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  (Source: Getty Images)
GM is taking the project seriously

General Motors Corp. (GM) gave Google Inc. (GOOG) its begrudging regards this week after hearing about the Mountain View, Calif. company's vision for autonomous vehicles.
 
I. GM on Google -- It's a "Real... Threat"
 
While it looked a bit like a Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW) Beetle smacked with the ugly stick a few more times, Google's in-house design for an autonomous electric vehicle (EV) is turning heads based on the sophistication of its driving and collision avoidance.  Google is building a fleet of 100 of the bulbous 2-seaters to test its smart driving technology.
 
At an event in the Detroit, Mich. area, GM's Product Development chief, Mark Reuss was inevitably asked to weigh in on the excitement surrounding the Google fully autonomous smart car.  He did not hold back, responding:

Anybody can do anything with enough time and money.  If they set their mind to it, I have no doubt [that they will be] a very serious competitive threat.  [The car is] kind of cool [and looks sort of like a VW Beetle].

[Automation is] going to be a creep, it’s not going to be a mind-bending thing.  I don’t think you’re going to see an autonomous vehicle take over the city anytime soon
.

Google automated car
Google's automated car is a "threat" according to GM's Product Development chief.

GM certainly seems an authoritative voice on the topic.  
 
In April 2014 in the U.S. it sold over 254,000 automobiles internationally, ahead of Ford Motor Comp. (F) (210,000+) and Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) (199,000+) [source].  GM was sales king of the auto industry longer than any other company in the history of the automobile.  
 
From 1931 to 2007, GM sold more cars and trucks than any other automaker.  And even as it's struggled to hold back a surging Ford and to regain its lead from Toyota, GM is still seeing strong sales.  (Volkswagen was the only automaker to beat it in 2013, a bit of a surprise.)
 
And it's good to see such straight talk from GM and an earnest assessment of its possible future competitor.
 
II. The Race to a Smart Car
 
For years we heard lots of automakers pay lip service to the concept of autonomous driving, with some even spending a good deal of money and time investigating it.  GM was perhaps foremost in the field prior to its bankruptcy.  Over a half-decade ago, back in Jan. 2008 we road along in a modified 2008 GM Tahoe which won the DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) 2007 Urban Challenge.

GM Darpa
GM's 2008 Chevy Tahoe, modified for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

As the car zipped around the obstacle course in sunny Las Vegas, Nev. it quickly became apparent why the vehicle won the smart car challenge -- it was pretty good at avoid collisions... really good, in fact.  As a demo, a second test driver would cut off the GM car or otherwise block its path.  In every case the GM vehicle knew what to do, performing better than many human drivers would in such a case.
 
But after the bankruptcy rolled around in mid-2009, the pace of development has slowed, in some regards, allowing the U.S. automaker's foes to catch up.  GM's current plans for commercialization involve a more scaled back version of the technology called "Super Cruise" which is only semi-autonomous.  
Cadillac Super Cruise
The technology will allow the user to hand off control to the vehicle during long highway drives, but otherwise will drive like a standard vehicle.  GM wrote that the technology will "use a fusion of radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras and GPS map data, seamlessly integrated" to perform "semi-automated driving including hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain driving conditions."

But GM added in on a cautionary note:

The system is designed to ease the driver’s workload on freeways only, in bumper-to-bumper traffic and on long road trips; however, the driver’s attention is still required... because the system will have operational limitations based on external factors such as traffic, weather and visibility of lane markings. When reliable data is not available, such as when there are no lane markings, the system will prompt the driver to resume steering.

In other words, this smart car was only so smart.
 
III. GM Not Alone in Struggles Toward Full Self-Driving
 
The limitations echoed Ford -- currently the world's second largest automaker -- which in 2010 introduced a semi-autonomous parallel parking.  Called Active Park Assist (APA), the system provided so-called "electronic power-assisted steering" (EPAS).
 
In other words, it basically steered for you and tried to tell you how long to press the gas and when to brake via various beeps.  The clear issue, as I saw it during a 2011 test drive was that the technology would do nothing to stop the user from bumping a car in front of or behind it.   And by detaching the driver from part of the maneuver (steering), but not all of it (gas/braking), the maneuver almost felt more dangerous/risky to perform at times.
 
In my experience the system was workable, but at times seemed more frustrating than simply performing the maneuver on your own.
 
