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Episode 1055 – Euro Plants Get Axe, 2014 Subaru Forester Demo, Car Navs No Match for Apps

January 23rd, 2013 at 12:01pm

Runtime: 9:25

As Europe continues to slump, more factories are on the chopping block. John McElroy is out testing the 2014 Subaru Forester and he has an impressive demo of the vehicle’s all-wheel drive capabilities. And, maybe automakers should stick to what they’re good at; a new study suggests car nav systems can’t compare to smart phones. All that and more, plus Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, is back with his recipe for maximizing the potential of Corvette. See what his new lineup would look like.

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Hello and welcome to today’s installment of Autoline Daily. It is Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 and I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, filling in for John who’s out driving the new 2014 Subaru Forester. Later in the show we’ll see one feature on the car that really impressed him. Anyway, here’s what’s happening in the automotive industry today.

MORE EUROPEAN PLANT CLOSURES
As Europe continues to slump, automakers are taking action to stop the bleeding. Renault is asking workers to take a pay freeze this year, in exchange for boosting production in France. In addition, the company is also seeking to cut 7,500 jobs through voluntary departures, and workers wages would increase by less than one percent the next two years. Union leaders say if they don’t reach an agreement, the company will close plants in France. And in related news, GM may close an Opel factory two years ahead of schedule. Originally the company planned to shutdown its Bochum plant, which makes the Zafira, in 2016 but that could be bumped up to the end of next year when a labor agreement is set to expire. A report from WardsAuto estimates that Europe’s annual over capacity is at 3 million units.

BEIJING CRACKS DOWN ON SMOG
The city of Beijing announced new legislation to control air pollution. Under the new rules, drivers could face fines close to $500 if their vehicle exceeds emission limits. And factories would have to shut down when smog levels are high. In fact, Hyundai had to suspend production at its Beijing facility over the weekend due to the high levels of air pollution.

OBAMA KEEPS LaHOOD
Now that President Obama has been sworn in for a second term, he is looking to replace several cabinet members but he won’t have to look for a new Transportation secretary. Bloomberg reports that Ray LaHood will be staying at his current position for at least part of Obama’s second term.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Do you think that the navigation system on your phone is better than the one in your car? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates, fewer drivers are satisfied with their factory-installed navigation system. 47 percent of owners say they use a downloaded app on their smartphone for navigation, compared with 37 percent the previous year. The study also shows that 6 of the top 10 most frequent issues with factory-installed nav systems are with the input and selection controls.

2014 SUBARU FORESTER
As I mentioned earlier in the show, John is in Arizona test driving the new 2014 Subaru Forester but one of the things that really impressed him was how the new all-wheel drive system works on super slippery surfaces.

(The demo of the 2014 Subaru Forester is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

On yesterday’s Autoline Daily, I talked about how I think GM just doesn’t get how to properly market the Corvette. Coming up next, how I would fix the iconic sports car.

HOW TO FIX CORVETTE
As I stated yesterday, despite their protestations to the contrary, GM marketers not only don’t get the Corvette, they don’t even know where to begin to understand how to fix it. I would say that is a major problem. To have an iconic vehicle with the status of the Corvette and not know what to do with it is tantamount to being Porsche and not knowing how to market the 911.

What would I do different? How about everything?

I’ve heard the argument almost since the day I was born: “We put a little bit of Corvette in all of our Chevys.” The premise is lure customers into the showroom with the Corvette, and sell them (insert Chevy model name here). The idea that a halo car will sell your other products is as old of an axiom that there is in this business. But that axiom has clearly run its course when it comes to Corvette and Chevrolet. Especially now that Chevrolet is going global with a mixture of funky-fun small cars that no one much cares about. What does Corvette have to do with Chevrolet when it really comes right down to it? Nostalgia? That doesn’t count for much in this, the most competitive market in automotive history.

The Corvette should have a higher plateau to aim for. Which is why I’d make Corvette a brand unto itself. If GM can position Cadillac and Chevrolet as global bands, then the Corvette deserves to be a global brand too. Just because the power of the Corvette name has been underutilized up until now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be polished into something much more.

Next, besides relocating the Corvette brand headquarters as far away from GM’s RenCen headquarters as I could get it, I would completely and thoroughly upend the Corvette product portfolio, from top to bottom. Instead of multiple variations of one Corvette, I would have three Corvettes. (And I’d like to thank Josiah LaColla for his scintillating and imaginative illustrations, by the way.)

My new Corvette lineup would look like this:

First, I would introduce an all-new 2016 Corvette Stingray. Not to be confused with the current car, this will be the entry level Corvette that the non-boomers are clamoring for. And no, you won’t find any reptilian nightmare design influences here either. Imagine a car with a footprint longer, wider and lower than the discontinued Solstice/Sky twins but with a fresh design that would harken back to the original Stingray, with Corvair Monza SS concept overtones. Available in a roadster only (that means no hardtop, removable or otherwise), this car would have a Twin-Turbo V6 with 375HP, 7-speed manual (only) gearbox, 50-50 weight distribution, an aggressive-fun driving dynamic profile and a target curb weight of 2,800 pounds. And round taillights, of course. Price? $39,995 base with minimal option packages available. It would come in at $49,995, fully loaded.

