GM seeks to pass cost of ABS, side air bags on to consumers
From The Sydney Morning Herald
General Motors (GM) Corp would no longer offer anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and side air bags as standard features on a number of its 2003 model vehicles, the company said today.
Consumers would still be able to get the safety features on their vehicles, but they would be priced as optional extras above the vehicle sticker price, according to Jay Cooney, GM spokesman on safety issues.
The move will trim the number of GM vehicles where side air bags are a standard feature from 31 down to 10.
GM's luxury Cadillac and Saab brands, its premium Corvette and two midsize vehicles have survived the downgrade.
"We're just becoming more competitive in our offerings," said Cooney, adding that the company's own consumer research had shown that "the public doesn't know that they had ABS," in some cases.
The move is only the first - and arguably most controversial - of cost-cutting measures that will be achieved by paring back the content in vehicles, and selling that content as an upgrade at the dealership.
GM marketing spokeswoman Julie Hamp said there were more than 1,000 changes in the works, including the removal of badging on the vehicle's exterior and embroidery from floor mats.
Consumers would not save any money on the basic purchase price of a vehicle, but some of the cost savings would be channelled into improving the quality of materials used in GM vehicles, she said.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.