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GM drops Camry, Accord test drive program
Customers were supposed to be able to test the new Malibu against Camry and Accord at dealerships. Program was working for Saturn, GM says.
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer
August 31 2007: 5:02 PM EDT


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Motors has quietly dropped a marketing strategy it announced in May where it would bring other automakers' vehicles to its Chevrolet showrooms for customers to test against its redesigned 2008 Malibu.

The company was already running a similar program for its new Saturn Aura sedan - where dealers were bringing Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys into the showroom and allowing customers to inspect and test those vehicles in comparison to the Aura.

GM has also stopped marketing support of that program. The company is, instead, shifting its Saturn marketing dollars to the just-released redesigned 2008 Saturn Vue SUV. Dealers can voluntarily continue the program on their own, a GM spokeswoman said, but GM would no longer be advertising it.

Saturn dealers, which are independently owned businesses, paid for the competitive vehicles themselves. For the most part, dealers either purchased or rented competitive vehicles for the purpose. Dealers who also owned Toyota or Honda dealerships could "borrow" vehicles for the program.

The Aura program was successful, said Matt Armstrong, GM's Saturn marketing manager.

Aura sales increased 24 percent from June, when the program started, through July, he said. At the same time, the overall market for midsized cars went down 14 percent. July was the second-best month for the Aura since the car's launch in 2006, said Armstrong

The Saturn test drive program had always been intended as a summer promotion to boost awareness of the Aura, Armstrong said, which was an entirely new vehicle and name for Saturn.

"We made the decision to shift our resources over to Vue," Armstrong said.

GM gave no specific reason for dropping plans for the similar program involving the new Chevrolet Malibu.

"It's really been off the table for quite some time," said Nancy Libby, communications manager for Chevrolet.

The Malibu launch will be marketed with some sort of innovative approach, Libby said, but not the one Saturn used, as had originally been discussed.

"We really just didn't think that was the best approach we could come up with," she said.

Chevrolet has about 4,100 dealers compared to about 400 for Saturn, Libby said, but the sheer number of retail sites was (while a complicating factor) not the reason for dropping the side-by-side-by-side concept.

The 2008 Malibu will be based on the same engineering fundamentals as the current Saturn Aura. The Malibu, which is expected to launch in November with a starting price of $19,995, is available with a base 4-cylinder engine that is not offered on the Aura. The Malibu's steering and suspension are also tuned to be somewhat lighter and more forgiving than the Aura's.

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consindering the # of Toyota's they would have to buy for a comparison, they would give Camry the sales crown by just buying them for their showrooms
 

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consindering the # of Toyota's they would have to buy for a comparison, they would give Camry the sales crown by just buying them for their showrooms
^^
Not really, there's only like 500 Saturn dealers anyways, and most of them either rented or bought used(So, if you mean Chevy too).
 

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Which Ford product is competition for Malibu? Is it Fusion or Taurus? I'm thinking it's Fusion. If this is so, then Malibu has a tough row to hoe. The Fusion is a great product.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Its just common sense. The Malibu is just a refresh, a very extensive one I must add, to the current vehicle. But it is still the same underperforming so-so Epsilon platform that sees duty in the current Pontiac G6 and the current Malibu, cars that weren't even included in the comparo tests made by the cars magazines when the Fusion was launched and beat every car with the exception of the Accord in a few magazines.

Now there is an all new Camry and an all new Accord and the Fusion is offering AWD. Doing this program would only ensure that the people interested in the Malibu (and the Aura) would compare it to better products from its competitors. GM knows that, hence no program.

Until Epsilon II comes in the 2011 Aura and Malibu GM can forget about being competitive in this segment.
 

