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Oldsmobile Forum: Where did all the Oldsmobile buyers go?
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Old May 10th, 2004
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The Road Ahead

Where did all the Oldsmobile buyers go?

May 10, 2004

Two momentous – and seemingly unrelated events – occurred in a single recent week: South Korean automaker, Hyundai, skyrocketed from near the bottom to near the top of the J.D. Power and Associates’ quality charts; and General Motors’ Oldsmobile Division produced its last vehicle.

Hyundai, in the recently released J. D. Power Initial Quality Survey, which asks more than 51,000 Americans about quality problems they’ve experienced during the first three months of owning their new vehicle, leapfrogged American and European manufacturers and soared to the lofty ranks of Honda and Toyota.

Among auto manufacturers, Hyundai Motor America tied American Honda in problems -- 102 problems per 100 vehicles -- just below No. 1 ranked Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., with 101 problems. (Only last year, Hyundai was near the bottom with 143 problems.) In terms of brands, Hyundai ranked seventh behind luxury makers Lexus, Cadillac, Jaguar and then Honda, Buick and Mercury, putting it also ahead of Toyota and Infiniti.

"A decade ago, as Korean manufacturers struggled with a universally poor reputation for vehicle quality, no one would have predicted they could not only keep pace, but actually pass the domestics and other imports in terms of initial quality," said Joe Ivers, J. D. Power partner and executive director of quality/customer satisfaction.

The same week that the J. D. Power results were announced, a dark red Oldsmobile Alero rolled down the assembly line at a GM plant, marking the end of America’s oldest and the world’s second oldest automotive brand. The 35,229,218th Oldsmobile built since Ransom E. Olds established his company in 1897 goes on display in the Oldsmobile museum in Lansing, Michigan.

GM had announced in December 2000 that the Oldsmobile brand would be eliminated over the following few years. GM said that despite major investments, Oldsmobile remained unprofitable, and its sales continued to erode. Besides, GM executives said, Oldsmobile buyers could easily move to other GM brands, most likely Buick. But that didn’t happen.

And that’s where the Oldsmobile and Hyundai stories intersect.

J. D. Power analyzed where Oldsmobile buyers were going via its Power Information Network (PIN), which gathers information regarding real customer buy-trade transactions from dealers.

Turns out, Oldsmobile buyers are turning to Hyundai Motor America by the largest and increasing percentages, not to GM.

“I never would have predicted that Olds buyers would increasingly be going to Hyundai,” said Tom Libby, a J. D. Power analyst and director of the PIN. “Intuitively, you don’t think of Hyundai with the same upscale image as Oldsmobile.”

But as with quality, the times they are a changing in terms of Hyundai’s image.

What’s even more telling is GM was 14th among all manufacturers that Olds owners turned to after learning their brand was going away. Right behind Hyundai, they went to Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, DaimlerChrysler, Subaru and Suzuki (in which GM owns a stake in both), Volkswagen, BMW, Isuzu and Ford, respectively.

Indeed, in terms of brands, they turned to Chevrolet first and then to Hyundai. Cadillac and Pontiac ranked fifth and eighth, respectively. Yet, Olds buyers didn’t flock to GM brands in large enough numbers to boost GM in the corporate ranking.

Even more surprising, Buick ranked dead last as an alternative for Oldsmobile owners, in contrast to GM executives’ predictions.

Someone who is not surprised by any of the recent news events is George Glassman, who owned an Oldsmobile dealership in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan. GM spent untold billions on buying out dealers like Glassman or reassigning some to other GM dealerships.

Glassman had predicted a defection from GM with the departure of Oldsmobile, in part, because brand loyalty is non-existent, and value is the be all and end all. He’s also not surprised Olds buyers didn’t go to Buick. “Buick is still perceived as appealing to an older crowd,” Glassman said. “GM truly turned its back on hundreds of thousands of buyers who I think could have been loyal.”

In addition, with their Oldsmobile franchise gone, dealers like Glassman had to find other brands to sell; they went to Subaru, Kia, and, in Glassman’s case, Hyundai. In other words, mostly GM competitors.

“Hyundai acquired a number of good quality dealers who have become the best competitive force against GM. They’ve (GM) created a monster,” said Glassman. “I was a determined GM dealer, now I’m a very determined Hyundai dealer.”

And his customers have not found it difficult to transition from Oldsmobile to Hyundai,

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Old May 10th, 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,765
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY has disabled reputation
Notice several things:

They did not go Buick like GM and so many people thought.
I knew this was going to happen. This is just the beginning of them realizing what they did.
GM was arrogant to think we Olds owners would go to another division.
SAAB is not replacing Oldsmobile as many people had stated either.
If I wanted a Buick, I would have bought a Park Avenue. I did not.
If anyone thinks La Crosse is equal to buying an Intrigue, you have a reality check coming.
I was wondering how long it would take.

If had to buy new, I would be forced to go to the Lincoln Mercury dealership. They are the only company that offer exactly what I have. The Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. The Bonneville and Deville are the closest GM vehicles to what I have, and they come up short in a lot of areas.

I hate to break this to people too:

SAAB will not be big as you think. They have trouble selling in Europe!
Hummer needs to expand, because if it does not, it will have limited appeal.
Adding cars to Saturn still does change the fact they have no image, and they can just as easily be folded into Chevrolet. Equinox is a whole lot better than the VUE by a longshot. Sellling them as Amercian Opels does not help when you consider they sell Opels as Chevrolet in other countries.

