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(Almost) official: GM cars that won't last past 2012

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  March 2, 2009 04:19 PM

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What will be left of the General Motors lineup in three years?

We're fast-forwarding to 2012 right now, when a slimmer and smarter GM won't have as many duplicate or low-volume models.

While Chevrolet plans to add three new cars by 2011 - the plug-in hybrid Volt, subcompact Spark, and Orlando compact crossover - the loss of a dozen models will likely span much further than Hummer, Saab, Saturn, and Pontiac. In a telephone interview with the Globe, GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the company doesn't plan to go under 36 models. However, since GM expects a "going concern" notice on its 2008 annual report - the audit world's death sentence - it's very likely more cars will be dropped.

"There could continue to be some shifting in there, depending on the markets," said Wilkinson. "I think the intention is to hit that 36 number. We're trying the skinnying-down of brands without losing a lot of market share."

In its Feb. 17 report to Congress, GM said it would reduce its nameplates by 25 percent in 2012, and shelve three of its brands altogether. Saab is under a three-month review by its stakeholders and Hummer could be sold by the end of March, Wilkinson said. Saturn dealers are still debating what to do past 2011, when the last cars will roll off assembly lines.

Pontiac is reverting to its performance roots, which means that only the Holden-based G8 sedan and Solstice roadster/coupe will remain. Much of the division's languid, rebadged Chevys (and a Toyota) never screamed "driving excitement."

Scared? Happy? Continue on for the full list. (Also, check out Wired's list of American cars that must die.)

Pontiac G5

G5.jpg The Cobalt has been an underrated but substantial competitor in the compact class, most notably the 260 horsepower Cobalt SS. Oddly enough, the G5 doesn't share that turbocharged engine (it's on the Solstice GXP), and 150 horsepower is the sole choice on both trims. No wonder the G5 cracked only 13 percent of the Cobalt's 188,000 sales last year.

Pontiac G6

G6.jpg Its sister Chevrolet Malibu has moved up from its rental car origins - witness the awards, including an Automobile Magazine All Star, from some of the most discerning critics. Not the G6. Thanks to a stubby trunk and high rear-end, the G6 is a reminder of the Grand Am - not a compliment in 2009. The coupe and convertible models are more appealing bargains and could be very attractive if the GXP versions had Cadillac's stellar 306 horsepower, direct-injection V-6. But that won't happen.

Pontiac G3

G3.jpg It's not out yet, but there's no reason GM needs two Aveo hatchbacks, even if the G3's front-end looks a thousand times better. The Daewoo-designed and produced subcompact is noteworthy for its fuel economy, but there's no exclusive sport package to differentiate this mini Pontiac. Like the G8 Sport Truck, it'll be DOA.

Pontiac Vibe

Vibe.jpg When it's time to sell, Vibe owners kick themselves for not buying the identical Toyota Matrix, because what the vanilla Matrix lacks in styling vigor it more than makes up in resale value. Both cars start around $16,000, but after five years the Vibe has lost 45 percent of its value, the Toyota 30 percent, according to Intellichoice. The Vibe's certainly a better used car, but that's not helping GM.

Pontiac Torrent

Torrent.jpg Wilkinson said the Torrent could move instead to GMC, but that division is really suited for larger, more expensive models like the Acadia, Yukon, and Sierra (the Canyon pickup and Envoy, as detailed further, are likely making an exit). There's almost nothing to differentiate the Torrent from the Chevrolet Equinox. Case closed.

Chevrolet TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy/Saab 9-7X

Envoy.jpg This 7-year-old SUV platform has been stretched across the company like an old piece of gum. Five brands have bitten off a piece, including Buick (Rainer, 2004-2007) and Oldsmobile (Bravada, gone with the brand in 2004). GM has allowed this once-competitive midsize truck to age like the Blazer it replaced in 2002, and there's no signs of an update past 2009. The Chevy and GMC interiors reek of panel gaps and 1990s-style dashboard cutouts, while the Saab version - is anyone really fooled? - makes some attempt to look well-made. One drive and you'll know these models are full-blown SUVs, not the car-based crossovers that return decent mileage and handling.

Chevrolet Avalanche/Cadillac Escalade EXT

Avalanche.jpg Introduced in 2001, the Chevrolet Avalanche wasn't simply a four-door pickup with sporty C-pillar extensions. It offered an industry-first "midgate" that extended the 5-foot cargo bed into the back seat - essentially the first fold-down rear seats on a pickup. But even its niche status couldn't hide last year's sales - a 62 percent drop from the 2003 peak of 93,000 units. The Cadillac pickup - it still sounds crazy to say that - sold 4,700 units last year, 65 percent less than its 2002 high (but it's outlived the Lincoln one-hit-wonder pickups, the Blackwood and Mark LT, considerably). These GM trucks are solid, but in an unfriendly market, Chevrolet is better off investing in its core Silverado customers.

Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon

Colorado.jpg These aging compact pickups have seen double-digit declines for three consecutive years following a 2005 peak. Unless a second generation is in the works, this 2003 design - with an unrefined five-cylinder engine - will be too costly to keep as two models (the departing Hummer H3 is built on a specially-modified version of this platform).

All of Saturn: Vue, Outlook, Aura, Sky, Astra

Saturns.jpg In Geneva last year, CEO Rick Wagoner was decidedly optimistic about Saturn: "The fundamental change in Saturn is moving from what had developed into a low price car brand with some neat stuff on the consumer side to a significantly more sophisticated product lineup."

Average revenue per vehicle was up 40 percent over the past several years, thanks to hot imports from GM's Opel/Vauxhall division.

The biggest problem, Wilkinson said, was the lack of "big-volume media" marketing when the Aura sedan launched in 2006. Its Chevrolet Malibu cousin was a hit in 2008, thanks to aggressive (and self-deprecating) campaigns such as "the car you can't ignore."

