10 Cars That Damaged GM's Reputation (With videos at link)

British_Rover

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The only one on that list that I can't agree with 100% is the first Gen Saturns. I worked on plenty of those cars and my gf in HS and the first part of college had one too. They were good cars and the DOHC engine wasn't quite as underpowered as the SOHC version.

Also to put one final nail in the coffin our old F&I manager got a H2 stuck in the first five feet of our Land Rover off road demonstration course. The same course a Freelander can get through if you take the right line.

The frame of the H2 twisted so much it bound up the drive line and pinched the doors shut on the body. That is another reason why the the tie rods break the pickup points on the frame move too much during full extension.

Check out my dealership photo thread I think I have a few pictures of our off-road demo course.
 

GRtak

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This thread proves my point about GM managemenet making really bad descisions that hurt the company. You can't build a good vehicle if you start with bad parts. They have been penny pinching on parts for years and still don't get it.
 

Spectre

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Yes, management made bad decisions.

But when they did make good decisions, the UAW wouldn't bolt the cars together properly. Just ask Merp on this board about his 01 C5 Corvette and how the UAW forgot to do such things as "bolt the steering wheel in" and "install the oil rings on the pistons."

How are those management failures, union boy?
 

the infinite jar

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Yes, management made bad decisions.

But when they did make good decisions, the UAW wouldn't bolt the cars together properly. Just ask Merp on this board about his 01 C5 Corvette and how the UAW forgot to do such things as "bolt the steering wheel in" and "install the oil rings on the pistons."

How are those management failures, union boy?
Somebody had to bend over to those crooks first.
 

Dogbert

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But when they did make good decisions, the UAW wouldn't bolt the cars together properly. Just ask Merp on this board about his 01 C5 Corvette and how the UAW forgot to do such things as "bolt the steering wheel in" and "install the oil rings on the pistons."
My dad has a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8. IIRC, the second fastest SRT made, aside from the Viper. You'd expect it to be rock solid, or at least would hope so, right? Mind you, he's never taken it to the track, he's never really thrashed on it before, and he drives maybe 10,000 miles a year. It is my father's mid-life crisis-mobile, and he treats it like an old man with a powerful car.

I have a 2007 Scion tC. An econo-coupe from Japan. It saw a complete season of regional autocrossing this year, made two 400 mile trips to Kansas twice for autocrossing, and saw two track days. It regularly takes me on the 300 mile trip to Chicago, and it's even done a 900 mile trip to Philadelphia. To date, it has 65,500 miles on it or so.

I actually counted his service reciepts the other day, and his car has been serviced for something other than regular maintenance eight times more than my car. Once, even, to replace the left rear brake... because it failed. The best part about this? He used to own a Cadillac Escalade (which I'm not proud of, but he was just getting the hang of this "mid-life crisis" thing), and GM actually had to buy it back under lemon laws.

If it seems like I have a thing against your average UAW worker bolting together a car, now you know why.
 
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thedguy

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Yes, management made bad decisions.

But when they did make good decisions, the UAW wouldn't bolt the cars together properly. Just ask Merp on this board about his 01 C5 Corvette and how the UAW forgot to do such things as "bolt the steering wheel in" and "install the oil rings on the pistons."

How are those management failures, union boy?
And a counter-point, my friend has the same year c5 z06. The car has no squeeks or rattles and takes every bit of abuse from a young 20-something without a problem.

The only trouble the car has had was him wrecking it once, and he got a deal on it because back in '02 the woman that bought it new never revved it above 2500rpms and the rings never sealed properly so it had a rebuilt engine in less than 10k miles.
 

GM_IV

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My dad did have a X-body car(the Phoenix) he did have a lot of brake problems...although I guess he never drove it enough to see the disintegrated transmission or the wobbly suspension. The car did spend a lot of time in a garage up on a hoist. It did however rusted from inside either due to build quality problems or an engineering flaw. The rust inside pissed off my dad since he was anal about keeping his first new car in top shape only to find his efforts wasted. The only thing he liked about it after its problems was...GM still had decent resale value and because the car never drove far enough had low kms and a seemingly untouched interior he didn't lose a lot of money selling it. He swore not to buy an American brand car after that, so he's now a Toyota customer for 22 years without giving much thought of what other automakers are making.
 

Crazy Vega

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Unfortunately, the art of building aluminum engine blocks was in its infancy back in 1971 and the unlined cylinder walls of Vega engines were scoring almost instantly. That led to lots of oil burned and early death for this engine.
I don't have any experience with the '71 engines, but they'd gotten much better by '76. A year or two ago, my dad's Vega Nomad broke the 100,000 mile mark and still ran great on the original engine.

