February 25, 2024

Although there has been much talk about the demise of the motor show, most major carmakers put forth considerable effort to attract people to their stands and displays; People still came to the Los Angeles motor show eager to see and touch every brand’s latest models. But not on General Motors’ stand.

GM’s major brands were present with large stands and the full range of products you would expect at its home market show. As I walked past the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac stand, I noticed that the people who looked after the exhibits were more than those looking at the cars.

Although it was a media event and there were no buyers in the halls, I suspect that punters aren’t interested in the GM brands that used to be the dominant ones. There was a buzz at the Japanese and German makers with something new and exciting to display, while GM had no such stand.

The reason for the departure, in my opinion, is that there is nothing new, interesting, or innovative about most of GM’s products. Cadillac’s gas-guzzling SUVs, derivative saloon cars, and Bolt EV are not cutting-edge. GM’s extensive cost-cutting plan, which includes massive factory shutdowns, has included the Volt hybrid range-extender hybrid.

The Buick stand was by far the most depressing. The oldest American car manufacturer is now flogging a small range of Vauxhalls. With the Buick Cascada (yes, the now-deceased Astra drop-top) seemingly taking pride in place, it has become the most dreadful sight. Because it was so quiet, I went there to transcribe interviews and saw the sad sight that a cleaner was sweeping the same floor that no one had walked on for hours.

Unless something changes, GM’s future is not looking good. Japanese and German car manufacturers have been poaching American buyers for decades. Many are winning over staunch nationalists by building large numbers of cars in the US. GM must create inspiring products, as evident from a day spent in LA.

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