"Had business stayed good, you could have gradually built enough momentum around Saturn to get it going," he said.

All of Hummer: H2, H3

Hummers.jpg This wasn't much of a surprise, considering that Hummers typically sold in very limited batches. Only the Colorado-based H3 and H3T have pushed sales past 30,000, a big number for a brand that once only offered the civilian-modified H1.

Hummer's brutish, Tonka appearance is both comical and laudable - even those that hate the brand still respect it off-road, where it truly belongs. The brand's average fuel economy, however, is so abysmal and impossible to fix that only wealthy Arab entrepreneurs who revel in big, thirsty, go-anywhere trucks would dare buy it. In today's economy, who else is taking that risk?

All of Saab: 9-3, 9-5, 9-7X

Saabs.jpg Unlike Volvo, which dug into Ford's deep pockets to overhaul the marque's antiquated, stodgy lineup (and also share its own platforms with Ford), Saab has become progressively worse off with GM. Turning the venerable 9-3 five-door hatch, a quirky favorite dating back to 1978, into an Opel-based sedan in 2003 was risky, but at 34,000 units, the car sold rather well in the US.

The 9-5, a replacement for the other five-door premium hatch, the 9000, also enjoyed its fair share. But despite a facelift and rear-end tuck, the 10-year-old car never received a redesign. The result? Sales declines every single year for the last eight years. In 2008, Saab sold about 2,500 examples of the 9-5, an 87 percent drop from 2001.

What's even more sad is the 9-7X, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer with a crudely-grafted Saab fascia. It doesn't even come close to matching the refinement, style, and luxury that the Volvo XC90, BMW X5, and Mercedes M-Class have. The same is true for the 9-3 and 9-5 against their respective competitors. And let's not get started on the short-lived "Saabaru" 9-2X, which was just a pricier Subaru Impreza wagon.

The next Saab owner needs to throw everything out and start over.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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71 comments so far...
  1. OMG GM. Back in the 50's, 60's and 70's there was a difference between Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, Buick and so forth. Then GM went drinking, and made all of their cars interchangeable, thinking, that if it saved the company money it was good for the consumer. The only difference between a Chevy and a Pontiac was the trim package. See Chevette - Sunbird? I had close to $2000.00 redemption GM dollars when I went to buy a car in 2001. GM had nothing I wanted. I ended up buying a Mazda MPV (great car) and in 2004 traded it in and bought another. Never could redeem those dollars.

    Now after I bought my 2001 Mazda MPV. I wrote a letter to Mazda telling them 6 or 7 drawbacks to the car. Not enough power, No auto door lock on passenger side, Can't see the radio buttons when car is in gear. Etc. Well they must have listened. Because ,when I bought the 2004. It had a bigger engine and better tranny. There was a auto lock on the door. I could see the buttons on the radio. Plus everything on my list was addressed.

    GM has forgotten how to listen to the consumer.

    Posted by RLSRD March 3, 09 11:05 AM
  1. At least my Acadia has been saved (for the time being). . .

    Posted by sparky March 3, 09 11:15 AM
  1. Pontiac must go, never found anyone who had a good experience with them.
    Hummer must go - it's a pig
    Chevy - never super impressed but it's got a good brand name so maybe worth keeping.
    Caddy must stay, it's a great (and sexy!) if you can afford it.

    Posted by Chocgirl March 3, 09 11:41 AM
  1. love my envoy, a solid vehicle

    Posted by d11 March 3, 09 12:09 PM
  1. What about GMC? Do you really need 2 separate yet almost identical lines of trucks? Personally I would ditch all Cheyv trucks and concentrate on GMC, which I have been told are just a little bitter nicer.

    But what do I know... I abandoned GM for Honda 7 years ago and never looked back...

    Posted by Dave, Boston MA March 3, 09 12:14 PM
  1. If gas stays 1.90/gal expect the smaller Hummers to become Chevy's and Tahoes to be the big sellers again. Hybrids have taken the largest sales hit which is no surprise but shoots down the argument that GM isn't building what people want to buy. Cheap gas and a worldwide economic slump which they sure did not cause on the other hand...

    The issue here also goes beyond too many overlapping models into how do you handle the dealer network. Hummer and Saturn had very few dealers compared to Chevrolet. Either you make dealers GM dealers and let them carry what they want to you need less brands which leads to less dealers, which in the end accomplishes the same thing.

    Oddly, Hummer does not overlap with anything, it really should stay but be rebadged. Something needs to compete with Jeep and Toyota FJ's/4runners. No reason they should have all the fun.

    The Vue is very nice but the new Equinox looks a lot like it and will suck up its glory, to bad. Buick sells well over seas in Asia otherwise can that brand. GMC is not needed.

    It is so hard to get rid of a model or dealer with UAW contracts and state mandated dealer protections. GM has had its hands tied. Now hopefully that will change.

    Posted by Knarf March 3, 09 01:08 PM
  1. The Saturn was a wonderful car. When Saturn started they were the customer service dealership. The S-series,L-Series were unbeatable. Then they started making changes, they ruined the brand. We bought Saturns for several years, then switched to Hyundai when they stopped making the L-Series.

    Posted by Valerie Schwalm March 3, 09 01:14 PM
  1. From the time that I set foot on the Saturn lot in 1991, I was hooked. Saturn has good cars, and more importantly, a sticker price that is consistent. The thing that most impressed me was that the salesmen were as attentive to women as to men. No hokey sticker dickering going on here - just up front prices. Saturn owners have historically been known for brand loyalty. Nice to know that GM cares. Guess it's time for me to move over to another company. Sad.

    Posted by suelh March 3, 09 01:33 PM
  1. The original Saturns (we had a 1991) were no-dicker, but they were less expensive than the competition. Now, they're no-dicker - but they're significantly MORE expensive than the competition, are less reliable, and are far, far uglier.