I'd love to shove an independent rear end behind one and a well built ecotec under the hood for some smog legal canyon carving fun :thumbsup:
I've actually considered that rear end modification before. Truthfully, after a bit of welding and such, I think it could be done with good results.


Although, overall, I'm not very happy with the alternators nor the starters.
 

GRtak

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Yes, management made bad decisions.

But when they did make good decisions, the UAW wouldn't bolt the cars together properly. Just ask Merp on this board about his 01 C5 Corvette and how the UAW forgot to do such things as "bolt the steering wheel in" and "install the oil rings on the pistons."

How are those management failures, union boy?

Wow, union boy? That is a great comeback. I am just completely dumbstruck by the validity of your arguement and will never question your information or motives again. But your are wrong on one point, the UAW doesn't bolt together anything, they represent the workers that do. Oops I questioned your information.

I think we have been over what I think about bad employees in another thread, but let me repeat it. I thinlk the union is somewhat overzelous at times and some of the GM line workers should be fired for being bad employees. But you can't blame all UAW workers for what 1 or 2 % of them do. And you can't blame them for bad management decisions or engineering pronblems pointed out in this thread.

Now put the shovel away and have a decent discussion.
 

Spectre

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UAW members, then. You know, the ones that vote for their leadership, accept/reject contracts when placed in front of them.... don't police their own, make sure there's featherbedding, etc,, etc. Wait, that's most of the union's notable behavior. Isn't that interesting.

I can most certainly blame them for the bad assembly jobs (the Saturn, above, for example) that they shipped out the door.

I can also blame them for extorting such high wages that GM has to decontent cars to try to meet their demands.
 

Dogbert

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...and some of the GM line workers should be fired for being bad employees. But you can't blame all UAW workers for what 1 or 2 % of them do. And you can't blame them for bad management decisions or engineering problems pointed out in this thread.
First of all, I would be really surprised if the number of bad workers the UAW forces GM to employ was really 1-2%.

Second, you said it yourself, they should be fired... but under the UAW umbrella, you're pretty much safe from any retribution. As we can clearly see by the sheer number of people that, for some reason, have jobs at GM... not many people leave once they're hired. Furthermore, the only way you really get promoted under the UAW is by just being there a long time, and not by the quality of the work that you do. I'm not saying merit-based promotions don't happen, but if I know I'm going to get a pay raise and a promotion just by showing up, what reason do I have to actually expend effort and do a good job?

Oh, and nobody's blaming the UAW for the management problems. There's actually a completely separate thread dedicated to the management problems of these companies.
 

Spectre

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Exactly. There's enough blame to go around between management, labor, and the people like Jayhawk and his family who kept enabling them. :D

Here's how it works:

Your Chevrolet pickup truck has insufficient cooling and overheats = management/design problem.
Your Chevrolet pickup truck has the transmission fail repeatedly on a tested, proven, decades old design = UAW build quality problem.
You knew the Chevrolet pickup had problems yet you bought it anyway instead of sending the proper signal to GM and the UAW of "clean up your act" = buyer problem.

You can get all three kinds of problem in one vehicle.

 
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Hiro11

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There's so many other obvious cars to choose from. For example:

1977-1986 Pontiac Parisienne/ Buick LeSabre / Olds Delta 88- archetypal of the huge, wallowing land barges that GM tried to sell in the early eighties. Unbelievably crappy build quality, tons of recalls, terrible vinyl interiors, engines that had simply no power, ugly as sin. Just terrible, terrible cars. Pretty much all of Pontiac's cars stank in the eighties, but this was the true nadir.

2005-Present Chevy Uplander - horribly ugly, weak engines, terrible interior. Did they honestly think anyone would buy one after test driving an Odyssey, Sienna or even T+C?

5th and 6th generation Monte Carlos- complete "gold chains"/Nascar image subserviance, no real power (even in SS garb), terrible handling, possibly the worst looking car ever etc.

