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$100 million ad campaign touts new Malibu

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GM pedal to metal for Malibu
Automaker plans to pump $100M in a marketing blitz for a redesigned '08 sedan critical to its future
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Sharon Terlep | Link to Original Article @ The Detroit News


NOVI -- General Motors Corp. plans to pump more than $100 million into a massive marketing blitz for its upcoming redesigned Malibu sedan, the automaker's most critical car launch in years.

Chevrolet marketing director Cheryl Catton said Wednesday that advertising and other promotions for the dramatically remade Malibu will rival Toyota Motor Corp.'s campaign last year for the made-over Camry as well as Chevy's investment last year to launch the revamped Silverado pickup truck, GM's best-selling model.

When asked if GM would spend upward of $100 million, Catton said that's the level of spending required to make a mark in the brutal midsize sedan segment dominated by the Camry and the Honda Accord.

"We're going to market with a company that is saying, 'What's it going to take?' " Catton said.

The first new Malibus will hit showrooms Nov. 1 as 2008 models. GM has been working to generate hype around the vehicle since last winter, when the automaker released photos of a striking two-tone interior that will come as an option on the vehicles.

The Malibu debuted at the Detroit auto show in January. Pricing has not yet been announced. A 2007 Malibu LS starts at $17,865.

While still largely dependent on sales of its high-margin trucks, GM is looking to its cars more this year as it prepares for the Malibu launch and the debut of the made-over Cadillac CTS.

Meanwhile, sales of GM's new pickup trucks have fallen short of expectations in a tough market.

"This is GM's attempt to get back into the passenger car market," said analyst Erich Merkle, of IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids. "It's incredibly important. They have to figure out how they're going to be competitive outside of pickup trucks. They can no longer neglect every other segment."

GM officials have said they're considering a strategy for the Malibu similar to one used to pitch the new Saturn Aura sedan. Called the "Side-by-Side-by-Side" comparison, the promotion had dealers make an Accord and Camry available in showrooms for consumers to test drive along with the Aura.

Catton said GM plans to cut almost in half the number of Malibus sold for use in daily rental fleets. About 40 percent of Malibus are currently sold to fleets. Catton said GM wants to get that closer to 20 percent. Fleets sales are less profitable and vehicles known as rental fleet favorites generally lose their value faster than other models.
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excellent, but i'd like to see fleet sales cut to 10%!

they should just keep making the "classic" for the next few years. Then GM can have a bona fide hit, and a rental car star, haha.

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Now that's an ad campaign!

Perhaps the General can learn from their mistakes regarding intro's (Aura, anyone?).

I'm interested to see how this works out---will the 'bu steal sales from the Impala or will it truly make inroads against the Japanese/Korean competition?

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For sure it will canabalize the Impala. I love the Impala - it is my kind of 'American' car; however, with the older platform, the rear seat room is only the same as the current Malibu. If the new Malibu addresses these issues, plus has a better powertrain, ride, etc. , why would anyone buy the Impala?

If GM gets this right and moves the Impala upscale and RWD in 18 months or so, then Chevy could have 2 hits on their hands. I am waiting with breath held.

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I'm alreading thinking it looks dated. This design is a bit odd.... :unsure:

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It will hurt Impala sales how much of an impact it has remains to be seen. Gonna love it tho and should bring in import buyers! This could be the one to out-sell the Camry!

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Great. Now let's see if they can keep the buzz going year after year. Or will they cut ad spending to the bare minimum so that they can promote the next 30,000 unit Saturn, Pontiac or Buick?

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This car in real life in LTZ trim looks as good or better than the Camaro or CTS. It is a great looking car with the silver wire mesh grill.

Fleet sales should be limited to 5%. The Camry and Accord are about 7% and the Malibu should be less. The Impala is already a fleet sale god, the Cobalt isn't far behind, if GM wants Chevy to be a legit brand to compete with Toyota and other imports they need to cut fleet sales and plain white with gray interior super base models that only Avis buys.