EPAS Second 1  EPAS Second Park 2
  EPAS Second Park 3   EPAS Second Park 4
    EPAS Second Park 5  

Toyota had a near identical system -- the parallel park system (PPS), which handled the gas and steering, but not the brake.  Toyota first introduced the system in its Lexus branded luxury models.  It also integrated smart braking technology to avoid objects in driveways, etc. via integrating millimeter wave sensors and the braking system into a collision avoidance algorithm.
 
Ford has been active since, working on an improved version of its lane keeping technology called Traffic Jam Assist, which mirrors GM's "Super Cruise" in providing semi-autonomous highway driving.  That technology should arrive around the same time as GM's.  In the meantime Ford has added perpendicular parking to its portfolio, courtesy of French supplier Valeo S.A. (EPA:FR).  Volkswagen had been using Valeo's Park4U system parking system since the 2011 model year [source].  
 
Last year Ford added one more trick, upgrading the system to be fully autonomous.  With the new system the owner could activate the parking maneuver via a key fob and the Fully Assisted Parking Aid (FAPA) would activate driving the vehicle into or out of a spots.  The feature has proven to be especially useful in preventing scratching to other drivers' doors.
 
IV. Google + Tesla?  Be Afraid.
 
What every automaker should be most fearful of is Google and Tesla teaming up.  The pair has already expressed interest in such a union; as mentioned, Larry Page is a Tesla Roadster owner, as is Google's R&D chief Sergey Brin.
 
Other than Google who is close to full automation?  GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota are all pursuing the safer, but less exciting route of partial automation for highway traffic.  It is unclear if any of these companies' plans involve merging onto or off of highways; it appears that the automation may solely be limited to highway driving at certain speeds.
 
Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) is taking a similar route, but it might be a bit ahead given that it not only is testing autonomous cars on a Japanese highway, but is merging on and off.  Its autonomous Leaf EV drove itself on the highway trip at speeds of 40-80 km/hour (~25-50 mph).  Nissan has set a target of 2020 for "autonomous" vehicles with Autonomous Drive; however, it is unclear whether that target includes urban/city driving.

Nissan Autonomous Drive
Nissan's Autonomous Drive LEAF EV aims for a 2020 launch. [Image Source: Nissan]

Sweden's Volvo AB (STO:VOLV-A)(STO:VOLV-B) is building fully autonomous driving systems which should merge onto and off of highways by 2017.  During my time with Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) AG (ETR:BMW) at CES 2014 I talked to some of their senior engineers and learned that they too were testing automated vehicles.  Those tests are currently confined to the track, but it's possible BMW may field a self-driving coupe in the same timeframe as Volvo.
 
V. Google has Mastered What Its Rivals are Still Trying to Achieve
 
But to be honest, GM is right.  Automakers should be worried about Google.  Because everyone -- and truly every one of them -- is far behind Google.  
 
Google's project began in 2010.  At the time, many believed the power of a supercomputer would be needed for city driving.  Many dismissed the project as a joke or gimmick
 
Two years later Google had already logged 300,000 hours miles of automated driving without an accident.  (Google's fleet consists primarily of retrofitted Lexus RX 450h and the Toyota Prius hybrids.)  Two years later, Google's fleet has logged 700,000 miles of autonomous highway travel.  It's clear that Google's highway driving technology is basically done, versus even Nissan who is still in the testing phase.

Google Lexus


Google has already moved on to finishing a far more ambitious set of algorithms -- routines for city driving.  So far the fleet has logged "thousands" of miles in city driving, leading to vital algorithm improvements.
 
VI. City Driving is Final Test for Google
 
CEO Larry Page recently said that Google has no competitors.  And it truly believes that.  In two years it did more than the rest of the automaker did in the last decade, when it comes to automated driving.
 
The evidence is strong that Google's new self-driving car is not intended as a full fledged design, but as a design focused on urban environment.  Evidence of that is found in its top speed -- 40 km/h (~25 mph) -- which may be sufficient for a crowded city like New York City, but not for highway driving.

Google self-driving car
[Image Source: Google]

Google is so confident in its new design that it's made the bold move of gutting the vehicle removing nearly all controls, including the brake and gas pedals and the steering wheel, something none of the traditional automakers would dare to do.  The new Google X design has two buttons -- Start and Stop.  Program the route and car does the rest.