Second would be the 2016 Corvette SS. This would be the newly-introduced C7 with about 25 percent of the overwrought and overdone surface detailing removed. Meaning a complete rethink of the side vents and associated detailing would be undertaken, moving the car away from its vaguely Nissan GT-R overtones and more in keeping with great Corvettes of the past. And the back end would be completely redesigned to include round taillights and a more subtle seductiveness, without compromising its GT racing mission. This would still be the mainstream Corvette, one that the Corvette faithful would be very happy with on a day in, day out basis.

And finally I’d like to introduce you to the 2018 Corvette Chaparral. Yes, you heard that correctly. The Corvette Chaparral. This is the car that the Corvette faithful have been clamoring to have for decades. With Jim Hall’s blessing, of course, this would be a clean-sheet, mid-engined Corvette for the ages. This machine would boast every ounce of GM technological know-how plus every current and future trick in the book available. Carbon fiber chassis and body structure with the use of advanced technical materials throughout. Twin-Turbo, Direct-Injected 800HP LT1 V8 with hybrid assist. 10-speed dual range sequential automatic. Extremely limited production cadence of 1000 vehicles over a 42-month build sequence. No excuses and no “what ifs.” The Corvette Chaparral would have it all and then some. Price point? $175,000. Its stated mission beyond, of course, giving Corvette enthusiasts their ultimate fantasy? To kick Audi, BMW, McLaren and Porsche’s ass at Le Mans and deliver the first overall win for an American manufacturer there since 1969.

This product portfolio would accomplish several things. First of all it would put to rest the undeliverable notion that the Corvette can be adjusted to skew younger. That’s notgonnahappen. But you can do an entry-level Corvette that would address that idea elegantly and emotionally, while adhering to the legacy of one of the all-time great cars: the original ’59 Sting Ray. Secondly, it would give the Corvette – now Corvette SS – some breathing room to be better. It would fulfill its role as the car that the Corvette aficionados would savor and relish for years to come. And finally, the Corvette Chaparral would put the new global brand Corvette on the map. A car that would be mentioned with the other super cars of the world as a matter of fact, not as a matter of surprise.

The Corvette deserves better. Much better. Here’s to the idea of a future for Corvette that exceeds even my most colorful imagination.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for Wednesday, January 23.

And that also brings us to the end of today’s show. Once again, I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, thanks for watching and I will see you next time.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

79 Comments to “Episode 1055 – Euro Plants Get Axe, 2014 Subaru Forester Demo, Car Navs No Match for Apps”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    First off let me give Pietro a resounding ” Hear Hear ” along with an ” Amen Brother and Give Em ( blank ) ”

    But having pondered yesterdays posts along with everything thats come up lately about GM in general and the C7 specifically I have to ask myself the question ;

    Does GM in fact give a rats posterior what I , any of us here , Pietro , Johnny M or any other pundit , famous or otherwise think ?

    To be honest . I doubt it . IMO GM has entrenched itself in a culture steeped in Xenophobia , Insular though as well as Head in the Sand mentality . GM didn’t listen to Lutz after all so why the ( blank ) would any of us for a moment think GM could care less what its potential customer base might be thinking . The long and short answer being ; They Don’t

    GM ( and Cadillac ) have deluded themselves into thinking they are World Class and Global brands when in fact they’re looked down upon by anyone and everyone outside the US

    GM’s international brands .. e.g. OPEL Vauxhall and Holden .. having the same insular mentality are on the verge of dying ( according to my sources in Australia the government there is on the verge of eliminating Holden … my EU OPEL source .. as was confirmed by todays ALD report .. have plant closings as their only current agenda etc etc )

    IMO GM is a Dinosaur . Unable to evolve . Unwilling to change ( beyond a lot of hype and cheap marketing ploys ) and incapable of getting out of its own way .

    So … again Two Thumbs Up for Pietro’s ideas and his willingness to express them despite the well known consequences he’ll undoubtedly incur from the higher ups in GM .

    But truth be known ….. what Pietro’s said here today … along with what anyone else inside or out of the industry will say tomorrow …. won’t in fact make a fig of difference . GM has chosen its path . Refuses to change . And like all things refusing to change or evolve …. is destined for extinction … much as it pains me to admit that

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I like your idea Peter,but the Vette SS should be the Gran Sport instead,jmho.

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I am forced to agree with you CK with the exception of their trucks which really are first rate…..most of the time.Overall,GM really doesn’t ‘get it’.

