It wasn’t long ago that the Detroit Three were fending off the Japanese on home soil as the Land of the Rising Sun cranked out reliable car after reliable car for the American masses. Then came the Koreans — Kia and Hyundai — who brought over cheap metal to win market share but quickly turned around their quality and reliability woes and produced some of the best products in the industry.

So why is it that, after 108 years of building automobiles, General Motors still manufactures abysmal garbage?

I’ve driven the first-generation Cruze, and while I never warmed to its exterior design, its interior accoutrements were on par with its competitors — inexpensive without being cheap, comfortable without being luxurious, functional without being spartan.

What you see above is the second-generation 2017 Chevrolet Cruze, now available in hatchback form, in base-for-hatchback LT trim.

First, let me applaud GM for building a compact hatchback for the first time in decades. I’d say it takes courage to do so if nearly every other automaker hadn’t clued into the coming popularity for hatchbacks first. Still, the new Cruze is a handsome car on the outside that ditches the ungainly headlights and other odd design features of its predecessor.

Here are three photos that show “new GM” has already given up on building good cars, ranked by least to most severe.

The hood latch release lever on the Cruze looks like a paddle with a single, flimsy arm connecting it to a release cable. That arm can twist and turn and move in all sorts of directions. Don’t believe me?

Sure, a hood latch release lever isn’t something that gets daily use, but can you imagine the stress put on this part by a hamfisted quick-lube grunt who’s trying to perform an oil change every 10 minutes so he doesn’t get fired?

Move to the center of the interior and the Cruze welcomes you to plug your many devices into this smartphone gulag of sorts.

There’s a reason why Kia interiors these days look a helluva lot better than they did just a couple of years ago: the Koreans figured out you can hide the seams between panels — out of sight, out of mind. Instead, GM presents us these seams on a platter. This would be fine if the panels fit together well, were engineered properly, and you could nerd out over GM’s manufacturing prowess. But no, we’re presented with cheap, hard, sharp plastic panels that fit together worse than a Chinese child’s toy.

But the worst has yet to come: the door trim panels, and there are many of them all joining at one point on both front doors.

Again, look at many Korean vehicles today and you’ll find some well-crafted, well-engineered door panels. The Cruze? Not a chance!

The photo above is of the driver’s side door, and it shows seven panels all coming together at the front of the arm rest. There’s actually one more very small panel here that you can’t see, which brings the total to eight cheap, garbage, badly engineered pieces of plastic coming together. Collectively, those panels shout, “Should’ve bought a Civic!”

You might be thinking, “So what? Why are you ranting about interiors?” And I’ll tell you why: General Motors knows how to build an interior that isn’t the automotive equivalent of Fresh Kills. These issues aren’t due to slip ups in manufacturing or mistakes with tooling; they’re baked into the design of the parts and/or made by discount tools by the lowest bidding supplier. And it’s all done for one reason and one reason only: pennies of profit.

Mary Barra has steered GM’s ship toward profitability, but she’s listening more and more to the beancounters as the corporate machine ekes out every last nth of profit margin from every single vehicle rolling off the assembly line. Old GM did this kind of cost-cutting years ago, and the results were predictably disastrous: the buying public, who aren’t all dumb, started clueing into this rampant beancounting and more often started going across the street to Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia. This corner-cutting is a short-term solution that creates massive long-term quality problems. And those quality problems are a lot easier to create than erase from the buying public’s consciousness. Just ask FCA.

But, this actually angers me. This shows the contempt General Motors has for its customers and the people who funded its bailout. You can see this same contempt in the way General Motors hides behind its bankruptcy when someone sues it for serious issues regarding its products. It’s the same contempt GM showed when Firenzas started setting themselves alight and it told customers to get bent. It’s the same contempt GM expressed towards its workers in Flint in the ’80s and Oshawa today.

And on top of it all, that contempt for the customer is so often mixed with hubris. I’m certain someone from GM will call me after reading this to say their company builds the best cars in the world while machine-gun mentioning GM’s many quality awards in recent years.

I don’t care about your awards. You need to do better, GM. This is garbage and it isn’t acceptable anymore.

I’d much rather have a flimsy hood release smashing into my leg after offsetting a protester in the road than have a stiff plastic handle embedding d-o-o-h tattooed to my shin.

Norm, this is the dumbest justification I have heard in quite some time. Just admit that it is a cheap piece of trim. I like my current vehicle quite a lot but would happily point anyone toward the bean-counted aspects that irritate me.

Completly agree. Hard plastic breaks easily. With where that is located, I’d want something with a little give to it. Now the seams, well, those are redonkulous.

Old GM would have made it out of hard, rigid plastic, and it would have snapped off within three months. Remember the turn signal/headlight dimmer setup they started putting on the downsized B/C-Bodies in ’77, and the A-Bodies in ’78? The lever would move in all kinds of strange ways, until it finally broke off, and the cover on the backside of the hump in the steering column jacket would break and fall off, too. My mother’s ’78 Malibu Classic had two new assemblies installed during the 12/12 warranty. Not to mention the a/c recall (leaky condenser), the rear axle recall (the ends of the axle shafts by the C-locks snapping off), and others.

Also the originally-designed-for-the-Chevette THM200 transmission that generated a Federal class action lawsuit – my mom spent a bundle at the dealer letting them jack with it, and when it bit the big one, a local transmission shop converted it to a rebuilt THM350, which finally made it reliable. That shop, and many others, had a huge business doing THM200 conversions. She eventually got a settlement, and I think it was only around $50-75.

But still, the pictures of the trim panels are ridiculous. And that hood release lever will eventually fail.

My Dad bought a brand new downsized 1978 Pontiac Grand Am (white with red interior and those sharp looking wire wheel covers) with the 301 V8/THM200 combination. He planned on towing a small horse trailer with it but that ended up a no go with that fragile transmission. Traded it in within a year.

Another garbage GM car be bought new from that era was an early production 1974 Vega GT hatchback. That garbage 140 engine made it a 50,000 mile car. By that point it started overheating and burning large amounts of oil. Soon afterward they mailed him a coolant recovery tank plus a coolant temperature warning light. It was too little too late. That engine was junk.

P.S. He traded it in on a new Dodge Colt (I think they gave him $500 for it). Anyway, it was a much more durable car.

The GM apologists can kiss my mixed-ethnicity (all or mostly Caucasian, not that it matters, but I am all for full disclosure) a$$.

I’ve rented enough GM products in the last 4 or 5 years to authoritatively state that GM still cheaps out, has abysmal trim and material quality (texture of dash and door panel plastics from Camaros to Impalas to LaCrosses to Equinoxes (Equini?) ) is abysmal.

Even the quality of the metal used on suspension and frames on Chevy/GMC trucks sucks a$$ (look up issue of Chevy/GMC pickups rusting underneath while still NEW ON DEALER LOTS DOWN SOUTH).

Ironically, the two best GM products in terms of improvement in interior build/assembly quality I’ve experienced were the last gen (1st gen) Chevy Cruze (I’m going to claim that the Koreans helped towards this endeavor quite a bit as it’s a Daewoo Lacetti which had a long production run in SKorea) which feels 2 notches better than a Toyota Crudolla or Nissan Sheetra, and the C7 Vette, which in normally aspirated form, is also somewhat robust and reliable (especially for a true sports coupe in its segment).

The other exceptions are the Silverado and Tahoe, which are competitive vehicles in their segment, without the idiotic GMC trim up-charge.

But GM can shove the ATS, CTS, CT6, Spark (is it still made?), Escalade, and especially the Camaro (interior looks like something built in 1999 by GM), Malibu (absolute $hit), and Impala (what a giant turd) directly up its own a$$.

Same old with GM; hammer and screw over suppliers (suppliers hate GM most of all), have post-bankruptcy, free-rider (courtesy of taxpayers) benefit of shedding tens of billions in legacy costs, shrink their dealership base (killing off Olds, Saturn & Pontiac in the process), and still churn out absolute $hit.

To add salt to the wound, their vehicles are largely, relatively unreliable, and their vehicles suffer monstrous depreciation for the most part.

The Malibu, Impala & Camaro interiors literally feel like China’s versions of best efforts at the moment. The assembly, material wualkty, etc. in the interior of a Hyundai Elantra shames almost any GM vehicle even if the GM vehicle in question costs 3x as much.

“he assembly, material wualkty [quality], etc. in the interior of a Hyundai Elantra shames almost any GM vehicle even if the GM vehicle in question costs 3x as much.”

I have a direct anecdote to add to your statement. I was considering the new Cruze hatchback when I was shopping recently. It seemed I could get a good price, I liked the idea of the standard 1.4T engine, it appeared to get relatively good reviews, and it was a good looking car. Especially with the RS trim bits added.

I didn’t even drive the car, because once I sat in it, I instantly knew it wasn’t the car for me. I instantly knew it was the “same old GM” interior. I kept reading about all of these interesting interior colors and schemes and things, in the Premier trim… but the LT trim I looked in? Even the silver… pewter… whatever color the center stack was…. I just found so unattractive.

I sat in for just a few minutes, checking things out fully, and when the salesman asked me if I wanted to take it for a spin, I refused. I told him flatly that this wasn’t a cabin I would enjoy spending my time in. I had just came from the Hyundai dealer, and had sat in an Elantra for the second time at that point.

