Archive for May, 2009

LOTW: TrueCar.com

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

truecar_logo

So this week’s link come courtesy of a new site called TrueCar.com

TrueCar provides shoppers with free price reports that show what buyers in their market area paid for new vehicles, including options. It also provides data on dealer cost, factory invoice prices and sticker prices. The site also uses some nifty graphs to help buyers decide whether or not the offer price from a dealer is a good one.

You might hold off buying a new car until Congress passes a scrappage program as in Germany, and soon in the UK.

Weekend Entertainment: dropping a safe on a Buick

Friday, May 8th, 2009

I wish this was a daily segment on the Letterman show, but sadly, I don’t think he has dropped a safe on a Buick lately…

A Strategy for GM

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

 

The General Motors brands

The General Motors brands

 

 

In a recent speech, Obama asked the question, does the GM proposal do enough to consolidate the unprofitable marques. The answer is obviously “no”. In fact, the proposal generated by GM did little to immediate liquidate assets for any of the brands, including Hummer, Saab, and Saturn, which are the first to go. GM is undoubtedly looking for buyers, but what happens when they cannot get adequate capital? You guessed it, more bailout money. This analysis will focus solely on brand management. Financial management, include dealership reductions will not really be covered here.

Perhaps a better strategy for GM is to spin-off Hummer and pitch it back to the military as was originally intended, then force the Swedes to take back Saab (the will do so of course because of their near-socialist governmental structure), then merge Opel and Vauxall, and Saturn, and sell it to Fiat. This would create a cross-border carmaker with particular focus on the low-end green market. Fiat has recently stated that it is interested in buying Opel anyway.

Under this plan, GM assesses the whole product/brand portfolio, not just the three “lesser” American marques. Selling Buick to the Chinese, who seem to think that their country is ageing and could care less about styling, could be the deal of the century. The Chinese buy more Buicks than pretty much anyone else anyway. GMC could stay on as GM’s sole “truck, Van, and SUV maker”. They seem to have competency in building large hefty vehicles anyway. That leaves Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Cadillac as the remaining core assets. GM has officially decided to eliminate the Pontiac division. Some have suggested that Pontiac become a “specialty” vehicles division, producing cars like the Firebird. That may be a waste, however. Perhaps it is better to consider Pontiac taking over the “tuning” segment much in the same way that BMW’s M-division, and Daimler Mercedes’ AMG unit have done. Does your Caddy need more power? Send it to the Pontiac tuning factory. Something like that would give Pontiac a decidedly sporty and meaningful position in the portfolio. This could also position Pontiac to bring out experimental and limited edition cars. Perhaps this division could introduce cars that run purely on hydrogen. (more…)

Weekend entertainment: Tesla on Letterman and Coal power on 60 Minutes!

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Tesla’s Elon Musk on Late Night with David Letterman

60 Minutes on Coal power