  4. vette427400 Says:

    Love your ideas on a Corvette ‘brand’
    - GM nearly killed the Vette in the mid-70s with bland misdirection
    - Now, without an idea like your ‘Stingray’ entry level addition, the 2014 Corvette unfortunately will continue to decline in volumes year by year
    - then, the non-car guys will kill it for lack of contribution to Chevy’s growing Fuel Economy image

  5. Robert McElroy Says:

    Peter’s assessment of the three(3) Corvette pathways is absolutely on-target. This approach provides a foundation entry level sports car in addition to the ultimate world class Corvette Achievement Vehicle (CAV).

    Although the Corvette is an arguable Halo Vehicle for Chevrolte the CAV would be an unquestionable Halo Vehicle for Chevrolet and GM.

    Definitely, Peter’s Strategy should be implemented by GM!

  6. Bob White Says:

    From what I hear, this is pretty well what GM has in store for the C8 but first, the C7 must be successful to justify further investment from the corporate bean counters.

    At 13,000 units, the C5 and 6 have been money losers. The C7 is a fabulous car and if the market doesn’t push demand to 25,000 units, then there is no market and the nameplate should be shuttered.

    With the near collapse of the US economy and current repercussions, the future of the Vette resides in Asia and the Middle East. In the next 2 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Dragon Edition complete with gold rims and trim following in the footsteps of the 458 Italia.

  7. Grant Tweed Says:

    Reading John’s formula for a proper remake of the Corvette brand makes me long for the day when “Car Guys” ran the business. Having grown up in a family car business 50′s & on) I have wonderful memories of the cars & the characters of that golden era. Now it seems to be a race to build the most bland & inoffensive vehicle & market it in a similarly dull manner.

  8. Ron Paris Says:

    Thank you Peter for calling out the C7 Corvette on it’s overly busy (read “over-vented”) body which John seems so enamored with. I’m sure all those vents are there for a reason, but at the very least they should have been body-colored, especially the awkward looking front fender vents!

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Peter, wasn’t the original “Sting Ray” the C2 introduced for the ’63 model year, not a ’59?

  10. T. Bejma Says:

    How do you figure that GM didn’t listen to Lutz? Without Bob’s guidence we wouldn’t have the Volt, most of the exterior chrome and the interior upgrades.

  11. Bob White Says:

    BTW. How much cheaper can an entry level car be? The Stingray is priced at the same level as Ford’s antiquated GT-500.

    Patience folks! Future versions will have painted vents to provide visual differentiation.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That Corvette Chaparral sounds like it would have to sell for about $300K, not $175K, but it’s an interesting concept.

    Those are interesting ideas for a Corvette “family,” but I don’t see it happening any time soon. For now, at least, they just need to remove some of the “gingerbread” from the C7 and, if possible, before full production begins. Also, yeah, it needs round tail lights. They need to take their losses now, and clean up the car before it even hits the showroom floors.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I think the rear of the 59 was more or less the prelude to the 63 StingRay.

  14. dcars Says:

    Some refreshing ideas for the Corvette.

  15. T. Bejma Says:

    PDL – Like your ideas, but they sound more like product changes than marketing. Also Chevrolet seems to be using the Corvette reputation for anything that is performance, not necessarily every Chevrolet.

    One question: How does the Corvette over come the poor reputation in other countries in order to become truly global?

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Correction,make that a 61 vette…..xin loi.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ T.Bejma: I think PDL said he would change EVERYTHING to do with the brand.

  18. T. Bejma Says:

    #13

    G.A. – From yesterday’s show:

    “it’s time to take a hard look at Corvette from a brand image and marketing point of view.”

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    From today’s show…”What would I do different? How about everything”?

  20. The Autoextremist Says:

    Kit: The “original” Sting Ray was the racer Bill Mitchell put on the SS racer’s “mule” chassis. Designed by Larry Shinoda with assistance by Peter Brock and others, it debuted in ’59 – in red, by the way. There’s a picture of it on my website, along with the C2, aka the production Sting Ray, which made its debut in ’63. Btw, GM, at one point went to Stingray (one word), which is as it appears today. But originally it was two words: Sting Ray.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12, Yeah, wasn’t ’61 when they they went to round tail lights rather than the “blended in” lights?

  22. The Autoextremist Says:

    And yes, I would change everything about Corvette. Starting with the product first and then ultimately the way it is marketed. It always starts with product, however.

    PMD

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16, Thanks for the info, Peter. I’ll check it out on your site.

  24. Richard Tait Says:

    I like the models that Peter is pushing as the 3-car Corvette lineup, but I don’t agree with spinning off Corvette as its own brand. It would be a cute idea, but CAFE regulations would punish it into the ground. The fuel-efficiency numbers would just not add up. In our politically-driven real world, the Corvette needs the diesel Cruze, the Volt, and the electric Spark more than they need it. I say the entry level Stingray should be a Buick (which is the only one of the car brands that doesn’t have a performance coupe or convertible), the mid-level SS should soldier on as the C7 (albeit with the changes you mentioned), and the top-level Chaparral going over to Cadillac (which would do well with a super car like the Merceded SLS AMG or the Lexus LFA).