I couldn’t believe that for what they were asking, the Elantra had a much more attractive and premium looking and feeling interior (and more features), at a lower price. Then there’s the matter of the upcoming ’18 Elantra GT.

The counter-argument would probably be the entire rest of the vehicle vs. the competition (1.4T standard, IRS, etc). But the discussion here is interior, and why GM seems hell bent on trying to sell on the guts and pretty sheet metal, but repelling you once you open the door.

“You’d really have to sling this baby Caddy around before its specially balanced steel radials would ever become airborne.”

But at least that Cadillac had a nice ride over rough roads, a big trunk, a huge backseat, and even a self-closing trunk latch mechanism! (And some things remain the same; BOSE Audio!).

I should learn video editing and then dub in the “Cadillac style” song from the late 80s into the Cimmarons going around cones.

“And 36k for the as tested ’89 Fleetwood? Wasn’t that what a loaded Lexus LS400 was going for?”

Seems the overcharge thing isn’t new to Cadillac, but then they could actually get the money they wanted for their models.

DW, don’t you know that saving GM had nothing to do with vehicles? It was all about keeping people working on the assembly line. Can you imagine what would happen if people had NOTHING TO DO ALL DAY! People would riot! do drugs! drink! gamble! have sex all day! We could not let that happen! We need people to buy the GM cars, bad plastic and all, to keep people working!

DW I agree with you on the rental cars. A rental will quickly show how well or bad a car is made. These days I use Silvercar where available. They have only silver Audi A4’s for a good price. A few weeks ago I rented one in Denver that was a 2015 with 30K miles on it. Usually by 30K a rental is toast, but this one was nice…really nice.

Funny more than one magazine said the Impala’s interior was class competitive and even CR gave it a best full size sedan award several years. I have driven and sat in loads of them and they are more than fine for the transaction price point, usually around 30K. It’s much better than any drab Charger I have sat in, especially the base SE where they don’t even give you a power recliner and everything is drab cheap black plastic!

Too bad your theory that Hyundai interiors shame any of the above cars you mentioned because my close friend’s 2014 Sonata is starting to fall apart with chrome peeling on the center console, shredding of the driver’s seat fabric and many misaligned interior bits. He isn’t very happy. My 2013 W-body Impala’s interior in sharp contrast is perfect and still like new with nearly 60K miles or half what his Sonata has.

Yes, Mark, I realize my remark is late, but your original column heading was childish and crude. TTAC is supposed to be a first-rate web resource. I think you may be out of your element. This, combined with other serious miscues on your part suggest you might consider another line of work.

Carlisle, I didn’t see the original column heading, but I wholeheartedly endorse the column under it.

Last week, I criticized TTAC, and by implication Mark, for running what I considered a trolling story about Scott Pruitt taking over the EPA. I called for TTAC to return to its roots by running stories about cars. This is absolutely that, honors the best traditions of the site, and I’m delighted to see it. My compliments, Mr. Stevenson.

I’m a mechanic here in ann arbor, mi and I just inspected one of these junk Cruize’s today. a 2017 model, the first thing I noticed was that ridiculous hood release lever/flap paddle thing. It doesn’t even look like it fits right into that area, it’s just a shameful piece of poor engineering. I knew right then that the rest of the car was junk. Pulled the lever twice, opened the hood, the guy drove it one mile and it was blazing hot under the hood, I saw the main computer mounted on a hood release style flimsy ass bracket and grabbed it to see how mush it moved (a lot) and it was so hot (the computer) it burned me. The car had 17,000 miles and the alignment was off, front tires had scalloping from the suspension wear! I couldn’t agree more with this article.

I advised him to return the car and bring a Toyota Camry he was also looking at. The Camry was an engineering Marvel next to the Tom Cruize, an absolutely solid, well built marvel. Needless to say he is buying the Camry as I write this. I’m a GM guy, have been since my first car in 1985. Not anymore. It truly hurts to advise people away from GM, but that’s what this lady has done to the company, profit first and the consumer be damned.

on the other hand, consider that what made a bad GM car not that long ago was things like stranding you, failing to start, eating head gaskets, and let’s not get into things like the HT4100.

This. It’s some special snowflakery to find a causus belli in these photos considering how much a Cruz (or any other in its class) gives you for so little.

@OldManPants You work for GM snowflake? It’s clearly a car with substandard build quality. Why waste your money when there are so many better options.

Purposeful inattention on trim fit isn’t as damning as incompetence around a basic automobile component.

You want to see cars with poor interior fits just go and look at a row of 2017 Ford Focus sedans or hatches. I did this past weekend and was stunned to see several with interior trim pieces so far off or misaligned I wondered how they left the factory. This sort of thing is not GM specific and only on TTAC’s land of fiction does this occur. One freshly loaded off the truck Continental already had a bum power door closing mechanism on the driver’s side where it didn’t pull the door shut yet the passenger side worked as intended. The sticker price? 76K These things do still occur but usually do not affect the reliability of the car unless you are talking about Ford’s crap Powersh!t transmission.

GM has come a long way. But… these are things that brands that had way worse reputation than GM at one point have corrected in a short bit of time.

I still like the Cruze better than the Cobalt or the “Lacetti” they threw a Suzuki badge on because … who knows

Today’s GM isn’t competing with old GM, they’re in competition with competent companies seeking customers with well engineered products and a respect for internal and external customers that GM wasn’t killed enough in BK to allow room to grow. If you work there in the US, look for another job. The counter on this bomb is flashing lower and lower numbers…

FMC and GM may well both find out someday in the near or distant future that there will not be a Bailout II.

Presume you mean ‘FCA’ and not ‘FMC?’ Aside from some loan guarantees, Ford wasn’t bailed out.

But I saw commercials with real people, and the GM cars won lots of awards year after year, and they have features my Audi doesn’t have! And steel is better than aluminum!

The hood latch release and how trim is assembled? These are the grievous sins of GM’s latest econo-hatch and are worthy of swearing about???

If we’re down to complaining about some trim pieces, that means GM is doing really good because we’re running out of things to complain about.

Not really. This could be indicative of cost-cutting elsewhere. There’s a reason why the big North American Tier 1s are getting out of the interiors business: OEMs keep squeezing them on price. So the big Tier 1s keep selling off their interiors businesses to China and this is what we get. In what other areas is GM squeezing suppliers, tool makers, and others?

Agree. If they can’t get the obvious stuff you can see right what reason do you have for confidence in the hidden items.

Oh great, make gross swearing mainstream and put it in the subject line along with everywhere else. Pretty gross and I’m outta here.

Held for moderation, but those comments are usually let through. If “fuck” is superfluous in the comment’s context, I’ll sometimes take it out. But if it’s part of the idea, as in phrases like “I don’t give a fuck” or something like that, I let it through. I put it in the headline because this kind of cost-cutting reaks of someone or some people at GM not giving a fuck about quality.

Mark, I’m OK with the content of this article but not the headline. Understand that you are trying to express contempt but i) this issue is not important enough to bring down the tone of your writing, ii) it would not be allowed by a copy editor in a legacy media outlet iii) it can be expressed in far less outrageous language, iv) with the current worries about the tone of public discourse you should strive to set a better example.

Arthur, I agree. The headline seems out of proportion with the article and unnecessary vulgar. If the transmission dumped all its fluid in a parking lot leaving you stranded and they refused to warranty it, then I could see a headline like that.

Count me in as unimpressed with the slang word in the title, not to mention the overall thesis of this article. Honda and Toyota won’t run away with the market this time because all of their cars look like they have been radiated and are mad about it; the era of simply styled, dead reliable cars compared to their competition is long gone. You are down to shades of grey now.

But since the headline is changed, can you change the URL so “fuck” isn’t in it? I would like to share this somewhere that filters that word and won’t accept that in the link.

Yeah the so called politically correct site that bans any sort of personal thought goes trash. Now my kids can’t even read this site. Way to go Mark. Do as I say not as I do. Sad stuff.

The use of curse words in articles is unacceptable, especially in the header. My first reaction was “I’m out of here”, but the article itself is great though. I do not regret reading it. But something has to be done by editorial staff about this type of words used in articles. Hope there are editors or some one above Mr. Stevenson to address this.

The F word is in the article, yet when I mention the name of a reputable, non profit health care organization that has been around for over 100 years I am threatened with being banned.

@dougjp, your poor precious virgin eyes. I don’t know how you get by in real life without your head exploding. If you can’t handle a little bit of bad language, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Yes Mark is off base with the article as initially posted. Fact is that most of the traffic to this site comes in the middle of the standard work day hours in North America. That means it is highly likely that a lot of that traffic gets here through their employer’s internet connection and on a company owned computer. So unless Mark’s intention is to chase away as many readers as possible it is off base.

Sir, you are correct…..Foul language has no place on a site that is read by many, over many different computers, at work, and otherwise.

One would want to read about vehicles, etc. and not have to explain to others or be embarrassed to find language something in the article that they would not read, normally. This site has Got to have some sort of standards, if they are planning to keep a wide scope of readers.

Typical GM. I can guarantee this type of been counter de-engineering is buried deep in some driveline component where $0.60 were saved per part that will lead to a $3,600 problem at 75,000 miles.

HT4100, TH200, Northstar, 4L60E in Caprices and Suburbans, 8-6-4, Olds Diesels, Ignition switches, guaranteed to fail fuel pumps, etc…Need I say more? Look at the new boss, same as the old boss.