    If they want to sell Opels in the USA, just sell them as Opels - don't add chrome and little Saturn badges.

    Posted by Chris March 3, 09 02:58 PM
  1. Here's hoping that Saab finds a buyer before they go belly up. I like what they've done with the 9-3, and I know they're relatively popular in these parts at least. However, I've sat in a 9-7x and wondered what it was that would drive anyone to pay over $50k for it - the interior wasn't very different than the inside of my 9-3, which comes for under $30k.

    Posted by Andrew S. March 3, 09 04:06 PM
  1. I hope GM can replace them with some interesting models not just boring necessity cars. I already got 3 cars but I would have loved to have a SKY from Saturn.

    They shouldn't release production models unless there is no doubt people will crave them; like the new Camaro. Hot car.

    Posted by Andy March 3, 09 05:10 PM
  1. Put GM in bankruptcy receivership, that company is as lost as the GOP. I've read the restructuring report, these guys believe their own marketing hype. Close shop, we can buy better cars from Japanese companies building them here.

    GM does not sell cars anyway, it sells schemes that include a car in the loan.

    Posted by CK March 3, 09 05:36 PM
  1. I will never buy another car from GM as long as I live.

    Posted by Anonymous March 3, 09 06:44 PM
  1. I LOVE how everyone's response to Hummer (and Mr. Atiyeh was no different in this article) is to blame their demise on the fuel economy. For some reason beatniks and tree huggers convinced everyone in the media (which trickled down to the uninformed consumer) that ALL Hummers were gas hogs while no one bothered to do their homework and realize that most of Jeeps models get the same MPG as the H3. Yet you never hear anyone rant on how Jeep should fail due to their MPG ratings. I can talk about this because I was in the market for an SUV with some off road capabilities and I looked at the H3. Due to trying to save a buck or two we ended up picking up a used 2005 Grand Cherokee. Do you know how hard it is for me to get anything over 20.1 MPG on the highway in my Jeep? And yet the H3 was rated at 19 Highway.
    I smell uninformed sheep..... BAAAAAHHHHH BAAAAHHHHH

    Posted by PontiacBixler March 4, 09 02:32 AM
  1. Oh, don't get me started about the hack job that GM has done on Saab. From the begining, General Motors never knew what to do with the the marque. David Hermann couldn't even tell reporters what SAAB stood for (it's an acronym for Svenksa Aeroplan Aktiebolaget). GM tried to run Saab through its blender and turn the marque into something that it certainly was not.....a Swedish Buick....and failed, miserably. Up until Jay Spenchian took over the division in 2005, it was run by a collection of hacks, re-treads and bean counters who couldn't tell a Saab from a BMW. There was no connect between the company and the general Saab driving public. When Spenchian was kicked upstairs into the GM hierarchy, they brought in Steve Shannon, who has further connected with Saab people of every strata. Shannon, who was born and raised here in New England, and the head of corporate communications for Saab, Jan-Willem Vester, have done more to establish ties between Mother GM and your average Saabista. Saabs have always been black or white either loved them or you didn't. GM never recognized this and now it's coming back to bite them. They're quirky, safe, fun to drive and fuel efficient. My daily driver is a 1988 900 SPG with nearly 340K on the clock. She gets 28-32 MPG on the highway and when she breaks, which isn't often, the repairs don't clean out your wallet. And, best of all, she doesn't look like anything else on the road.
    Saab people are all waiting for the day when Saab emancipates itself from GM and returns to its roots and starts building REAL Saabs.....not Trollblazers or Saabarus.

    Posted by yeehah900 March 4, 09 07:32 AM
  1. General Motors used to produce the finest value automobiles in the world. That would include the 1957 Chevy. Somewhere along the way, they forgot or abandoned this successful business model. Built-in obsolescence, poor design and engineering and poor quality control. Who wants it? Nobody. Can GM re-invent themselves? Highly doubtful. Corporate "cultures" take at least ten years to undergo significant change. They don't have that much time or money. I still remember riding around in a sweet '57 Chevy with a California rack equipped with a V-8. Since then, its been a series of BMWs, Mercedes and most recently, a superb Nissan 350Z Roadster.

    Posted by Hitobito March 4, 09 09:06 AM
  1. I bought a 2007 Impala LTZ last year. It was a year old with 22000 miles on it.The car has been a joy to drive and I would recommend it highly.

    Posted by mike March 4, 09 10:12 AM
  1. I hope ALL of GM goes out of business. The last new GM car I bought was a lemon with 37 trips to the dealer in its first two years. And by the end of year four, the car had become a worthless rust bucket. All you GM workers deserve to lose your jobs. The car I bought as a replacement, an el-cheapo Subaru wagon, lasted nearly 300,000 miles, not once was in the shop for anything other than scheduled maintenance, and never developed a speck of rust. As I said, all you GM workers deserve to be out of work. That's because you idiot greedy moron union members cared only about a money grab while not caring one whit about the product you were building.

    Posted by Richard March 4, 09 11:26 AM
  1. GM has been making horrid excuses for vehicles for 30 years now and I question the sanity of anyone that is shocked by the current state of this company.

    Heck, start-ups in Korea have read the auto market better than GM.

    GM, Chrysler and Ford do trucks well and the occasional performance vehicle, everyday bread and butter cars, they haven't made a decent one combined since the demise of the Taurus and even that was league minimum.

    Posted by Economic Darwinism March 4, 09 12:25 PM
  1. We had 2 Saabs. They are junk. You usually see them on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. Their quality control lacks big time. We bought the 2nd Saab thinking maybe we just bought a bad one the first time.
    I am amazed that this article mentioned Saab in the same group with BMW and Mercedes.
    It is time that the car makers pare their offerings even further and start to see what the consumer really wants opposed to just pushing cars out the door.

