Tag: general motors

The General Motors Hunger Games

Hindsight is a funny thing. With hindsight we gain a forced perspective of all of our actions through the clearest looking glass of them all: time itself. This becomes especially potent when it comes to business decisions, as profit and loss and all of the other financial indicators will tell you exactly where you messed up. Literally, business schools are churning out thousands of cheap suit wearing peons who will tell you exactly where you messed up. Realistically, the bigger the company, the more eyes are on you, especially in times of upheaval.

10 Years Ago, the Games Began

In 2008, General Motors put all of their American Brands through the business equivalent of the Hunger Games, killing off the likes of Saturns, Hummer, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saab — while maintaining GMC, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac. At the time this was seen as necessary cost saving measures and was used to propel the stricken company through the sales doldrums that were the late 00’s. With 10 years of hindsight though we are here to ask, did they kill the right brands? We weren’t sure, so we talked to a whole bunch of GM consumers, employees, mechanics, and dealers — and their answers might surprise you.

First we are going to look at the American brands — specifically based on the year 2000 — and their position within GM itself. How did they overlap with other brands in the company? Which makes had the best brand loyalty, and could that loyalty be turned with another brands nearly identical product? Where should have these companies positioned themselves within the greater marketplace in order to create a more monolithic car company? More importantly, did the short term survival decisions of GM potentially limit their overall reach in the future?

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Saturn: That Awkward Moment When GM Started a Japanese Car Company

Saturn: America's Japanese Car Company

Starting a company isn’t easy. Trust us — we’ve been there. Starting a car company — well that’s damn near impossible. The amount of capital, both human and physical, that is required is absolutely daunting. Since about the midpoint in the past century, few upstarts have been able to cope with the stringent regulations and vicious marketplace that is the automotive industry. This is why the seeming ethereal emergence of the Saturn company is so impressive, and why it caused more cocked eyebrows than Leo DiCaprio’s performance in Django Unchained.

In this article, we are going to be looking at one of the most fascinating companies to ever grace the automotive stage. A company that didn’t make the most innovative or even interesting cars, but a company that was built from the ground up to be new, innovative, and inherently competitive — and how it all went terribly wrong. Continue reading “Saturn: That Awkward Moment When GM Started a Japanese Car Company”

Used Car Review – 2001 Oldsmobile Alero

“We are the walking dead.”- Rick Grimes

What is a zombie car? Unfortunately it is not a shambling corpse of a vehicle that never needs gas and likes mauling and consuming other properly working cars (this would be freaking awesome). No, instead a zombie car refers to a make or model that no longer gets made. Some zombie cars are such for really good reasons, they didn’t sell enough of them, the company that made them was insolvent, or they were absolutely awful. Weirdly enough, this 2001 Oldsmobile Alero is one of those zombies with an interesting story. It was a sad turn of events that made this a zombie car, and we really can’t figure out why.

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

The Oldsmobile Alero was typically outfitted with GM’s peppy little 4 cylinder, or the slightly bigger V6. This one has the 4, with a manual 5 speed gearbox. It is a small, light car with a decent amount of power compared to other options in the segment. It handled well for a front wheel, 4 cylinder compact. I really didn’t have any complaints. This one had done 170k, and had taught 4 young drivers how to drive a stick shift. It still had the original clutch and gearbox. Seriously what is that thing made out of?

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