This. All of this. When something as visible and simple as trim is manufactured with such cost-cutting in mind, where else did GM save a few pennies on the dollar?

I get it. All cars are made to a price. But why is it that literally every other automaker can manufacture an interior that’s vastly better at the same selling price? Why is it that panel fitment in a Mirage, Versa Sedan, and many other low-cost cars is arguably better?

Maybe because the Versa’s panel materials themselves are so cheap and horrible that Nissan can afford to fit them tighter? Kidding aside, I understand where you’re coming from but outside the hood pull I don’t see anything that egregious for a C-segment compact car.

Help us put in in context, Mark, how is the rest of the interior? Are the materials and fit pretty good overall with these three glaring flaws being the exception, or is this kind of poor fitment seen in multiple places?

The center console seems to be the worst fitment area. I saw similar issues in the Volt, so this isn’t limited to just the Cruze.

The cubby issue is difficult to see unless you click the photo to view it full-size. None of the panels match. Not even close. But the door is what blows me away the most simply because there are eight different panels meeting at one point when maybe two or three pieces would have been much, much better.

I was concerned that the interior would be a letdown when GM redesigned the Vette, yet lo and behold, it was beautiful. I always dislike Corvettes primarily because the interior was a step below Playskool junk. Not this time. But I have to say that in the back of my mind I worry about the old beancounting habit that ruined GM. Truthfully, I have found only a few disappointing items but the thought is always in the back of my mind…but I have to say as my first GM ever bought new, I am very pleased with the quality. And I am fussy as hell. Looking at you, orange peel…though to be fair it is no worse that your typical BMW…

You won’t get an impartial assessment of any GM car on this site. They’re all still GM haters, as everyone who works for this site has always been. It seems to be part of their hiring criteria. Meanwhile Ford can fill their interiors with nothing but hard black plastic and these clowns give them a pass.

LOL as if Ford or Chrysler never had any issues during the 70’s- 90’s. Those magical Ultra-drive transmissions were so reliable as was the lovely Ford AXOD that lasted forever or the lovely Essex 3.8, the ubber reliable Chrysler Lean Burn or the failed attempt at throttle body injection on 1981-83 Imperials, bullet proof Mitsubishi sourced 2.6 or 3.0 V6 engines that made great mosquito defoggers.

Lets not forget the lovely Ford Powercrap transmission, the 4.2 V6 truck engine that shows up all over the place on Ebay needing engines, the rubbish garbage Daimler produced or the inferno creating Pintos or the rust to pieces Volare. I could type all day. This is fun but yes lets continue to only rag on GM for 3 pictures that don’t really show much on a car that sells out the door for a cheap price and continue to ignore all the rubbish the others have made over the years.

The biggest problem this type of cost cutting leads to is rattles. I am a lifelong Mopar fan and in Mopar related forums I hear a ton of complaints about rattles that are so annoying drivers can barely think while they drive. And it’s not limited to Dodge Calibers. A lot of the complaints are coming from Charger and 300 owners.

At first blush, a kind of rant like this may seem trivial. However, nobody wants to be stuck in a rattle box with 4 years left on their loan and dealers who refuse to fix it.

I remember riding in a co-worker’s Chrysler back in the early 2000s. The thing sounded like it was going to rattle itself to pieces on the highway. . .

There’s a euphemism in Germany that says, “an Opel that doesn’t rattle is about to break down”. Seems GM crap is the same on either side of the pond.

Honda forums are full of rattle complaints. All automotive forums are full of rattle complaints. GM isn’t special this way.

It’s disingenuous to say EVERYONE in GM doesn’t give af. There were decisions made at the top that people below them did not agree with, likely to save a few pennies or dollars on a compact hatchback, which is already going to command a pretty paltry profit margin (especially compared to all those sweet sweet luxo-pickups).

Hardly anyone ever opens their hood anymore. It’s not a clutch pedal; it doesn’t need to be particularly solid.

My dad very briefly drove a city-owned white Chevette when he worked at the attorney general’s office in Baltimore.

I just watched a “Retro” review of a Pontiac 1000 (Chevette with blackout trim). 0-60? 30 seconds. It was an auto, but still…

The T1000 did start out as a Canada only model to give the Pontiac dealers something in that segment, since Pontiac in Canada was what you bought when there wasn’t a Chevy dealer near by. However US Pontiac dealers heard about it and said why can’t we have one too?

In Canada you went to the Pontiac dealer mainly because you were a cheapskate and there wasn’t a Chevy dealer near by. It was CPC Chevrolet-Pontiac Canada.

In the US you went to the Pontiac dealer because you wanted a car better than a Chevy or something that at least looked sporty. The T1000 just like the Astre before it didn’t live up to what the US public expected or wanted out of a Pontiac. So if you were a cheapskate you didn’t even consider going to a Pontiac dealer. The few that did sell were probably to the Pontiac faithful that needed a car for their child and happened to see one when you were in getting your “real” Pontiac serviced.

Note the Astre also started off as a Canadian only vehicle so that Pontiac dealers had something in that segment and then came south due to dealer demand, as did the Mercury Bobcat.

Living in Washington state at the time I did see them on occasion but more likely than not they would be wearing a BC plate and would be in “the states” for cheap milk, gas and clothing. Also saw a fair number of other Chevrolets with funny looking grilles, Pontiac badges and weird names like Acadian, Beaumont, and Parisienne. Of course like the Astre and T1000 we got the Parisienne too when US dealers said, hey we need a car in that segment.

Then again maybe you have seen a T1000 or two but not close enough or from the right angle to see the differently textured grille and Arrowheads instead of Bow Ties.

Please though stop trying to fit in with the other TTAC hacks, maintain your personal standards and don’t stoop to that level.

The T1000 I drove (company vehicle) was a sort of silver purplish color if I recall correctly. It was an automatic. The Chevette was a brownish color and I think it had some sort of fake wood paneling stuff on the doors. It was a manual (much better than the automatic T1000, but I think it also had a larger engine than the T1000, but my memory is a little fuzzy). Driving the T1000 was quite the experience, especially since it was so very very slow.

Obviously it was experiencing an issue. Nothing short of a VW diesel or Bus was that slow. A typical Chevette from CR or CG had it around 16 seconds to 60 which was not far off other crap box cars at the time.

Maybe I am crazy, but I open the hood once a week and check fluids. I would appreciate a decent lever for it. The one in my Hyundai seems decent enough, and better than this Chevy.

*Test drive the all-new, 100% Chinese parts content, 100% Chinese assembled, Buick Envision, built lovingly in Frukayu Province, and then shipped 6,700 miles to the Port of Long Beach, for delivery to your nearest Buick Dealer!

Not in my driveway. Listen, I understand that manufacturing may (never) reach the same levels in the US as it once did, and that made in China crap is here to stay, but the fact that Buick has the temerity to shove this thing onto us is just wrong (and yes, I’m a largely unapologetic made in America fanboi…I’ll own that one).

As for GM build quality, I own a 2013 Cruze and am generally happy with the assembly quality of it. I’ve not stared down at the knitlines of the plastic components or how they all come together, but 55k on the odometer later, it’s still pretty tight. Mom owns a 2012 Verano which I have greater disappointment in in that there is a constant rattle from the dash now (and it only has mid 30k miles on it) and you have to properly close the glovebox for it to align properly. I’d expect a bit better out of a *near* $30k car.

I had a 2014 Cruze as rental for about a week or so while my 2013 Mazda3 was in the shop after a minor accident. Can’t remember the mileage but the build quality and materials seemed to be good and holding up well to the rental abuse. TBH, I was pretty surprised at how good the car was. Shame to see GM back-sliding on the 2nd gen after leaving a positive impression with the 1st gen.

My son-in-law drives a Cruze company car for a Fortune 100 company. He drives it about 1,300-1,500 miles a week and likes it. He previously drove a Honda Civic.

WTF. What does he do for this company during the 2-3 hours per day he has left over when he’s not driving the Cruze?

When I worked as a sales rep for a large company I was expected to be at my first call at 9am and not leave my last call until 5pm even if that meant a 60 mile drive before and after those times. Though I only averaged 35K miles per year.

Well I have sat in at least 10 new Cruzes. They were better than the Ford Focus of the same year and on par with most everything else. The hood latch looks cheap but is made flat and flexible mainly for crash test results.

“she’s listening more and more to the beancounters as the corporate machine ekes out every last nth of profit margin from every single vehicle rolling off the assembly line”

As a design engineer, I must say this trend has reached a fever pitch. It is accompanied by compressed development schedules and budgets, so that you don’t have the time or money for design refinement or proper testing.

My current employer doesn’t want us to perform a full-up test of our newest cooling apparatus (large electrical product) *until it hits the production line*. My last employer was eager to abandon good vendor relationships just to save a few bucks by sourcing from Mexico and China, not to mention outsourcing design expertise to low-cost engineers in India or China.

Many of us have known for 30 years that GM products are garbage. You can see by the way they create and destroy models at the drop of a hat, as if merely giving a POS the right name makes it great. It’s a company run by accountants and marketeers with no appreciation for engineering excellence. They operate with a high cost structure, yet try to market inexpensive products; that’s why foreign makers will continue to chip away at GM’s market share. . .

