Thursday

GM Death List of Dieing Models


In its restructuring plan, GM says it will drop 8 vehicle nameplates within the next 3 years. Is your car one of them?

In documents which Automotive News reported to be filed with the US Congress in early December, GM said that by 2012 it will reduce its nameplates from the current 48 (31 cars and "crossover" vehicles and 17 trucks) down to 40 (29 cars and crossover vehicles and 11 trucks). Although they didn't say which ones are being dropped, industry insiders noted that the Chevy Trailblazer and Uplander were already on the Death List.

In addition to the Trailblazer and Uplander, other nameplates believed to be on the Death List may include the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, GM's compact pickup trucks, and 2 Cadillacs.

One of the probable Death List Caddys is the two-seat sportscar, the XLR model. That idea harkens our memories of the demise of the Oldsmobile make some years ago. At the time we noted that the Olds line was, in our Lemon Law experience, the most reliable and trouble-free brand that GM had and it made no sense to us that they would kill it off. Now the Cadillac XLR? We have to say that we have never heard of a lemon Cadillac XLR. Once again, GM seems to prefer to kill off quality in the name of another brand's profit margin. Well, with the economy being what it is, maybe this time they had no choice.

GM did say that the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands are "core" to its business and that Pontiac will become a "niche" builder with probably only 2 nameplated vehicle lines. GM publicly has said that Saab and Hummer are for sale and it is widely expected that Saturn's days are now numbered too. Elimination of those three makes alone would knock out 10 vehicle nameplates and meet its "reinvented" business model projection.

Keeping Buick certainly makes good sense, and Chevrolet too, given the huge sales of both that occur in China and the Far East. Losing that nameplate would be economic suicide for GM. No matter what one might say about the suits in the GM tower, they aren't that dumb.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet has plans in place to bring out a new young-market Camaro and the green-market Volt, and will replace the Chevrolet Cobalt with a new model called Cruze by 2012.

Chrysler and Ford have kept their plans much more secret for now, but they have to also be creating their own model Death List. Smaller in size, release of their Death Lists could create considerably more employee and industry unrest, so keeping their plans quiet for now is a smart management move. GM couldn't do that in light of the huge amount of continuing talk of the cost of GM's death, by bankruptcy or otherwise, and the blog speculation over GM's model line future (to say nothing about the speculation over GM's very survival).

So, if you're going car shopping in the next year, be careful that you don't end up with an orphan. Those models historically fade fast but their repair and service needs don't.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com


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