It's slightly disconcerting and terrifying to think that the Google car's two occupants have no means of controlling the vehicle.  But when you think of it, such feelings are, statistically speaking, overconfidence.  As Google points out 1.2 million people die worldwide in traffic accidents and 90 percent of those are due to human error.

From everything we've seen thus far, you're probably safer allowing Google's algorithms to steer for you.

GM, to its credit has a city-street pod car of its own it's testing -- the EN-V.  By the sound of it that vehicle is still being prototyped, though, and has yet to hit city streets.  GM is developing the curious compact at one of its research facilities in China.

EN-V
The GM EN-V concept vehicle [Image Source: Autoblog Green]

So when all is said and done, it looks highly unlikely anyone will beat Google to the goal of fully automated driving from point to point.  Tesla Motors has probably the best plan -- if you can't beat them, join 'em.

VII. The Android Edge

Even if some other car company -- say GM -- manages to pull abreast of Google in the automation race, it's highly unlikely that its vehicles will ever be as effective at driving.  The reason for that is that Google is continuously mining data -- including location data -- from tens of millions of Android smartphone users across the U.S.  It's almost a given that Google is looking to use this dataset to provide predictive capabilities to its driving algorithm.   

iPhone
Smartphone tracking could give Google beacons to improve its self-driving performance.
[Image Source: Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan]

In other words, Google's cars will be more fuel efficient and safer because they effectively have a beacon on a good deal of American drivers -- regardless of how new or old their car is.  No other company can claim that.


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LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 8:39:12 AM , Rating: 4
I would say the 14 million cars (and that isn't an exaggeration) you have had to recall this year alone due to your complete lack of quality every step of the way from design to sourcing to assembly is far more of a "threat" than anything anyone else could put on the road.




RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 8:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Forgot link... http://investorplace.com/2014/05/gm-recalls-genera...

"The 13.8 million year-to-date GM recalls are already well past the company’s full-year record of 10.75 million, which it set back in 2004."

A new all time high WOOOOOOHOOOO!!!


RE: LOL GM
By atechfan on 5/30/2014 9:02:08 AM , Rating: 2
And Toyota had 5 million plus recalls in both 2013 and 2012, leading both of those years. Yet people seem to think they are some paragon of quality for some reason.


RE: LOL GM
By mgilbert on 5/30/2014 9:17:46 AM , Rating: 2
I've owned over 20 cars from a dozen brands in the last 35 years, and I've never once had to repair any Japanese car I've ever owned, while the GM cars I've owned spent more time in the shop than on the road. Recalls are often cases of CYA, and there is rarely a correlation between number of recalls and the quality of materials and construction. I'm sticking with Toyota until they show a strong decline in quality.


RE: LOL GM
By Gungel on 5/30/2014 9:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, I had exactly the opposite experience. The Honda Odyssey I owned for 5 years was the biggest piece of junk I ever bought. 3 transmissions replaced, first one at 36k miles and countless other things that went wrong. At 166k miles it finally broke down when the main shaft of the engine cracked. So I went back to the "domestic" brands and had much better luck. The Dodge Journey was the best of them all, had not a single problem in the 3 years I owned it.


RE: LOL GM
By mgilbert on 5/30/2014 9:44:23 AM , Rating: 1
Gungel, your experience is an exception. If you look at the reliability data submitted by millions of owners to Consumer Reports and other such databases, my experience is much, much more typical.


RE: LOL GM
By blueaurora on 5/30/2014 10:21:42 AM , Rating: 2
My father and I have owened numerous Hondas and a few toyotas. I can vouch for the numerous problems with the Odyssey. Its the worst vehicle honda made. Out of everything I had a 13 year old accord that developed spontaneous variations in idle speed. No engineer could figure it out.

Finally there are numerous complaints on defective paint issues on 03-09 accords and civics basicly requiring a repaint of half the car (I had to do it on my 05 accord) Honda is not what they had been.


RE: LOL GM
By mushkins on 5/30/2014 12:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
Spontaneous variations in idle speed in an older car. Say, a late 80s model? It was a computer problem.

My 89 Chevy did exactly the same thing. It would drive fine, then start idling to 45, then drive fine, and start idling to 65+. It was the first year they started putting computers in their cars and they were nothing but problems. The best thing I ever did was stop buying GM.


