California Autos Examiner

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Congrats to GM

Last year GM swept the North American Car/Truck of the Year awards winning both the car and truck trophies with the Saturn Aura and Chevy Silverado. This year GM has four of the six finalists: Cadillac CTS and Chevy Malibu in the car category and Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid in the truck group. Will journalists give GM a repeat performance? My prediction would be a win for GM on the car side as I don't see the Accord being as big a game changer as the CTS and Malibu. In the truck category, I would place my money on the Mazda CX-9 taking home the trophy.

On top of those nominations, GM has three entries in Car and Driver's 10 Best list: CTS, Malibu, and Corvette. The CTS has also taken home Motor Trend's COTY award. The Tahoe Hybrid has earned the Green Car of the Year award.

I wrote about being bullish on GM's future a few weeks ago. Each nomination and award further confirm that the company is headed down the right path. However, awards don't necessarily translate into sales success. The Saturn Aura has struggled out of the gate and its been a tough year all pickups, not just the Silverado.

It's going to take a lot of work on GM's part in states such as California to prove to consumers that all of these awards really do mean something. Saturn is striving for total landscape domination in Los Angeles and I am sure that it will help. However, I think there are other things that could be done. For example, in most GM cars you can plug in your iPod into the 3.5mm aux input jack on the front of the radio. However, a lot of iPod owners want better integration. There is a connectivity module for the iPod that can be installed in cars like the new Malibu, but only as a dealer installed accessory. It's my belief that GM should make this a factory installed option and play up this feature in tech happy California. It's a small token, but many small steps such as this would help move GM further along in its efforts to woo back customers.

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