They can fleet sell Pontiac G6s and G5s and Vibes.

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Wonder what the sales target is? If Toyota spent the same $100M to launch the new Camry and then sold 450K copies that means they spent $222 per car to advertise. Is Chevy aiming that high? If they sell 250K of the new ones (about the same number as the old one) while spending $100M that means they'll essentially spend $400 per car. Add to that GM's supposed health and pension disadvantage per car and you get a picture of what GM's up against. Maybe if GM hadn't axed the Malibu in 1983 and futzed around with Celebrity and Corsica and Lumina for so long we wouldn't be talking about Chevy catching up to Toyota.

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Great. Now let's see if they can keep the buzz going year after year. Or will they cut ad spending to the bare minimum so that they can promote the next 30,000 unit Saturn, Pontiac or Buick?

GM loves to do this. They have too many models to continually advertise, and they change names like crazy, so they advertise a ton when the vehicle is new, then forget about it for 5 years and watch sales die. This is why Saab is a waste of time, the whole brand sells 30-35,000 a year in the US, and they keep putting money into it. That money should go to the Malibu and a new Cobalt that can crush the Civic.

They need to sustain Malibu advertising and upgrades to the vehicle. The goal should be 350,000+ sales with only 5% volume from fleets. I'd like to see 400,000 sales a year be the target, but I know that is too lofty for GM to go for.

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Amen! Let's "pray" GM does the right thing but expect (as always) they'll do the wrong thing. How are these guys still in business?

GM loves to do this. They have too many models to continually advertise, and they change names like crazy, so they advertise a ton when the vehicle is new, then forget about it for 5 years and watch sales die. This is why Saab is a waste of time, the whole brand sells 30-35,000 a year in the US, and they keep putting money into it. That money should go to the Malibu and a new Cobalt that can crush the Civic.

They need to sustain Malibu advertising and upgrades to the vehicle. The goal should be 350,000+ sales with only 5% volume from fleets. I'd like to see 400,000 sales a year be the target, but I know that is too lofty for GM to go for.

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The new Malibu is designed to compete against the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Chrysler Sebring.

Expect Pricing to be set betweeen $18-24k.

Leave it to either Saturn or Buick to build GM's Camcord.

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Make sure it's money well spent.... $100 million worth of dopey ads is just $100 million worth of dopey ads.

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The new Malibu is designed to compete against the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Chrysler Sebring.

Expect Pricing to be set betweeen $18-24k.

Leave it to either Saturn or Buick to build GM's Camcord.

:blink:

Only Chevrolet or Ford have any hope of selling 400k+ of ANYTHING. As much as I would love to see the Malibu sell 400k - without being whored out to Fleet, I doubt very much that can happen ever again. There are too many decent entries into this segment for the consumer to choose from - no matter how good the Malibu turns out to be.

The best we can hope for is that it can bloody the Camcord's nose and bring their numbers down, rather than eating the Impala alive.

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Make sure it's money well spent.... $100 million worth of dopey ads is just $100 million worth of dopey ads.

And........... we will be in the same familiar territory.

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The new Malibu is designed to compete against the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Chrysler Sebring.

Expect Pricing to be set betweeen $18-24k.

Leave it to either Saturn or Buick to build GM's Camcord.

Chevy is the mainstream brand. Saturn is more of a niche brand that should be made a little more upscale (finer interiors, more fuel efficiency) to get Mazda or VW, or Mini Cooper type buyers. Buick is a old person's car, they would have to spend $5 billion probably to change that.

I read the Malibu was going to be around 19 or 20,000 up to 28,000 when fully loaded. This is their car to fight the Camry, they need to invest heavily in it. If they can't sell 350-400,000 a year they are doing something wrong.