RE: LOL GM
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well now, do you consider a car made by a Japanese manufacturer in the US a Japanese or a domestic car?
Of course, afaik, only Mazda and Subaru are still made in Japan, so that would limit the selection a bit.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 1:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
These days I don't think there is such a thing as a Japanese car in North America.

Some Mazdas are made in Japan still, but most come out of Flat Rock, Michigan and Claycomo Missouri. So there may be a few real jap Mazdas around.

Almost all Subarus sold in North America are made in Lafayette, Indiana.

I don't consider an import car manufactured in North America as an import car. Maybe some of the parts are actually imported, but it still ends up being made by the same folks that build Chevys, Fords and Chryslers with the same level of care & quality.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 1:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Almost all Subarus sold in North America are made in Lafayette, Indiana.


Actually that is not true. They make some models there, but one of the best sellers - The Forester (I have a 2014) is only made in Japan and shipped here.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 3:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
Did you not see that "Almost"? :/

If you want to know if your Subbie was made in Japan, look at the VIN.

If it VIN starts with J, it was made in Japan (they are actually shipped incomplete and the final assembly is done in Indiana, this saves duties and tariffs since Subaru can say the car was 'made' in the U.S.A.).

If the Vin starts with a 4 it was made in the Indiana plant (which also produces Toyota Camrys and FRS/BRZs).

The Forester and Impreza are indeed made in Japan, the others in the US. All parts are from Japan and technically they are all made in the USA.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 3:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
I was merely pointing out that half of their cars are not at all built in America. Currently they make the Tribeca, Outback and Legacy in Indiana, but as you said, many of the parts are shipped their for assembly.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/2014 2:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
Japanese cars are designed better, use better components, and are engineered better. They have better testing methodology and quality control protocols.

Who cares where it's "made"? That's not what determines quality or reliability.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 2:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
So you would expect. I had that '92 Camry (from Japan - i followed its progress from the port of entry in Vancouver. BC - was cool to watch). The following year a colleague leased a '93 Camry made in Cambridge Ontario mostly based on my glowing impressions of the one I had.

We parked them side-by-side and compared them in the parking lot and compared them. The quality of materials, fit and finish in the '92 was head & shoulders above the '93. My colleague was NOT amused and wanted to take his back to the dealer to trade for a Japan-built one.

One thing for sure that '92 Camry was a freaking tank. Served me well for 13 years.


RE: LOL GM
By tng on 5/30/2014 5:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
Some of the newer model Accord 2D that I first seen at a dealer were made in Sugiyama Japan. Brand new model and I think that the first ones were imported, but still most of the parts were made by subs here in North America.

I have owned 4 Hondas over the years and did have the voltage regulator on the alternator go out on 2 Civics but that was the worst. Two of the cars didn't even get the chance to die of old age, but were rear-ended with me in them with around 250K miles.

After dozens of GM rentals on business trips over the years, I would never buy a GM vehicle of any kind.


RE: LOL GM
By Nutzo on 5/30/2014 12:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
Even reliable brands occasionally have a problem car. The Odyssey was one of these (especially with the transmission). When we where looking to buy a Minivan, I took one look at the long term reliability reports, and ruled out the Honda.

The only domestic car I've ever bought was a Ford Explorer (was rated as more reliable that any of the other domestic SUVs). I had more problems (including 2 transmissions), and it spent more time in the shop than the other 7 cars I've owned combined, including a couple "japanese" cars built in America.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:00:00 AM , Rating: 1
"I've never once had to repair any Japanese car I've ever owned, while the GM cars I've owned spent more time in the shop than on the road."

Same here... Not that every GM car will fall apart or every Honda will be issue free, but GM's fail rates are through the roof, and thus the reason their resale value is on the floor.


RE: LOL GM
By Rukkian on 5/30/2014 1:19:06 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Same here... Not that every GM car will fall apart or every Honda will be issue free, but GM's fail rates are through the roof, and thus the reason their resale value is on the floor.


If you look at more recent ratings that is not correct. Several GM vehicles are pretty reliable, just not all. Most studies show Chrysler (jeep, dodge) being bottom of the barrel for domestics (and down around most european cars) with Ford being above that, and GM generally in the middle.

