wildcat

Lutz: GM Needs Fewer Brands, More Marketing

39 posts in this topic

Bob Lutz told Jamie LaReau of Automotive News that GM needs fewer brands and more marketing for what's left. (I don't have a subscription to AN, but) Advertising Age's website reproduced the article, which you may read here.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I would hate to see the brands die, I understand it's gotta happen. As far as marketing, Lutz is absolutly right. I was just thinking about this on the way home the other day from work. I have yet to see a TV add on a Traverse (was passing a truckload of em, that's what made me think of it). And after the startup of the Malibu, I have not seen any commercials or internet ad's for it in quit some time.

GM's marketing needs a major shakeup. They NEED to start putting up some ads called "GM misconceptions" and start stating some random facts (how many US plants, employees, % of NA compnants making up their cars vs the imports, the fact that we ship cars to China and none of em come here, etc.). I was flabbergasted by the total lack of knowledge the Senate, House and media have of GM and their products. And after listening to Fox talk radio for awhile, the callers are absolutly cluless about GM product and even one of the talk hosts thought the Malibu was a Hummer!!!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if GM has the option to put Saturn into bankruptcy due to it's corporate structure, they could possibly eliminate 1 brand, 5 nameplates and all the Standalone dealerships.

Sounds like a good start to me.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thing of it is, GM has less brands than most think.

Chevrolet

Cadillac

Saturn

Saab

Hummer

Buick/Pontiac/GMC

Hummer and Saab can go, Saturn might as well since it is nothing like it was, leaves only 3 divisions.

Yes, I know what BPG looks like, but it is all one.

There are only 3 Buicks right now, 7 Pontiacs but 3 or 4 can be erased, really only 3 GMCs not enough of any of them to be a separate division anymore, and all that without overlap within the dealership.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I said years ago they had to kill brands, I could see in 2005-2006 how 8 brands was too many for GM to get new product to. They can't slice up the pie 8 ways and expect to compete with Toyota who has a bigger pie (money) and slices it 3 ways.

Buick, Pontiac, GMC is 3 brands, if it were one, then it should be GMC Solstice, GMC Enclave, GMC Yukon, GMC G8, GMC Lucerne, etc.

I just drove by a combo Buick-Pontiac-GMC-Chevy dealer in downtown Pittsburgh that went bust, even with 4 brands in a populated area they couldn't make it.

They need Chevy and Cadillac to be world standard, a 3rd brand in the middle would be nice, but if they money isn't there, they can't do it. Cadillac needs about $4 billion of the next 2 years just to catch up to the Germans. Between that and what Chevy needs, there isn't much money left to go around. Buick would be relatively cheap to keep because they use the same mechanics as Chevy with an interior up grade and front and rear fascias.

If Hummer, Saab, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn all go away, all of a sudden the marketing budget for Cadillac, Chevy, Buick doubles and marketing budget isn't a problem anymore.

Edited by smk4565
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hummer and Saturn should have been gone YEARS ago.

GMC trucks is another thing altogether, they could rebadge them as Chevrolet and not many would notice IMO... the amount of trucks sold won't change at all I bet if GMC were dropped or not.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if the goal to trim brands i required, then i think you have to do chevy, buick/pontiac/GMC, and Cadillac. I'd like to find some way to integrate Opel into the north american setup.

i would be fine with saturn and saab going away as long as the pontiacs and buicks acquire the euro/opel influence.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it curious Lutz would speak up now regarding eliminating divisions. This has been obvious to many people for a while. A good leader speaks up when the groupthink would make it easier to follow the direction of inaction.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... oh and as far as his general premise, I totally agree. The point is to be world class at whatever product you bring to market, otherwise don't bother. While I don't care much for Jack Welch, this is one of his core principles I believe in.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GM could actually limit itself to 2 dealer networks in the U.S.:

CHEVROLET: MAINSTREAM VOLUME NETWORK.

Chevrolet: Mainstream Volume Division.

* Volt: Compact electric/hybrid 5-door (E-flex).

* Aveo: Subcompact sedan/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Cruze: Compact sedan/5-door (SWB Delta).

* Malibu: Midsize sedan (SWB Epsilon); next gen moves to SWB Epsilon II.

* Impala: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); next gen moves to LWB Epsilon II.

* Orlando: Compact MPV (LWB Delta).

* Groove: Subcompact crossover (LWB Gamma).

* Captiva: Compact crossover (SWB Theta).

* Equinox: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Traverse: Large crossover (Lambda).

* Camaro: Compact 2+2 sports coupe (SWB Alpha).

* Monte Carlo: Midsize coupe (LWB Alpha)

* Corvette: Flagship 2-seat sports coupe (Y-body).

* Silverado: Fullsize truck.

* Suburban: Fullsize SUV.

BUICK/CADILLAC: PREMIUM/LUXURY NETWORK.

Buick: Premium Volume Division.

* Electra: Compact electric-hybrid 5-door (E-flex); styling based on recent Flextreme Concept.

