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GM's Approach

By Edited Dec 7, 2016 0 0

GM, having failed to engineer and design a vehicle meeting the demands of its consumers, they co-opted their competition. They own, control, or have interest in several other auto companies, including SAAB, Opel, Suzuki, and most recently, Korean Car maker, Daewoo. And like Ford, GM has wasted opportunities to effectively market good, affordable, dependable, fuel efficient vehicles to those consumers looking for those attributes in their next purchase. For example, the Chevy Tracker, manufactured for a short period of time under the Chevy banner from 1998 through 2005. A small SUV available in two or four door configurations, utilized a small Suzuki engine and drive line, including suspension, borrowed, or should I say bought by GM from Suzuki Motors. This small four wheel drive SUV garnered fuel economy in the upper twenty's. I don't think there is any GM designed and built SUV, similar in design that gets into the mid twenty's for fuel economy, excluding their newer hybrid SUV vehicles. The Chevy Tracker was one tough little SUV that gave most Jeepsters a run for their money once it left terra firma. Built on a rugged ladder box frame with short approach and departure angles, the Chevy Tracker, once locked in four wheel drive, utilized nearly all of its torque capacity in under 1500 rpm's. On par with the much more expensive Jeep Wrangler. Suzuki also did it right in regards to its rear axle gear ratio. Using a very slow crawling ratio of 5.12 to 1, with a four low transfer speed of 2.52 to 1, this little SUV could easily navigate through the thick stuff with agility left over for continuing adventures yet to be discovered. My point is this, GM spent millions buying into Suzuki for their tough, affordable approach towards making a dependable, small but rugged SUV to take on rivals such as the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4-Runner, and they dropped the bomb on it after a short seven year run. Instead of marketing the Tracker to off road enthusiasts such as myself, they took to spending millions on advertisements trying to lure in middle aged, middle income suburban moms. And the vehicle didn't sell. Having not reached the anticipated levels of sales, GM pulled the plug on the Tracker. Suzuki still markets essentially the same vehicle under the Vitara and Grand Vitara name, selling very well ever since it's introduction in 1999. But looking at their ads, Suzuki effectively markets the Grand Vitara as a formidable off road vehicle, luring away customers that otherwise would consider a Jeep or Toyota. Toyota, realizing a void in the small, rugged SUV market, geared towards those that would use it in the back country, recently reintroduced the American consumer to the highly formidable, and affordable, little FJ-Cruiser. A wise step in the right direction for Toyota, but how did GM or Ford respond to this consumer demand? By offering us nothing. Both companies lack a small, affordable, fuel efficient, body on frame design, rugged SUV to offer to the American consumer looking for just such a vehicle. Instead, consumers like me, are forced to look into and buy the products produced by their competition such as Toyota, Suzuki, Isuzu, and Jeep.

This article coincides with my last article about Gm and Ford. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest doing so to fully understand.

So as it may come as a surprise to many, viewing recent newspaper headlines and online news banners of a possible merger between Ford and GM, I am not shocked. Nor do I think it would result in a stronger company. I believe the "Big Two" have not learned much from their own history. Any possible future merger would most likely result in the same old, bland products that they continue to produce right now. If anything, they would diminish the selection currently on their lots today offering consumers less choice. Judging them on their history, I also doubt fuel economy or dependability would increase either.

What Ford and GM should do is listen to the consumers, watch what is selling with the competition, and using their ownership in many reputable auto companies, infuse that better technology that they paid for into vehicles consumers are demanding. The Ford Festiva and Chevy Tracker are but two examples. If they were smart, they would follow Toyota's lead as with the FJ-Cruiser and bring both vehicles back, market them effectively to the proper crowd and watch their sales and profits take off.

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