    Posted by kentrosi March 4, 09 01:03 PM
  1. Sounds like they are in the first phase of my (and others) "Stop selling cars and become a transportation company strategy", I speak in (hopeful) jest, of course...

    Posted by Rodney March 4, 09 02:43 PM
  1. One expert said there should only be two nameplates - Chevy and Cadillac. I heartily agree.

    Posted by Art March 4, 09 03:19 PM
  1. I love Pontiac. I had a 95 Grand Prix gt. Bought it in 97 and drove it for 6 six with NO problems just oil changes and a new brakes and new exhaust.Sold it and bought a Grand Am GT no problems with that car either, loved that car.
    Now have a 06 G6 GT coupe( I know the name sounds wierd) this car is so fun to drive and gets 26 mpg not bad for a V6 with 210 hp.
    alot better than any Dodge crap

    Posted by Matt in Norwood March 4, 09 04:14 PM
  1. GM has to many cars that are nearly the same. If they made one brand of car they would save billions on duplicated work. they don't need both a chey pu and a gmc pu, they don't need a midsize chevy,pontiac,chev,buick,and caddy. they don't need a full size by all these same names either. consolidate all these duplications into one or maybe two car brands. Same goes for ford and mercury. toyota and honda don't run under six different names other than their high end cars such as acura and lexus

    Posted by halfaday March 4, 09 07:21 PM
  1. Agree on the Saturn comments ---have 2 1997s with 150k and 180K miles great cars. Toyata and Honda took 20 years of building great cars that last to develop a following and having repeat customers---GM killed that brand after spending how much to build it up---and then not investing and upgrading their cars.
    Some of us want to buy an american made car , but only if they are not crap. I own a honda crv so will go where i need to for dependibility)--
    Then GM goes and just begins making saturns in mexico. GM probably has to go under to clear the decks.and get new management in their

    Posted by joep March 4, 09 10:43 PM
  1. GMC brings nice volume to the Pontiac-Buick-GMC showrooms and compliments the Buick line of cars and crossovers well. Plus it's profitable, so why not keep it along? I agree with the killing off of Saturn, Saab, and Hummer. Saturn's just become another Chevy or Buick, with Cadillac's continued improvements there's no need for Saab, and Hummer is not good in any way... I have mixed feelings about Pontiac. Everyone I talk to knows it as the fleet queen it is or as Chevy rip-offs. I think it's going to be hard to bring it back to it's performance roots.

    Posted by nathan March 4, 09 11:34 PM
  1. i am on my second saturn and i do n ot want the saturn to go away. they are excellent cars and i love them and when i have the money i would get another one in a second. from, pam

    Posted by samoy2e March 5, 09 07:26 AM
  1. Over the last few years GM has been great. They are industry leading in mileage in most segments now. Their Lamda crossovers own an over 50% market share in the 8-seat crossover segment. The Impala is the best selling large car, with the CTS second. The Malibu is the best midsized sedan in the markeplace today, and the Chevy Cruze is set to directly challenge the Civic and Corolla in 14 months. All these models lead their peers in mileage, with great interior fit and finish. The 2010 Equinox, arriving in just a few months, will add to the industry leading mileage segments, getting 30 MPG, beating the Rav-4 and CR-V, with superior interior, also.. Yes GM is on a roll.

    Posted by Detfan March 5, 09 09:05 AM
  1. SAAB (Sorry, almost a BMW)

    Posted by bryan March 5, 09 11:55 AM
  1. if a business is not successful then it fails. Let's stop bailing out car companies that are more concerned about their own benefit packages then the people who are buying their cars.
    We need to find out how we can entice successful car companies to build the product here in the USA

    Posted by paul March 5, 09 12:11 PM
  1. start selling at used car price,

    Posted by Mike March 5, 09 12:21 PM
  1. Union scum have ruined the big 3.

    Posted by Richard March 5, 09 12:28 PM
  1. I'm 50 years old and I never remember GM having reliable cars..even back in the 1960's..I remember getting stuck on the way to the airport in the summer with the car overheating when there was no traffic...the 1968 Malibu I used for school had wheels constantly out of alignment, no matter how many times it went to the shop..the 69 had a bad alternator that constantly wore the battery down. When I finally had the money to buy my own new car, I bought a Honda and have never looked back. Cars lasting 8-10 years, 150-200k miles, routine maintainance. Goodbye GM.

    Posted by Rick G March 5, 09 12:54 PM
  1. I read somewhere that one of GMs goals is to get the younger generation interested in their cars. However, how will this plan work when these younger kids have grown up watching their parents buy lemon after lemon GMs in the 80s and 90s, and then switch to foreign brands?

    Posted by E March 5, 09 12:55 PM
  1. Have a Saab 9-3 conv. - 30 mpg - very reliablile, fun to drive - hope someone legit picks up the brand and does it right

    Posted by eyoung March 5, 09 03:32 PM
  1. GM sux. I'm surprised they lasted so long. They have a handful of good models, and a pile of lame ones. Miserable management.

    Posted by David March 6, 09 02:18 AM
  1. Detroit build cars for the "aesthetically challenged" people!!!!!!

    Posted by Martin March 6, 09 10:42 AM
  1. I have an 07 Aura..Ugly? Your'e blind.Crap?You have obviously never driven one.(COTY,2007..But hey,you know more than them,right?)
    And I'm glad as hell Saturn stopped making plastic Playskool cars. Only those stuck with the old ones knock the new. That being said..Who needs the Saturn Line Up when it's all available as something else?The Malibu is just a bloated Aura.Same with Pontiac. Redundant.
    No more GM for me..Ever.

