American Car Companies Are Listening To Consumers – 20 Years Too Late

Well, lo and behold, it looks as if General Motors might be realizing the error of its ways, as it’s apparently looking to reintroduce the Camaro. Chrysler also appears to have caught the bug, as they’re slated to bring back the Challenger. Both companies also appear to have realized the idiocy of the new Charger’s 4 door design, as both the Challenger and the Camaro are strictly 2 door affairs.
Is this the future of the American car industry, to be reduced to boutique muscle car and truck shops? I certainly hope not, but unless they can somehow miraculously recapture the midsize sedan market from the Accordamry hegemony (Hint to Ford: The Fusion ain’t goin’ to cut it, kids), I’m afraid we may be looking at some last-gasp heroics.


I blame “platform” sharing. Look at the Honda’s, Toyota’s, and even BMW’s of the world. They don’t talk about “platforms” and chassis’s (how do you pluralize that?), they are all about individualized forms. Yes, Acura borrows from Honda, and Lexus the same from Toyota, but it is incredibly less obvious in most cases. They aren’t splitting their share, unlike GM, where you can get a Torrent, an Equinox, a View, an Envoy, a Trailblazer, and the Buick offering, all VERY similar to each other (yes, some are slightly larger then others, and I didn’t even mention the Aztek). Too much dilution. They could sell LOTS of units overall, but have them split so evenly that they all are money loosers.

There’s a good deal of truth in what you say, although I think a good amount of the losses incurred by platforming vehicles is in the dealerships and marketing.
I think that the notion of sharing chases isn’t bad on it’s face, it’s just that GM has taken it to a stupid level. How many brands do they own, anyways? There’s GMC, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab in the US, Opel in the EU, Holden in AU, plus they own a sizable portion of Subaru, IIRC. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few at the least.
If I were running the company, I’d advocate the following changes: trim your offerings down to a value line (Saturn?), a “family” line (Chevy?), a truck line (GMC?), a performance/weird car line (Pontiac?), and a luxury line (Cadillac?) and brand ’em however seemed fit. I might even lump the value and family lines together as Chevys. Point is, if you bought a GM SUV, you’d buy a GMC, whether it were a Suburban or a Hummer or a crossover vehicle. If you bought a luxury sedan, it’d be a Caddy. Weird cars (SSR, HHR, Aztek, etc.)? Pontiac. Family sedan or a minivan? Chevy.
I’d leave the Corvette on its own, though. They seem to do fine regardless of whatever else is going on.