As for the resale, some of that is perception, some it is due to flooding the market due to rentals and corp lease, which they give out pretty cheaply to begin with.

I still like my Subaru better, but overall have had decent luck with GM cars (especially ones my wife have owned), but that is just anecdotal.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 10:02:50 AM , Rating: 2
At one point they were, Not anymore. That went away since they started building and designing cars in North America.

High recall numbers only tell me the manufacturer is actively dealing with post production issues either found by owners or by their own ongoing post production testing.

Frankly I much prefer taking my car to a garage to have a recall fixed than have something that should have been a recall, but ignored because the car maker only wants to make themselves look good, come along bite me in the ass because I never got a recall notice for it.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 9:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Every manufacturer has recalls.

I'm taking my 2013 Altima in today for a minor update for an issue I haven't had in the first place.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:01:58 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, they do. GM just has more. More importantly, GM has more that actually break down and need regular repair (not related to recalls) and extremely low resale value because of it.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 12:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
GMs low resale value has also traditionally come from their vehicles being dominant in rental fleets which floods the market with cheap used models. Also perception. The Cobalt was considered very poor but it was a car I never did anything to but standard maintenance. Part of the problem is people don't do the maintenance and then whine when it doesn't last.


RE: LOL GM
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2014 12:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Also the years where they were spending so much on labor and health care, that affected their quality. Now we the tax payer bailed them out.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Part of the problem is people don't do the maintenance and then whine when it doesn't last"

Possibly, but that exists equally for any car. It's not like GM owners do maintenance less than other cars. The problem is quality. The quality of the build, and the quality of the parts from other vendors.

As a person that (I assume by your name) buys GM cars. How many starters alternators and solenoids have you replaced in your life? Be honest.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
And BTW, I am not simpyl a heter here, I had a Camaro Z28... I f@#king LOVED that car. It was simply awesome to drive, but damn it was a monthly repair of something or another... I just couldnt handle hte upkeep cost at the time. Same with most GM's I have seen over the years across all makes and models and segments from small to mid to large, to trucks, vans and SUV's. All 'em all.


RE: LOL GM
By bug77 on 5/30/2014 9:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
You'd think they'd see Google advances as an opportunity. After all, it's not like Google is going to grow its own plants overnight and drive GM to bankruptcy. It's far more likely they'll license the system to any automaker willing to chip-in.
The danger here, as I see it, is manufacturers insisting on having their own self-driving systems leading to them not sharing info, therefore making decisions based on spotty data.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/30/2014 11:14:48 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly, that was my first thought when I read this. How in the hell is this a "threat" to GM? If this is a threat to GM, so is every other component in GM vehicles that GM doesn't exclusively manufacture themselves. They might as well say the car stereo or satellite radio is a "threat" to their business.

GM builds cars. Google doesn't and never will, certainly not on the gigantic scale of GM.

Instead of wasting money trying to compete in a market you don't have to and probably aren't able to, simply licence Google's self driving car technology and offer it in your vehicles, GM.

This is what lead to GM going bankrupt in the first place. Making horrible decisions, wasting money on frivolous technology pursuits best left to others, and not anticipating market trends.

My advice would be to partner with Google rather than compete with them. As the article pointed out, even if GM were to somehow match Google on the technology that drives the car, they have NO way to match Google on location and GPS data from millions of mobile users on the roads.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 1:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
Frankly any company that makes cars will be a threat to GM.

It is up to GM to nut up and make a car that can compete with them. People won't keep paying bug bucks for unreliable junk, and with the internet available and every review in the world right there for the asking, they are feeling the crunch.

Be afraid GM! Be very afraid!


RE: LOL GM
By tng on 5/30/2014 5:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The danger here, as I see it, is manufacturers insisting on having their own self-driving systems leading to them not sharing info, therefore making decisions based on spotty data.
The real danger is that in the future you will have multiple types of autonomous cars out there and none of them talk to each other, or they are all trying to compete to have their system be the NTSB mandated system.

In the Google VS GM battle for congressional approval for competing systems it all comes down to who can pay off the right people not which algorithms are better. Most of the people in congress don't know what an algorithm is anyhow.


