant to buy a GM product. Those are the types of people who would consider the Malibu.
There are two types who will not buy GM, hardcore import lovers who are completely biased and those like you that have recently been burned by GM. As I said, I dont blame you for wanting a camry. Go ahead and get one.
BTW, Toyota has three brands, not two. GM is cutting fleet sales (already mentioned that) and GM sells more midsize and fullsize cars than Toyota. Toyota sells more luxury cars and small cars. I dont see how that equals Toyota dominating the car market. GM has a much larger lead in trucks than Toyota has in cars. Check the numbers.
"Awards are a funny thing. They're like stats which can be skewed anyway you want to spin it. "
JD Powers surveys are not awards like the MT car of the year. I dont know how you "spin" problems per vehicle but maybe you can explain how that can be done. The vehicles with less problems per vehicle are more relaible, it seems pretty simple. BTW, Toyota and Honda usually place pretty high on JD Power Surveys so I'm wondering if you are questioning the results as they pertain to those two automakers.
BTW, I have an Alero and it has had some problems but 99% of the time it has started up and and got me from A to B. Most of my issues fall under annoyances rather than reliability problems. Now I could go straight to the Japanese but I'm not going to pay $3000 more for a Toyota/Honda just because it "might" be more reliable, especially when I am not crazy about the car's styling. The Alima is nice and it's the one Japanese car I would consider, but $30k for a V6 with leather, Bose and sunroof is outrageous and I wont get a stripped down mode just so I can drive a Nissan.
#136 of 1514 And this makes me wanna rush out and buy a Camry!!!
Jan 08, 2007 (12:28 pm)
from the AP:
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. has quietly settled a class-action lawsuit that covers about 3.5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles that may have been damaged by engine oil sludge.
Details of the settlement, which allows for third-party mediation of sludge claims rejected by Toyota, have been mailed to 7.5 million current and previous owners.
[B]Critics contend Toyota has told customers and dealers too little about sludge issues. They say some customers took vehicles with dead engines to dealers who had little or no knowledge of the problem and often assumed it was the owners' fault.Unhappy customers had no remedy other than hiring a lawyer to go after Toyota. [/b]
Under the agreement, owners whose claims have been denied by Toyota may submit them to a third-party mediator at no cost for binding arbitration.
"This settlement breathes life into claims that have been dead for years," said Gary Gambel, a lawyer for plaintiffs who sued Toyota. "This is not a settlement that gives a few dollars to everyone. The relief is exactly tied to the problems and damages that someone might have."
About 3.3 million Toyota vehicles are susceptible to oil sludge, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage and require replacement of the engine. Sludge is gelled oil that fails to lubricate engine parts. It can lead to damage, often requiring a new engine at a cost that can exceed $10,000. Complaints about sludged engines have plagued several carmakers, but Toyota's troubles have been especially controversial in light of its reputation for vehicle quality.
The issue highlights a possible chink in the company's armor. Executives fear Toyota is growing too fast for its engineering resources. That could lead to quality snags and a tarnished reputation.
When a customer takes a sludge-caked engine to a dealership, there is usually a "clean-out" procedure. The head is pulled and a service technician tries try to steam out the sludge. If that doesn't work, the engine must be replaced.
Sludge can result from poor engine design; overly tight tolerances between moving parts; improper cooling; and poor maintenance by consumers.
Toyota insists the problem arises mainly when owners fail to change their oil frequently enough.
The agreement does not find Toyota at fault.
Damages that can be recovered include loss in value of the vehicle and incidental costs, such as rental cars. Past lawyers' fees, mental anguish and bodily injuries are not covered.
A Toyota spokesman said the agreement is not a defeat for the automaker.
"The settlement validates the customer support program we implemented four years ago," Xavier Dominicis said.
"The terms of the program remain unchanged. There always was a way for customers to appeal our decision."
Plaintiff lawyers disagree. They say Toyota failed to communicate the extent of the problem to its dealers and customers. Toyota's appeal process also meant hiring a lawyer, which many consumers could not afford. It costs nothing to file an appeal with Ates.
"The consumer only needs to show reasonable maintenance in terms of oil changes," Gambel said. "You don't need to prove where the sludge came from, or explain your driving habits. If you have oil sludge, Toyota pays" the consumer.
#137 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting [mrdisco33]
Jan 08, 2007 (5:27 pm)
And here we come to the heart of the matter. If GM is going to survive they need to win over these (CamCord, I assume?)customers.
That may yet happen w/ the Malibu. This months Car and Driver tested the Aura against the CamCord, Altima, Kia Optima, and Sebring. The Camry finished 5th, ahead of only the Sebring (BTW the OLD Accord came in first). Now, these cars were priced out at $21k (Altima) to $24,500 (Camry), w/ automatics, so the ONLY ONE w/ a v-6 was the Aura (albeit the pushrod 3.5). However, the Aura was the only one w/ a 4-sp auto. Inspite of the pushrod and 4-sp, the Aura finished 4th, in a group of cars that were closely grouped (190-202 pts). The KIA got higher marks than the Camry for fit and finish!!!! While the Camry and Sebring (176 and 163 pts) LANGUISHED FAR BEHIND!!!