  25. C-Tech Says:

    An interesting proposal. A few questions: Most supercar/sportscar companies do not make money and are funded by the other operations of the firm. Do you really expect GM to sink multi-billions into creating the Corvette brand without a clear path to a positive return on investment?
    The Stingray roadster: I think the lack of a hardtop and no back seat will make it more of an expensive toy, NOT appealing to a young generation which has limited funds or prefers a sports cars which is convenient to use as a daily driver and on the track.
    Something like the Chaparrel could always be built, its making it sustainable, profit-wise, year after year. How do propose to do that?

  26. Drew Says:

    If Sergio was at GM, we certainly would have a unique Corvette brand, just as he created the unique SRT and Ram brands at ChryCo. But I’ll submit Sergio went too far in creating a 500 sub-brand as the 500L has nothing in common with the 500. Is he trying to minimize the Fiat name or just suffering from Mini-envy!?!?! I wouldn’t chase Mini as they are at grave risk of repeating the Oldsmobile mistake of the 1980s with too many Cutlasses (Calais, Supreme, cruiser, Ciera). Perhaps this is the source of GM’s reluctance to do brand extensions of the Corvette!?!?!

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Yup.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #20 I think your proposal is more pratical than PDL.

  29. Earl Says:

    A friend of mine just bought a suction cup holder to go on the windshield for his iPhone 5, says the ‘Waze’ map is the best going.

  30. T. Bejma Says:

    Thanks for responding PDL. I find this very interesting and, since I aspire to someday work in Marketing at GM, very useful as well.

    I read your column today and think that more of it should have been included here because I think it explains more of the marketing part better.

    On the http://www.autoextremist.com you mention that one of the reasons that GM failed was by not touting 24 hours of LeMans GT victories by Corvette racing. I see posters, JAKE items, model cars and other items that showcase Corvette racing and their successes all the time. Respectfully, what more do you think could be done? TV ads? Maybe it is because I race (SCCA) and am more of a “motor head” that I notice Corvette racing more, but GM’s promotion seems appropriate to me. Corvette also gains exposure through some of the major tuners like Lingenfelter and Hennessey. I don’t think anyone from teenagers to senior citizens doesn’t realize that the Corvette is the best performing Chevrolet they have ever made. I also know that there have been several internal conflicts at GM about not wanting to get other GM vehicles to the performance level of the Vette or even using the Corvette engines in different vehicles so it seems there is some protection of the brand.

    And what does Porsche do so well in marketing the 911? In the US anyway, it is rare that I am exposed to ANYTHING about the 911 except for maybe a page in Road & Track. Maybe it is because they are not marketing to mid 40′s Automotive Engineers, but I might be wrong.

    Thanks again for your insights Peter.

  31. jack879 Says:

    Now I know why Peter calls himself the Auto Extremeness. It good to be able to dream about something, but after the dream, reality sets in. GM nor any other car manufacturers could afford doing all these new cars he suggests. GM did a great job on the new Corvette and they should be given praise instead of criticism. On the marketing of GM products, I fully agree, GM needs to get much better in that dept.

  32. M369 Says:

    Peter, you hit the nail on the head. However, GM will always have the same mindset they have always had and top manangement doesn’t see any reason to change.

  33. W L Simpson Says:

    Restored & owned a C2 for 10 years, still the best
    looking vette ever.

  34. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 28: Maybe gm can’t afford NOT to implement some drastic changes.They have to do something and they will run out of time,like before.

  35. Lex Says:

    I have a solution for the smog the Chinese are experiencing in Beijing: Build a gigantic wind farm around the City of Beijing and blow the smog towards the Pacific Ocean or anywhere they choose. This will reduce the smog levels and generate polution free electricity for their fleet of electric vehicles. The citizens of Beijing will no longer need breathing masks, just ear plugs for the noise produced by the wind farm. They can call it “The Great Wall of Wind”!!!

    We should do the same for Los Angelos when the smog levels increase. Using an off shore wind farm to blow the smog away. The Santa Anna winds can be used to generate and store reserve electrical power to be used during a smog events and power their fleet of State mandated EV’s.

    The only down side is the potential for fire. The wind farm would only provide a gentle breeze to disperse the smog.

  36. Jonathan Says:

    Peter

    I am sure many who agree with me won’t bother to respond. Respectfully I disagree with your proposals with regards to corvette.

    The upcoming c7 is awesome as is and I believe your plan is flawed.

    Thanks for the food for thought though.

    Corvettes in the news everyday is always fun.

    Smok em if you got them

    JB

  37. C-Tech Says:

    @ #24 I agree. I think this is a more practical approach. Perhaps the Buick Banshee?