While there is some truth to what you say, one would be very hard to say with a straight face that LS and LT engines are garbage…

The hood latch release is pretty bad, but the panel fits don’t seem out of sorts with the rest of the segment. Even so it’s a huge leap to conclude this is evidence of GM giving up on building good cars; their latest models like the Cruze, Malibu and new LaCrosse have been just about universally well-received. Heck, the Cruze is now rated higher than any other compact by Consumer Reports last I checked, and that’s never happened before. So this might be an early indicator of a worrying cost-cutting trend, but that’s about the only conclusion that can be drawn.

So, first thing … this is more about using eight bad quality panels when three better quality panels would do the same job, not cut your skin, and look a helluva lot better. As for the center console cubby, blow up the picture. You can see lips on the panels that are supposed to hide the gaps, but none of the trim panels seem to be sized properly so they don’t fit together properly. It looks ungodly cheap. I don’t mind when things are inexpensive so long as they don’t look discount.

I agree that from a design perspective it could be better. And I’m not denying that the hood release is really bad. I just don’t think it’s necessarily an indicator that GM is returning to the half-assed days of Cavaliers and Luminas. As an overall package I think the new Cruze is probably the most competitive small car GM has ever sold in the US.

Also, I don’t really see what you mean about lips in the center console. I just see large gaps, but to be honest that’s not really any worse than what’s in my ’13 Focus.

“As an overall package I think the new Cruze is probably the most competitive small car GM has ever sold in the US.”

Unfortunately, GM isn’t competing against its mid-’90s self. It’s competing against other automakers that have arguably better products.

Perhaps my comment wasn’t clear. I’m not saying the Cruze is competitive with the ’95 Cavalier. I’m saying it’s competitive with the ’17 Civic, Mazda3, Focus and so on, flimsy hood release or no.

Also, I’m not counting eight pieces meeting up on the door panel; I see six at most, and that’s counting the chrome trim surrounding the window switches as well as the cloth armrest insert.

While there certainly may be a part that isn’t in the photo I don’t see more than 5 pieces, not counting the switches. The lower half of the arm rest/handle is part of the lower panel. I’m not so sure that the upper half of it is a separate piece.

The part of the door panel persisoft linked to of a Sonata has the door panel in many pieces and it looks much cheaper in the wide view than this does close up.

given the rather poor body fits of a ’16 Civic I looked at, I’d say they’re indeed competitive ;)

Why do so many social commentators, especially of the intellectual brand (e.g. those interviewed by NPR, PBS, NYT, The Economist, The Atlantic, etc.) begin their responses to questions posed with –

I never remember this until a few years ago, it’s become all the rage, and I, and I’ve read/listened to/watched plenty of Managerial Class/Intellectual Self-Aggrandizing materials while in college and since then.

It’s a pet peeve of mine now, especially since all who are intellectually kewl in their own minds are doing it.

“this is more about using eight bad quality panels when three better quality panels would do the same job,”

manufacturability and assembly play huge roles in things like this. it isn’t as simple as waving a magic wand and saying “use three panels instead of eight.”

I have a ’16 Cruze that I leased cheaply. I wanted to give GM another chance since my personal GM experience was decades old. My first car was an 81 Regal, second was an 84 Eldorado and by the time they were mine in the mid 90’s, they were past their prime. I traded my Eldorado on an 89 Legend and it was like an epiphany. I’ve bounced between foreign and domestics, but the domestics have all been Fords.

I am OK with my Cruze. It’s fine if you just like a transportation device, but it’s not a fun car. It has not shed any parts in a year and a half. It does have a clunk in the rear end they couldn’t fix the first time and it went away, then came back. The switchgear is cheap, the drivetrain (1.4T/6spd auto) is coarse.

The seats are OK, Chevy’s MyLink works fine if slowly (MUCH better than the basic Ford Sync I’ve experienced in two rental Fiestas). The air conditioning and cruise control are fantastic in the domestic car tradition, and it’s quiet in terms of wind and road noise. It is a 2LT and it had a 22k window sticker and it surely wasn’t worth that, but you won’t pay that either.

We are in a better position financially and I really wanted to consider a used SS in the next year when the Cruze lease expires. But the Cruze has not proved to me that GM is THAT much better than the cars I remember from my youth and as a car jockey for Enterprise in the late 90’s early 00’s. My Cruze is much better than any J-car I drove or Cobalt. But I’ll be sticking to Fords for domestics from here on out.

I did have a ’17 Cruze while mine was in the shop overnight for the clunking noise. It felt like a Civic from 5 years ago. An improvement on my car to be sure in many regards, but not for me.

Could the hood release be due to an attempted improvement in the small overlap crash test? I’ve seen those things embedded into the legs of crash test dummies.

Also, has the car had work done around the center console? I’ve had ham-fisted techs sloppily put trim pieces back on and the result looked much like the above photos.

I say this because both the ’16 Malibu Hybrid and and ’17 Impala that I rented within the last couple of months from the Enterprise counter surprised me with the high level of fit and finish of their interiors.

“Also, has the car had work done around the center console? I’ve had ham-fisted techs sloppily put trim pieces back on and the result looked much like the above photos.”

True, but a rookie tech at Toyota or Honda could be just as careless or clueless. I found this out after the radiator on our 3 year old Civic was replaced by the dealership and the whole front end began to vibrate at idle. Turns out the tech had broken a couple of the plastic fasteners that held it firmly in place and caused the condition.

I could think of a good dozen dumb interior bits with any car, but it’d hardly warrant an article though beyond humor (and I wouldn’t title it after a meme).

Not impressed Mark; you are clearing walking back from your reset a few months, along with the recent rise in articles that are more about politics than cars.

I am more inclined to put up a “TTAC deathwatch” than a GM deathwatch. And that really saddens me, this is one of the only two sites I bother visiting regularly anymore; in part because I work in the automotive industry, and appreciate the news segments, along with the historical articles.

Thank you for listening to your readers and changing the title of the article instead of arguing with us.

One the one hand…yes, GM got itself into trouble, and had to have taxpayers bail it out, because it cheaped its’ products out. So, in theory, they’re held to a higher standard, and I have no problem with criticizing them for flunking easy details like these.

The problem, though, is this: is what you’re seeing on this particular car really evidence that “GM is making garbage”? I’m not sold on that. And here’s why:

1) “Old” GM cheap-outs generally involved fundamental mechanical issues, and we all know what they were – no need to recount them here. But by all accounts, the Cruze is one of the more reliable cars in its’ class. In fact, according to the JD power story that was run yesterday, the Cruze came in fourth in overall reliability, behind the Civic and Corolla. That’s not bad company. Cheap interior bits notwithstanding, all evidence points to this being a solid-running little car. I don’t see that as evidence that GM doesn’t give a f**k about its’ customers.

2) Interior cheap-outs are a way of life in the compact segment. I drove just about every car in this class a few months ago when I bought my Jetta, and their manufacturers ALL cheaped out in obvious ways. You mention the Civic, and while I’m sure I could do a deep dive on one and find about 100 cheap details, some do stand out from memory, including a) the infotainment buttons on the steering wheel, which had a cheap-plastic feel, b) molded-in “stitching” on the dash, c) less-than-stellar body panel fits, and d) a voice-activated Bluetooth system that never worked (and the same system never worked on the Fit I drove, either). And if you want a compact that feels like total, utter junk, drive a Corolla.

Does GM deserve to be called out on cheap details like these? Sure. Should people who care about cars keep tabs on how well this new Cruze does over time reliability-wise? Absolutely. But by all accounts, the Cruze is *not* garbage, cheap interior bits notwithstanding.

The Cruze’s interior is garbage. Same with the Volt. I saw the same faults in the Volt as I did this Cruze.

I’ll have a full review of the Cruze soon. It’s actually a great driving car with a manual. But it’s the simple things like this that make me wonder if GM doesn’t care. It’s right in front of the faces of customers. Come on.

You’re right, Mark, but you can make the same argument about any car in this class – they all have obvious evidence of interior cheap-outs. The only one that doesn’t is the Golf. But by all accounts, the Golf’s below average from a reliability standpoint as well. And the best seller in this segment – the Corolla – makes the Cruze look and feel like a freakin’ Maybach in comparison.

Inexpensive does not have to equal bad. That’s the problem here, and it’s why I mention Kia a few times here. Obviously, Kia is building these pieces to a price, but yet they’re lightyears better and not likely to cut you. Why the vast gulf between the two automakers?

Sorry Mark, too little too late just like your change of the title only after several people called you out on it.

Seriously work on getting it right the first time rather than cleaning up your mess after being called out on it.

If you are going to do an article about how garbage the Cruze interior is and say how Kia does it better then give us side by side photos of how Kia does it so much better.

Yes, Kia does some things quite well. But there are some things they don’t do particularly well in this segment, including a) suspension tuning and b) engines. I haven’t driven the current gen Cruze, but I drove the last one, and it was a better driver than the Forte EX I drove last fall (now, the turbo Forte5 is a different matter). Steering feel sucked, no matter what setting you had it on, and the suspension was overly soft, probably because it wasn’t that well tuned. And plenty of hard, cheap plastic in that interior, too.

On the suspension tuning front, Hyundai-Kia are getting better if the Elantra Sport is any indication of it. The engines have been prone to blowing up, especially the 2.4 IIRC. I think those issues have been worked out as well with the new-gen motors.

A simple search shows that on the “S” trim of the Forte and above KIA uses a small door to hide the USB and power ports.