    Posted by Mike March 6, 09 10:08 PM
  1. The Unions are destroying the American Car companies. Period.. In the real world workers are not guaranteed pensions, health care forever, guaranteed wages, pre-negotiated wage increases, crazy benefits. When the company's expenses for health care go up, our premiums, and out of pocket expenses go up. What makes the unions so special that they can make unrealistic demands? They threaten strikes which cripple the company. We'd be fired if we refused to go to work. Dont like what they are paying you? Go find another job. Union workers are a pain to work with in other industries. Union=org crime. Dissolve the unions so the car companies can reduce their cost structure and be more flexible.

    Posted by rob March 8, 09 12:23 PM
  1. I will agree, simplify what you have GM(get rid of the duplicates) like the asian companies, put out reliable good looking cars(which has gotten better the last couple of years) and you might have a chance to regain the customers you lost to the asian and european car companies.

    Posted by jpitt March 8, 09 09:03 PM
  1. I am the younger generation, and the GM monicker stands for "Garbage Motors" and every one knows it (bad unions and bad management)... please stop them now. Unfortunately, the good ol' USA is becoming like Britain (God save us), very sad. Only idiots buy those cars. Let the whole thing die already. Its way too late. They promise to "do it better" every year. The last good years for those folks were back in the 1960's. I will never buy a GM


    Posted by cher March 8, 09 09:13 PM
  1. Buick should be in China- they sell well there.

    Posted by carguy March 9, 09 02:09 PM
  1. Sorry for American car industry.I like pay more for TOYOTA or HONDA and get great cars.

    Posted by Small March 9, 09 08:25 PM
  1. Love how some of you people put down GM cars. Apparently, you never spoke to a person who worked at a Toyota plant in the United States!!!

    Posted by ED March 9, 09 09:56 PM
  1. The question is still WHETHER GM will be making cars in 2012 - not which ones. And who wrote this article anyway?? A GM marketing drone?

    "The Cobalt has been an underrated but substantial competitor in the compact class"

    HA HA HA HA HA !!!! - You have GOT to be kidding me! The Cobalt has been a compact afterthought for fleet purchases ever since it was conceived. Protege/3, civic, corolla, sentra, heck even a hyundai elantra is a far superior car. Substantial competitor??? How about complete joke.

    Posted by WVW in Newton March 10, 09 01:50 PM
  1. If your an American by an American car and if your a blue collar guy not in a Union then you better stop and think, would that ditto head boss your working for be paying you half of what you get if there were no unions? Can you kiss butt that good? GM FORD DODGE and ALL the car makers got it wrong, heck they are run by republican idiots who a few years ago were building cars to sell to Rush and Hanity who were on FOX bragging about their HUMMER and gas guzzlers. Now they are driving hybrid Toyota's, trashing GM. Greed is what caused this mess, and you IDIOTS who turned HOMES into a FLIPED COMMODITY are to blame not
    GM Ford or Dodge, they got the hint and will change, but what about YOU?

    Posted by Jon March 11, 09 10:24 PM
  1. The one GM product I ever owned (recent model Chevy) was poorly screwed together and mechanically inept. Glad to get rid of it. Made a new friend with Toyota (p/u and 4Runner). Swear by Consumer Reports April car issue. If GM could build quality vehicles like Subaru/Honda/Toyota, I would give them a second look...but the product is still junk...........look at their model range frequency of repair record (except some models of Buick). Who wants to enrich the dealer with repairs???????

    H.D. Elrich

    Posted by H.D. Elrich March 14, 09 01:18 PM
  1. Went American for a change and bought a Buick Lucerne. I'm 54. The car and I have finally reached a peaceful settlement. After 2 brake jobs, struts, sway bar bushings, intermediate steering shaft, and multiple alignments, we agreed that it will stop breaking down, and I'll let it stay until it's next problem. BTW, these problems took place in under 4,000 miles of ownership. My daughter ran a Mercury Mariner into the ground, and complained it was problematic (it never saw a shop for service other than oil) because she broke a taillight. My son-in-law's Dodge has pieces literally fall off daily. Of the domestics, only Ford has been putting money into design, and it shows in vehicles that rival Toyota and Honda in quality. GM let the beancounters run the business, and it shows in the quality and the designs. SNORE!!! The unions have to share the blame with management, and the shareholders (big dividend/pay pigs all) for GM's problems. If you shave a dime off the cost of a part to pay 1/10 a cent extra in dividends, but shorten the car's life by 25% and it's reliability by 50%, what have you accomplished? We're also to blame in all of this. Gotta have a fresh design every 3 years. Even the Germans have bought into this. Yet, a 2003 BMW 5 series, which was in that design for what - 6 or 7 years - looks fresh today. Cars are my passion. GM, Ford (less so) and Chrysler are in trouble. But we all share the blame. We all want to make a million in a day, while owing things that are fresh in design, but are cheap to buy, and last forever. This combo doesn't work. So, we get all this junk made in a sweatshop in China. (Even some Chevy and Pontiac engines are Chinese made). Then, we close our domestic factories, and we all are lawyers, consultants, burger-flippers, retail clerks, etc. SERVICE JOBS ALL. We need to take a page from our grandparents books: Work hard, earn a decent wage, save for the future, buy what we need, and just a few luxuries, and make things last and not run to the store for the latest and greatest gadget that we think we need. Think I've got this last part wrong? Yeh, well, ask yourself, how many cell phones have I HAD to own? We need to make a fundamental sea change here. We're all going to suffer, but in the end be better off. GM is going to shrink to the size of Ford today, but Ford will shrink as well closing Mercury. Chrysler? Bye-bye! It's been sucked dry. Jeep will be sold and survive. Toyota and Honda will shrink as well. Hyundai will grow because they've got the right formula now: style, quality, price. But all this can change if we smarten up.

