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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a researcher, but I will be the first to admit that research has a time and a place.

According to this article, GM based the design of the interior in upcoming Silverado on what consumers told them in clinic research.

This is a trap I have seen automakers fall into over the years: when it comes to functions that require a high degree of imagination, like styling, advertising, or even unique innovations, consumers are not well positioned to tell automakers what to do. Consumers can only react to things that already exist.

When I see research being used to drive a creative function like design, what it really says is either that the organization has no leadership capable of providing a styling vision, or that top management does not trust its own designers.

Sometimes automakers use research as a crutch instead of as a tool.

Did Chevy move needle enough with '19 Silverado?
 

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I am a researcher, but I will be the first to admit that research has a time and a place.

According to this article, GM based the design of the interior in upcoming Silverado on what consumers told them in clinic research.

This is a trap I have seen automakers fall into over the years: when it comes to functions that require a high degree of imagination, like styling, advertising, or even unique innovations, consumers are not well positioned to tell automakers what to do. Consumers can only react to things that already exist.

When I see research being used to drive a creative function like design, what it really says is either that the organization has no leadership capable of providing a styling vision, or that top management does not trust its own designers.

Sometimes automakers use research as a crutch instead of as a tool.

Did Chevy move needle enough with '19 Silverado?
Without reading the article: no, they didn't. There are not any groundbreaking features on this truck. The design is something and I personally kind of like it now, but inside it looks like it was downgraded. And the carbon fiber bed and unique tailgate are reserved for Sierra models when they would reach a much wider audience in a Silverado LTZ or High Country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Without reading the article: no, they didn't. There are not any groundbreaking features on this truck. The design is something and I personally kind of like it now, but inside it looks like it was downgraded. And the carbon fiber bed and unique tailgate are reserved for Sierra models when they would reach a much wider audience in a Silverado LTZ or High Country.
Sounds like you are arguing when in fact you are agreeing... LOL
 

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One of the most consumer researched cars in history was nearly named the Utopian Turtle Top. The project team finally decided to name the car after the company founders son, Edsel Ford. It is said of the Ford Pinto that is was a "car that nobody liked, but that everyone bought."

Then on the other hand, when the consumer advisory board was going, those of us that participated told Fiat the brand in the USA should be marketed and sold similar to the way Mitsubishi cars were in the 1970s and 80s. In reply Fiat discontinued the CAB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
When I test drove the outgoing GM pickups a couple months ago, before buying another Wrangler, two things I didn’t like were: the handling and the interior design.

The GMC Sierras I test drove were fully loaded, looked great from the outside, rode quietly and looked well put together. But the truck just didn’t like to turn, and the interior design looked older than that in my first JK.

Sounds like GM decided to stick with an interior design that already looked dated.

Using existing customers in your sample is significantly cheaper than buying sample from a third party supplier like Polk. If automakers include too many existing owners in their sample and not enough possible conquests, research results will tend to show that consumers overall are quite happy with the status quo. The way to correct for this is to weight the data so that GM owners represent their true share of the market.

I can’t say whether this was an issue in this case. But if GM tried to conduct a clinic on a shoe string, it may have ended talking to too many customers and not enough conquests, getting the type of results the article talks about.
 
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GM based the design of the interior in upcoming Silverado on what consumers told them in clinic research.
I think this is a case of not asking the right questions. I'm sure every happy owner would say, yeah keep the design. Part of the brilliance of the BR Ram design was asking pickup truck owners (not just Dodge truck owners), what do you use the truck for and how. They figured out what jobs the truck was used to accomplish and made it a better tool for the job. It looks like GM just asked their current loyalists how to make the truck more better-er.:rolleyes:
 

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I think this is a case of not asking the right questions. I'm sure every happy owner would say, yeah keep the design. Part of the brilliance of the BR Ram design was asking pickup truck owners (not just Dodge truck owners), what do you use the truck for and how. They figured out what jobs the truck was used to accomplish and made it a better tool for the job. It looks like GM just asked their current loyalists how to make the truck more better-er.:rolleyes:
Guess they aren't worried about winning over new buyers, just retaining some of their existing. This is a great opportunity for Ram to overtake Chevy as #2.
 

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Sometimes it's not about asking the right questions, because people in clinics will lie to you. They may not mean to, but they will. That's why traditional VOC (Voice Of the Customer) should give way to OVOC (Observational Voice Of the Customer)

You get much more valuable feedback watching your customer use the product in everyday life than asking them a 1000 questions in a clinic..This doesn't apply so much for styling but certainly for functionality.

Dodge was ahead of the curve on this when the developed the 1994 Dodge Ram 1500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sometimes it's not about asking the right questions, because people in clinics will lie to you. They may not mean to, but they will. That's why traditional VOC (Voice Of the Customer) should give way to OVOC (Observational Voice Of the Customer)

You get much more valuable feedback watching your customer use the product in everyday life than asking them a 1000 questions in a clinic..This doesn't apply so much for styling but certainly for functionality.