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I haven’t been in Beijing, but when I was in Shanghai a few years ago, the conspicuous pollution was from the many mopeds and small scooters with 2-stroke engines. I’m sure there are fewer of those on the road now, but it doesn’t take many to generate a lot of blue smoke with that distinctive smell.

    If they are building all those coal-fired power plants upwind of the city, that could be another major source of pollution. In any case, I suspect the cars, at least the newer ones, are a small part of the smog problem in Chinese cities, and the real problem is the 2-stroke bikes, the old diesel buses, and the factories. I’m sure the traffic is a mess in Beijing, though, a separate reason to discourage people from having cars in the city.

  39. T. Bejma Says:

    #36

    I agree that the C7 design is perfect the way it is, but I do like the rest of Peter’s plan.

  40. Kate McLeod Says:

    OMG, Peter, How long did it take you to come up with The Corvette Brand plan? You packed more detail into that than automakers pack into 78 months of meetings involving hundreds of people. Just brilliant. I’ll take the entry level Corvette as I love the old one that you showed at the beginning of the segment. Congratulations. I hope someone at GM listens very carefully to what you propose. Thanks for saving this icon–even if it is in your imagination. It’s now in mine.

  41. HtG Says:

    I think we may have May/December issues with the C7. While I can’t get figures for the number of downloads, C7 is downloadable to SONY’s Gran Turismo game. Here’s a video you can see on YouTube, and feel like a kid. I would call this marketing. Crank it

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KJk5iscivE

  42. HtG Says:

    Here’s some kid taking a break from regular activities.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y0uCrVqFog

  43. HtG Says:

    Chubba Chedda interviews the design manager for C7. About an hour, I’ll call this PR, and watch it tonight. See, I don’t watch TV hardly, so this is how to get my ‘ttention.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrwBHi_bW2M

  44. Denis Says:

    When a car generates such passionate responses,( on both sides) it is clearly an indicator of future success. Indifference tells you it will bomb.

    I was at NAIAS on Monday and from the open to close, the Corvette was surrounded with 4-5 rows deep of admirers and flashing cameras. The entire GM booths were buzzing with activity. 2012 NAIAS for the GM, was the complete opposite.

    Seems to me like a little bit of Corvette was rubbing off on other GM brands. Then I was forced to listen,on the long drive home, to to the ramblings of a hardcore blue blood Ford fanatic, debate his tormented justification for considering a Fleur de Lys on his next ride…

    I say mission accomplished GM. Remarkable considering the difficult circumstances. Now don’t screw-up the launch!

  45. Audi Jacksonville Says:

    Your proposal seems to make the most since? Cars designs get modified all the time and eventually end up close to the original design..

  46. The Autoextremist Says:

    Thanks for all of your comments. At least there’s a new Corvette to debate, the alternative wouldn’t be good. The Corvette faithful (most, anyway) are bitterly disappointed that I am unwilling to canonize the C7 right out of the gate. Too bad. I have very high standards and I feel the Corvette design is trite, overwrought, too busy and too obvious.

    And if you’re going to employ “borrowed interest” in the Corvette design, why don’t you borrow from one of the most stunning automotive designs of all time, the “original” ’59 Sting Ray racer?

    But, that said, some of you really need to read last week’s column (1/16) if you think I’m a Corvette “hater.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. I heap praise on the True Believers involved with Corvette in product development because there’s no question it will be the finest driving Corvette in history. And by a long shot too.

    But the design leaves a lot to be desired, and there’s just no getting around that fact. Those of you who are thrilled with the C7? I’m happy for you.

    But this just in: “Good enough” is never good enough.

    Over and out.

    PMD

  47. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ PMD: I have to wonder what the ‘rejected’ designs looked like.Maybe they threw the baby out with the bath water……..so to say.

  48. Rafi Jaan Says:

    If Corvette was ever to become its own brand, would we then have a Corvette SUV and a Corvette truck? I ask that because Americans LOVE trucks and SUVs and will buy them no matter how high fuel prices go, or how bad the economy gets.

  49. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 48: Most Americans buy trucks because they need them,irregardless of the price of fuel.If the oems still made compact/midsize trucks instead of letting them lapse into mediocrity, only to cancel them and blaming the buying public for not buying out-dated products with mediocre mpg,most would buy them,given the choice.

  50. aliisdad Says:

    Peter, I seldom enjoy hearing what you say because it is usually so cynical and negative…BUT, you are right on and right on in your rant about Corvette, today, bro!!!!!
    Good job!!!
    As far as trucks; yes they are cool and our domestic companies are the “truck kings”; however, a lot of folks seem to drive them who don’t really need them…I wonder if our pickups could sell globally…I do know of several pickups by VW, Opel, and Peugeot that are pretty similar to our trucks, or maybe more like the big Toyota; so there must be some market for pickups elsewhere, and maybe the domestic companies could jump in to other markets…I would think the American truck image could be marketed with success…
    Anyway, lots of good comments, today!!

