GM killing the Volt car is a bad idea.
But then they have resisted all advancement from their internal brains which are considerable.
GM was always far ahead of Ford from a technical and reliability aspect, but then i am referring to their peak in 1959. After that time the founding genius, Alfred P. Sloan’s energies were starting to dissipate. GM invented the Neodymium magnet but didn’t ever build motors.
Their solar powered car they did with McCready of CalTech was 20 years ahead of any other vehicle, and later when they built the EV1 they ended up crushing the few cars they made out of spite basically. People loved those cars, there would be no need for Tesla had GM just allowed a money losing division to build the future. You have to invest in the beginning to build a new business. No new technology besides rare things like Genentech’s insulin is immediately profitable
And let’s not talk about Saturn, which had many innovative practices, but because it made less profit than their bad practices they continued to strip mine their customer goodwill, using the accumulated trust and confidence in their brand to ship crappy cars.
Only the recent editions of the corvette are any good, the rest of the GM lineup is not attractive to me, and i would pick a Japanese or German or Swedish car over anything but a corvette
GM is basically downsizing, admitting defeat in passenger cars (like ford). The tragedy is that there are cars from europe, little tiny ones, that could succeed in urban environments in smaller numbers, but GM just won’t allow them in the country. Which leaves the overpriced and impossible to work on BMW owned Mini Cooper to own that city hipster market
Cars are about emotion. Whether you are looking for a land yacht, a tiny sports car, or a soccer mom people mover, you have to identify the emotion and deliver a purity of design. The central problem is not their propulsion units, their manufacturing practices, but their unwillingness to allow a single vision to control a car from start to finish like the greatest designer of them all Ferdinand Porsche. They continue to have committees design and agree on things, and the result is a craptastic watered down aspect to every car (except the Corvette, which after decades of mechanical imcompetence finally bought a ferrari and studied how it could go around curves).
GM is another classic american tragedy where designers are mere stylists. Great design is behind all the winning products, and brilliant design can outlive technical changes far longer than you would imagine. The Porsche 911 is the one of longest running models in auto history.
If they had any brains, they would realize that producing smaller quantities of nicer cars at a higher price would be achievable now with 3D printing, and all the robotic advances. The days of having to make every car out of the same parts is over; you can 3D print final quality metal and plastic parts, and with their engineering prowess they could make replica cars of great designs, and instead of making drool-worthy concept cars that never ship, they could actually make the ones that the customers indicated they really want.
Look at the money people are paying for old Jaguars and replicas of Steve McQueen’s Bullitt era mustang. People want futuristic stuff, or they want tiny, or they want fast, or they want big, not some compromise of all of those characteristics. They need to give car loving designers a cost constraint, but then give them the freedom to make it great. A few years back they went to Pebble Beach, which is the #1 confab of car nuts, and showed the Escala
people loved it. And said right there they would buy one in a second. It was huge (17.5 feet), sleek, very luxurious. Then some numbskull goes “it will be too expensive”. They are morons. They will promise something like it in a few years, but when it comes out it won’t be 17.5 ft and the temptation to use tons of previously generated parts will just be too great, and they will have lost all their credibility again. Meanwhile pickup trucks are getting close to 80k in some cases, defying all common sense. The interior was incredibly elegant on that concept car, cashmere. It was gorgeous and luxurious. You know they won’t put cashmere on the production car.
People would buy this car. They showed it to the target audience, they said hell yes!, and then they ignore the feedback. This is the doom of a spineless organization that can’t build a product their own staff love. Meanwhile, as we speak, the same clean design is now shipping in the Volvo XC40, which they are renting for something like 600/month.
When america uses good design, we are unbeatable. America has had the greatest industrial designers in the history of the world like Thomas Edison and Henry Dreyfus. But by designer i don’t mean some stylist who adds pin striping, i mean the product’s total vision from inside out.
McLaren, Koniggsegg, and doing such a great job making supercars, selling all they can make. The writing is on the wall. play with passion or leave the game.