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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, tried a little experiment. I used the new "build your own" on the Buick site today. After messing around with it, thought it would be neat to see what the cheapest of each the Lambdas are, and what the most expensive of the Lambdas are. Here's the breakdowns. (lowest price is base model FWD no options (except 8-passenger seating if it makes it cheaper), and top price is top trim AWD with every option clicked on the build your own)

2009

Traverse: Lowest price: $28,990
Highest Price: $45,120

Outlook: Lowest price: $31,055
Highest Price: $49,605

Acadia: Lowest price: $32,625
Highest Price: $50,120

Enclave: Lowest price: $35,310
Highest Price: $50,670
 

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For reference, here is the 2009 Journey done the same way:

Base SE, FWD: $18,300 (4 cylinder, 5 passenger, no options)
FWD SXT: $21,800 (V6, 7 passenger, no options)
Loaded FWD SXT: $30,080 (V6, 7 passenger, all options)
Top RT AWD: $32,055 (V6, 7 passenger, all options)

One big advantage is being able to get the nav option on the mid-level model.

All have minimum/maximum options and prices include national incentives if any.

IMO, GM needs to open up the option bank if they want to be competitive.
 

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Of course the fact that there are 4 versions with so many combinations is felt by many to be a good part of the reason that GM is in the position that they are at the moment. Eight divisions is pretty silly when you see how successful Honda and Toyota are with two or three.
 

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Blue_2009_SLT2 said:
IMO, GM needs to open up the option bank if they want to be competitive.
This may be true, but it depends on the objective. I think as you open up the option bank you also increase the price to manufacture.

For example. Look at the Honda Fit which I think is a VERY competitive car. It has basically NO option bank. You pick the following

Tranny: Manual or Automatic
Model: Base, Sport, or Sport w/Nav
Color:

That's it, no options.

So it's hard to say if opening the option bank is the right thing or not.
 

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GerryL said:
Of course the fact that there are 4 versions with so many combinations is felt by many to be a good part of the reason that GM is in the position that they are at the moment. Eight divisions is pretty silly when you see how successful Honda and Toyota are with two or three.
I think a big problem that GM has is having way to many dealerships. Toyota and Honda sell so many more cars per dealership that they can keep the costs down and each dealership can be more profitable.

I love GM, I have purchased 12+ used GM cars and 7 new GM cars in my life. Even when I knew that the quality and value was not as good as the competition, I still bought GM. I hope to buy a few more in the next 20 years. But I am afraid that they just have not kept up with the competition. They fell behind in quality and in offering good products. Now they seem to have fixed that, but have not looked at their distribution process and have avoided addressing huge issues.

I am very concerned for our US autos. I think back to when I bought my first RCA TV that was made in the USA by a USA company. Today, I don't think you can buy consumer electronics from anything but a foreign company. I fear that this might be the fate of the auto industry as well. I hope not.
 

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Good point about the electronics, didn't think of it like that.

As far as the options, as I see it there are a few fixed things like sunroofs that have to be installed early on in the building process, or else you put it on every body produced, which will be a deal killer for some. For the majority of options, especially the tech heavy stuff like nav radios, it is usually a matter of having the wiring in place. Wiring and connectors in the bulk used by GM would be very inexpensive, especially if each model had the same wiring. I have a 1988 Mazda RX7 that apparently was a base model. I found out that to add the cruise control (or any of the other electrical options), it is a simple matter of buying the components since the same wiring was in place on every vehicle (mine is a convertible, so I'm sure there is a difference in the coupes). Now if Mazda made three trim levels to the car, and two wiring (or more) harnesses, I could see cost getting much higher.

GM has done this in the past- my '95 Pontiac Trans Am had the wiring for the CD changer tucked under a rear panel, so all I had to do was plug it in. BTW, it was a Pioneer made Delphi brand, I'm pretty sure it was made in Japan.

On the flip side, it was not always this way- when I added AC to my '65 Chevy Corvair (not an option for the model I have that year), I had to add some harnesses. It is interesting other than a few things such as that how many parts interchanged during the production run of 1960-64 (early) and 65-69 (late).

My final assembly example is Toyota. I have a 1988 Supra that came with an automatic transmission. I bought a wrecked one three years newer with a manual transmission when I put the Chevy V8 in it, and every part from the MT car bolted onto the AT car- there were rubber plugs on the firewall for the clutch master cylinder, the holes for the shifter and clutch pedal assembly were there and threaded. It was a relatively simple process.

It has got to cost less to make vehicles one way than to have to make two versions.