  51. Mike S Says:

    GM will make 3 Corvette variants when Toyota will decide produce the Corolla Furia concept, just as it is. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Sure, those cars are what we want, but we won’t see them–just like we’ll never see dad stop drinking too much, mom stop popping pills, and sister stop going through husbands like Ina Garten going through cheesecake.

    Wish you luck, buddy.

  52. Chris Chow Says:

    Peter,

    Beg to differ with you. If Corvette started out as its own brand it would fail. Just like the Saturn line. Have you walked into a dealership and tried to buy a “halo” car? They will treat you like CRAP and the sales droids usually have NOTHING additional to add than what’s already out there on the internet. There is not enough infrastructure to support a Corvette-only brand/dealership. I basically skipped your segment because you are basically blowing lots of “hot air” on something that GM will never wake up to. Although your idea makes sense because I personally would rather buy something that meets my criteria (all wheel drive, V-10 or something with turbos and 800+ hp and can seat 4) rather than stick with a particular icon.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    49,
    Come on, G.A., you know that only a small percentage of people in America who buy trucks “need” them. I know quite a few people, especially in Indiana, who have pickups, and most of them would be better off with vans or cars. For whatever reason, a lot of people consider trucks “cool.”

    Yeah, I realize that some people need them, and maybe you are one of them, but most of the trucks are bought for the “image.”

  54. Warren G. Webb Says:

    Peter, the sting ray came out in 63, not 59 as you stated. Otherwise a great report which I for one totally agree with.

  55. C-Tech Says:

    As a drove home tonight, looking around at the other makes on the road something very clear came to mind. About 1 in 5 cars were a GM brand, past or present. Spending 2-3 days creating a marketing and product plan for a car that at most will produce a small profit and most likely a loss will not save GM. This is a BIG country with many automotive icons besides Mustang and Corvette. Most of us do not live next door to top executives bringing home cool experimental cars to explore close up. For many people the icon is a pick up truck, a Chevelle, for me a 65 Riviera. Being a Detroit insider I think you PMD and other true believers have ignored what the rest of the country desires and have lost the battles to Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and others who still ENGAGE us with affordable, reliable, useful, and sometimes stylish cars we can AFFORD. I hope you, Kate McLeod, and others can muster the type of fever and industry to produce and market a greater generation of Impalas, Rams, 200′s, 300′s, Taurus, and (hopefully) Lincoln’s in the future. Without Impalas, Fusions, Cruze, Focus sales to regular people, there will be NO FUNDING for Corvettes and GT40. If you do not, there will even fewer GM cars on the roads in the next 10 years.

  56. Kit Gerhart Says:

    54,
    I said the same thing, but see Peter’s explanation in post #20.

  57. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Maybe in an urban setting they are bought for ‘looks’? Or a macho thing,I wouldn’t know.But out here they are used as intended,as a pickup truck/work truck/grocery getter/camper towing/hauling firewood and so on.I have no idea why people in a city that own and drive pickups have them.Hell Kit,it’s their money.Why do people buy super cars? The speed limit is the same in my truck as it is in a veyron.Not everyone cares about mpg.I care,you betcha I do,but I do know folks that just don’t mind paying big bux to fill up a beast,or feed a modern musclecar.Too each their own….

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In an urban, or suburban, or “country” setting 20 miles from town, if you have gas, electric, or oil heat, don’t have horses to get hay for, don’t tow heavy trailers, aren’t a plumber or construction worker, etc., you don’t need a pickup truck.

    Yeah, I agree that people can spend their money however they choose. People just choose to spend it differently. If I didn’t care about gas mileage, I’d be more inclined to get a fast, sporty car than a truck, even though the speed limit is the same for everyone. Yes, to each his own, and “macho” trucks are fashionable in the USA, thus the race to the biggest grills, as demonstrated by Atlas at the Detroit show.

  59. G.A.Branigan Says:

    LOL,yeah.I don’t know why the big grills are so ‘in’.I really like the new chevy 1500 grill.Compared to the other two it’s very understated,very classy to my eyes.The new pickups are getting more fuel efficient now too.But as I said many times Kit,we who need pu’s to basically survive could very easily get by with a smaller truck.Problem is,there isn’t any ‘new’ small trucks to buy.The toyota’s and nissans are still using the older V6′s that get the same mpg as new V8′s,and that is a real world fact.

    Ford dropped the ranger rather then putting money into it to bring it into this century even though they are doing the global thing with the brand new ranger.They said that sales of the ranger here was all but gone.DUHH…ya think? Same thing is going on with toyota and nissan.They don’t keep up,we don’t buy.It’s a no brainer for most truck buyers Kit.

  60. GaryPaul Says:

    Well i went to the Detroit Auto Show (OK the NAIAS) and here are my observations:

    The new Lincoln MKZ is a fine looking car and DOES NOT remind me and none of the other 12 folks I asked of a tarted up Fusion (the platform it is based on). Its style, clearly superior interior & cool optional moving roof panel offers enough bling to catch some good vibes for the brand (which needs it!) & an increase in sales. The next redesign does have to push even farther, but a good improvement over the previous MKZ.