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Any of you who would have taken trouble to go drive an Aura XR would know that the Epilson is not inferior to any accord/ Camry there. I have driven them all. If I was in the market for a V6 Sedan, I would order mine with dealer installed Navigation. The Aura is really better than a Camry or Current Accord, I have also driven the Mazda6 for a whole 4 dars, V6, fully loaded, Yes, Aura is not as sporty, but its an all round better driver, for my type of driving.
If this Malibu is an improvement over Aura, GM will be difficult to beat. It Certainly has the Camry beat with Aura. I cannot speak for the new Accord
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Any of you who would have taken trouble to go drive an Aura XR would know that the Epilson is not inferior to any accord/ Camry there. I have driven them all. If I was in the market for a V6 Sedan, I would order mine with dealer installed Navigation. The Aura is really better than a Camry or Current Accord, I have also driven the Mazda6 for a whole 4 dars, V6, fully loaded, Yes, Aura is not as sporty, but its an all round better driver, for my type of driving.
If this Malibu is an improvement over Aura, GM will be difficult to beat. It Certainly has the Camry beat with Aura. I cannot speak for the new Accord
That is not what every single measured test have said. The current Epsilon was left behind a long time ago and quite frankly in was never in front of its crop.

The are a few bright spot like the green line edition for the Aura but overall Epsilon is not up to standard. Look at the G6, look at the current Malibu, look at the BLS. In three years when Epsilon II is out the story may change in the mean time the brilliance of the Aura only reflects the brilliance of GM's marketing efforts.
 

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That is not what every single measured test have said. The current Epsilon was left behind a long time ago and quite frankly in was never in front of its crop.

The are a few bright spot like the green line edition for the Aura but overall Epsilon is not up to standard. Look at the G6, look at the current Malibu, look at the BLS. In three years when Epsilon II is out the story may change in the mean time the brilliance of the Aura only reflects the brilliance of GM's marketing efforts.
I do not know where you get your information, but this below are testers comments about the Epilson Chassis

After years of producing also-rans, Chevrolet has turned out a family sedan that's competitive with the best in its segment. Families especially mindful of the bottom line need look no further. (Note the Camry was beat in this test by Malibu) On Chassis "The Malibu's all-independent suspension filters out road imperfections nearly as well as the Camry's, and the rigid platform is free of vibrations and rattles. The doors close with a "thunk" every bit as solid as those of the Japanese brands."
MotorTrend)
"The Saab 9-3 is the first car in the U.S. to be based on General Motors' all-new Epsilon chassis. And we're impressed with what we've experienced.
The Vector's precise handling characteristics can instill confidence in the driver. Taking the car at speed through a 40-mph corner reveals a competent and composed chassis that leans slightly and in a gradual, linear manner when transitioning from a straight line into the turn — no abrupt body sway here." road &Track
"Driving the Aura on the highway is like putting on a set of Bose noise-canceling headphones. Although our sound-level meter measured a very average 68 dBA of noise, it seemed to our ears to be the quietest car since a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Double-paned front glass, a healthy dose of sound deadening, and laminated steel (dubbed Quiet Steel) go a long way toward canceling unwanted racket." Car and Driver
In My opinion- getting compare to a Rolls for a $24K car is pretty good. That cannt be achived by using a lousy Chasis, you need to come up with a new reason why the Epilson II is inferior. Its been upgraded for the new Malibu.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That took you long enough.
I do not know where you get your information, but this below are testers comments about the Epilson Chassis
That MT quote is from 2003, in a comparo test in which the Malibu barely managed to beat the Mitsubishi Galant (BEFORE the Fusion was launched). Whoopsy-doo! The next year that same car wasn't even considered for comparo tests when the Fusion was introduced. And you mean to tell me that a reworked version of the same chasis is going to be a world beater . . . P L E A S E ! Anyone that spends five minutes every month reading car magazines knows that what I said about the Malibu (or the G6 for that matter) not being considered for comparisons whe the Fusion was launched, knows that I am not lying. Once again you are invited to prove me wrong, but don't dismiss "my information" without proof.