I do not care who does not like I said this either. This is the truth. GM really made a big mistake, and they will pay a huge price for this mistake too.

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Old May 10th, 2004
RoraStar96's Avatar
RoraStar96 RoraStar96 is offline
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Location: Mississauga Ont. Canada
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Hyundai! sounds like a sneeze :angry:

My list after the Rora

Bonneville SSEi or GXP
Regal GS
Lincoln LS
Seville STS

That is all B)
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Old May 10th, 2004
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jbritt67 jbritt67 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 273
I've been checking out the '05 Dodge Magnum. The styling reminds me of the old "Tri - 5" Chevy Nomads. Besides, when it comes to styling no other car manufacturer has turned out as many radical rides as Diamler-Chrysler.

Viper... Prowler...PT Cruiser....Magnum... and don't forget the Hemi RAM.

It's a crying shame that Oldsmobile couldn't have designed one last wagon like the Magnum... maybe something similar to the glass top Vista Cruisers.

Oh well.... maybe Saab will :P
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Old May 10th, 2004
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djlahey djlahey is offline
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I actually turned around more than once for the new hyunday solara...
I agree that GM made a big mistake.
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Old May 10th, 2004
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Sammgb Sammgb is offline
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I've got a personal anti-Japanese/Asian ban, but I have to confess that I like the look of the current Hyundai Tiburon. I personally wouldn't buy one but if I were young and looking in that market, I'd consider it over the Cavalier/Sunfire.

GM absolutely does not think far enough ahead.

On the list of recent GM cars that they finally got right and then killed:
- 94-96 Chevy Impala
- 93 Cadillac Allante w/ the Northstar system.
- V-6 Fiero GT (debate if you want, but the last model year was a good car)
- Camaro SS

And now they've killed of the entire Oldmobile brand. They will come to discover just what a mistake that was.
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Old May 10th, 2004
Marc's Avatar
Marc Marc is offline
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Location: New York State
Posts: 280
As I said elsewhere: I will buy my next car on
the basis of how closely it resembles the Aurora
that I own now. American, English, German,
Japanese, Swedish, whatever.



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Old May 10th, 2004
razoredge razoredge is offline
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While my Buick views are not as harsh as 98's my Pontiac and Chevy views are. AND I cant even spell satchurin. No offence to the great Pontiac owners, but Im a Buick/Olds guy, not a Buick/Pontiac guy or a Olds/Pontiac, I like BUICKS AND OLDSMOIBILES and Olds got the shaft so Im bitter to all except Buick because they also recieved the shaft but at least GM remembered to pull it out. or not ??? only time will tell.

I didnt read the first artical sorry , I dont know why I dont care what it says. I was thinking about this since a statement made about Pontiac and Cadillac sales being up. I personally know a few people that went STS or DeVille instead of Aurora or the lack of 98 or 88. Certainlly Buick had nothing with sex appeal , PA is nice but surely pricey for a potential 88 buyer. So Im saying one type of Olds buyer went to Cadallic which has been one dirrection as moving up anyhow. Also the Deville isnt a bad price, certainly not as high as the pricy STS. A handfull may have bought a Buick.

Then Im saying another type of Oldsmobile buyer went to GrandPrix, GrandAm or Bonneville. After all many Cadillac/Oldsmobile dealers picked up Pontiac to replace Olds, so if you walk in to see what they have, if you cant afford Caddy your going to Pontiac or even elsewheres. The owner of our LSS traded for a Caddy, sorry I forgot what model. My best friends father drove Regencys his whole life and went to STS's when he retired, I just drove past his house and Im pretty sure I saw the front of a Park Avenue in the garage, if I know him its an Ultra !

Thens theres people like me that will refuse to be pushed into other GM cars just because GM says so. We are used car people and will most likely always be so, I may get a G2 Aurora one day the wife still wants one. Honestly for me, our daughter will be in college in 4 more years, the LSS will be paid off in 2.5. The next car of my dreams right now is a Nissan 350Z ragtop . I want a real sports car again and we have enough 6 seaters to last a century.

There is a black, camel top/interior 04 Corvette drop top screaming at me everytime I pass the local Buick/GMC now gone Chevy II dealer. $55,000 is above me but I could pull it off and hey its a 6 stick :P . I believe its going to be a buyers market for 04 convertables soon , new body comming out and every Chevy lot I pass has 04 convertables sitting on it - - overstock . Really a used 350Z will be doable for me in 4 years and GM is putting me to sleep with there teasing nonsense and bias toward Pontiac and Chevy.

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Old May 10th, 2004
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Aurora40 Aurora40 is offline
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Location: The Old Dominion
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Cars that appeal to me as Aurora replacements are the CTS-V, though it is quite a bit pricier. The CTS doesn't cut it for me. No V8, and enough more expensive for the same/less features that I can't imagine going from an Aurora to it. The Bonnie GXP just because it is mechanically similar to an Aurora, but the styling is not for me, and the interior is hideous. I would never buy a car with all red backlighting unless I sucked it up to own a Ferrari. The new STS is way too expensive, and the current Seville is way too boxy and bland on the exterior. A Corvette would appeal, and that's about it.
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Old May 12th, 2004
MROLDV8 MROLDV8 is offline
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Doesn't it make you wonder who calls the shots at at GM? I know I could do a better job! Are you listening, GM? Why on earth are they in the habit of giving market segments away? I just don't understand their thinking.

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