This week, Josh is frustrated with General Motors touting their best-ever global sales for 2011, and the potential of them being the largest selling car company in the world again…
Keep it up, guys. I mean no sarcasm in that statement, either. General Motors have the absolute best product they’ve ever had, and a good understanding of what the future can look like with a little extra money spent on new, classy interiors; how proper exterior styling can sell cars; but most important, how being sporty is still what buyers want.
With that said, I’m extremely disappointed in the folks over at GM. They’ve done something that I believe can only mean they’re about to fall back to where they once were: pride in sales goals.
You see, when you’re a really big car company, like GM, with billions of dollars spent in so many directions, sometimes things can go awry. I give you the loaning of tax payer monies and inevitable bankruptcy situations. As they say, “Pride comes before the fall”. And to say GM had a bit of pride would be like saying Lady Gaga has an understated wardrobe.
Now believing in what you do is always good. I feel as though I’m one of the better young automotive writers today, and I know I’ll go far. However, I can and will admit when I’m wrong, nor will I be afraid to ask for advice. I’ve owned and operated RawAutos.com for over 4 years now, and I still ask others in this industry for their opinions on certain things we do here.
General Motors didn’t just believe in what they did before bankruptcy, they thought they were the greatest. If you had walked into any American GM brand dealership, i.e., Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Buick, Hummer, etc. you will have noticed this smug attitude on why Cadillac were better than Mercedes-Benz or BMW, or how a Pontiac G8 was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Oh, and also better than a BMW 5-Series. Instead of GM challenging themselves, they set ridiculous goals to try and meet for the buying public: being better than BMW.
Interestingly enough, they’re still attempting to do so. A Cadillac CTS is better than a 5-Series BMW, even though it feels more cramped on the inside than the previous E60 5er, doesn’t have the same luxury, and isn’t nearly as quick. The Chevy Volt is now the greatest thing since sliced bread. And the SUV and truck departments of each GM company is better than anything around, even with years’ old technology and interiors.
Right about now you’re asking me what gives me the gall to attack GM like this, right? Simple, I’ve been raised in a GM family. My parents’ driveway still looks like a new and used General Motors car dealership. I would list for you the models that my family have owned, including myself, but that would take up this whole article. So when I say I’ve been around and driven just about every GM product of the last 20 years (including Corvettes from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s), take my word for it. Along with this, I’ve been around GM dealerships since I was a kid, as the owner of one in particular is a family friend.
Now for some good news. The General is on to something. The CTS is a far better Cadillac than they’ve offered in a very long time; The new ATS should be a proper addition to the luxury GM family; Buick are on a roll with great products; Chevy are starting to get the picture with the new Malibu, Cruze, and Sonic; But more than all else, the management seem to have a ferocity that anyone under the age of 50 have not seen from this company.
Last week it came out that General Motors had sold over 9 million vehicles worldwide. Good enough for the world sales crown, sneaking in above Toyota and Volkswagen. Chevrolet alone sold 4.76 million cars around the globe. This is where it becomes a problem. General Motors filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws in June of 2009, losing the global sales crown in 2008 to Toyota. Since that time, Toyota have not done too well themselves, what with the unintended acceleration issues, the tragic Japanese Tsunami, as well as the crazy Thai floods.
Even without the tragedies that have hurt Toyota, they were still heading in a bad direction, losing lots of overall quality credibility, as well as building more trucks, SUVs and crossovers than necessary. So they were destined to fall down and scrape their knee at some point.
No matter who holds the top sales crown, it only means bad things for quality and ability. General Motors proved this, as did Toyota with their handling of their numerous scandals.
So I say now, just as many smarter people warned GM years before this time, do NOT enjoy the most sales. Instead, enjoy making the most money from those sales, or having the best quality. If you start back with your ‘we’re better than you’ attitude, you will lose this battle, again. And again. And again. I’ve met certain individuals inside of GM I believed were idiots that didn’t belong working in the auto industry. Then again, I’ve met some great individuals within the company that have made me believe there’s only good to come.
Everyone wants to be the biggest and the best. Once you’re there, though, you have more challengers than you need or want. And eventually, someone will take you out.
General Motors’ Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was reported as saying about the new sales crown, “In addition to Chevrolet’s record-setting sales, the entire lineup of GM vehicles is meeting customer needs for fuel-efficient cars and work vehicles as well as unmatched luxury.” Unmatched luxury? My God, did someone put a Cadillac badge on a Benz and show him that instead of the real thing? General Motors certainly have some more luxurious cars than ever before, but they’re currently only besting their old selves in the luxury department for numerous cars.
General Motors, I beg of you, enjoy modesty. Adopt the word as a belief in who you are. Dictionary.com defines the word modest as, “Having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.” You need to learn to challenge yourselves before you can say you’re better than anyone else in advertising, social media, press releases, etc.
Always know your worth, and never be afraid of it. However, think before you go saying you’re the biggest again. Because the next minute you tout your bigger status is the chapter before your preceding bankruptcy.