General Motors Scores Big With a Great Lineup

By Lloyd Frazier

The Pontiac G6, Chevrolet Corvette, Buick Ranier, Cadillac Escalade, Hummer H2, and GMC Sierra 2500/3500 all won their respective categories for 2005. The best showing for any manufacturer. The Pontiac G6 won over Toyota and Honda in the medium sedan segment. Buick Ranier won top spot in the medium SUV category. General Motors has proved that it builds great products, now it just needs to sell them. As you may know, sales have slid in 2005 for the automobile giant. GM stock is nearly at junk status after reporting a 1.1 Billion dollar loss. Bob Lutz knows how to build great products, he just stinks at the selling part. Unfortunately, building great products isn’t the only thing you need in your success formula. It is time for General Motors to clean up their marketing house. Gimmicks and rebates have helped GM weather recent storms, but it isn’t working well for them in the financial department. You can’t make money giving away your product. It is time to hire a marketing superstar to get the wheels turning again, or at least the wheels rolling out of dealerships. Dealerships are another subject. When Saturn took the tact of selling vehicles like a normal retail product people in the industry were wondering if it would really work. General Motors has only gotten positive response from that strategy. Imagine walking into a car dealership and not having to go through the barrage of characters that you are likely to see in the comics. The lot boy who lures you into talking with a sales person who lures you into a poker match with the sales manager. Then the 3-4 hours of haggling. It is just so ridiculous. But, it has been working that way since the dawn of the industry. What would lure people back. Hyundai has done wonders with their 10yr/100,000 mile warranty. What is the best you get with GM?…..5 years, if you purchase the extended warranty, otherwise it is 3/36000. Here is my take: clean up how you do business at the consumer level by changing how the dealerships work, get a decent warranty that you don’t have to shell out extra cash for, and market to us like we are thinking adults!

The Hudson

By Lloyd Frazier

Hudson started in 1909. It was founded by 8 men, one of which was the department store magnate JL Hudson. The department store still exists today – Dayton Hudson.

Hudson had brought about several innovations in the automobile industry:
* First mass produced enclosed coach. This profoundly influenced GM and Ford.
* First low cost 6 cylinder
* Fluid clutch system
* Push Button start
* Step-down, monobuilt(uni-body)unit body. A lower center of gravity and wider body.
* In 1951, Hudson produced a souped up version of the step-down design called the Hornet. It changed the NASCAR circuit. It dominated from 1951-1954.

As with most US auto manufacturers, WWII halted all production of cars to produce armaments. Hudson made aircraft wings and fuselages, anti-aircraft guns, and landing craft engines. The depression put a dent in Hudson’s cash flow, as will most manufacturers. They finally merged with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors. The last Hudson to be built was in 1957. What an awesome car!
Trivia: American Motors became the third largest US automobile manufacturer in the early 60’s with the popularity of their compact Ramblers. By 1980, American Motors financial situation was floundering. Renault bought 25% interest of the company. Chrylser bought American Motors company in 1987 and phased out the brand in favor of the Eagle badge in 1988.

My First Post

By Lloyd Frazier

I just entered the realm of the BLOG! In this blog I hope to achieve a couple of things. First, I would like to discuss US built cars in general, and secondly the car collector craze that seems to be heating up over the last few years. I am not an expert in this industry. I just love cars….PERIOD! I think it will be very interesting to discuss these topics amongst the people who share my passion.

There is a general misconception among younger generations that US manufactured cars, mostly manufactured in the 90’s and up, are not built with quality in mind. That is just not true. Because of the increased competition of the Japanese starting in the 80’s, that has forced US manufacturers to take notice. US cars have gotten better and better over the last 20 years. Oh sure, there have been some real stinkers that have come along, but you can’t judge the whole industry on a few mistakes. On principle, I will only buy American cars. Not because I think they are superior to all others. I just cringe at the thought of losing American ingenuity in the design of future cars and trucks. As you may well know, many Japanese manufacturers, and now Korean manufacturer Hyundai, build cars right hear in the good ‘ol USA. That keeps a lot of good paying jobs here. That is a good thing not only for the job market, but for the competitive marketplace as well.

On the other front, collector cars. Wow, when was the last time you viewed, participated or read about car auctions. With the baby boomers getting nostalgic and having a little extra cash on hand, the collector and antique car business is thriving. I subscribe to ‘Cars & Parts’ and read it avidly. Man, there are some beauties to be had. There is nothing like driving a car from the period of your youth. I also frequent many web sites that sell cars just to look at the pictures and remember those great old cars from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

I hope those who visit this blog have some great car stories to tell.