Dodge was ahead of the curve on this when the developed the 1994 Dodge Ram 1500.
Indeed. The 1994 Dodge Ram is a model of how to do things right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
GM is known to splurge on consumer clinics. The ones for the Pontiac Aztec are legendary.
Gawd, I forgot Aztec. Yes I remember what a fiasco that was.

Aztec went on to win JD Power APEAL award in its segment for similar reason: anyone who had purchased one loved it beyond reason; meanwhile everyone else was trying not to vomit.

No one could believe that GM could bring out something so blatantly hideous. The entire industry was having a belly laugh.

GM was being run by that contact lens guy...I forget his name.
 

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IMHO when you get people like J.D. Power rating vehicles you get quirky information. You need Motor Heads not Journalists to look at vehicles. Consumers Report is a perfect example of this problem, not a Gear Head in the group.
 

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Sometimes it's not about asking the right questions, because people in clinics will lie to you. They may not mean to, but they will. That's why traditional VOC (Voice Of the Customer) should give way to OVOC (Observational Voice Of the Customer)

You get much more valuable feedback watching your customer use the product in everyday life than asking them a 1000 questions in a clinic..This doesn't apply so much for styling but certainly for functionality.

Dodge was ahead of the curve on this when the developed the 1994 Dodge Ram 1500.
Bob Sheaves was part of that observational group. It was unique to send engineers to watch customers use the product.

Typically, it is hired marketing who writes a report for marketing that gives it to the CEO, who hands it back to engineering.

This was engineering directly interfacing with the customers.
 

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IMHO when you get people like J.D. Power rating vehicles you get quirky information. You need Motor Heads not Journalists to look at vehicles. Consumers Report is a perfect example of this problem, not a Gear Head in the group.
Most vehicles are not bought by gearheads.
 

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IMHO when you get people like J.D. Power rating vehicles you get quirky information. You need Motor Heads not Journalists to look at vehicles. Consumers Report is a perfect example of this problem, not a Gear Head in the group.
Generally I’d agree, but that doesn’t really apply to information received from a wide audience from surveys.

Now Consumer Reports doing actual vehicle reviews is kind of irritating.
 

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IMHO when you get people like J.D. Power rating vehicles you get quirky information. You need Motor Heads not Journalists to look at vehicles. Consumers Report is a perfect example of this problem, not a Gear Head in the group.
You are 100% wrong. JD Power has very good methodology....which is why auto manufacturers pay big dollars to get the details of their surveys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
IMHO when you get people like J.D. Power rating vehicles you get quirky information. You need Motor Heads not Journalists to look at vehicles. Consumers Report is a perfect example of this problem, not a Gear Head in the group.
Actually, the people who manage the studies and analyze consumers’ responses at JD Power tend to be auto enthusiasts for the most part.

From what I understand, that’s not the case at Consumer Reports.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
As I remember, around 1998-2001, Ford and GM were making money left and right selling pickups and SUVs, largely ignoring cars. I recall gas hitting 99 cents at one point. We got not just Pontiac Aztec but Ford Excursion around that time. Ford Excursion struggled to break 10 MPG.

With cash in the bank, both companies had been wanting to diversify into other sectors as a means to break out of the auto industry’s boom and bust cycle.

GM had lost gobs of market share, so it hired Ron Zarella, a non-auto CEO to bring fresh ideas. GM was still trying to fix Oldsmobile, and get Pontiac, Saturn, Saab, Hummer to work. When 9-11 hit, seeking to reassure consumers, GM responded with a huge campaign called “Keep America Rolling”. It was deemed a success at the time, but got automakers and consumers hooked on 0% and incentives.

Jacques Nasser at Ford, buoyed in cash, had gone on a shopping spree and formed Premier Auto Group with Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Volvo, and owned Mazda. Ford was dealing with the Explorer-Firestone rollover issue around that time.

Then in 2005 came a big spike in oil prices that put an end to the party in Detroit. This is when Prius became a huge success. This all happened before Lehman Brothers (2007) and the housing crisis (2008).

Another big oil price spike hit in 2008, only compounding Detroit’s problems. One year later, all three were in Congress asking for help.
 

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I drove the new Cadillac CUV on Friday. The latest version of the CUE no longer has any redundancy. Almost all buttons and knobs have been removed. I could not figure out how to turn the radio off, nor could three other people. When I picked the thing up at the cleaning station, the radio was blasting rap music like a bad stereotype. I went to reach for the radio knob and it wasn't there. I'm supposed to deliver a vehicle to the client with the sound system set on a low volume level and then turned off. I was only able to bring up a screen to turn down the volume.

I'm sure GM figured out they could save a few bucks removing those redundant knobs and dials.

What possessed Chevrolet to chop the roof so low on the Camaro? The gun slot windshield and windows border on impracticability. The interior seems cramped for many people. I can't help but notice the automotive press fawns over it. Did GM perform a consumer clinic among male junior high school students? The current Camaro is a lesson on why focusing exclusively on the auto enthusiast echo chamber may be unwise.
 
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