Chevrolet Cruze Forums banner
1 - 20 of 68 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,535 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A bit about me......I buy cars....a lot of them.....over 20 in the last 13 years.
I am not a fleet buyer, I am a enthusiastic owner.
I have been a enthusiest for over 45 years and currently own 11 vehicles.....one of which is a import (Miata)

This is what I've learned over the years and I will be sort of G.M. specific......but all domestic carmakers fall into the trap.
I'm discussing 'Decontenting' the art of introducing a well equipped product and then handing it over to the 'Bean Counters'
Their mission is to remove content, or determine a cheaper way to present the product to the public, and make them believe the product (in this case we will use the Cruze) is a better value than the preceeding model year.
With that in mind, lets look at, uh, Toyoissanonda.....the Asian big three.....generic, throwaway s'boxes.
What these folks do, every year, is ADD something.....maybe some trim, a more attractive wheel package, a electronic gimmick, maybe additional lighting, either interior or exterior......but always something to freshen the product.....this makes it something that someone bought two years ago, new enouph in appearance or function to justify replacing that vehicle with the latest, greatest version.

The big three (actually four back in the day) used to follow this path and the Asians learned that lesson well and exploit it to the max.

Today, lets look at the Cruze.....because I have one and looked at the 13's and now the 14's.
When I purchassed my 12, I had, many months earlier, looked at the 11's.....specifically the eco, and even drove one. At that time the eco was only available as a 6m and even though it was one of the nicest shifting front drive manuals I had ever operated, I kinda was leaning towards a auto.
With that exception, I kept the car on my radar.
A bit of studying also revealed that the Z-Link (watts link) was only found on the 1LT, 6m or auto, 2LT, 6m or auto, and the LTZ.
Knowing the purpose of this component, and wanting my car so equipped.....I was leaning toward a 2LT auto but no RS package.
Late in the 11 MY, the eco was introduced with a autobox, the Z-link, and a actual spare tire.
This got my interest because I really wanted to avoid a leather interior on a DD.

With the introduction of the 12's, I concluded that the eco auto would fit nicely.
The right engine (T) a autobox, a spare, the lowered eco suspension in conjuntion with the Z-Link, cloth interior, and the basic radio.
Perfect......I bought one.

What do you think the first thing I picked up on after I got it home?...........Some bean counter at Chevy decided I don't need a light in the glovebox anymore.....a feature that I thought was a nice touch on the 11's.
So, once again cursing the decontent mentality I looked for anything else that Chevy screwed me out of for 12.
So far, so good, looks like that and a battery cover were the only things I could find missing but begs the question......I know they didn't stop there.....there'll be something else down the road...I just havent found it yet.
Trouble with this is it tells me young, fresh out of school folks are involved with this......wait till THEIR eyes are 60+ years old and they are trying to locate something in the black hole of calcutta called a glove box.

So, anyways, moving on to the 13's.....looking at a new eco.....just cause I can.
Whats this? where'd the Z-Link go???? Oh, for 2013 it only comes with the 1LT if it has the RS package.....otherwise it is now only standard on the 2LT and the LTZ........BUT LOOK......it now has a six speed blower motor switch.......and this gigantic radio that a guy my age wants nothing to do with.......Christ, it needs its own operators manual.

And the price went up (of course).
GM's theory is......you aren't comparing the car to our last years product so you won't know what we removed......annnnnd we put a more complex radio in it so you can digest the price increase.

So, what happens is, folks like me that might flip a car every two years, instead, are forced to wait for the next generation to appear.....then, in typical GM fashion, it'll have lots of nifty features they can slowly remove as the car goes through its life cycle.
So, to GM (and the other domestics) You are still missing the boat! Old habits die hard....but your gonna have to get the bean counters out of the room......they are killing the sales to buyers like me.

And its not just the Cruze.....I have my wife driving a 08 (first year) Malibu LTZ......Fabulous car!.......TONS of content......adjustable pedals (she is vertically challenged) that work well for two drivers (I'm not vertically challenged).....a nifty shade that rolls up from the package shelf to block the summer sun and help the AC be more effective, lights aplenty, a radio that is still beyond me but thats another story......where I'm headed here is many nice features......all the way down to the repeater lights on the front fenders.
We looked at the 09, 10, 11......each had less content.....the pedals were gone for 09, also the repeaters....I don't remember specifics....but for 2010 the 3.6, which had been standard on LTZ became an option.....now THATS serious decontenting eh?
But it is the GM way......for some reason, they don't get it.
I will keep buying GM.....I really have had great success with the product......They would see me more often if they would look at their past and see that ADDING a bit of content is what makes lookers turn back into buyers.

I like to use the outgoing generation of the Corolla as a example......look at each year of this generation....what stands out?
Each year has some new feature, something that makes the buyer look at the car as a better value than the year before.
Something that a salesman can point out as a 'Look what they did for 2014!'

