Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ms Rabett on GM

Eli was wondering why GM (and Chrysler) killed off particular dealerships. Ms. Rabett pointed out that for the last fifty years, the US automakers have been concentrating on the high end of the market, esp. large cars with fins and machine gun mounts. They allowed, or at least turned a blind eye when their dealers opened up foreign car dealerships because they saw that as the entry level for customers who would later move up to the domestic brands. Of course , Toyota, BMW et al., had other ideas, filling out their own lines. Today, the US manufacturers are going to have to downsize their offerings. She speculates (and Eli is damned if he is going to check this out) that at least in part, they divested dealerships which also sold imports which would be in competition with the US brands. You go argue with her.



John Mashey said...

machine-gun turrets: yes.

See Alan Dean Foster's classic 1971 short-story "Why Johnny Can't Speed, in Galaxy magazine, and then in "With Friends like these" collection, 1977. A few tidbits:


(kid was driving a VW, expecting other VWs to help him)

"What are you giving me? Explosive or armor-piercing?"

"We all know your combat driving record...There are not all that many aces living in the Valley."

"There were a few- un-American dirty commie pinko symps, no doubt- who decried the resultant proliferation of "argumentative" devices among high-powered autos."

"He activated the roof turret, an expensive option, but one that had proven its worth time and again.... The twin fifties started hammering away..."

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!

Magnus said...

Oh, no... GM had all the best bosses and all!


EliRabett said...

Say the majic word and get trashed.

Anonymous said...


Andrew D said...

Here's the strange thing:

Both Ford and GM have european operations (Ford and Vauxhall/Opel repsectively). Both have a range of small and medium cars - Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa again respectively (there are also the Focus and Astra).

Diesel variants of these can get 50+ mpg; both companies have decent if not the best diesel engines.

If anyone can work out how they didn't manage to translate these cars back across the Atlantic, it'd be interesting..

bluegrue said...

At least for Opel it was a fight against GM to introduce Diesel motors even in Europe or to roll out a running gear which is up to European demands. Streets and attitudes towards cars are different over here and GM management tried to ignore it along the motto "What's good enough for the US will be perfect everywhere else". It nearly broke Opel years ago. I'm not really surprised, GM management failed to see the potential of European style cars on US streets.

bluegrue said...

P.S.: Today, Opel is among Germany's finest again. I hope they survive the current GM debacle.

EliRabett said...

When buying a car a couple of years ago, Eli went looking for a Ford Focus which matched those available in Germany and the UK, a small car, good mileage, good finish. The Focus on this side was a spartan, stripped, entry level car with lousy mileage. Ford was not interested in selling a EuroFocus in competition with its barges.

Anonymous said...

Getting smaller means having less dealerships.. That's basically it.