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Wednesday, March 23

Pet Peeves

I recently bought a car. Fortunately for me, I fell in love with some quite particular, and pursued it with single-minded purpose. Paid damn near sticker price for it, too. But all my memories of taking possession of my shiny new black Volks Jetta TDi are good ones. I highly recommend one, especially if you commute long distances. It is comfortable, responsive, tight, the stereo wails, and for a supposedly under-powered fuel mileage vehicle, it has lots of giddyup. Even if diesel is now $2.38 a gallon for me, at 42 MPG, I’m still doing ok.

But what if you were starting from scratch, trying to figure out what is best for your situation, you know, in your life? So you bop on down to a Chevy dealer, if you will.

Once there, you have your choice of the following:
• Aveo sub-sub-compact
• Cavalier sub-compact
• Cobalt compact
• Malibu mid-size
• Malibu Maxx hatchback
• Monte Carlo full-size coupe
• Impala full-size sedan
• Corvette sports car
• SSR car-truck thing
• NEW! HHR pie-wagon PT Cruiser-type thing
• Avalanche SUT
• Colorado mid-size pickup
• Silverado full-size pickup
• Blazer fleet SUV
• Equinox small SUV
• Trailblazer mid-size SUV
• Tahoe full-size SUV
• Suburban giant SUV
• Astro van
• Express van
• Uplander sport van thing
• Venture minivan

Whew…22 different lines of cars. You know that Pontiac also lists most, if not all, of these. There’s also Buick, Cadillac, Saturn, Hummer, GMC.

If someone made me the King of GM, I would simplify on day one. I’m not laying anyone off, at least not on the assembly lines. Why not boil the 6 remaining domestic nameplates down to, say, 3. A value car division, a luxury car division, and a truck division.

My new Chevrolet would have: the current Chevy Aveo, Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac Grand Prix, Saturn Vue, Buick Rendevous, Chevy Trailblazer, Chevy Corvette, Venture minivan and Pontiac GTO.

My new Buick/Cadillac division would have: Buick Lacrosse, Buick LaSabre, Cadillac STS, DeVille, SRX, Escalade ESV, and XLR convertible.

My new GMC would have a full-size van, mid-size truck, the 1500, the 2500, the 3500, the Yukon, and the Hummers.

So, I’ve cut my nameplates by half, the models by two-thirds. Efforts can be concentrated on streamlining of administrative functions, more hands-on production and inspection, more continuous and ‘global’ design, tighter product quality, and better service.

Then, once I was done there, I would hope to Ford/Mercury/Lincoln to do the same thing, then finally, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep.

I mean, shit, what if Burger King made 22 kinds of hamburgers….ok, bad example.