The Camry is making a run at outselling the entire Buick and Saturn brands combined. Think of the cost advantage that gives Toyota. 1 car to design and advertise, vs 8 cars/trucks for GM to design and advertise to get the same sales.

Edited by smk4565
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I hope it's better than their current POS website.

The vehicle mix they initially release -- to both the press and dealer lots -- will be important, too.

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Chevy is the mainstream brand. Saturn is more of a niche brand that should be made a little more upscale (finer interiors, more fuel efficiency) to get Mazda or VW, or Mini Cooper type buyers. Buick is a old person's car, they would have to spend $5 billion probably to change that.

I read the Malibu was going to be around 19 or 20,000 up to 28,000 when fully loaded. This is their car to fight the Camry, they need to invest heavily in it. If they can't sell 350-400,000 a year they are doing something wrong.

The Camry is making a run at outselling the entire Buick and Saturn brands combined. Think of the cost advantage that gives Toyota. 1 car to design and advertise, vs 8 cars/trucks for GM to design and advertise to get the same sales.

Yes, Chevy is a mainstream brand but, so is Ford and I believe that if Chevy does sell Malibus at $28k that many will no longer see the point of Saturn, Pontiac, or Buick. You cannot have 3 niche brands in the price ranges covered by Chevy and Caddy.

No, I argue that the Malibu will be no more than $24k. At $24k they can be equipped to compete with a Camry XLE V-6. Chevy can boost volume by being value priced compared to an equivalent Camry.

Also, the next Impala will target the Chrysler 300 which starts around $24k.

Ex. A Buick Camcord would be priced $20-28k, but remember the base car will be equipped to take on the Camry XLE I-4 and the top CXL V-6 will be targeted against the ES350.

Again its all hypothetical until we get some concrete info.

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...if Chevy does sell Malibus at $28k that many will no longer see the point of Saturn, Pontiac, or Buick. You cannot have 3 niche brands in the price ranges covered by Chevy and Caddy.

Exactly. Many of us already don't see the point of Saturn, Buick or Pontiac for just that reason. Instead of Buick getting a high-end Malibu, Cadillac should get it to take away some ES350 sales. LaCrosse (or Regal) and Aura aren't prestigious enough for that job and the Buick and even Saturn dealer experience doesn't coddle like Lexus. Again, no sense in throwing away money for the brand rebuilding efforts at the Three Amigos. Cadillac and Chevrolet need it more.

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Exactly. Many of us already don't see the point of Saturn, Buick or Pontiac for just that reason. Instead of Buick getting a high-end Malibu, Cadillac should get it to take away some ES350 sales. LaCrosse (or Regal) and Aura aren't prestigious enough for that job and the Buick and even Saturn dealer experience doesn't coddle like Lexus. Again, no sense in throwing away money for the brand rebuilding efforts at the Three Amigos. Cadillac and Chevrolet need it more.

So get rid of the "Three Amigos" along with some Billions which the dealers of theirs will bitch about and put GM on the route to Bankruptcy?

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Maybe. Might be a better approach than the multi-decade death of a thousand cuts going on now.

Listen, there's a reason why trees get pruned - for future beautiful growth. Right now GM is an old tree dying because its branches haven't been nurtured for a very long time. The whole tree (especially its biggest trunk Chevy and the part with the sweetest fruit Cadillac is ill while we sit here mourning about the branch Grandma and Grampa had their first kiss under - Buick Pontiac Saturn.

So get rid of the "Three Amigos" along with some Billions which the dealers of theirs will bitch about and put GM on the route to Bankruptcy?

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Chevy needs to 3.6l/6As and 2.4l/6As, no 4cyl/4-speeds

I second that, every Malibu should be 6-speed auto standard. The hybrid has a 4-speed auto, so I don't see how great the fuel economy can be with an old transmission.

The Ecotec family could use an update too do make them smoother, and add direct injection. The Ecotecs aren't that refined, and they don't deliver any kind of spectacular fuel economy numbers, basically average.

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