Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Best Email I Ever Received AT GM - November 2001

Ron Zarrella has left General Motors and returns to Bausch & Lomb as their CEO ...

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) And His 1964 Buick Riviera

A lot of you know I am a big Star Trek fan. I have been since I first laid eyes on TV, so imagine how excited I was to find the following pictures of Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock on Star Trek) with his 1964 Buick Riviera. Hey Buick, how about a few Buick commercials featuring the famed actor in a Buick or two?

I hope you enjoy the pics, click on them to make them bigger ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wayne Carini Of Chasing Classic Cars

I recently met Wayne Carini, Ferrari expert and master restorer at his shop in Connecticut. Wayne is the Star of Chasing Classic Cars on HD Theater.
I had been telling my friends and family and anyone else who would listen, that I wanted to meet Wayne. I enjoy his expert advice on restoring and preparing cars for auction. Not that I have anything in the same ballpark as Wayne, he loves Ferrari’s the same way I love Pontiacs, we also both fell in love with our respective brands at a very young age.

It was great meeting him, and he even took the time to look at my 2011 Synergy Green Camaro SS. His comment was, “Boy GM must love all the people buying this new Camaro!”, and of course I agreed.

Here are a few pictures of that day, one I will remember fondly!

Don't forget you can click on any pic to make it bigger ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Insane Interest In Me

There seems to be some insane interest in me, inside and outside of General Motors. Quite frankly I don't really understand it. I go to work, I do my job, and I do it well, as I would say most of you do too.

So why this crazy interest in me, is it the fact that I like my anonymity, I guard it, relish it, and drink it in? To me it's like riding in a 2011 Camaro SS with the windows tinted to a level 5. I can see out, but hardly anyone can see in, and really is there anything wrong with that?

So tell me, why do you want to know who I am and what I do? Give me a logical reason for telling you, if I like your reason, I may in fact "Kiss and Tell"! Many of you already know my first name and my middle name, all you need now is that critical last name, then the mystery is solved.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

GM Divisions And Subsidiaries I Miss

As I got out of my 2011 Synergy Green Camaro SS a few days ago, I swung the door closed, and something was staring at me in the face, it was right on the door sill of my Camaro SS, the word CHEVROLET. Now I am a child of the 70s as some of you know, I wax nostalgic about things in my youth. I had an instant flashback to the door sill on my Dad’s 1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille and the words that were on its door sill, BODY BY FISHER. I recalled how I actually missed seeing those words on GM cars. When you opened the door on any 70s models cars, Body by Fisher was there. It wasn’t just the 70s cars that had those words on the door sill, but as far as I know, 60s, 50’s and for all I know the 40s cars had it too. I’m only 42 so my history doesn’t go back to the 50s and 40s, so I am making some assumptions here. I can still see the words BODY BY FISHER on my 1969 Pontiac Custom-S when I miss seeing the Fisher coach on the door sill of my 2011 Camaro SS.

But this got me thinking about what other things I miss about GM that are not around anymore. I will give you my short list and perhaps that will jog your memory and you can let me know what you miss about GM that is no more. So here goes, here are the GM divisions and subsidiaries that are no longer around and I miss them. They are in no particular order.

1. Fisher Body
2. Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS)
3. Pontiac Motor Division (PMD)
4. General Motors Assembly Division (GMAD)
5. Delco Electronics Corporation
6. Hughes Electronics Corporation
7. Delphi (Auto Parts)
8. Detroit Diesel
9. Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) Train Engines

So that’s my short list, let me know what you miss about GM.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

GM's North American Four Brand Strategy - My Thoughts

First, let me say this. I am not knocking why GM did what it did when it came to its Four Brand North American strategy. We all know that GM had to get lean and mean, and do it in quite a hurry. With that being said, could the North American Four Brand strategy that GM used have been executed differently and ultimately better than what we have today?

According to autoblog, GM has lost 71% of Saturn and 70% of Pontiac owners who traded their current Saturn/Pontiac cars in on other brands and did not stay within the GM family. In GM’s defense, I believe GM thought that Saturn owners would move to Buick and Pontiac owners would move to Chevrolet. Thinking since Saturn was starting to merge their design with Opel’s, that those same Saturn owners would see the same Opel design cues that were now being used with Buick. In the case of Pontiac, GM was criticized for years that Pontiacs were only Chevrolet clones with Pontiac grilles and tail lights. I think there were some assumptions made that Pontiac owners also thought this, and would move to Chevrolet en masse.

As I see it, Saturn owners see themselves as a Different Kind of Car owner, and would never see themselves as Buick owners. Pontiac owners are loyalist to the end, and feel that their brand is unlike anything else that was in GM. To this day, Pontiac owners are angry that their brand was tossed aside when in their eyes; it should have been Buick that was let go, since in North America, Pontiac outsold Buick 3 to 1.

I’ll get back to Buick and Pontiac in a moment, but let’s take a look at GM’s two truck brands shall we? As most of you know GM has Two Truck Brands, Chevrolet and GMC. When the U.S. Government (Feds) had their people in reviewing GM’s product line, the Feds, questioned GM about having 2 trucks brands, in particular they questioned the existence of the GMC brand. That’s when GM explained to the Feds that GMC made a lot of money for GM, because its customers were willing to pay a higher price point for a product that GMC owners saw as better than Chevrolet trucks. The Feds saw the logic in that and allowed GM to keep the GMC brand in the GM fold. GM kept Buick over Pontiac for one simple reason, it sold Buick in China and China is an emerging auto market where GM now sells more cars there, than it does in the USA. So when all was said and done, GM ended up with their current Four Brand North American strategy, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac.

I think there could have been a better ways to streamline the old GM into the new GM and keep the maximum amount of customers in its customer base.

If I got to make the choices and the cuts to make the new GM viable, I would have put forth two plans, the first would be as follows, and please hear me out.

Plan 1:

1. I would have shuttered Buick in North America, and Pontiac would have gotten a stay of execution. I would have transformed Pontiac into the Holden Special vehicles (HSV) of North America where Pontiac would get two or three halo cars. I think this would have kept Pontiac buyers in the GM family.
2. Buick would remain a Chinese only brand, because in China, Buick is held in high regard.
3. There would only be one truck brand, and unlike the Feds who wanted to dismantle GMC, I would only keep the GMC brand, and shut down Chevy trucks in North America. My reason for keeping GMC over Chevy trucks is that a GMC truck could be offered to any GM dealership no matter what other GM brands that dealership sold.
4. Both Chevrolet and Cadillac stay and are sold as Global brands.

So in the end under Plan 1, there would be Chevrolet (cars), Pontiac, GMC Truck, and Cadillac. Buick would only be sold in China using Opel & GM Korea clones. Chevy trucks would be sold worldwide except in North America.

Plan 2:

1. Buick and Pontiac shuttered in North America
2. Chevy Truck Shuttered in North America.
3. Selected Holden models sold as Chevrolets along with mainstream North American Chevrolet models.
4. Opel sold in North America.

So under plan 2, there would be Chevrolet (with certain Holden models sold as Chevys), GMC Truck, Opel and Cadillac. Buick would only be sold in China using Opel & GM Korea clones. Chevy trucks would be sold worldwide except in North America.

What do you think of these two plans? At present GM’s North American Four Brand strategy is working and Buick is seeing buyers it hasn’t seen in years, but do these new buyers negate the Saturn and Pontiac buyers who have left the GM family? Let me know your thoughts.

I thank you for your time …