I have trouble thinking outside the box at times- I just relate our purchase experience to vehicles. We would have been very happy with a slightly over $30K SLE (or under with GMS) with a cloth interior if we could have gotten the cooled seats in it. If we only had $30K or less to spend, we would have had to do without the GMC and more than likely would have bought another brand for the money. In a nutshell, as I have observed before when comparing the Journey to the Lambda, GM is charging a good bit more for a slightly larger vehicle with one extra feature (the cooled seats). If they can turn this around, that to me is a big step in the right direction for increased sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Blue_2009_SLT2 said:
Good point about the electronics, didn't think of it like that.

As far as the options, as I see it there are a few fixed things like sunroofs that have to be installed early on in the building process, or else you put it on every body produced, which will be a deal killer for some. For the majority of options, especially the tech heavy stuff like nav radios, it is usually a matter of having the wiring in place. Wiring and connectors in the bulk used by GM would be very inexpensive, especially if each model had the same wiring. I have a 1988 Mazda RX7 that apparently was a base model. I found out that to add the cruise control (or any of the other electrical options), it is a simple matter of buying the components since the same wiring was in place on every vehicle (mine is a convertible, so I'm sure there is a difference in the coupes). Now if Mazda made three trim levels to the car, and two wiring (or more) harnesses, I could see cost getting much higher.

GM has done this in the past- my '95 Pontiac Trans Am had the wiring for the CD changer tucked under a rear panel, so all I had to do was plug it in. BTW, it was a Pioneer made Delphi brand, I'm pretty sure it was made in Japan.

On the flip side, it was not always this way- when I added AC to my '65 Chevy Corvair (not an option for the model I have that year), I had to add some harnesses. It is interesting other than a few things such as that how many parts interchanged during the production run of 1960-64 (early) and 65-69 (late).

My final assembly example is Toyota. I have a 1988 Supra that came with an automatic transmission. I bought a wrecked one three years newer with a manual transmission when I put the Chevy V8 in it, and every part from the MT car bolted onto the AT car- there were rubber plugs on the firewall for the clutch master cylinder, the holes for the shifter and clutch pedal assembly were there and threaded. It was a relatively simple process.

It has got to cost less to make vehicles one way than to have to make two versions.

I have trouble thinking outside the box at times- I just relate our purchase experience to vehicles. We would have been very happy with a slightly over $30K SLE (or under with GMS) with a cloth interior if we could have gotten the cooled seats in it. If we only had $30K or less to spend, we would have had to do without the GMC and more than likely would have bought another brand for the money. In a nutshell, as I have observed before when comparing the Journey to the Lambda, GM is charging a good bit more for a slightly larger vehicle with one extra feature (the cooled seats). If they can turn this around, that to me is a big step in the right direction for increased sales.
Don't even attempt to compare the Journey to any Lambda, even the Traverse. (not meant to be a GM is better than Chrysler thing at all, I'm merely speaking about the vehicle itself) it's not even close to the same class, it's not a vehicle that's a competitor to the Lambdas, it's more a comparison to GM's Theta platform (Equinox, Vue, etc), with a third row thrown in, that's all. The Lambdas have NO competition other than within themselves. There is NO vehicle out there that's the same, that seats 8, that's FWD based, and in their price range. (if I'm wrong, show me a vehicle, because I don't know of one, as of now).
 

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09Enclave said:
There is NO vehicle out there that's the same, that seats 8, that's FWD based, and in their price range. (if I'm wrong, show me a vehicle, because I don't know of one, as of now).
I think the Honda Pilot is a competitor. If GM would have had both the Pilot an the Acadia at my dealer, I would have bought the Pilot because it's just a bit smaller and I don't need all the room in the Acadia. I just need to occasionally haul 8 people and when I do that they are mostly kids. In addition, the Pilot is a bit cheaper. The Acadia does look much nicer than the Pilot, but I really don't care too much what my cars look like. Heck, I drive a Vibe as a commuter car!! :)
 

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I didn't throw that up as a direct comparison, because we all know the Lambda is a superior vehicle. I extensively research vehicles before purchase, and ended up with the Acadia. As Mrs. Blue often reminds me, not everyone thinks like I do.

Take the example of a young couple with 2-3-4 kids that want a 7 passenger vehicle. They both work and as far as auto experience, neither knows how to change a tire.

They decide to trade in their SUV or sedan and go shopping for a CUV. They do limited research online and end up at Honda (Pilot), Toyota (Highlander), Dodge (Journey), GMC (Acadia), Suzuki (XL7), and Saturn (Outlook) dealers (you may substitute Chevy/Traverse for either Lambda mentioned). Based on their budget and their option needs, they may well buy either the Journey or even a Suzuki XL7 (talk about third row thrown in). They don't know or care what the platform is. All they are looking at is will it do what we need it to do, do we like the appearance, and can we afford it?