I disagree on the door trim on the Cruze, it’s no better or worse than what’s coming out of Korea.

@ SC5door, sure I could spend my time looking for pictures of a Kia but that is not the point. The point is if you are going to do an article claiming for crappy the Cruze is compared to a Kia then show it in the article from the get go.

Now of course Marks says how some Kia engines have been prone to blowing up. So Kia spends a few dollars more on the interior and saves more in the power train. I’ll take the car with the floppy hood release that most people rarely if ever touch or see than one that needs an engine replacement before 150-200k.

In front, the Gen 2 Volt does a good job of making inexpensive materials look upscale and nice, and even recalls classic Sixties Corvette design themes. The only obvious and offensive cost cutting is that the steering wheel buttons are just a single rubber pad over multiple microwave oven style membrane keys instead of proper individual buttons. In the second row, I believe they cheaped out with hard plastic door panels again. And in the hatch area …good god, the charger compartment gets a flimsy plastic door without any hinges, and the cargo cover appears to be a stretched T shirt rather than the sophisticated rollout piece you’d find in a VW or Ford. (The rear suspension also loses the Z link or whatever from the Cruze, although it turns out the more even weight distribution means it isn’t really missed.) But dude, VW and Ford are not making any cars even remotely as sophisticated as the Volt, certainly not that lease at this price, and the money for the good mechanical bits has to come from somewhere.

Similar deal with the Bolt: it would find more buyers if the interior was as nice as a C-Max…hell, I’d settle for them just installing front seats in the Bolt, instead of medieval torture devices suitable only for skinny pre-adolescents…but at the same time, it’s a brilliant car that drives well and is half (half!) the price of its closest equivalent.

That said, having wanted to buy first the Volt and then the. Bolt, I just couldn’t; the interior cost cutting just put me off. As a longtime Ford and VW guy, I clearly will put up with garbage reliability, high prices and lousy dealers, as long as you give me an interior that makes me feel like I spent 10 grand more than I did. It’s not logical.

I can take pictures of crap Toyota, Hyundai and Kia interiors along with Honda just as easily. My dad worked for a delivery firm of medical supplies and within the first year of use the door panel vinyl fabric fell off every door of his 2005 Civic. My close friend has a 2014 Hyundai Sonata and the interior chrome is peeling around the cup holders and it only has 36K miles! A rental 2014.5 Camry had a very loose fitting passenger side plastic A-pilar trim that would come loose by just touching it! Worse the center upper dash vents would pop loose or out on cue going over rough roads or railroad tracks.

I have also looked over many Fords and Lincoln’s with poor and ill fitting interior and exterior trim as new as 2017. I have sat in roughly 20 new Chevy Cruzes. None has the poor fits seen in the above photo regarding the center console so that could just be one rare example. It happens even on Asian and german cars regardless of costs.

You should also sue Toyota for your Camry rental experience, as you’re still having mental anguish three years later.

Too bad we regular posters can’t put pictures up on this site easily. I would love to show you as obviously I must be a lier. Or maybe we can but somehow they seem to get deleted.

As far as having mental anguish, I’m more amused than anything that the juggernaut of automobiles produced a Camry as bad as the rental I had. And it’s nothing new. There are articles of other Camry tests of the 2012-2014 era that talk about cheap interior quality too.

Sure you can. Just upload them to Google Drive or your image site of preference, and share links here.

At the Pittsburgh Auto Show this week, my son and I nearly sliced our hands on the interior door pull of the GMC Terrain.

There was a long line of untrimmed plastic flash underneath, right where your fingers wrap around to pull the door closed. It was 1970s quality. If I owned that car, I’d *have* to file that down.

I’m pretty sure Pittsburgh is the only place they sell yellow/black cars en masse. So many yinzers have to have their “Picksburgh Sports Teams” car.

I grew up here, and still don’t own any black-and-gold anything, since I just don’t care much about sports.

The only defense I can make for this is that many auto show cars are pre-production units. Those vehicles aren’t up to par in many cases. However, GM likely wouldn’t have let you inside if that was the case, so it’s probably a production vehicle.

Typically, the cars (from any mfr) are closed if they’re not yet for sale in the US. To my surprise, however, the Hyundai Ioniq was open.

I poked around in a diesel-powered Kia Soul at a show a few years ago. Even popped the filler door to confirm.

Mark your points about the details and the clearly lacking fit/finish in the new Cruze are totally and completely valid. The cheap choices being so out in the open make the car feel cheaper than it is and distract from the good engineering in the car.

However didn’t we learn from Bark M’s mistake: Notice how that infamous trollish hot take got pulled and we haven’t heard from him in over a month?

He went hot and tried to pull in the outrage reader, it didn’t pan and its not what TTAC has been about. I like the insight not the outrage. Yes its bad design but it doesn’t warrant you lowering your writing style to “outraged teenager on twitter” hyperbole.

I like to think of the comments as a horde, but a good horde, like the Mongolians. We have principles but we are still mostly unwashed masses.

I love you guys. We’re like a family that fights each other but would also fight together if it came down to it.

I agree with you 100%, Mark. We may disagree and even argue at times, but we’re still a sort of family. Yes, I said it, “We are family…” An automotive enthusiast family.

I actually just want to say that I think I clicked the article faster when it had the F-Bomb in it. It drew me in, like something was severely wrong with the Cruze or some press photos they had taken. “Damn” just doesn’t have the same pizazz.

That being said it’s probably better for people at work, kids, etc. that it was replaced. Great article btw. Definitely makes me think twice about recommending a Cruze when my family members ask me about which compact car to get.

It is better for those that read at work, but I think it is also better writing. The original title smacked of the “XXXX is in shock”, “what they don’t want you to know” clickbait junk that litters so much of the internet now. TTAC has always been better than that; one of reasons why it is one of only two sites I bother to regularly read anymore.

Mark, thanks for making the change but saying the ‘hoard’ (sic) probably meaning the herd is still rather demeaning.

Ugh. I need more coffee. Hoard (sic) was said in jest. Damn typos. Changed to “herd”. I love you guys.

This “article” is purile, click bait garbage a fifth grader couldn’t read with a straight face.

The tightness of a vehicles interior paneling has no bearing on its build quality. An E46 M3 looks pretty good inside,but the sound of folding metal as the rear subframe crinkles midncorner might be a distraction.

Time is the final test of build quality. Like the Egyptian pyramids,panel gaps don’t matter when the core product still works.

Until the automotive media holds European manufacturers accountable for making maintenance time bomb “enthusiast cars” which self destruct after 100,000 miles , leave GM alone about interior panel gaps.

Uhh, what? It does when it comes to perceived quality, which is really the only type of quality that matters to someone buying a new car.

“Perceived quality” won’t keep your car on the road. A fact intelligent new car buyers weigh above the design of the hood release pull.

Like it or not, perceived quality is just as important as actual quality if you are in the business of selling cars.

I disagree. It goes to the sloppiness of design, manufacturing and usability. Why look at that for 5 years of payments when the VW/Kia/whatever can get it right?

I agree with the content and sentiment of the article, but I have a real problem with the headline. I flat don’t want words like that to be visible to coworkers or family members who might see the bold-print headline or the tab. Our society’s standards for taste have been dropping for years, but this is too much.

RE the panels: The door doesn’t look that bad to me, or at least not different from other cars in the segment. The style of the day seems to be busy, with too many lines and shapes. The console is awful and something I’d have been annoyed with in a Kia ten years ago, let alone a Chevy today. The hood latch … seems to also be the style of the day. The one in my ’12 Focus is a lot like it, but then it hasn’t broken yet and I have to lift my hood everytime I go into one of my work locations.

RE the headline. I’m not Ned Flanders, and I know what you were going for, but in a literal sense that’s not what I expect from TTAC. It is “Jalopniky” as someone said, though the problem with Jalopnik is ignorance and bad writing, as opposed to the language. I guess I don’t demand no four-letter words here, but I did find it jarring.

And you know, I think the new one expresses the idea better, too. I fully admit I’m a little pedantic, but I associate ‘zero f*** given’ with the proverbial doing donuts in the parking lot with two middle fingers up, which I don’t think is quite what’s going on with the Cruze. Now the last-gen Spark…

The hood release OK that’s bad the other trim if it’s easier to get in out of the car for repairs I don’t care. Some of those interior that hide seams (Audi) are a real paint to take apart.

EXACTLY! Everytime I see that “Real people, not actors” Chevy commercial, I’m reminded of something a friend in the auto business shared with me about JDPowers. Their main award is for initial quality – the first 90 days of ownership.

Since GM’s infotainment unit is pretty good, I can see why people have no issues as it’s comparatively straightforward to use and connect phones to. Fit and finish issues show themselves over time.

Ehhhh I wouldn’t say this is the work of bean counters. I’d say this is the work of a lack of craftsmanship standards. IE someone to compare grains, colors, fit and finish essentially to a standard and make design changes that are mandatory. All of these fixes would be relatively inexpensive had they been caught early.

GM doesn’t have as much of a quality test fleet for pre-production vehicles that other OEM’s have. Just something that is ingrained in their org.

You’re missing my point. This is the lack of GM having a functional group to ‘look at the big picture’ and bring everything together. IE a program management group based in quality.

For future reference, fit and finish are more issues from pre-production issues. Design quality is what you pointed out.

And isn’t not having a group to look at the big picture due to the bean counters? Most of those people would probably expect paychecks.

