Rethink American? I dont think so. - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Rethink American? I dont think so.

OK. So im sitting at my computer, and just browsing through ebay motors, something im sure many of you also do. Well, I stumbled into the Opel section, which got me thinking, "wow, nowadays opel makes really good cars." As we all know GM owns Opel. The closest thing we in America get to Opels are 2 re-badged Saturns. So, I pull up both the Saturn and Vaxuall site (Vauxhall=Opel in the United Kingdom.) Opel/Vauxhall really make a wide range of cars and vans, and they look to be pretty solid offerings, wide range of cars, vans, mpvs. Saturn, on the other hand is crap, well sort of. If you like cheap, plastic sided un-exciting, money loosing cars, and dont want a carolla, then its totally for you. If not. . .its crap. So, i had to tell someone my thoughts, just to see if anyone else is sharing my line of thinking. Then i though, oh, wait, im a member of a website chock-full of German car nuts!

Saturn has been making plastic-sided cars for about 20 and a bit years. The company has no real "base" no great meaningful characteristic, other than being cheap, and having "no-haggle" pricing at dealerships. Orginally concived to be GMs mighty brand to strike back at the likes of Honda and Toyota, it got trampled. Their cars wern't styleish, particularly well built, interior quality was bad and it coulen't even compete with the like of Oldsmobile, never mind Toyota.

I read in an automotive article from several years ago (02 or so) that a designer from Opel and a few others were going to petition to higher ups to begin sales of Opel in America again (they were here in the 70s). Obvousuly, as we know, that didn't happen. However, in 03 "Maximum" Bob Lutz decited that Saturn and Opel should begin to rotate in the same orbit, if you will. Hence, the Astra and Aura/Vectra. However, isn't it conceviable that the rest of the Opel line would sell quite well in America. Take the Opel Vivaro. Looks like a pretty good offering, ja? Look at how good the Sprinter clones did in America. Mercedes no? In theroy, these vans, as well as the rest of the Opel range, IMO, would sell quite well in America.

So, rethink American? No. Rethink Stupid Badge engineering by stupid people in GM. Rethink bringing back Opel. Remember, just becouse they could call them Opel, dosen't mean that GM has to stop production at the GM factories. God no. They make the Aura in Kansas City, where i live. Simply up the options, influx a more Opel-minded sales strategy, and bam, a full car line that is making Money. And thus, im Finished. Your thoughts?

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:02 PM
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I am German and agree with you 100%. Opel has always had some nice cars in their program, with good drive train/chassis/suspension/brakes made for twisty roads and the Deutsche Autobahn.
Actually, the same holds true for Ford Germay.
I could never understand, why those cars were not offered in the U.S.
The big (not so big anymore) two US car makers should have listened to the Swiss eduacted and multi lingual Bob Lutz, IMO one of the best minds ever to work in the automobile industry.
His first gig in the industry was at a fledging BMW. The 1600 BMW was partly his brain child, and when the then new car had a hard time with US emmission, he had the 2 L engine installed, and so created the first German muscle car with the BMW 2002.
The Adam Opel GmbH makes cars since 1899. In 1929 GM aquired the majority in the Opel Co., but had to keep the name.
The Ford Motor AG Germany has made cars since 1925.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:13 PM
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My brother would say "I'm finished".

His 1972 Opel GT was burning a quart of oil every 100 miles and fouling the plugs, at 60,000 miles when he dumped it.

It was replaced with a '73 Camaro that he still owns, and I think it has about 300,000 or 400,000 miles on it, and it still runs.

I remember those Opels, Mantas, Kadetts and GTs and so on that GM tried to market in the 1960's and 1970's.

The Buick dealers had them, and they looked pretty puny and tinny amongst all the gleaming American land yachts, the Skylarks, Electras, Wildcats, LeSabres, Apollos, next to them in the showrooms.

They really hadn't much of a clue as regards to parts and service support, never mind sales. They really didn't know what to do with them, and by the middle of the 1970s they were pretty much gone.

In Europe and England, they do well. The company that used to be Adam Opel AG has a long and respectable history, and their Blitz trucks were some of the most widely used German trucks in WWII.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thats the thing. I know GM has some very smart people, Lutz, Wagner and others. They have struggled to Market their other brands, Cadillac, Hummer (obvisouly) and Chevy (basically rebadged Daewoos) over there. Opel competes well in Europe becouse its European. Ford of Europe is the same way, Ford has been in Deutchland since before WWII, and is basically a seperate division of Ford. We know this becouse they are not losing bucket loads of money.

@ Cascade- Malise Era american land monsters eat small german cars.
Top Gear Africa Special, seen it? Richard and Oliver?

Anyways, i think Opel is due for a return to America, and the underperforming Saturn brand needs to go away. Every time i see their slogan "rething american" i giggle a bit.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:22 PM
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There are great cars from all over the world. Each company balances their values with what they think will sell to their specific clientele. If you review each car company you will see similarities throughout their model range that speak of the effort and compromises toward that endeavor. BMW's drive the best, Lexus hold up the best, Mercedes is a nice balance in between BMW and Lexus, and Cadillac is almost as dependable as a Lexus but far more crude than any of the others I mentioned.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Please explain what exactly you mean. I give you that say when BMW sells its cars in Russia, they equip more of them with AWD, and so, tailoring their vehicles to a specific market, and Ford of Germany tailors their cars to European tastes, but thats a bit off topic.

Ok, i see. The thing is, Saturn was catering to a clientele that was not buying enough of their cars. The Asian automakers were superior, and Saturn coulden't compete. Thats why i think it would be more profitable to bring more Opel cars to America. The thing is, when you would bring so many designs over, you may be better off bringing the whole brand over. However, the English buy Vaxhualls, hopefully Saturn won't be the next Vaxhuall. But i dont think they will sell Vans under the saturn name. In anything (in theroy) they would bring over their vans in GMC or Chevy form, like Daimler and the Sprinter.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:40 PM
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I don't think US is ready for smaller cars yet.
"The Caddy that zigs" Cadillac Cattera, what is originally Opel never made it big on this market.
Opel diesels are quite popular in Easter Europe. Cheaper than MB, reliable, economical.
Than it was the Opel who beat several speed records with it's 90 mpg sport diesel car several years ago. Don't think that prototype ever went into production.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 11:40 PM
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have u seen the new vauxall, v8? 30k pounds.
I think clarkson did a review of it 2 episodes ago
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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I dunno, i kinda think (hope) that america is ready for more smaller diesels. With VW and Audi bringing their new, uber-clean diesel range, and the Japanese devloping diesels for entry into the american market, i think a small car with a diesel would sell well in the US.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-12-2007, 12:04 PM
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Diesel fuel is fetching a $0.30 / gallon premium here...the attractiveness of that fuel as being less expensive is gone. It's harder to find, which means in situations like ours here this week, people who drive diesel vehicles have to drive all over the place to find a gas station that 1) has electricity, and 2) still has diesel fuel to sell.

The engines are noisy, they suck in cold weather, they cause lots of global warming ... It's a long, long way from becoming mainstream here.
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