Com'on GM......Wake Up!!!!!!!! I don't have that many car buying years left! MOTIVATE ME!

Rant over,
Rob
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,157 Posts
Never thought of model-year changes like that.

And have no fear. Toyota and Honda do similar things. Like not updating the Corolla for ages, or decontenting the '12 Civic so much that Consumer Reports scored it too low to recommend. Luckily the bean-counters figured out that they'd get more beans redesigning it instead of advertising its flaws as advantages.

GM is showing flashes of breaking out of the bean-counter mentality. Look at the '14 Malibu. Folks panned the '13's so badly that they rushed through a pretty big redesign for MY 2014.

For the Watts link, there's little to no difference in handling in the real world. At the Watkins Glen meet two Watts link equipped cars had difficulty keeping up with my torsion-beam Eco. And, that fancy radio needs to be paid for somehow.

I'm not trying to rebut your argument, just present what I believe is the mentality behind those changes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,535 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I like the link for street driving but if you recall, Chevrolet went to great lengths describing the time the Corvette engineers spent on that specific component and its positive effects at the 'ring' during development.
And you really can't deny the effect a link has for controlling lateral forces on a trailing link axle.

I'm well aware of Honda's error as anyone who reads the enthusiest and industry rags.....but they deconted an entire car!
Regarding the Corolla (I hate Toyota's BTW) even though they kept pounding out the same old game, they added little bits to keep it viable....and it worked.

Rob

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the Miata......I hope you don't think I bought that for Sunday Church runs now do you???? unless they are running autoX in the parking lot......just trying to point out good handling is a priority to me as well as you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,917 Posts
GM is showing flashes of breaking out of the bean-counter mentality. Look at the '14 Malibu. Folks panned the '13's so badly that they rushed through a pretty big redesign for MY 2014.

For the Watts link, there's little to no difference in handling in the real world. At the Watkins Glen meet two Watts link equipped cars had difficulty keeping up with my torsion-beam Eco. And, that fancy radio needs to be paid for somehow.

Gm redesigned the Malibu due to worse than expected sales. When your compact car (the cruze) is outselling all your more expensive cars and most people realize there is not much difference except price & worse MPG you are gonna have problems.

This may also factor into de-contenting of the cruze, if your gonna keep selling so many might as well make as much profit as possible. $4 glove box light X 300,000+ cruze is a crap load of extra profit. Whats a Z-link cost?

I drove a 2013 no z-link cruze and in the twisty, hilly constant s curves around here there is a definite difference in how planted the rear of the car feels. The best example of this is a 40+ MPH S curve with a 20ft drop in elevation mid S. The non-zlink cruze felt just like my old Cavalier, axle hopping sideways a few skips through the elevation drop/curve. Totally planted with the z-link car, even with the soft sidewall of the 16in tires.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,177 Posts
Great thread Robby! Chevy subtracting features from the Cruze has also ruffled my feathers to which I have made known at various times throughout this forum. With all the things you noted that were subtracted from the cruze from year to year, don't forget that Chevy also took away the cloth map pockets on the back of the seats in the Cruze!

The 2011 LS/1LT/ECO all had two passenger seat map pockets, but not now. The LS after 2011 lost both map pockets and the 1LT and ECO only have one map pocket now which is on the back of the passenger's seat. For some reason the 2LT and the LTZ were seen good enough to be able to keep their 2 leather seat map pockets but not the lower trim level cruzes.

I also recall that some of the Cruzes lost some of the DIC screens that were originally in the 2011 Cruzes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,177 Posts
The 2013 Cruze does not have a glovebox light and since Chevy likes to take features away year after year, I would bet my left testicle that the 2014 Cruzes won't have one either. I can't wait to see what they have taken away for the 2014 Cruze.
 

·
Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
Joined
·
17,531 Posts
Z link + mountain roads = FTW!

Even the LS (2011 has Z-link - think it was removed for 2012) out-handled the Eco on one of my favorite driving roads.

The big 3 (in the past) tend to make a new car that was "good enough" and then produce it WAY past it's viable life cycle til it just stops selling. THEN they redesigned it. Want examples? Escape. Taurus. Ranger. Old Fusion. Cavalier. Impala (my god, that took forever to kill). Silverado. Liberty was unchanged in powertrain from 2002-2012. 300. Etc etc.

They're getting the idea that they can't do this anymore, and it seems to be working out well for everyone. The Malibu redesign shows that GM is definitely paying attention (finally) to what customers think.