RE: LOL GM
By Gungel on 5/30/2014 9:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
The management is finally taking care of the recalls that should have been done years ago. Recalls have nothing to do with the overall quality of cars.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 10:45:55 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, lets look at GM quality. Now THAT will make them look better. /s

There is a reason the resale value is so horribly low for all GM cars. They fall apart. They have improved the initial "day one" quality and defect rate over the past decade, but 5 years later its still a POS that lost of its value.


RE: LOL GM
By Monkey's Uncle on 5/30/2014 12:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
My last GM car was a brand new 1992 Pontiac Gran Prix STE. Except for the first 3 months, I had to take that car in to fix something every single month over the year and a half that I owned it. Always something different. In those days the bumper-bumper warranty was only a year, but I had bought extended warranty. Extended warranty had a deductible of $250 per claim.

6 months after I took that car home from the dealer it needed a full 4-wheel brake job - pads, rotors, everything. At a year and a half, it needed a full brake job again. The second time GM only covered half because brakes are 'wear items".

I normally keep a car for at least 4 years but that one was so bad that I traded it in on a 1994 Toyota Camry after it needed that 2nd brake job

That pretty much ruined me on American cars (and especially GM) for about 20 years until I recently bought my 2013 Ford Focus. So far it has been ok. Not perfect, but ok - even with it's unusual dual-clutch tranny. I don't dislike it to the point I'd swear off all American brands for another 20 years again.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 1:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
My sister had a similar situation with a brand new GM acadia a few years ago. 5x in the first 6 months for 5 different failures. She actually got them to replace it based on the 5x lemon law. Sad.

Of course yours and my sisters stories are just anecdotal, but actual fail rates are bad and the resale values reflect it.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 2:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course yours and my sisters stories are just anecdotal, but actual fail rates are bad and the resale values reflect it.
Resale value on GM cars will be low even as their quality increases because of owner and non-owner perception. The quality of the industry as a whole, including GM, is up by a LOT in the last 10 years with the trend continuing. Although I do read Consumer Reports and JD Powers surveys, they're based on OWNER feedback. If an owner "hates" his car, do you think it get a favorable review even if it's solid? So I do take them with a grain of salt. That said, my current car, which is the first domestic car I've owned and driven daily (excluding my wife's cars), is the BEST car I've EVER owned as far as reliability is concerned. I owned a VW and two Nissan's previously and all three vehicles had more problems than my current car. If I included my wife's cars Infiniti, 2 Toyota's, BMW, and a Ford, that statement still stands. The BMW is only 1.5 years old and has had no problems though.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 4:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
"The quality of the industry as a whole, including GM, is up by a LOT in the last 10 years with the trend continuing"

The initial day one quality and defect rate has improved over the past decade, but GM's still break down in high #'s. They keep saying "its better now" like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, it never turns out to be true. The resale values will stay low until they stop breaking down at high rates and maintain that for probably 5-10 years. Bummer.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 6:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The initial day one quality and defect rate has improved over the past decade, but GM's still break down in high #'s.
No, it's not just initial quality. JD's Vehicle Dependability Study (4 year study) is what I pay attention to. If you compare previous years to now, ALL car makers have improved drastically over the last 10 year including GM. The GMC Yukon, GMC Sierra, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac DTS, and Chevy Camaro are #1 in their categories. In 2011, only the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne were on that list. That sounds like a huge improvement to me.


RE: LOL GM
By Spuke on 5/30/2014 6:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and in 2007, the Buick Century and Chevy SSR were the only one's on that list.


RE: LOL GM
By retrospooty on 5/30/2014 7:47:17 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno about that. Improved, OK, but #1 in their categories? GM? Where did these cars come from for the JDP study? Did GM hand pick them, or does JDP go find them at random?

Too many times burned by GM here... I will believe it when after 10 years or so of solid quality resale values go up. So, keep it up GM and you have yourself a customer in 2024. Your behavior and horrible quality over the past 40 years lost my business for now.


RE: LOL GM
By Reclaimer77 on 5/31/2014 7:57:41 AM , Rating: 2
It would be different if GM actually made something compelling enough to make taking the risk of owning one of their vehicles enticing. But when I look at their entire lineup, I'm like, 'meh, why bother?'

It's almost like their goal was to make the most generic, bland, and uninteresting cars on the planet. They truly don't stand out in any way, nor do they excel in any particular metric.

Of course GM was dead to me the minute they became Obama's Government Motor Company, so there's that.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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