In My opinion- getting compare to a Rolls for a $24K car is pretty good. That cannt be achived by using a lousy Chasis, you need to come up with a new reason why the Epilson II is inferior. Its been upgraded for the new Malibu.
Oh. Wow!
 

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Its just common sense. The Malibu is just a refresh, a very extensive one I must add, to the current vehicle. But it is still the same underperforming so-so Epsilon platform that sees duty in the current Pontiac G6 and the current Malibu, cars that weren't even included in the comparo tests made by the cars magazines when the Fusion was launched and beat every car with the exception of the Accord in a few magazines.

Now there is an all new Camry and an all new Accord and the Fusion is offering AWD. Doing this program would only ensure that the people interested in the Malibu (and the Aura) would compare it to better products from its competitors. GM knows that, hence no program.

Until Epsilon II comes in the 2011 Aura and Malibu GM can forget about being competitive in this segment.
That took you long enough.

That MT quote is from 2003, in a comparo test in which the Malibu barely managed to beat the Mitsubishi Galant (BEFORE the Fusion was launched). Whoopsy-doo! The next year that same car wasn't even considered for comparo tests when the Fusion was introduced. And you mean to tell me that a reworked version of the same chasis is going to be a world beater . . . P L E A S E ! Anyone that spends five minutes every month reading car magazines knows that what I said about the Malibu (or the G6 for that matter) not being considered for comparisons whe the Fusion was launched, knows that I am not lying. Once again you are invited to prove me wrong, but don't dismiss "my information" without proof.


Oh. Wow!
I have to agree with Sobe, WOW.
Wingsnut, if you had taken time to read the thread, the issue is not the G6 or the Malibu, the issue is the quality of the Epilson plartform, which they are built on.. SobeSVT, is ducking the issue, Fusion cannot light a candle to the 9-3, same chasis, heck even the Mazda6 cannot play with the 9-3. The Current Malibu and the current G6 suck. That is not to say that their plartform suck. Opels and Saabs are great vehicles, so is the Aura, its just the North American Penny pincher mentality (Mazda6 Vs. Fusion) that kills the Malibu.
You two need to stop your ford cool aid and see things clearly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wingsnut, if you had taken time to read the thread, the issue is not the G6 or the Malibu, the issue is the quality of the Epilson plartform, which they are built on.. SobeSVT, is ducking the issue, Fusion cannot light a candle to the 9-3, same chasis, heck even the Mazda6 cannot play with the 9-3. The Current Malibu and the current G6 suck. That is not to say that their plartform suck. Opels and Saabs are great vehicles, so is the Aura, its just the North American Penny pincher mentality (Mazda6 Vs. Fusion) that kills the Malibu.
You two need to stop your ford cool aid and see things clearly.
Who told you he didn't read?

I am ducking nothing. Epsilon is an old platform that never lived up the the hype raised by GM.
Fusion cannot light a candle to the 9-3? I haven't seen them compared but with a base price of 27K v. 17K for the Fusion it better be that way for the 9-3's sake. But keep in mind that Europe has avoided the BLS like a plague for a reason.

Let me get that right. Mazda6 v. Fusion is what kills the Malibu . . . never thought about it that way but it sort of makes lots of sense to me :D

The point of the thread is the abortion of the Camry-Accord comparison program. I think that the reason is obvious.
 

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I took further trouble to make a little sales chart for Ford's platform Vs. GM's. If Epilson is a failure, Ford, I do not know what it is. I am sure Volvo if it has a Mazda6 product did not move 38K units in North America.

My point being, please be factual in your wild claims. Malibu is not the best product out there, but it does have redeeming qualities.
As for BLS, the plarform has nothing to do with its failure. 9-3 and Vectra are doing very well in Europe, despite being the same underpinnings as BLS.

SobeSVT, with all due respect, you attack GM blindly without a sober assesment of reality.
 