    Some of the little sub compact & mini-compacts I checked out could actually have a comfortable space for 4 adults but again and again the rear seats are immediately uncomfortable because the seat is designed to fold flat or nearly flat as the primary consideration causing the bottom cushion to have very little thigh support because it has to have the seat back fold on top of it (instead of having the seat bottom fold forward first)and man no thigh support–that’s a pain on more than a 10 mile drive! Examples include the Chevy Sonic or the Ford C-Max Wagon/Micro Van.

    The Mustang GT, (which i recently drove as well) is still the best Muscle Car (big V8 (by today’s standards),truly fast for the buck, and a pretty nice interior. Of course I am excited about the possibility of a the Z06 engine plunked into the 2014 Camaro.

    Finally many vehicles are starting to at least place a little bit of padding on the upper part of the door panels so a man can rest his elbow and forearm next to the window or out the window more comfortably, like on my old 87 Ford Ranger.

    I was surprised the the Cadillac CTS still has a door vibration when the door is closed (at least with the window down) because the window and upper part of the door panel is not firmly attached. Its not there on the ATS so they are learning but I noted this years ago–even on the CTS-V. Amazing that GM does not notice things like this as it appears obvious–granted its not an egregious fault but isn’t this supposed to be a luxury car?

    The Corvette (what i could see on a revolving turntable) looked fabulous. Yes it is a little over-styled but i think its still impressive. This does not mean it is a great beauty. I mean people thought the Vette was pretty impressive in 1960 but didn’t that have a hideously huge grill? Hey it was a part of tie like this Vette is.

  61. GaryPaul Says:

    …”a part of the times like this Vette is.”–I meant to state in that last sentence!

  62. GaryPaul Says:

    One last point about the show: A number of the Division displays at the show were up on top of raised platforms (like the Cadillac display)–often without a clear warning that you were about to meet with a step. I thought it was immediately stupid because of the likelihood that people would stumble and fall. As i spent 15 whole minutes there at the Cadillac display, 3 adults went tumbling forward and one crashed totally to the ground onto his back! NOTE TO CADILLAC: Change this design immediately!–or at least place a red tape strip around the step to make it clear there is change in elevation!! Hey John or whoever knows–Who designs these displays at Cobo for GM or Cadillac? If 3 people stumble in one part of a large display in 15 minutes without the show being really crowded, what will happen over many hours and full crown this weekend?!! It could not have been a coincidence! There could be 100 or more folks tumbling off these poorly defined raised platforms in one day!

  63. kevin m Says:

    I’M LIKING THAT 2014 SUBARU FORESTER MORE AND MORE THAT SLIP CONTROL SYSTEM THAT JOHN WAS DOING UP HILL WAS A GREAT BRILANT IDEA THAT SUBARU CAME UP WITH . IT MAKES ME FEEL A LITTLE MORE AT EASE DRIVING UP AND DOWN LONG HILLS .

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John Mc., do you know when is the new MKZ going to actually go on sale? Are they having trouble building it? It was on display at last year’s NY auto show, what, 9 or 10 months ago, and the dealer near me still hasn’t had one for sale.

    A while back, I saw one parked in front of the dealer, but learned that a “factory rep” was driving it, and it was not their car. Then, just last week, I stopped in the dealer, and they still hadn’t had any MKZ’s, and didn’t seem to know when they would.

  65. ColoradoKid Says:

    Toyota & BMW

    A marriage made in heaven ?

    Its official . BMW and Toyota have joined forces to collaborate on;

    Hydrogen powered cars
    Joint sports car
    Lightweight technology
    Lithium AIR ( air ??? ) batteries
    Fuel Cell Vehicles

    Not mentioned but no doubt on the table … Toyota designed engines to replace the PSA sourced ones in the BMW/MINI’s now that BMW has ‘ divorced ‘ PSA due to PSA’s ‘ relationship ‘ with GM

    This !!!!!! Could be very very interesting ! Methinks the likes of VW-Audi , Mercedes and especially the Big Three here better start looking over their shoulders on a minute by minute basis … cause there just might be a new Sherif in town …. and he promises to be one Big Bad badge carrying monster !

  66. ColoradoKid Says:

    Kit

    re; #65

    I’ve seen five on the roads in Denver …. so yeah … what is the deal ? Is they is or is they aint ( available ) ?

  67. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It will be interesting to see how the Toyota/BMW partnership goes. When Toyota and GM formed their partnership years ago, a lot of people were crying foul, with GM still being the biggest car company in the world, and still making money, and Toyota already the dominant Asian car company.

    There may be some “culture shock” with this new alliance, but it sounds worthwhile for both companies.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe BMW reliability will get better now that they’re partners with Toyota, but I seriously doubt it.