Take the Accord. It was always updated with mid cycle refreshes with a new engine and some new styling or features before a whole new redesign. A couple new features (wheels, standard options) in between. It deserves to be at the top of the heap because their engineers went to great efforts to keep the car competitive in every generation. No idea what happened with the 08-12 but it was awful.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

·
Administrator, Resident Tater Salad
Joined
·
17,531 Posts
The 2013 Cruze does not have a glovebox light and since Chevy likes to take features away year after year, I would bet my left testicle that the 2014 Cruzes won't have one either. I can't wait to see what they have taken away for the 2014 Cruze.
Friggen floor mats were a paid option on the sticker on our Camry. That one blew me away.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,296 Posts
Bean counter is a person that walks up to you and says, why are you using a screw when you can make that piece of metal a sixteenth of an inch longer and bend it over. Don't you realize the millions of dollars we are spending on screws? What about servicing is the counter argument? Just make sure it makes it through the warranty period is the response.

Leaving out a glove compartment bulb or more important, a couple of push buttons for cruise control is a marketing decision, only not give you a couple of push buttons, but force to buy a bunch of extra junk you really don't want.

GM deals with dealers for means for them to make extra money, if they flared out the bottoms of the fender wells, wouldn't even need mud flaps, how much does it cost to train a technician to installed practical floor mats? Laughed when I open that fog lamp kits box, a couple of pieces of plastic about maybe ten bucks worth, piece of wire, but wondered why they tossed in a new light switch. When all they had to add was that missing contact pad and a decal for the existing light switch.

In dash GPS was a bit too much for me, wife wanted it. Was $2,000.00 extra for a one buck touch screen and two bucks worth of GPS chips, then 180 bucks extra for a 2GB flashram stick with a map update. I know these prices, been involved in this for the last 40 years.

Chrysler is no different, looking at a Grand Caravan yesterday, hey grandkids. Price spread was $16,000 from the base model to the most equipped one. Same body, drivetrain, had four wheels seven passenger seating, doors, and all that other stuff. Just $16,000.00 extra for glitter.

When Henry Ford sales dropped on the Model T, gathered all his dealers together to find out what the customers wanted. Apparent spies in the group, most said a four cylinder while Chevy came out with a six. That really hurt Model A sales, they don't ask dealers anymore what the customer wants.

What do I want? Will be happy to pay even a hundred bucks extra for a fuel pump access plate, so I don't have to drop the tank to change that Made in China POS fuel pump. How about six bucks extra for a pack of a thousand screws, do I don't have to toss a part that has dirty contacts on the inside. Or break a bunch of plastic tabs.

With dealer installed items, already paid for special training on how to install floor mats.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,174 Posts
Blows my mind that a front license plate frame is $15. Esp since I live in a 2 plate state. The spare tire is $100 option if you buy a non Eco model that can have one. The Eco IMO with the Aluminum wheels is the car of all cars it should be included in. Having a flat with Eco wheels is detrimental to the wheels(of all the models). No one has flats anymore anyway so why waste the money for something that is infrequently use. Cost savings here not just weight savings!!!! Remember when they used to have full size spares. I think the last car I saw with one 1977 Chevy Nova. Gone like the glove box light!!!
 

·
Epic Beard Man
Joined
·
5,389 Posts
Excellent analysis, Robby!

And its not just the Cruze.....I have my wife driving a 08 (first year) Malibu LTZ......Fabulous car!.......TONS of content......adjustable pedals (she is vertically challenged) that work well for two drivers (I'm not vertically challenged).....a nifty shade that rolls up from the package shelf to block the summer sun and help the AC be more effective, lights aplenty, a radio that is still beyond me but thats another story......where I'm headed here is many nice features......all the way down to the repeater lights on the front fenders.
We looked at the 09, 10, 11......each had less content.....the pedals were gone for 09, also the repeaters....I don't remember specifics....but for 2010 the 3.6, which had been standard on LTZ became an option.....now THATS serious decontenting eh?
I love the '08-'12 Malibu LTZ, though I've never driven one. I too have noticed the differences you note. Up through '09 I think had a chrome trim piece below the doors too, might have been a sill plate that extended out to be seen when the doors were closed. Those disappeared as well.

The foreign Cruze also has those fender lights you mention, which I think look awesome and are a great safety feature. Of course we don't have the same strict rules here, so they can get away with cutting the cost of that feature here. The sunglasses holder is another example- GM part available overseas, but not available (even as an option or accessory) here.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,596 Posts
Great analysis and summary of what's been wrong with Detroit (and most large US companies) since the mid 70s. This is also what ultimately killed Pontiac - Mr. DeLorean left and GM put a bean counter in his place.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,821 Posts
The 2011 LS/1LT/ECO all had two passenger seat map pockets, but not now. The LS after 2011 lost both map pockets and the 1LT and ECO only have one map pocket now which is on the back of the passenger's seat.
Interesting, I did not know that. Honda plays the same game - at least on the CR-V. No seat back map pockets on the LX and intermittent wiper is not variable, you must go up to the EX and spend more to get those features.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Starks8
1 - 20 of 68 Posts
Top