You could keep going for days. The current CTS, current Corvette, current Malibu and perhaps current Cobalt SS (at least from a performance perspective) are at least competitive with other options. GM pick-ups have also always been a good choice if you need a working vehicle. Outside of those few models, I can't think of a car GM has produced in 25 years that's distinctly better than its competition... or even competitive with its competition. They settled for mediocre designs, quality, reliablity and performance for decades. Good riddance.
 

jetsetter

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Your Chevrolet pickup truck has insufficient cooling and overheats = management/design problem.
Your Chevrolet pickup truck has the transmission fail repeatedly on a tested, proven, decades old design = UAW build quality problem.
You knew the Chevrolet pickup had problems yet you bought it anyway instead of sending the proper signal to GM and the UAW of "clean up your act" = buyer problem.

You can get all three kinds of problem in one vehicle.
The trucks are pretty well screwed together. My father has a 88 Chevy 1500 with 200,000+ miles that has been pulling a 5th wheel up to the hills most of the time and it is still working alright.
 

Spectre

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I was using that as a theoretical example. If you like, consider my comments directed at the S10 - which, strangely enough, DOES have all the problems I mentioned.
 

2Billion

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The trucks are pretty well screwed together. My father has a 88 Chevy 1500 with 200,000+ miles that has been pulling a 5th wheel up to the hills most of the time and it is still working alright.
This sort of depends on whether you get someone competent building yours or one the invincible idiots Spectre has repeatedly mentioned. I mean, my brother-in-law had a Silverado in 2002 or so which, when new, had its brake lines fall off in traffic, among assorted other problems (that was the only one I remember, but he had a lengthy list). He owned it for under a year, and had so many problems that he just gave up on it and bought something else.

That's the thing, GM vehicles are generally perfectly capable of being quite reliable - I know of several other people with trucks of the same vintage that are great - but some are just built badly, and the people doing a bad job aren't kicked to the curb.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Pretty much all of Pontiac's cars stank in the eighties, but this was the true nadir.

That's a bit harsh. They had some very good ideas, that unfortunately suffered from problems that shouldn't have existed.

The Fiero - very well designed chasis, great styling....seriously underpowered (2.5 Ironduke I-4 ~97hp - WTF!!!). And this engine had the nasty habit to catch fire. (Funny how nobody blames Italian cars for doing it, but when it's American then it becomes a serious problem that everyone talks about)
Power of the Fiero was improved with the V6, but the fact that they never offered a V8 option hurt Pontiac a lot (they were talking about putting the Quad 4, but they dropped the Fiero as a whole in 1988)

The Firebird - pretty much mechanically identical to the Camaro, just slightly cooler (black trans am with gold wheels -teh sex!). The problem with the Firebird/Camaro was the interior. GM cars from the 60s had better looking and better assembled interiors than the F-Bodys.

The Grand Prix (W-Body) - lots of brilliant ideas. Independent suspension on all wheels, transversly mounted V6 engine, disc brakes on all wheels as standard, HUD was an option...They even offered hot versions - the McLaren Turbo Grand Prix 3.1 V6 200hp, and later the infamous 3.4 V6 DOHC...
...and it was all let down by an obsolete GM automatic transmission. (the 5 speed was a very rare option, it was only offered in the first 4 years of production and less than 5000 cars came with it)
 

Spectre

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That's a bit harsh. They had some very good ideas, that unfortunately suffered from problems that shouldn't have existed.

The Fiero - very well designed chasis, great styling....seriously underpowered (2.5 Ironduke I-4 ~97hp - WTF!!!). And this engine had the nasty habit to catch fire. (Funny how nobody blames Italian cars for doing it, but when it's American then it becomes a serious problem that everyone talks about)
Power of the Fiero was improved with the V6, but the fact that they never offered a V8 option hurt Pontiac a lot (they were talking about putting the Quad 4, but they dropped the Fiero as a whole in 1988)
Actually the early Fire-O's chassis and suspension wasn't all that well sorted and handling was not that great. They did fix all the problems for the 88 model year, but as we all know, that was the end of the line for the car.

We don't blame Italian cars for catching on fire because 1) they're expected to, they're Italian, and 2) we don't buy Italian cars. Just ask Fiat, Alfa and Lancia what happened to their US operations in the 70s and 80s.


GM has had some very good, very talented engineers, mostly in the engine/powertrain departments. The LS series engines are some of the best in the world, the THM/4LX0E series of transmissions really has never been beaten as a range, and the corporate rear differential is pretty stout. The rest of the company, not so much.
 
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_HighVoltage_

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Exactly, I never intended to defend them.
I find it sad - there are so many GM vehicles that I have liked over the years, and all of them had flaws...REAL flaws.

(I'm still thinking of buying one of those Turbo Grand Prix Pontiacs...even though it had the rubbish auto-box)
 
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