It sounds like a discipline / organization issue to me. GM builds great powertrains and puts them in sh1tty cars. It’s been like this for ages.

GM actually DOES do pretty substantive testing of it’s fleet, with plenty of miles put on pre-production vehicles. And a pretty hard finger-wagging NDA you sign, o go with it. I know this for a fact, I was employed by a company that evaluated GM vehicles. Noting any troubles, perception of interior quality, etc.

All drivers noted these things. Good, bad, otherwise. It was up to GM to do something about the feedback they were given.

Then color me surprised. They don’t drag these issues in front of chief engineers or anyone high up. I’m used to nuts to bolts sign offs where a craftsmanship engineer is literally rubbing a boss’ nose in the proverbial sh1t. Cheap trim models usually skate, but that armrest? It wouldn’t make it out of a studio review much less into a prototype build.

While we’re on the subject of GM interiors, can someone explain those ramps on the door panels of the Colorado that rise above the doors? They seem to serve no purpose other than to emphasize the cheapness of the plastic they’re made from.

Gotta agree with geared 77 here , the title is a bit much, maybe GM does not give a crap for a cheap entry level compliance car that helps with Cafe, maybe it does and the cruz interior get the low end of the shaft. I rented a Malibu a few weeks ago and the interior was a pleasant surprise, I have been stuck in cruz rentals ( but not a 17) and they seemed no worse or better than their competition for their price point. I am not a GM fan or really a big 2 big 3 fan at all but I would have to have a bigger sample of GM cars to make the statement Mark did. I drove a ton of Ford Taurus as company cars and when they restyled the Taurus into all ovals ( 3rd generation) they designed a arn seat that opened up and blocked the only 12 volt , slash ash tray in the front of the car, stupid design esp for a car that sold very well in fleets, I would say Ford did not give a damm when someone realized their F up but can I can deem ford as a whole , no. I think Ford should and has gotten crap for the first Synch system and even the new ones suck on the rental mustang I drove last month, i would gladly take this Cruz issues over the Ford issues I had with their info screens every day. The hood release is really bad, the rest not so much.

You got it. Contempt. The exact word I’ve used to describe it, after starting my car-owning career as a GM loyalist and persevering in denial for years until I got burned one too many times.

Although some might think that this kind of cost cutting in a compact is par for the course, I still think that GM has fallen off the wagon and into old bad habits. My wife and I recently test drove an Acadia Denali while looking to replace her Explorer and it didn’t take us long to rule the GMC out. The stench of cost cutting was strong starting with the lack of height adjustable front seat belts, which were present on the old model that was sitting 5 feet away on the dealership floor. My wife is 5 ft tall and I’m 6 ft tall and the belt was annoying for both of us. I guess I didn’t realize that non-adjustable belts were really a thing anymore, let alone on a $50,000 crossover vehicle. GM also chose to put a 6 speed auto in the Acadia instead of the 8 speed that is tied to the same engine in the Cadillac platform mate crossover for I’m sure no other reason than to save a few bucks. Fake wood trim in the $40-$50k Buick LaCrosse is a laugher too.

Everywhere! EVERYONE does that. But they pinch pennies in different areas. And over the past 25 years, they’ve gotten better at it.

The hood release on my 2011 Malibu felt very cheap. So what? I only used it to occasionally check the oil. In 101k miles, the only thing that went wrong was a sensor at 88k. The dealer said it was covered by an emission warranty. No charge

I did have to fix ONE thing on my CHEVY Malibu, probably penny-pinching related: the spring in the drivers seat broke at 96k. I weigh well under 180, so this should not have happened. But again, ONE REPAIR in 101k miles.

I’d say GM pinched pennies well. Everyone did (and does) cut corners. My 86 VW had cheap seat fabric that wore out–but the gasoline filter is very robust. My 91 BMW good seat fabric, and drove great–but it had the same type of ‘cheap’ fuel filter as my 1980 Ford Fairmont. But it worked, never any problems.

Also, you go out of your way to criticize the ‘cheap fits’, but say you’ll tell us how the car “drives well”, but will say “later”.

Hover over the tab and I still see Fuck.. oh my! What are we to do? The language doesn’t bother me, it is everywhere anyway. Stop with the holier than thou crap. Let the man have his say- you are free to go elsewhere. As this is GM, I say curse away!

Should be fixed now. We have two fields where we fill in headlines. I forgot to change the second field.

Just asking because the only way to even read the article was to use my android phone or wait until I got home. Big work no no.

Yeah a bit of a problem to click on that behind a school district firewall. I’ve had problems trying to order wiring supplies on a school computer because as I latter figured out some of the terminals on the page were Butt connectors. Surprisingly at the school I currently work at they let YouTube through with a student log in.

@Halftruth…….ditto. It’s tiring listening to the whining here sometimes. If they are “offended” so much, why do they come here, there are many alternatives…..and why then click on the story.

Holy Heck! If those tiny things are enough for you to call out GM, you’d have a field day on my Forte, Optima and Civic. This article is pretty awful. The compact segment is all cost cutting, no exceptions.

Yeah but…they’re not cheap anymore. A Cruze or Mazda3 hatch is a good car, but you can option them up over 30 grand without trying too hard, which is insane.

We’ve still never gotten the flying cars we were promised 50-60 years ago, and now he’s talking about flying trucks. Oh, wait – nevermind.

No one cares. People buying these are just happy they can make the monthly payments. GM is giving people what they want. I can assure you that texting teens, single moms, and middle america in general would trade a solidly constructed hood release and thoughtful panel integration for Apple carplay every time.

GM has decent interiors, they just want you to pay for them “…Step right over here to our Buicks and Cadillacs sir.

BTW, Something about using vulgar language in a journalistic settings seems so very tawdry and gimmicky. A true wordsmith need not resort to base expressions to convey a powerful message. I guess that’s why TTAC has editors and not journalists.

I get it that cost has to be a consideration but this all speaks to weak design leadership and compromising in all the wrong places. Those part lines should have been handled in a way that makes them less obvious. This falls squarely on the creative teams shoulders and is something within their control. The flimsy hood release is just flat out stupid engineering. While I feel GM has come a long way they still have a tough road to travel to truly make benchmark product.

I like to rail on GM but I’ll admit that my rental Cruze was pretty nice- Granted it was a Premier model. That was enough for me to politely nudge the gf towards taking it for a test drive as she was in the market for a Mazda 3 replacement.

We were quickly brought down to earth once we saw the sticker price. Needless to say, she elected to get a well apportioned Civic EX-T for $2000 less. GM is good, but not quite there yet and the article provides some insight why.

Drat. I was hoping things had moved forward a bit since the nineties, as I’ve rented a Cruz and it was noticeably solid, quiet, and felt fairly well constructed. Even the Sonic, while disposable, performed well for me.

I’ve seen the old GM, mostly on Pontiacs. Part of the dowry in my first marriage was her college graduation gift (it was new when we married) – a 1995 Pontiac Grand Am. Seemed wonderful, and it never did strand us, but the cost cutting was so bad that the dash would shrink and vibrate around when the A/C was on. This actually happened. No folding mirrors, roll-up windows, got decent mileage, but the interior was basically Scotch-Taped together. It made me nervous, and we traded it as soon as our financial situation improved.

Back then it competed with Tempo/Topaz? Dodge Spirit? It could be justified. For the minimal cash outlay it was a reliable car (even if the bizarre door shape turned it into a temple-crushing nightmare if you tried to reach in for something – seriously this is a design flaw of really curved seashell-doors). Now they must match up against Hyundai/Kia, and you can get a decent Soul for similar coin. I want them to succeed, I really do, but it may take a lot to get them to the level of Honda Civic-turnaround.

I may be a bit OCD, but I totally agree with Mark. I look at some of GM’s big truck interiors and wonder how the hell anyone could pay $60 or $70 K for such crap. (Better in recent models, but totally inexcusable in the previous generation models.) I look at things like the cheap generic black plugs over the power ports and wonder if anyone gives a damn about design. My cheap Astra has a silver cover on the power port that matches the interior trim – proof that GM can do it right if they want to.

Does no one remember the awful GM hazard buttons from the 70’s or the turn signal indicators that sounded like they were breaking when activated? Poor and cheap design may save a few bucks, but will not drive brand loyalty or resale values.

I know anecdote =/= data, but my father-in-law’s Elantra needed an engine rebuild at 60k, and I’ve seen a different late-model Elantra put enough smoke out the tailpipe to literally make the car behind it disappear, so I don’t know how much stock can be put in perceived quality.

Hold on, what am I missing here? What years? What engines? Where is this well-known information? Help, please.

Co-worker of mine had a Santa Fe throw a rod at 32,000 km. Somewhat surprisingly to me, dealer put in a shortblock rather than a complete engine. Must have damaged the transmission in the process, as it failed 1,000 km later.

Exactly, so it’s a flawed premise – greater care in interior components doesn’t automatically mean a better made car (as mentioned, if that were the case, VW wouldn’t have the reputation here they do have). Maybe it’s a sign of GM not caring, maybe they just chose to focus their efforts elsewhere, there’s not really enough here to go on.

I’m also reminded of the time someone compared the bumper of the original Ford Taurus to the GM counterpart. The Ford had 12 parts and the GM had over a hundred. I think of this when i see most modern interiors, not just GM – why are there so many parts and angles and different textures and materials all fighting each other? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to use a smaller number of high quality parts? Why – in the age of apple simplicity – do we have dash boards that look like they are exploding out at you?

