cliffs: GM has been ignoring the platforms that really make them money while investing too much in niche/halo cars. Actual data included in the article. GM, to be blunt, has made mistakes in product investment over the last five years. Let's consider them one by one. We will be taking 2004 sales and measuring them as a percentage of 2000 volume. The purpose is to illustrate how decisions that began in 2000 at GM, at the beginning of GM's last "turnaround", involved investing in vehicles that now, once they have been released and have been on sale for a year or more represent only a fraction of overall volume in 2000. Sigma: The platform that "saved" Cadillac. This platform underpins the CTS, the SRX, and the STS. This platform was new in 2002, and replaced first the Catera and for the 2005 model year, the Seville. In 2000 Cadillac sold 46,825 Cateras and Sevilles. Fast forward to the end of 2004. Cadillac sold 100,100 Sevilles, STSs, CTSs, and SRXs. For the sake of argument, you can add another 5,000 units to that, since Seville production stopped to ramp up for STS production. That gives you a total of 105,100 sales of these sedans. A respectable increase, to be sure. However, that increase, 58,275 units (or a 124% increase over 2000 sales), is only 1.2% of 2000 sales volume. The Canyon & Colorado. These are GM's small/midsize pickups. They replaced the S-10 and Sonoma in the 2004 model year. In 2000 GM sold 262,680 S-10s and Sonomas. In 2004 GM sold 157,985 Colorados and Canyons (along with remaining 2003 S-10s and Sonomas). This represents a total decline of 104,695 units, or 2.2% of all 2000 sales. The Canyon and Colorado are not mildly upgraded Sonomas and S-10s, they ride on a new platform that was designed and built at some cost to GM. Sales of small and midsize pickups in 2004 equal 3.2% of all GM sales in 2000. Epsilon: The Malibu and G6. The Epsilon platform, designed in partnership with Opel, replaced the long-selling "N" platform. In 2000 GM sold 207,376 Malibus, Pontiac sold 214,923 Grand Ams, and Oldsmobile sold 122,722 Aleros, all of these were "N" platform vehicles. These vehicles, combined, accounted for 11.2% of all GM vehicle sales. For the 2004 model year, Chevy rebadged the old Malibu the "Classic" and introduced the new Epsilon based Malibu. GM sold 179,806 Malibus in 2004, additionally they sold 16,185 G6s. The 2004 Epsilon based Malibu and G6 represented only 4% of all 2000 sales at GM. Delta: The ION and Cobalt. The Delta platform first appeared in the Saturn ION. For the 2005 model year it appears in the Chevy Cobalt, the replacement for the Chevy Cavalier. The Delta platform replaces the old "J" platform which underpinned, most recently, the Cavalier and Sunfire. We will be looking solely at the Saturn ION for this platform. GM sold 104,444 IONs and 4,959 Cobalts in 2004. This equals 2.3% of all 2000 sales at GM. Notes on the G6 and Cobalt: The G6 and Cobalt have not been on the market for a full year. However we have presented the figures for the Epsilon and Delta platforms to illustrate the percentage of GM vehicles on new platforms at the end of 2004, as a percentage of all sales in 2000. So far the four platforms discussed replaced platforms that, in 2000, accounted for 24.2% of all GM sales, an amount approximately equalled by the next platform to be discussed. At the end of 2004, these new platforms sold in volume equivalent to 11.5% of all GM volume sold in 2000. Forgotten Platforms: GMT800, the full-size pickups and SUVs. In 2000 GM sold 1,222,072 Full-size pickups and SUVs. This represented 25.2% of all GM sales in 2000. Granted, the GMT800 platform had been updated in 1998. However, as of the end of 2004, there has been no date fixed for introduction of a new platform, code-named GMT900. "W", the midsize sedans. GM's midsize sedans, in 2000 they were the Impala and Lumina (overlapping), Grand Prix, Intrigue, Regal, and Century. Combined (and including the Monte Carlo--which is built on the same platform) they sold 708,177 units, or 14.6% of all GM volume. Today, only the LaCrosse--which replaced the Century and Regal--rides on an updated "W" platform. At the end of 2004, there has been no date fixed for introduction of a replacement for the "W" platform. Pie in the Sky: Despite no clear replacement timetable for GM's full size trucks, or their midsize sedans, GM has plans in the works for several specialty vehicles, while several others have already been introduced. All totaled these vehicles account for 177,158 units of actual or projected sales (actual sales for 2004, projected sales for 2006). This is a paltry 3.6% of GM's total sales for 2000, yet these vehicles, discussed below, consist of two vehicles built on a brand new platform, two vehicles built on a heavily upgraded platform, one vehicle that had to be adapted for sale in the United States (including new sheet metal), one vehicle based on a heavily modified SUV platform, and one vehicle based on the new Delta platform. Pontiac GTO: Sold 13,569 units in 2004, or volume equal to .27% of GM's 2000 sales volume. Corvette C6: A substantial upgrade from the C5. However Corvette sales for 2004 (mostly C5s) were 35,276 units, the equivalent to .73% of GM's 2000 sales volume. Cadillac XLR: Built on the Corvette platform, Cadillac sold 3,665 XLRs last year equaling .08% of all GM volume in 2000. Chevrolet SSR: Built on a heavily modified Trailblazer platform, Chevy sold 9,648 SSRs in 2004, an equivalent to .2% of GM sales in 2000. Pontiac Solstice: A convertible projected to sell 20,000 units per year, or .41% of GM's total sales in 2000. This vehicle is scheduled to go on sale late this year. Saturn Sky: A convertible built on the same platform as the Solstice, projected to sell 15,000 units per year equivalent to .31% of GM sales in 2000. The Sky is scheduled to go on sale in early 2006. Chevrolet HHR: A vehicle similar to the PT Cruiser in concept and size, projected to sell 80,000 units, and going on sale in late 2005. This is the only 'specialty' or 'halo' vehicle intended to sell in any volume, an amount that if reached equals 1.6% of GM's total sales for 2000. Conclusion: When considering the current state of affairs at GM, it is not difficult to discover the cause of GM's declining market share. Investment since 2000 in two platforms that represented between them, 39.8% of all GM sales in 2000 has been negligible at best. Sheet metal has been revised slightly, and power trains have been upgraded and little else has been done. Meanwhile, GM has invested in four new platforms and vehicle lines (Canyon/Colorado, Epsilon, Delta, and Sigma) that between them accounted for only 24.2% of GM's sales in 2000. Another platform, Kappa, with projected sales of only 35,000 units, will debut this year before a new midsize platform or a new full size pickup/SUV platform. There are obvious conclusions to be drawn from this. GM's management, specifically Rick Wagoner and Bob Lutz, must face their employees, shareholders, and suppliers and explain why investing in a half dozen platforms of negligible volume over the last five years was a better idea than investing in the two platforms that accounted for almost 40% of their sales in 2000, and accounted for 43.9% of their sales in 2004.