27 September 2007
Let's have some profit with honor
Saturn's "Rethink American" campaign has its good points, though there's the question of how "American" Saturn's product line, much of which is based on vehicles from GM's European outpost Opel, really is: the new Astra is built alongside its Opel cousin in Belgium, fercrissake.
But it took Chevrolet to put some attitude to this premise. A six-pager (folds down to two) in the car mags this month says flatly, "WE'RE TIRED OF BEING A FOREIGN CAR IN OUR OWN COUNTRY." The car in question is Chevy's '08 Malibu, which looks pretty spiffy and so far seems to get competitive numbers. It would be unkind to mention that the 'Bu, like Saturn's Aura, is one of GM's Epsilon cars, meaning that GM Europe (Opel, again!) is responsible for the platform, but I suspect that most people shopping in this segment are looking for Camry alternatives (if not actual Camrys), and they may not care where those alternatives come from so long as they look good and hold up well. The bow-tie boys have the first half of that premise taken care of, anyway; we'll have to wait and see about the second.
Posted at 1:07 PM to Driver's Seat
I'm sorry, but if it doesn't evoke the kind of beach where Annette and Frankie hang out, it just ain't a Malibu.
This was long a GM trait: name a vehicle after a place you'd probably never see it (cf. Monte Carlo, Biscayne, Bel Air, Seville).
It's unfair competition. Detroit gets beat on cars the same way Sony beats Apple in consumer electronics.
Oh wait... THAT'S NOT HAPPENING. Waitaminute! Maybe Apple is kicking butt because it just makes better products. Better made, better designed, better at giving he public what it wants. Maybe... maybe if Detroit understood this, applied itself, and believed in the value of merit for its own sake, it could rule the automotive world again. Maybe quality sells itself, and cutesy ad campaigns won't fool the public. Maybe American auto companies are hopelessly fat, inbred, and institutionalized. Maybe it's time to let them fall like the dinosaurs, and for a truly new, innovative breed of American automaker to rise from their ashes.
Nah. It's unfair competition.
As an owner of an '08 Vue, I can tell you that I'd RATHER have the Opel design rather than the '07s 'American' design. The '08 is quieter, better fuel economy, and has more safety features standard. The '08 Vue is still made in Tennessee.