Appreciate the headline change, I was a little shocked to see that in this venue. In DEFENCE of the Chevette, I drive them regularly, and really don’t know why the derogatory designation came. , Lets go with something like a Trabant instead. I’ve found that most critics never owned or drove one, or if they did it was a 500K worn out rust bucket, certainly not a fair example to review.

The first car I remember in my family was a Chevette, and it was an utter lemon. Unfortunately, there are no lemon laws in Canada, mostly because of GM.

Mark, Blame your parents for not being able to differentiate between a good and a bad car. However as bad as Chevettes were, they were generally an automotive cockroach. The engine and transmission could survive just about anything.

And possibly thank them for perhaps having to ride around in that Chevette convinced you to become a ‘petrolhead’?

Mark, I’m pretty sure that GM has to squeeze part suppliers for lower costs to cover their legacy costs associated with past UAW contracts. However, they’re also pretty competent at making engines and transmissions. The result are cockroach cars with cheap plastic trim that rattles, breaks, looks ugly, etc. but continue to run in this degraded state for many years. I think it’s a rule that the parking lot for call centers must have some minimum number of GM cars with plastic damage and at least one wheel cover missing.

Matthew Guy once told me, “A GM car is meant to operate with the check engine light on for 300,000 miles.” Or something. I should get him to say it. He’s more eloquent.

Our Lord doth fade further and further into the distance, As the shadows envelop litres of three and eight. A supercharger whines no more, And all which remains are one thosand panel gaps.

But one day our Lord of Litres of Three and Eight, will come again so that we may feel the eternal torque.

But he was very concerned about the “Tasteful chrome surrounds on the doors of perception.” (To call back to an old JB article)

And, “the doors of perception” could take us in an entirely different direction. And, agreed, pretty sure Mr. Bob Lutz is still alive and kickin’.

Yup. If you want a well made and well assembled GM vehicle it will be BOF and powered by 8 cylinders.

I don’t disagree that GM makes garbage, but they are a lot better than the old days. Some pictures from similar/comparable cars would be fun to talk about.

When I get into it again, I’ll definitely do this. I was thinking about going through my Fiesta with a fine-toothed comb after writing this.

So comparing Ford’s cheapest car versus GM’s third cheapest? The Fiesta isn’t perfect either, but I paid CAD$11,295 new for mine. Lol

Considering my new Escape has issues ( of tat least a QA/assembly issue) I don’t think that ford is off the hook here, add to that the power shift transmission instead of the 6 speed auto in the Fiesta and focus and I think ford may indeed have more issues ( mind you I still like my escape, though I didn’t notice the alignment issues until after I had it for a title while). I am hoping it will hold up for around 10 years though, fingers crossed)

OK, back to the major points of the article. Mark, about the hood latch release lever, considering that I actually regularly check the fluids in my car more often than the average commuter, I have to agree that I would likely take issue with it and demand something a bit more sturdy. Now after taking time to watch the video I not only wholeheartedly agree, I better understand where you’re coming from. That’s not really acceptable to me. I mean, for a rental car I could deal with it. But if I was making payments on that car, I most certainly would not be pleased. That seems like cost-cutting, I mean penny-pinching, to the extreme! Not a reference to the old Chevy S-10 Extreme, of which I’ve recently seen several examples lately.

The problem with GM is not that they can’t build good, well selling cars. Its that when they do, they don’t know what they did to make them good. You can see this many follow on models after a successful one. Look at the Malibu. The 6th gen was the ugliest car I think I’ve seen in a while. The 7th was much nicer and quite a surprise to the community. It sold very well. The changes they made to the 8th (smaller inside, crazy styling, only eco model available at launch) shows that they had no idea WHY the 6th sold well. Unlike other car makers (who all do flub updates sometimes), GM routinely updates cars in a way that make them worse.

It’s almost like Roger Smith was in charge again. But seriously, the Big Three have made a fine art of squeezing blood out of their suppliers, even forcing some into bankruptcy. It’s been going on for awhile – I can remember reading articles about Chrysler doing this, 20 years ago.

I rented a 2015 Cruze for 2 weeks in January, and a 2017 Cruze for 1 week in February. The 2017 Cruze is an improvement over the 2015 in my opinion.

I didn’t look at the little trim pieces discussed in the article, but I had no issues with either vehicle. I did pop the hood on the ’15 to see if it had a turbo (it didn’t), but I could feel the turbo engage in the ’17 so I didn’t look under the hood.

The ’15 uses a keyless pushbutton to start the car, and the ’17 has swithchblade key on the fob that goes into the switch on the steering column. I thought this was odd as I thought the auto manufacturers were trying to get away from keys, especially GM.

It’s a weird thing on mainstream and lower-priced cars – the lower-level trims get an ignition switch and a key, while higher-level trims get push button start. Toyota is doing this now (with the ’16-’17 Tacoma, for example).

You’re supposed to pay more for the convenience of push-button start, even though it’s a great money-saver for the manufacturer. They’re just being stubborn. But then you can still buy a few cars with crank windows too, even though it must cost the manufacturer money to have two separate options at this point.

My 2004 Malibu Maxx was reliable, but the car and materials were so egregiously cheap and poorly assembled I said screw this and bought a Lexus..Harrumph!

HA! Joke’s on YOU! GM won’t miss you or your highfalutin ways. Except somehow they got you to buy a GM in ’03 and they’ll keep finding warm bodies to fill their seats, believe me. I dunno how they keep doing it, but it happens.

GM’s problem has been, and continues to be, that they benchmark *themselves* when developing new vehicles as opposed to bench-marking the competition. Not in every aspect per se, but definitely in regards to anything not primary-mechanical.

What permits this behavior is a large swath of US car buying public that behaves in exactly the same manner. “Oh, look, Greta! This year’s Malibu is nicer than the old Malibu. I guess it’s time to get us a new Malibu!”

The problem here is those people don’t go and look at anything else on the market at all. All they see is a new Chevy that’s a little bit shinier than the Chevy currently in their driveway and that’s progress. As long as millions of Americans still buy their cars this way GM will be able to sustain their cynical business model. It’s declining and on its way out, but GM is proving to us that there is still milk left in the cow.

I even remember GM execs bragging that they made the sierra 13% ( or some such nonsense) more different than the Silverado than they previously did. Wow – they have the chance to market 2 distinct looks and go after different segments with their pickups, and they make them slightly more different than they used to. Good job guys.

How is this different than Toyota for the last 20 years or so though, most of their buyers don’t try the competition, and their cars are by no means the best on the block in terms of Interior quality / fit finish. Toyota does possibly have a slight (though not as large as they used to) lead in reliability, but at the moment I don’t believe their cars are all top of the Clas.

Thank you scwmcan. What you describe is my now deceased in laws, they loved their Toyotas, but in reality they’re no different than I am with my love of domestics.

Have y’all checked out a Mercedes GLC recently? I saw one yesterday where the silver/chrome trim of the rear door in no way lines up with the trim of the rear window. In a brand new, $60k Mercedes. The automotive world has bigger issues than this Cruze.

@Mark Stevenson First off I’m impressed you stuck to your guns and answered so many rude comments. Good on you. As a fellow Canadian (and possibly hockey fan) We know not to back down from a challenge. Second I agree with you and the poor quality in GM products. They have definitely improved since the bail out, but like you said they’re not competing against old GM, they’re competing against other companies who are clearly making higher quality products. One of the reasons I dislike GM (or any other domestic product) is the way they cut corners on using decent materials. My case in point is the Corvette. This is (was) my dream machine, something to aspire to own. The C7 is such a beautiful, aggressive design. Yet… when they first came out, Stingrays were grenading their engines because of metal shavings from cheap oil filters. Then the mighty Z06 comes out and…Overheats with such regularly that their Halo car (built to dominate the track)is all but useless on the track. Add to that the familiar squeaks and rattles from previous generations and poor (orange peel) paint and you kind of shake your head at GM. If they can’t get the details right in their top sports car, then they obviously are going to cut corners all through their line up. (I’m now dreaming of a lightly used 911 to get me through my working days). *Also, I suspect most people bitching on here own GM products, so naturally they’re going to defend them (you should see how heated things get on the Corvette forum when you call out the Corvette!).

I’ll defend GM enough here to say that there are very few new vehicles brought out without some degree of large-ish first MY issues. Even something known for high quality like the LS460 apparently had problems with control arm failure and interior wear on the earlier builds. FWIW, I own a Dodge.

The bigger thing with GM is something like the Northstar where they denied problems for nearly a decade before (maybe?) doing something about it.

It’s simple. Dumb sh!ts keep BUYING GM cars, besides fleet giveaways. As soon as this stops, execs get fired, GM changes, fixes itself. You’re damn right they could do it, but why bother?

> “First, let me applaud GM for building a compact hatchback for the first time in decades. I’d say it takes courage to do so if nearly every other automaker hadn’t clued into the coming popularity for hatchbacks first.”

Let’s not give GM credit where credit isn’t due. By the time the Cruze hatchback hit the North American market, you could buy competing hatches from Ford, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, and Volkswagen. And that’s only including 5-door hatches in the same size and price range. The options increase If we add 3-doors, hybrids, and electrics.