    Posted by davelja March 15, 09 07:26 AM
  1. Well, at least Jaguar and other Brit upper crust car manufacturers used GM s transmissions for many years w.o problems (compared to UK engineering quality levels). They didn't go advertising it, but the trannies had their own distinctive whirr, whether in an Oldsmobile or XJ6. While I believe GM can get buried by their own mistakes, the fact is that they could easily become a parts supplier for Ford, like VW for Bentley, etc! Everyone who loves old GM cars has to look back to the 50/60's!
    GM needs a whole lot of retro, new versions of the old school. The new Camaro isn't going to steal enough Mustang sales to be a life raft, but I think they should make modern equpment packed replicas of Olds 442, 57 Bel Air, etc!

    Cutlass, 5757 Cheve

    Posted by John March 15, 09 07:49 AM
  1. I have a 1999 Saab 9-5 Sportswagon. She's had her issues, but she's beautiful. I originally came from a 1996 Honda Passport - stupid car/stupid team. At least with my Saab, they were thinking about making something that somebody wanted to pay money for.

    GM - stupid company. Killed the electric car, too. I don't even think most employees at Saab wanted GM to get their filthy friggin' hands on the Saab. It's like letting your little brother into your room.

    My guess, is that if you want to buy a Pontiac, you've really got to be simply looking for utility. Which is smart since a car needs to perform it's basic function well - driving. But, my God, all Pontiacs are ugly as Hell! The name itself sounds like the car is made in some old, dead town with no understanding that people don't live in the 1970s anymore. But, I guess, as long as it works, perhaps one day, I may end up owning one, if it comes down to it. But I will always put a rental sticker in the window if I have to.

    Posted by DS March 16, 09 01:03 PM
  1. People get off big time on bashing American cars, makes them feel sophicated and uber-stylish. In the 80's/90's, Detroit did have a lot of quality issues; however, for the last decade GM cars have been just as good as imports. I had to make a pretty long car trip three years ago and ended up with a Pontiac G6 and it was great--every bit as good as the Honda I usually drive. My only issue was that the head rests were to big blocking some rear view visability.

    All I'm saying it that people love bashing American autos. It makes them feel trendy, in-the know, stylish: everyone knows it isn't hip to like, much less drive, anything American.

    ...and one more thing: everyone needs to stop bashing unionized auto workers. They're making a fair wage and deserve good benefits. Instead of union workers taking pay cuts, it seems only fair that comapnies like Toyota and Honda be forced to raise worker pay. I realize government can not force these companies to do the right thing; however, we as customers can. (I know a lot of you coun't care less about what auto workers make.) The next time I buy a car it will be American (probably a Buick) because I want to reward a comapny that pays 75 bucks and hours instead of 45 dollars like Toyota.

    Posted by Steve inWilliamsburg,Brooklyn March 16, 09 02:25 PM
  1. I have a 2006 Pontiac GTO, and it is fantastic. The only problem I had with the car was when it slipped on ice and hit a tree, summer only tires should not be used in the winter. The exterior styling and the fuel economy are poor. The trunk is too small, and the factory radio did not come with gps or an ipod connection. No sunroof. I've had v8 mustangs and high-end european performance sedans(volvos60r), and the GTO is way better. The inside is comfortable and simple, a nice place to spend time. The controls are not cluttered, the seats don't make your back hurt, which makes me less fatigued. The sound the engine makes, the acceleration, cannot be described. Definatly the best car I've had yet.

    Posted by leon March 16, 09 07:43 PM
  1. Haters! Haters! Haters! Where do you haters get all your energy? From sleeping until noon in your parents basement? To just paint GM or any other car company with a broad brush is ignorant. GM sux? What is that? Grow UP!!

    Posted by Matt J March 16, 09 11:14 PM
  1. Its unfortunate, for decades GM was an icon in this country. Tha put out classic cars that Americans wanted to be proud to own, and it didn't matter if you had a big family to cart around, or wanted something sporty, or luxurious. For the last 20 years GM appeared satisfied with their market share and relied on Americans with only 1 other choice, Ford. (Chrysler was never competition to worry about.) They're complacency didn't drive them to stay ahead of foreign automakers because they didn't believe in the global market place. "Build American, buy American" is what they expected us to do. But how can anyone be surprised that better looking, and better crafted and more valuable (after 4 years) cars are now coming from Japan and Germany? I love some of GM designs, and vehicles, but just don't trust them enough to invest my hard-earned money in their vehicles. I hope they take this opportunity to streamline, get back to their roots of producing cars that the entire world wants to own

    Posted by Phil March 17, 09 10:21 AM
  1. Steve in Williamsburg--
    Most of us aren't "bashing" as you put it, American made cars. Most of the posters here started with American made (I drove and raced Plymouths and Dodges for years until I puchased my first Saab) and quality and reliability were two key reasons of the reason that I and a lot of people left the domestic fold. I never used to lock one of the Plymouths I owned from October until April because the door locks refused to work in freezing weather. They didn't just freeze, they seized. The only way into the car was through the hatch, not something you want to do when dressed for work. I started carrying a tool chest in the back of one of them because inevitably, the car would quit in the middle of traffic on the way to work, and it was either a bad hose or a rotted wire or some other stupid thing.

    That all changed when I went Swedish. Door locks work in the winter. Trim doesn't fall off the car as I'm driving down the road. The car starts and runs until you reach your destination and shut the engine down. When I traded my last Mopar for my first Saab 11 years ago, it had 139K on the clock and was 8 years old. The paint was delaminating at a furious pace and the engine was making ominous noises from the lower end (possibly the beginings of a spun main bearing). I stil have that first Saab and she now has well over 268K on the odo and runs well, looks good and is as solid as the day she rolled off the line in 1995.

    I've had to rent cars periodically, and whenever I get stuck with something American made (I'm thinking of a Grand Prix that I was saddled with recently) I'm struck by the poor build quality, the ticky tacky interiors and the overall cheap feel of the car. Shut the door of any European built car and it sounds like you're closing the door on a bank vault. Closing the door of the Grand Prix was reminiscent of squashing a Coke can......tinny.