* Apollo: Rebadged next gen Opel Corsa subcompact 3-door/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Skyhawk: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra compact 3-door/5-door (SWB Delta).

* Skylark: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra compact sedan/wagon (SWB Delta).

* Regal: Rebadged current gen Opel Insignia midsize sedan/wagon (SWB Epsilon).

* Invicta: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); the upcoming Eps II LaCrosse renamed "Invicta" for the North American market.

* Centieme: Rebadged next gen Opel Meriva subcompact MPV (LWB Gamma); styling based on recent Meriva Concept.

* Terraza: Rebadged next gen Opel Zafira compact MPV (LWB Delta).

* Rendezvous: Rebadged next gen Opel Antara (SWB Theta).

* Rainier: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Enclave: Large crossover (Lambda).

Cadillac: Luxury Flagship Division.

* Calais: Compact sedan/wagon/coupe (SWB Alpha).

* Seville: Midsize sedan/wagon/coupe (LWB Alpha).

* Eldorado: Flagship 2-seat luxury coupe (Y-body).

* Escalade: Fullsize SUV.

The Other Brands:

* Hummer: Sell it if possible.

* Saab: Sell it if possible.

* Saturn: Discontinue. I think it will cost more to attempt to keep it going in the long term than to shut it down.

* Pontiac: If the brand is more popular than Chevrolet in Canada, then make it the mainstream volume brand in Canada. The brand would be discontinued in the U.S.

* GMC: Make this division the designated outlet for commercial grade vehicles.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see any need in keeping the Buick brand in the NA market. Despite the millions spent on Tiger Woods advertising, this brand still has no recognition within the younger generation. The Enclave is a great product but could easily be built as a Cadillac product.

I don't see any value in reverting to the old Cadillac names. The CTS *does* have a following within the younger crowd and should not be abandoned for any reason. I don't necessarily see any value in reverting to the Eldorado nameplate as a replacement for the XLR either.

In fact, I'm not convinced so many models are actually required. I'm unclear as to how you differentiate them properly (which is really the same quandary you have with the brands, i.e. how is Saturn different than Chevy?)

GM could actually limit itself to 2 dealer networks in the U.S.:

CHEVROLET: MAINSTREAM VOLUME NETWORK.

Chevrolet: Mainstream Volume Division.

* Volt: Compact electric/hybrid 5-door (E-flex).

* Aveo: Subcompact sedan/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Cruze: Compact sedan/5-door (SWB Delta).

* Malibu: Midsize sedan (SWB Epsilon); next gen moves to SWB Epsilon II.

* Impala: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); next gen moves to LWB Epsilon II.

* Orlando: Compact MPV (LWB Delta).

* Groove: Subcompact crossover (LWB Gamma).

* Captiva: Compact crossover (SWB Theta).

* Equinox: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Traverse: Large crossover (Lambda).

* Camaro: Compact 2+2 sports coupe (SWB Alpha).

* Monte Carlo: Midsize coupe (LWB Alpha)

* Corvette: Flagship 2-seat sports coupe (Y-body).

* Silverado: Fullsize truck.

* Suburban: Fullsize SUV.

BUICK/CADILLAC: PREMIUM/LUXURY NETWORK.

Buick: Premium Volume Division.

* Electra: Compact electric-hybrid 5-door (E-flex); styling based on recent Flextreme Concept.

* Apollo: Rebadged next gen Opel Corsa subcompact 3-door/5-door (SWB Gamma).

* Skyhawk: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra compact 3-door/5-door (SWB Delta).

* Skylark: Rebadged next gen Opel Astra compact sedan/wagon (SWB Delta).

* Regal: Rebadged current gen Opel Insignia midsize sedan/wagon (SWB Epsilon).

* Invicta: Flagship midsize sedan (LWB Epsilon); the upcoming Eps II LaCrosse renamed "Invicta" for the North American market.

* Centieme: Rebadged next gen Opel Meriva subcompact MPV (LWB Gamma); styling based on recent Meriva Concept.

* Terraza: Rebadged next gen Opel Zafira compact MPV (LWB Delta).

* Rendezvous: Rebadged next gen Opel Antara (SWB Theta).

* Rainier: Midsize crossover (LWB Theta).

* Enclave: Large crossover (Lambda).

Cadillac: Luxury Flagship Division.

* Calais: Compact sedan/wagon/coupe (SWB Alpha).

* Seville: Midsize sedan/wagon/coupe (LWB Alpha).

* Eldorado: Flagship 2-seat luxury coupe (Y-body).

* Escalade: Fullsize SUV.

The Other Brands:

* Hummer: Sell it if possible.

* Saab: Sell it if possible.

* Saturn: Discontinue. I think it will cost more to attempt to keep it going in the long term than to shut it down.

* Pontiac: If the brand is more popular than Chevrolet in Canada, then make it the mainstream volume brand in Canada. The brand would be discontinued in the U.S.