As an observation, finding an 8 passenger Acadia can be hard to do, even in the SLE where it is standard. In the upper models it gets to be nearly impossible. We had to order ours as did a few others as I recall, so even though this is a great unique feature, GM must not think so since not very many are being built in this configuration.

My point is, to a majority of vehicle buyers, the sticker shock of the Lambda is a financial deal killer. It almost was for us. I'm still upset that to get cooled seats I had to pay roughly $7K more and get a bunch of stuff I didn't want or need or that I could have retrofit for less money. I believe if the Journeys we had driven had decent AC, we would be driving one of them now.

At the end of the day, GM needs to be more competitive with price to sell more vehicles. If this takes (as has been suggested here and elsewhere) reducing the number of dealers, reducing benefits, reducing lines, then they will have to do what needs to be done to stay in business. I don't possess a great deal of business acumen, there are plenty that do and like most of our elections in recent years, at least 50.000001% of them feel one way or the other on the bailout issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
GAR said:
09Enclave said:
There is NO vehicle out there that's the same, that seats 8, that's FWD based, and in their price range. (if I'm wrong, show me a vehicle, because I don't know of one, as of now).
I think the Honda Pilot is a competitor. If GM would have had both the Pilot an the Acadia at my dealer, I would have bought the Pilot because it's just a bit smaller and I don't need all the room in the Acadia. I just need to occasionally haul 8 people and when I do that they are mostly kids. In addition, the Pilot is a bit cheaper. The Acadia does look much nicer than the Pilot, but I really don't care too much what my cars look like. Heck, I drive a Vibe as a commuter car!! :)
Thank you for correcting me, I didn't think there was any 8-passenger FWD out there other than the Lambdas. I haven't gone and researched the Pilot, but will...just for fun to see how it stacks up. It's more boxy than the Acadia/Enclave, but I think it's OK looking. I'm not an import buyer, so I wouldn't consider it for myself, but I'm always interested in all the competiton for the Lambdas, just to see what's out there.

As for Mr. Blue's comment about sticker shock on the Lambdas: Here's the problem, most dealers will stock fully loaded versions, to showcase all the cool stuff you CAN get on these. Problem is, it does create a sense of "sticker shock", and hopefully most end up talking to a good salesperson, who can point out that the vehicles can be had for much less, when ordering, or dealer trading...which is hard to do, since my above statement...most dealers load up their stock vehicles. Geez, just about all the Enclaves on the lot where we bought ours were in the upper $30K's at least, and over $40K's for others. So, we had to order, CX FWD with 8-passenger comes out more reasonable.

Here's a neat website, in case you didn't know about it, that allows you to find a vehicle that suits your needs. Only draw back is, the option to click on for seating is 7-8 passenger. I wish they had just an 8 passenger option.

http://www.cars.com/go/criteria/criteriaSearchForm.html?aff=boston#
 

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My main gripe for inventory search tools like cars.com and vehix.com (new one I found) is that the dealers fail to input correct data into the system. They will list colors as "M" or "bct", which are neither abbreviations or codes. They will list automatic cars as manuals and more often vice-versa. The Dodge.com search system will allow you to screen for model/trim and color, but the page has to do a complete reload each time you return from a dealer to check inventory, then you have to unselect and reselect the color and map range, and it has to reload again. On a slow connection like I have, this is really frustrating.

I recently did a search for another member on the other forum, and found a car within 40 miles of him. He didn't want the car since it showed as automatic (we both want six speeds). I told him it was a dealer listing error, as the window sticker URL and the dealer's own description (further down the page) showed it was a six speed. I ran into the same problem and did the same thing with the Acadia when we were shopping for one.

As long as the dealer puts in the correct VIN, we can see what is on the car and then go from there.

It is a time consuming pain, but I don't know of any other way around it. The dealers are only hurting themselves when they do this. Internet sales are popular, but not everyone goes to the trouble to look at all cars listed on a daily basis. If searching was easier, I bet sales would increase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think that cars.com link I put on here, the vehicle recommender, is about the best vehicle research tool, as far as someone who doesn't really know what's out there. The only thing I don't like about it is, it doesn't have the seating individual (like I said, you have to click on 7-8 passenger). That's OK, but for me who only wanted an 8 passenger, it brings up models that are 7 too. It's funny, play around with it some, put in exactly what the Lambdas have, and you'll be surprised how few others are out there that match what they have. (at least I did it for the Enclave....Acadia doesn't have some features that are standard on the Buick, but still....fun website to have fun with.
 
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