    So, like charges of libel and slander, if it's true, it's not slander. In this case, my experiences with American made cars have found them to be built to a very low price, unreliable and needy. The Euro cars are better built and easier to own. Why spend your hard earned money on something that's going to spend more time in the shop than in your driveway? That ain't bashing, that's real life.

    And we won't even start the discussion on union bashing....that would crash the Globe's server.........

    Posted by yeehah900 March 18, 09 08:00 AM
  1. My dad has always bought GM and so have I. But the decisions leadership have made in the company has led to it's demise. We have a 96 Suburban in the driveway, still runs like a champ and my dad has a 2000, 2002, and 2004 Park Ave. Not my type of car, but solid for his long drives down to Florida.

    I have a Pontiac G6 GT and luv it, relatively no problems and even after nearly 3 years I still have people tell me my car looks great. I like the styling. But if GM dumps Pontiac... and I don't disagree that they should, I might need to make a move soon. Toyota doesn't impress me with styling, and Honda I'm not so sure either. Any suggestions on your favorite non-US made car?

    Posted by BReal March 19, 09 10:25 PM
  1. I will never buy a GM nor when renting a car always decline them. I used to own a Chevy Lumina had two problems with it. Once driving it the front wheel came off and it was deemed my fault because I had a flat and had to have a new tire put one by a non dealer. Second a head on accident in which the car was totaled during a snow storm and the air bags failed to go off. Wrote a letter to GM about eight years ago have yet to get a response I also sent pictures to show them the damage . So I would not recommend buying or riding in one of their products.

    Posted by carl March 28, 09 12:43 PM
  1. There should only, and I mean only, be two brands for g.m. Chevrolet and Cadillac. Toyota managed to overtake them in the market place this year by producing just two brands, Toyota and Lexus. Obviously there may be other industrial type vehicles as well, but I'm talking normal consumption of passenger vehicles (yes pickups and suvs and vans included).

    Yes, the unions have ruined GM. Hopefully a movement to plants in the South will be in part of their "restructuring" plan. But, GM has said for 35 years they were going to get back on track, and the only badge to show a hint of progress is Cadillac. My suspicion is that the entire GM saga will continue to be a disaster. We most likely have taken the wrong course, because of political incentives, with the the failure of the company. Ford may be better positioned to survive.

    My sister just bought a Civic EX for 17633 new. MSRP 20750. Far superior in fit/finish to anything GM produces in that price range. That being said, it was also superior to what Toyota and Mazda produce in that price range.

    Posted by J. Nol March 29, 09 07:47 AM
  1. I hope Cadillac does not discontinue the LandYacht - the mileage is poor, but it's roomy, comfortable and NOTHING can touch it in open water.‘Launch’_of_New_“Land_Yacht”_Called_Untimely.html

    Posted by pm461 March 29, 09 09:37 AM
  1. You guys really dog American car companies but don't realize how of an impact they have on the economy. Where is Toyota and Honda reinvesting in the US. Oh a few plants here and there that pay their workers 10 bucks an hour. Why do we think we have unions. Yeah unions have been run poorly I agree. And Gettlefinger just doen't get it. But I will never buy a Japanese car. At least Ford, GM, and Chrysler are the bread and butter of American. Remember this when you start the lay off process at the big three, everything trickles down to suppliers and other companies who have ties to the industry. Your American support your cause. Japanese people do it. You make me sick . I have a Cobalt no problems

    Posted by Jim March 29, 09 02:45 PM
  1. I have always been a GM man and my favorite car of all time was my 1989 Pontiac Bonneville. I loved that car so much. It rode like a dream and always looked great. It had distinctive styling and was comfortable ride. As far as GM is concerned, I blame most of the problems on those useless, lazy Union bums. If they would just get off their lazy worthless [expletive deleted, ed.] and do an honest day's work for a change then most of the problems of the auto industry would go away. Instead they stand around with their hands out expecting someone else to do the work. Screw them. I almost hope the industry goes belly up just to punish them.

    Posted by Jay Howard March 30, 09 04:46 PM
  1. If the car manufactures are all so 'desparate' to sell their cars, then how come when I went to the Auto Show last month in Chicago, the American-made cars are among the most expensive cars you can buy, and yet we all know that they do not last nearly as long as many foreign car makes? No wonder they are struggling!

    Posted by M. Thomas March 31, 09 06:53 PM
  1. Okay look I definitly think that Saturn and Saab are useless i hardly see them on the road, CAN THEM! I agree that what is the point of having a Traverse and a Enclave...answer THERE ISNT ONE! Buick can go to cause i mean come on already! As for Hummer definitly keep it i think they are the best cars on the road all you need to do is add some hybrids and/or some diesel engines.How hard is that? They are some of the most common cars on the road(especially the H2)LONG LIVE THE H2!! That is the only car i will buy until it or i die! Cadillac and GMC, well i think caddy is good were it is right now but for GMC CAN YOU PLEASE JUST KILL THE ENVOY ALREADY! i mean COMMON SENSE! the only i'd look twice at is the DENALI other than that well.... Chevrolet, how many models do you honestly need!! the Suburban,and some cars (meaning actual cars not SUV's) would be fine!i think thats all of M so GM i really hope you actually listened to what I said and try some of my reccomendations((PLEASE KEEP THE H2!!!) so listen to people that are actually potential buyers will ya!?

    Posted by ..... April 10, 09 01:09 PM
  1. From a satisfied owner of 2 Pontiacs:
    Solstice GXP (blast to drive). 268 hp 2.0 liter engine and 32 mpg hwy. Considered a Mazda 3 Speed.
    G-8 GT. (a true sleeper). Scorchingly fast and the most stylish current GM sedan.
    Considered a BMW 3 series but saved thousands.
    Keep these 2 models, turbocharge the Vibe to 300 hp (add a 6 speed manual). and bring back the Firebird / Trans Am (minus the screaming chicken on the hood).

