Going, going, gone

solsticeThe New York Times’ Jerry Garrett writes a scathing review of Pontiac’s final-gasp Solstice coupe. Even though has an attractive exterior design, the coupe is of lower overall quality than the roadster version, but for more money. This overall lack of quality is really emblematic of the failure of GM as a whole. Much has been written about how the proliferation of brands, corporate bureaucracy and union wages brought GM to its knees but the main problem is much simpler: too often, their product was neither well-designed nor well-engineered. Notchy shifter linkage, clunky switchgear and painfully uncomfortable seats are two generations behind the benchmark products of other manufacturers with no sporting pretensions. The four-cylinder engine looks good enough on paper but sounds for all the world like a coffee can full of nuts and bolts and climbs well beyond the pain threshold of anyone with even a ounce of mechanical sympathy. It harkens to the self-destructing British machines of the 1960s. How did engineers who are undoubtedly among the world’s best fail so completely? What does this say about how management was listening?

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