Remind me again, how close is Toyota coming to knocking off GM as the #1 car maker?
Well, that may VERY well happen. However, if this is what Toyota is going to put out in their quest for No.1 (the Tacoma also was criticised for body quiver and squeaks after a 40k mi test), and GM continues to put out cars like the Aura, the new CTS, the new Malibu, and the new full size CUV's, I don't think they'll be there for long, especially if auto sites and mags point out and people see poor quality.
#138 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting 
Jan 08, 2007 (7:00 pm)
When you are making ~$ 10 Bil/ year like Toyota, you can afford to give some back to win market share.
Toyota is making more money than GM, Ford and Chrysler combined (when they actually made money rather than creative accounting to show profits).
I hope we will see stronger GM and Ford in the near future after the painful shrinking. I hate to see GM taken over by their Chinese partner (Shanghai Automotive) 4-5 years down the road.
Jan 08, 2007 (9:04 pm)
The new Malibu looks pretty good. If I was in the market for another midsize car I'd probably look into it. I predict it will be rated pretty good also, it's platform mate that it will share most components and powertrains with, the Saturn Aura, is getting good reviews and just won 2007 Car of the Year. Hopefully these good reviews and awards will help convince people that GM is not the devil. Also, wasn't Toyota recall champ of 06? Didn't Toyota find loopholes in horsepower guideline to overrate them? Hasn't Toyota been sliding the sludge problem under the table for years? Must have been Ford or GM's fault. Don't get me wrong, GM and Ford make lots mistakes too, but they take a lot more heat for theirs than the Imports do. No one seems to notice when Toyota messes up.
#140 of 1514 Re: And this makes me wanna rush out and buy a Camry!!! [pao]
Jan 08, 2007 (11:19 pm)
If Camry has this kind of problems, like ripping off million people then they are supposedIf Camry has this kind of problem, like ripping off million people then Toyota should suffer consequences. It cannot pass unpunished. Nobody is going to buy another Toyota after having to replace engine, even if Toyota pays for it. And I do not mention cases when Toyota refuses to pay and we are talking about thousands dollar (like 5 grands or more).
Now explain me why Camry sales increase every year? Where are those millions customers?
#141 of 1514 malibu
Jan 09, 2007 (6:09 am)
Check out chevy's website, they have added a little info on the Malibu. There are some great pics of the LTZ model from every angle and REAL interior pics. The car looks GOOD. Very good. That LTZ is the best looking sedan in this segment.
Its amazing how little press there has been about the Toyota sludge problem. Its almost like the press is ignoring it because it would damage their "Toyota does no wrong" mantra. Just last night I saw a segment on the national news talking about how the Big were desperate and the Japanese were taking over the industry. They said the Big 3's execs are nervous wrecks and are pretending to have confidence in their new vehicles. The reporter asked the editor of C&D "Are the domestic companies even capable of making a product consumers want?". Wow.
#142 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting 
Jan 09, 2007 (10:16 am)
"You are assuming that anyone in the market today has the same experiences you do and thus has reason to doubt GM. That isnt the case. Many people have owned GM products that have been reliable. What about those people?"
Those are the people GM continues to sell cars to.
Look I am not saying the Malibu is 'crap' or that GM is a terrible company. I'm saying they're going to have a very difficult time to win over customer's they've lost or have already been entrenched in the import product line. The Malibu looks good on paper, but its a question of how they can execute and deliver on reliability and dependability.
"BTW, Toyota has three brands, not two"
True if you're referring to the Scion line which is in the US. As a Canadian we only see the two lines which are Toyota and Lexus.
"JD Powers surveys are not awards like the MT car of the year. I dont know how you "spin" problems per vehicle but maybe you can explain how that can be done."
Simple. By hyping the fact that your car has won the JD Power award but play down the fact that its only on initial quality. I don't know about you but any car maker should be able to pass an initial quality survey. It's the long-term quality stats which is far more interesting and worthwhile to look at.
#143 of 1514 Re: typical cost-cutting [mrdisco33]
Jan 09, 2007 (10:31 am)
I know the difference between initial quality and long term dependability. Check GM's rankings on the 3 year dependability study as well. They have brands that outrank some Japanese brands. BTW, not all brands do well in the initial quality and in case you didnt know the initial quality surveys are done to compare how many problems exist in recently assembled vehicles to gauge quality control for auto factories. They award the plants that create the vehicles with the fewest problems in 90 days.
"The Malibu looks good on paper, but its a question of how they can execute and deliver on reliability and dependability. "
Even if they do, it will take years for that data to be available so you might as well say an entreched import owner isnt going to consider the Malibu. I agree with that. There are flaws with many import cars such as lack of value, lack of style, shorter warranties, etc. but some people arent going to consider all options because of reliability concerns. For those leasing a car the warranty should be enough to ease concern. The days of domestic cars not starting up are long gone and almost anything else can be handled when you take the car in for servicing. If I was that scared to own a domestic I would lease to try them out and then go from there once the lease is up. Of course import lovers will never be satisfied because if the car is trouble free during the lease period you will say "all cars are problem free for 3 years, lets see how it holds up after 200k miles".