  69. ColoradoKid Says:

    IMO this BMW/Toyota alliance could very well prove devastating to all the competition ……. assuming they do it right .

    BMW’s on a major upward roll ….. Toyota’s proven itself to be the automotive Comeback Kid of the Century … and both have plenty on deck to offer the other with very little crossover .

    If I were currently working for any of the competition ….. I’d seriously start getting my C/V up to snuff .. thats for certain ;-)

    And if I was the competition …….. I’d be busting some heads right now ( figuratively speaking ) making damn bloody sure my house was either in order or at least well on its way

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Perhaps they could both make inline sixes popular again.

  71. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’ve held back on my own comments, in relationship to Peter’s Corvette Brand Plan, reading and digesting all the other comments made. While I certainly respect Peter’s opinions (as a whole), my interpretation and evaluation of the ‘plan’ doesn’t seem (to me) viable. There are a lot of Corvette (dare I say sports-car) enthusiasts that rally (or not) at all the new presentations brought to the market, myself included, and whether all these opinions make a difference in the market is sketchy at best. Why, because, I would venture a guess that a high majority of the ‘enthusiasts’ don’t buy these type vehicles (only follow the state-of-the-art) as a matter of course.
    I don’t see how three Corvettes would command a following enough to maintain a profit (let alone a whole brand); could be wrong (wouldn’t be the first time), however, there is so much product, and so much good product, I just don’t see it happening.
    I’ve been a Corvette fan (and I mean fanatic) for most of my life, owned a used ’84 for over five years (loved it) but kids, tuition (not enough income to pull it all off, etc.); so put me down as only an enthusiast living through others vicariously (not helping to maintain a brand).

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The sharing of new technology certainly sounds like a “win” for both BMW and Toyota.

    As far as Toyota, or Toyota-designed engines for MINI, I’m less enamored with that. Somehow, a French-German engine seems more in the “spirit” of the MINI. At least it is European, if not British. That is unlikely to matter to me, though. I’m unlikely to buy another MINI. I’ll keep the one I have a few more years, and, by then, I’ll want something different.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    71,
    I’m with you, as being a Corvette “enthusiast” almost forever, but I have never owned one, and probably won’t.

    If they made a new, smaller, lighter, and cheaper Corvette, I’d be more likely to actually buy one, but that car wouldn’t really be a Corvette, would it?

  74. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, why not? doesn’t Lotus use a Toyota 1.8 engine in one of their cars?

  75. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, but it doesn’t seem in the spirit of Lotus either, even though it is a great engine for the application. Maybe it is because I lived in the UK for a year.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That same engine they use in the Lotii would certainly work well for a MINI, if it would fit. Even the naturally aspirated one makes ~180 hp, about equal to the current turbocharged MINI Cooper S.

  77. QuietStormX Says:

    First of all, I’m tired of these old guys who can’t understand people like me love their performance cars with manual transmissions and not automatic slush boxes for crusers and paddles, please. I feel strongly on this. I like the three versions of Corvette now but, a how lower version is going to be a Corvette? Today Automobiles are designed for safety, that is why they weigh so much. GM and Chevrolrt are coming out with new models with style and performance with new engines. Say the Chevy Code 130R of 2009 for Nex-Gen buyers, rear drive like the Camaro. And what’s with this V6 thing and turbos? I love the performance the V8 gives and the V6 dosen’t in torque. With Chevrolet they have models for everyone with they say 10 new models on the way. GM is around the world and Chevrolet is big else where in the world. It’s just that not every model fits all location. I like the New Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and it’s styling period. Things change over time. You say you dont like the past, but you are saying produce old versions with the styling of the past or from Europe like in these photos in the video. Roadsters are for whites in warm sunny climates who cruse with they hair flowing…. A part time car. Corvetts have been doing very well in racing now. Where have he been? I have no problem with where the design the Corvette. I don’t think Chevy would build a 200K Corvette the way he I guess like his cars with turobs and a automatic trans. Go buy a performance cars from Europe. Not many are producing performance cars with V8′s or more with Manual transmissions. Only BMW and Porsche offer manuals as standard. Have someone bulld you a car of your dreams for $$$$$. I think GM is doing very well with it’s brands. The future is bright for GM and Chevrolet. This is crazy. Either you like the Corvette or not. I do and no issue with GM. But I would like to get what you want built with the options you want. Like a Chevy Camaro ZL1 with the LS9 engine and 6spd manual please for about $40K.

  78. QuietStormX Says:

    Hey, Not many are producing Performance Cars with V8′s and manual tramsmissions. Rear Wheel Drive is it for performance driving and feel. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is designed from racing and performance. Anyone else producing RWD cars and Sedans with performance and style, no. Go to (media.gm.com) for GM News and links to whats cooking and ways to comment. They listen to customers that buy their automobiles and Trucks.

  79. Enn Norak Says:

    My guess is that the latest “barn find” is a 1957 Mercury 4-door sedan.