Question of the Month August 2001

Will the Cadillac CTS bring GM out of the design doldrums?

Yes 29%
No 64%
Undecided 7%

No: Being different is not the same as being attractive

How do they do it? Would the design turn my head? Yes, but only to comment on its ugliness. Being DIFFERENT is not the same as being ATTRACTIVE.

Just bought a new BMW 540iA. Of course the BMW is a better car. It ought to be, considering the price. The point is, why did I go to BMW in the first place?
Name withheld

I immensely enjoyed your amusing article “Reviving GM Design.” (see WAW — Aug.'01, p.23). I can only assume that this article was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. Designing cars that look like garbage trucks (Aztek) or kids' toys like the new GM trucks may cause people to talk, but it doesn't make them buy. While my 10-year-old daughter may think the Aztek is cool, she can't afford one, and she doesn't drive. Ford and Chrysler have been able to create exciting designs without producing cars that look like they were drawn by a 12-year-old boy overdosed on testosterone.
Paul Gifford
Troy, MI

Wayne Cherry and his crew may have been sniffing the solvent fumes too long.

The GM design philosophy seems to be based on endless research and navel-gazing, sociological buzzwords, and lots of pop-psychology flavors-of-the-month. Unfortunately, nowhere in any of the material I have read do I hear any of GM's designers talk about good design; designs that are elegant and graceful, designs that please the eye and connect with our subconscious.

Will Cadillac go down the road to oblivion traveled by Oldsmobile, abandoning its traditional market but not having enough credibility or product content to move buyers from other brands?
Greg Beaulieu
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Yes: Give GM a break

Yes, I think it will. The car sports an intriguing look. I'd love to see what the interior looks like.

GM needs two things to build some momentum in the marketplace. First, a string of well-designed and well-built vehicles that do well in the market, and second, some relief from the constant bashing from the press.
Amro Elsabbagh

The answer is a definitive YES !!

Cadillac has really got it going. I am a mid-forties guy who would not have given a second look at a Cadillac product five years ago. The Catera was cute, but we all knew it was an Opel and not really a Cadillac.

I rented a Sedan DeVille a few weeks ago and spent a week in it. I loved it. What a car. What an engine! I drove my buddy's STS a few months ago. What a car! What an engine!!

Now comes the CTS. Built by Caddy from the ground up. Good name, goes along with the family, DTS, STS, etc. Easy to get used to. And it looks like they have hit a triple with it. No home run — they don't have a V-8 version, and that is disappointing, but it's one little mistake I can overlook.

The CTS is on my shopping list to replace my Bonneville SSE.
Bob Martter
Exec. VP and General Manager
ECA Electronics
Erie, PA

I believe the CTS will help GM get out of the design doldrums with such a bold design. I also believe the Aztek is a great-looking vehicle, even though it's one of those love it-hate it type looking cars.

GM should be praised for pushing the envelope on such designs.
Frank Mifsud
London, Ontario

The jury is still out

My personal jury is still out on the CTS, but anything is an improvement over its Lumina-like predecessor. I read elsewhere that the automatic will not feature a sport-shift mode, and enthusiast wannabes will have to deal with a real-live clutch! Now THAT'S progress!
Robert Wantin
Product Specialist
Doner Automotive
Southfield, MI

No fan of bean counters

Not only is GM losing two of its best-looking cars — Intrigue and Alero — but it is losing its best and only modern V-6. The double-overhead-cam, 24-valve V-6 makes the Intrigue the most fun for the buck you can get. GM marketing just forgot to mention it. Instead they will keep a 40-year-old engine. Bean counters!!!
G. Willie
Delco Electronics
Oak Creek, WI

Is our quality slipping?

I enjoyed the articles on quality (see WAW — July '01, p.32) greatly. It is important to lead by example, and perhaps some proofreading by your editors is in order.

A caption under a photo of the current Odyssey says it is “derived from the Accord platform.” If I am not mistaken, the original Odyssey, much smaller and with car-like doors, was derived from the Accord platform, but a new platform forms the basis for the current model and of the MDX SUV.

Beside a picture of a CART car it says Honda returned to Formula 1 racing in 2000 — perhaps a picture of a BAR or Jordan, both powered by Honda engines much different that those used by CART, would have been in order.

But perhaps the ‘best’ is the statement: “Racing is the incubus of Honda's innovations” (p.40). An incubus is a ‘nightmare; an evil spirit supposed to descend on sleeping persons; like a nightmare.’ I think what your writers meant was “incubator.”

Perhaps a recall of the article to correct faults is in order.
E.L. Springolo
Aurora, Ontario

Editor's note: We'll take the rap on one out of three. We stand by the contention that the Odyssey is Accord-based. And the cutline under the racing photo was intended to be somewhat generic, noting that Honda re-entered Formula 1, but more importantly that racing has been a proving ground for Honda execs. As for the “incubus,” a dispirited editor admits you got us.

Quality and innovation can coexist

I'd like to respond to John Henke's column “You Get What You Pay For” (see WAW — July '01, p.23). I believe that Mr. Henke and the Planning Perspectives study intended to address the challenges automotive suppliers face as we work to improve quality and meet our customers' price requirements. However, the study has fostered the presumption — perhaps unintended — that supplier quality has declined and innovation has been stifled, both as a result of OEM cost pressures. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today's vehicles keep us comfortable, connected, entertained and safe because of the forward-thinking collaboration between OEMs and suppliers. And, while it is important to better understand the challenges before us, it also is important to recognize that automakers and their suppliers are dedicated to advancing the technology and quality of our vehicles. This has been, and will continue to be, a top priority at Delphi and other leading automotive suppliers.
J.T. Battenberg III
Chairman, CEO and President
Delphi Automotive Systems

A key statistic

I believe statistics show that most accidents occur within five miles (8 km) of home at speeds under 40 mph (64 km/h). Therefore, you should drive REALLY FAST until you reach the five-mile safe range. You might also consider changing your car's registration to Antarctica, as there has never been an accident involving a vehicle registered there … Thanks for the helpful tips.
Gary Rice

His loyalty wavers

These turkeys at GM, the ones that mean business, insist on putting the 405-hp LS6 engine in coupes only (see WAW — Aug. '01, p.59). What is this silliness? If I want to keep my rug in place, I'll take my Suburban. And when I want a sportscar, I want a drop-top or a targa … and I want it with the good-guy mill. Should I expect GM to wake-up soon to this disgusting marketing blunder, or should I mosey over to the Dodge dealer for a 500-hp roadster from the guys who really mean business?
Bill Coryell
Woodland Hills, CA

Question of the Month
October 2001

Has the light truck boom hit its peak?


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