    Posted by rj heidt April 15, 09 12:01 AM
  1. Dear GM,

    Your in the toilet now. GM rode the SUV train the the bitter end. Perhaps a rear wheel drive sports sedan with a stick shift or a super reliable family sedan would have cured all your problems. But no one wants to buy a BMW 3 series or a Honda Accord right! GM is a bunch of fools. Your thought you new more about cars than the people who drive them and buy them. Honda and BMW have been showing you the light for 20 years and you continued to ignore the market and force crap in the faces of the world. Now your talking all big with your hand out looking for money from the people who you wouldn't listen to.

    Duke Brother

    Posted by Duke Brother April 16, 09 11:12 AM
  1. Damn. After reading this I can honestly say anyone on here generalizing that all domestic brands collectively suck is basically an uninformed, trendy, pedantic resident of the suburbs oblivious to the real world and understanding how machines work. Go rot in your Honda Odyssey on 128, just stop cutting me off without signaling while talking on your cell phone, please.
    Really, it all depends on the individual car, and this goes for all brands around the globe. They all have winners and losers.
    I drive a 1993 Chevy Blazer (not an S10, the regular K1500 one). It gets pretty bad MPG, around 14-15, but it does have a V8 with over 220,000 miles on it. My truck still looks great and I receive lots of compliments on it. Most people mistake it for a much newer vehicle, and I've had very few problems with it. It's taken the New England winters with ease and never gets stuck.
    It's very easy to work on as well. You'll usually get the same reaction from anyone with an 88-95 GM full size. My dad's 88 Silverado has 277,000 on the original engine. On the other hand, we've had a few Pontiac Grand Prix, the first an 89 and the next a 95. Both had lots of problems, however the 89 ran forever with little to no engine work.
    The Toyota 22R 4cyl. engine is a great little motor. So are the mini-trucks from the 80s. But, what if I grouped all Toyotas together as crap just because the V6 in the early 90s 4Runner and pickups was a junk boat anchor that blew head gaskets and made almost no power, the older 90s models like to rot, especially in the frames, and the engines in the Camrys from around 5 years ago get sludged up? You'd call me crazy, but all these maladies effect the brand.
    I do agree that unions are a big cause to this problem. Watch the news footage when it shows assembly line workers. A lot of them are standing around in front of the camera wasting time.

    Posted by Matt April 17, 09 12:24 AM
  1. GM used to have their company themed. I don't know what happened...
    it used to be
    GMC - Work Trucks, Vans (Sierra, Safari the hummer should just be a GMC)
    Chevy - General Cars (Silvarado, Impala, Corvette, Equinox)
    Pontiac - For the Youth (Solstice, GTO, Maybe where the compacts should be)
    Oldsmobile - WTF
    Buick - For those who couldn't afford Cadillac
    Cadillac - Luxury Cars

    Posted by Brett Corby April 23, 09 10:04 AM
  1. I was raised on gm and American cars and that's all my family buys... Ignorant... I was the black sheep in my family when I bought a volkswagen but you know what?it has such a nice ride and it's very quick! Now everyone in my family wants to barrow my car... I made the switch and I'm not going back and the only other car brand I could see my self buying is a civic to park right next to my jetta... What can I say I gues the US had their time for dominating the auto industry... Now it's over... The only thing that worries me is whoes going to make are tanks and military viehicls?!

    Posted by Brian May 5, 09 11:50 AM
  1. get rid of the union and comfort zone. It's 2009 now!

    Posted by DiMark Inv May 10, 09 05:56 AM
  1. Since 1967 when I bought a Firebird 400 I have never owned anything but a GM car, Including a 1969 Firebird 400 Ram Air, a 1970 Monte Carlo 454 SS, 1974 Chevy Vega, 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix, many Chevys, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs including 80's Camaros, 70's and 80's Cutlass's, 1990 Olds Quad 442, 1997 Chev Lumina, 90's Grand Am's, G6's. All of these were driven hard, long and trouble free with the exception of my Vega which left me stranded due to a faulty oil pressure switch which cut the ignition off. My Pontiac Parisienne Brohme diesel lasted over 250,000 km WITHOUT any failure; even my dealer couldn't believe it. I believe it was due to me changing the oil at 1/2 the recommended interval. My 90 Olds Quad 442 (high output) was driven very hard with about 1/3 of the shifts POWER SHIFTS. It has >260,000 Km and runs very well considering that it has never had a new timing chain (recommended at 150,000 km). Am I just lucky or good, Honestly I have no idea how everyone else can have so many problems with GM vehicles. Perhaps these are people that think a battery failure after 6 years is a huge quality control problem or think that brakes should last 100,000 km in mixed highway and city driving. I have always owned (or leased) two GM
    cars since 1972 and still wonder if I'm lucky or just good.

    Bob App

    Posted by Robert App June 3, 09 02:05 AM
  1. Sorry union workers. You made too much money and had too good a benefits compared to the skill and education levels you work under. Too many of you making $90k with Overtime and having total benefits even into retirement for a job where you need no higher education and only need to show up on time and stay awake on the line. I've listened to many auto workers joke and/or complain about incompetent workers who screw up constantly and the union would save them.
    Your jobs are not worth more than what a teacher or policeman makes. You have priced yourselves out of the market because your product can't compete. Boo Hoo. Now you want the taxpayers to bail you out. Sorry, we don't want to. We work just as hard for the the lesser salaries we make and don't want to support your inflated wage packages and inflated egos. Now you will have to compete with us for our lower paying jobs and you won't be able to. Time to compete with the world market. Good luck.

    Posted by Charles Smith June 22, 09 09:02 AM

About Boston Overdrive reports the latest trends, auto shows and wrings out the newest cars in our city's hellish maze — and across the great roads of New England.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
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