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I took further trouble to make a little sales chart for Ford's platform Vs. GM's. If Epilson is a failure, Ford, I do not know what it is. I am sure Volvo if it has a Mazda6 product did not move 38K units in North America.

My point being, please be factual in your wild claims. Malibu is not the best product out there, but it does have redeeming qualities.
As for BLS, the plarform has nothing to do with its failure. 9-3 and Vectra are doing very well in Europe, despite being the same underpinnings as BLS.

SobeSVT, with all due respect, you attack GM blindly without a sober assesment of reality.


The heavy fleet sales of the 'bu really skews those numbers.

I had a Malibu rental once and I could not say one good thing about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I took further trouble to make a little sales chart for Ford's platform Vs. GM's. If Epilson is a failure, Ford, I do not know what it is. I am sure Volvo if it has a Mazda6 product did not move 38K units in North America.

My point being, please be factual in your wild claims. Malibu is not the best product out there, but it does have redeeming qualities.
As for BLS, the plarform has nothing to do with its failure. 9-3 and Vectra are doing very well in Europe, despite being the same underpinnings as BLS.

SobeSVT, with all due respect, you attack GM blindly without a sober assesment of reality.
We appreciate your troubles. Good to see how the Fusion outsells the Malibu, G6 and Aura despite the gigantic disproportion in fleet sales for the first two, which may reflect the overall difference. Don't you think?

Talking about facts. The Malibu fleet sales are in the neigborhood of 60% of its total sales and the G6 total is a no less impressive 42%.

Fusion, Milan and Mazda6? 19%, 15% and 31% respectively.

Its also good to see how the MKZ beating the 9-3 despite being a relatively new vehicle. Oh, well. Too bad they don't report earning by the platform.

But yes, I have no choice but to admit that the Epsilon is a resounding success . . . in fleet sales that is.
 

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We appreciate your troubles. Good to see how the Fusion outsells the Malibu, G6 and Aura despite the gigantic disproportion in fleet sales for the first two, which may reflect the overall difference. Don't you think?

Talking about facts. The Malibu fleet sales are in the neigborhood of 60% of its total sales and the G6 total is a no less impressive 42%.

Fusion, Milan and Mazda6? 19%, 15% and 31% respectively.

Its also good to see how the MKZ beating the 9-3 despite being a relatively new vehicle. Oh, well. Too bad they don't report earning by the platform.

But yes, I have no choice but to admit that the Epsilon is a resounding success . . . in fleet sales that is.
Now, if only you had said, your "failure" comments were based on sales to fleet.
 

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Now, if only you had said, your "failure" comments were based on sales to fleet.
Man you are all over the place.

My ""failure" comments" never revolved around sales performance, which in itself by the way, its a very interesting topic to look at (60% . . . that's crazy) but rather around the fact that Epsilon is now outdated and never was the hot little thing GM fans think it is. 5 years ago though, it was competitive and Ford had nothing to compete with it. How things change in a few years.

You reaction was to imply that I was lying and dusting some old reviews back from when Epsilon was all new to prove it. Then you came with your little sales chart and it turned out that it spoke louder than you expected.

One piece of news Mbuku. . . I didn't suspend the test drive program, it was GM.
 

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Man you are all over the place.

My ""failure" comments" never revolved around sales performance, which in itself by the way, its a very interesting topic to look at (60% . . . that's crazy) but rather around the fact that Epsilon is now outdated and never was the hot little thing GM fans think it is. 5 years ago though, it was competitive and Ford had nothing to compete with it. How things change in a few years.

You reaction was to imply that I was lying and dusting some old reviews back from when Epsilon was all new to prove it. Then you came with your little sales chart and it turned out that it spoke louder than you expected.

One piece of news Mbuku. . . I didn't suspend the test drive program, it was GM.
My thinking was that, GM would give too many sales or Leases to toyota and Honda, just by stocking every chevy dealer with a Camry/Accord.. how many Chevy dealerships are there in US and Canada?
 
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