Bogus clickbait article. Well, I can see some merit in the complaint about the hood release, although the durability of the release is not, frankly, disproven by this post. I once bought into the similar naive scaremongering once, still have a replacement part in my glovebox, and the original haven’t failed at 106k miles.

The hood release is indeed poorly designed and asking to break. The fuel filler panel and hood releases on my ’15 Honda Fit are both nice solid pieces of injection molded plastic, each pivoting on two pins in a metal bracket. The Fit is one market segment down from the Cruze.

On the console they could have done a better job of hiding the seams, with the design, Honda hid all the seams in the same area in my Fit, but all the seams on the Cruze look uniform.

As for the door panel, is it a little busy? Yes. Could they have lined up all the joining lines at a single point (making Sajeev happy)? Yes. Is my Fit any better? Maybe a little, but if you add up all of the trim panels and the armrest and switches, my Fit has 6 or 7 panels as well.

Without having sat in the Cruze, there’s really no way I can tell from the photos just how cheap things look and feel.

OTOH, when I was at the Chicago Auto Show I decided to see how much of a visible and tactile difference in quality there was between my Fit and a Mitsubishi Mirage. Now that’s a cheap looking and feeling car.

The general public hasn’t the first clue about what goes into designing and manufacturing consumer goods, even something as simple as the plastic bottle that holds your water.

Why are there panel gaps? Shouldn’t every part that pops out of an injection mold be identical? Theoretically, but the part and the mold have to be designed so the part doesn’t warp or shrink and even then there are tolerances.

I’m not excusing bad or lazy design. I love it when engineers and designers are clever. If they can’t hide a seam, at least make it flush.

GM didn’t do a great job, but other than the latch release handle, I just don’t think they did a terrible job.

I don’t either. But they’ve always done the absolute minimum job, which was fine through the ’60s and part of the ’70s. I don’t know if the Corvette, CTS-V and a couple others, make up for, justifies it, or what exactly they’re thinking.

There is a reason GM was cruising blissfully into bankruptcy and by “saving” it from its deserved fate we simply encouraged more of the same.

The reason the Korean’s have surpassed America in automobile quality is because they are gradually doing more engineering and design themselves, while Detroit is basically outsourcing its engineering and design to other nations. Both industries are going in opposite directions. There is really little or no pride left in the US auto industry.

The US robotics and machine tool industry is in even worst shape. The US is in danger on missing out in the next industrial revolution, which is automation. Is there even a valid US machine tool industry left?

Can’t GM hire a CEO that cares about quality, design, and engineering. Bara is just another hack bean counter.

@akear It is grim for GM going forward, but the other traditional ” Big Two” are not much better off. It does not look good for the US Automotive industry into the future.

The video below represents one of the lowest moments in GM history. In 1982 Motor Week tested a car with the lowest 0-60 mph time they ever experienced. The car in question was the Pontiac 1000, which performance could only be described as third world. Funny when this awful car was released upon the public GM had close to it highest market share ever. Come to think of it, the Pontiac 1000 maybe the slowest US car since the 40s. Even the retched Yugo could go 0-60mph in 14 seconds. GM has a habit of setting the bar really low.

Here is the link that was not uploaded. Here it is folks the Pontaic 1000 hitting 0-60mph in 30seconds! The quarter mile speed was a blazing 59mph.

Strange. Acceleration should have been just under 18 seconds. One comparo had the Chevette out-hustling the Escort (Popular Science I believe).

I looked it up. The 1982 Pontiac 1000 is the slowest accelerating car for sale in North America in the last 50 years. What do you expect when you have a 2000lb car saddled with a 65hp engine. With such poor performance the 1000 may have actually been dangerous. Even the reviewers in the video stated that it was barely passable on the ramp to get onto the highway. Many believe some cars are too dangerous because they are too fast, but with the 1000 it dangerous because it is too slow.

There was obviously something wrong with a Chevette with a 30 second time. I drove these and while they were slow they weren’t that much out of line with what else was available during that time, and they were cheap, reliable transportation for a lot of people who didn’t have a lot of money. Sorry to rain on your parade.

There is no way it was slower than some of the diesel cars sold in the US. My ’79 Peugeot 504D was certainly slower, and the automatic version would have been slower still. 65hp for 2000lbs is rocket ship territory compared to that car, which had 57hp and weighed 1000lbs more. And I never found it to be dangerously slow. Foot to the floor and go.

We get it, akear, you’re on the anti-GM jihad. And I don’t know why. Maybe they laid you off, or didn’t hire you. Maybe your first girlfriend dumped you because you drove a GM car. Not sure why.

But if you’d like me to dredge up some circa-1982 horridness from just about any car manufacturer, I’ll be glad to do so. GM wasn’t alone in making bad cars back then, you know.

I always wonder…pennies saved on a cheap interior, vs cash on the hood. What if that $500 on the hood was spent inside the car…or does that disturb the whole paradigm, and you end up with a Mercedes interior ?

I had a conversation once with a BMW engineer. BMW speakers have three bolts holding them on, not four. It is a royal PIA when the speakers wear out and you replace them…but the engineer points out that the three bolt system works well, and four bolts less per car times x million cars is a LOT of bolts….

Amnesia: that is why U.S. drivers keep buying GM vehicles. My Celebrity had peeling paint after 4 years. My GMC truck looks like a shedding snake. The only well made GM product I’ve ever owned was a ’64 Fleetside pickup. Why did I keep buying GM’s junk? Optimism. They kept saying they’d do better, and I believed them. Not anymore. Last car was a Subaru. Next vehicle will be a Hyundai or a Honda.

By the time you are ready for your next car, GM will probably be hovering at a 15% market share in the US. Bara is now so pathological obsessed with profits over market share it will not be long until either Ford or Toyota put GM in second in US market share. One day GM will wake up and realize there is nothing left to cut.

GM is now 70% smaller than it was in 1960!!!! GM has left a lot of ghost factories across the United States.

But why would you care about market share if you lose money? The point of a company IS ultimately to make money for its owners, not just make stuff for the point of making stuff. Obsession with market share over profits gets you the GM that went bankrupt a decade ago.

Eight years ago this site had a piece entitled “the mystery of GM crap interiors solved”. That article stated that the reason GM had substandard interiors was GM was so insular-looking it was simply unaware the problem existed. I have been to many antique car shows and from what I can see GM interiors have always been rather cheap looking. I especially loathed that awful chrome foil that covered radio buttons in 70s luxury cars. It was not until cars like the Audi 5000 were introduced that modern high-quality interior was born.

The link is below for the article (The mystery of GM crap interiors solved)

LOL, my dad had an Audi 5000 and it was utter crap inside. The leather wore off the side of the seats in less than a year. The HVAC system was lifted verbatim from a Cadillac Eldorado. The exterior door handles pulled away from the body (probably because they were the same ones that VW put on my ’81 Rabbit, which did the same thing). And it couldn’t get out of its’ own way up hills.

Not exactly a paragon of automotive excellence. Bludgeon GM all you want, but don’t use this car to do it. It sucked.

And, no, a 1990 Lexus doesn’t have better interior quality than an Impala. Sorry. More like a 2000 Caddy.

Your points are all valid – I realized shortly before I sold that 93 Deville I had, that it had the same HVAC (with a different face plate) as the Audi I’d had all those years before.

If you think the new Cruze is bad go to the third-world to see the garbage automakers sell here. Cheap hard plastics, uneven gaps on doors, zero structural integrity and crap design is the norm here.

The trim pieces shown in these photos are not things that bother me. Something that does bother me are the enormous slabs of chrome that run across the front of the Civic and Accord. That’s style? I thought Honda had learned that lesson after those enormous chrome prows on the Acura’s. Also, the Civic vs Cruze comparison has to take into account the out-the-door prices of the two cars. I don’t think one will get much of a discount on the Civic.

They really are nice looking poop piles though. My sons have gone through 2 Cruz and 1 Verano. Poop piles with more time in the shop than on the road. I’d like a Regal but I need something reliable. Hello Toyota. Its funny, this is the same issue I had in 1984 with GMs. I think I read something a few months ago about how little it really cost to make an average interior great. Mary, Are you listening?

Speaking of crappy interiors in the Cruze’s size class, I took an Uber ride the other day. The car was a nearly new Corolla in top trim. Leather, etc.

The car felt way cheaper and chintzier inside than my wife’s ’16 Civic, for instance. I was totally surprised at how low rent the thing seemed, even in the highest trim. Road noise was pretty high, I had a hard time maintaining a conversation with the driver.

Aside from Toyota reliability reputation, I can’t think of a single reason to buy that Corolla over a Civic or Mazda3 or Impreza…or Cruze, really.

Speaking of the Chevy Cruze, I notice that diesel Cruze sedans are showing up in inventories at dealers across the USA. Auto and manual transmission. Hopefully TTAC uses their vast influence and extensive network of dealership contacts to get some seat time in one, and posts impressions on the site soon.

As always, I enjoy articles about automobiles. I do think GM should consider the buying public more, in their automobile design and power plants.

The add the little features and appointments that you do not find, especially in Honda and Toyota vehicles.

What I do not enjoy are articles that come into my email with the F-word in it. Do not need it, want to read it and won’t continue to receive articles from such emails websites.

Sorry, I like to receive more professional writing that attempt show at attempt at an educated expanded vocabulary and consider the broader reading public.

I normally show my young boys some of these articles and let them go thru the auto emails that I receive.

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