* GMC: Make this division the designated outlet for commercial grade vehicles.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buick is not the problem! GM screwed Buick over by not supplying models. They have been starved. Buick has great potential. It seems to me that people are against Buick because of the China connection. For years Buick has had some great concepts but because of GM's stupidity they have never surfaced.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Buick is not the problem! GM screwed Buick over by not supplying models. They have been starved. Buick has great potential.

You're also describing what happened to Saturn as well, so I don't see why it shouldn't matter that it happened to one division and not the other.

People are against Buick, people are against Saturn, and no matter what GM tried to do to turn things around it didn't resonate well with the public.

Both brands lost their focus, both got shafted, and both have tried to turn around with GM's latest efforts with no rightful success. Sucks when you Buick fans get hit in the face with hard truth, like us Saturn fans have.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're also describing what happened to Saturn as well, so I don't see why it shouldn't matter that it happened to one division and not the other.

People are against Buick, people are against Saturn, and no matter what GM tried to do to turn things around it didn't resonate well with the public.

Both brands lost their focus, both got shafted, and both have tried to turn around with GM's latest efforts with no rightful success. Sucks when you Buick fans get hit in the face with hard truth, like us Saturn fans have.

I have a beautiful low mileage Maui blue '90 Reatta sitting in my driveway as we speak. Buick has a real shot back in the late '80's and squandered it. Or more correctly I would guess that GM squandered it for them. They were attempting to do what Cadillac has successfully done in rebuilding their image as something other than an old mans car line. The Regal T-Type turbos, the Reatta, the Grand Nationals were all contenders. The '88 & '89 Reattas all had touch screen controls and in '90 they dumbed them down to standard buttons thinking it was too high tech for their demographic. IMO they have been sliding downhill ever since. Oh I also had an '81 Skylark that was a 4 speed stick. Loved that car.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get what your saying, but I'm saying that what may be true for Buick, is also true for Saturn, and what's also true for Pontiac if you think about it. GM screwed up, bottom line. If it wants to keep screwing up, it should just offer multiple versions of the same car across the board, as opposed to focusing each brand to conform to a set market.

In my opinion, Saturn should be premium entry, a la VW

Pontiac should be performance-oriented

Buick should be entry lux

None of them should stray from that, but since they have, it's up to GM to correct the paths of these divisions. Witho9ut doing so will, not might, but will put them into a chapter 11 faster than anything else. You can downsize, eliminate divisions, execs, etc. but the inevitable will happen regardless. GM must change their ways, correct their bad habits, or not live to rule again. Simple as that.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In my opinion, Saturn should be premium entry, a la VW

Pontiac should be performance-oriented

Buick should be entry lux

They tried that, it didn't work. GM is spending more money than they bring in to try to keep all these brands going and it still isn't enough. What bothers me is GM won't make the hard decisions (something they could have started a year or so ago before running out of cash). There should be a greater sense of urgency and more elaborate plan on how to "right size" the company. If they don't do it, the government is going to force them to bankruptcy and do it for them. And that may not turn out great.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What GM needed for years in more marketing and the know how to actually manage its brand. If they weren't so retarded and spent the money when they had it on developing product for the brands, making them focused and such, they'd be in a lot better shape. Better late than never I suppose.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A real problem many companies have is not accepting an idea, method or technology that they themselves didnt develop. I am sure it is a huge issue in a company as big as GM.

I am a network guy. I run our companies network and for a few years I built networks for customers when our company had a network integration division. I set up dozens of networks for medium size businesses and trust me when i say they suffered terrible from the same problem of not accepting 'outside' ideas.

But my point is that GM should be looking at what other car companies are doing that is successful and emulating it.

Cadillac should be going after the Mercedes Benz customer base. Yeah they will have to get their act together on using quality materials and dump all the cheap looking plastic $h! but they could do it if they chose to. MB doesnt have a lock on nice looking wood and quality leather for interiors, trust me. My last car was a corvette and with less than 100k miles on it the leather seats were falling apart and the rubber weatherstripping was embarassing it looked so bad.

Pontiac should be stealing every good idea that BMW has had for the last 20 years and using it to their benefit.

Chevy should be going after Toyota hot and heavy.

But they dont because those are not 'their' ideas.

'Didnt come from here....'.

Like I said I am a network guy not a marketing guy. But damnit America invented the auto industry! We have nobody but ourselves to blame when someone else eats our lunch.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What they should look at and copy is:

Ford-Mercury-Lincoln

Honda-Acura

Scion-Toyota-Lexus

Nissan-Infiniti

Mini-BMW-Rolls Royce

VW-Audi-Bentley (and Bugatti and Lambo)

3 tier brands work. 8 brands with 5 or 6 operating in the same segment of $20-$30k cars does not.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ford-Mercury-Lincoln
I personally wouldn't...

Mini-BMW-Rolls Royce
Now that's a good thing to copy because all these brands have very, very sharp focus. I think a 4th brand fits in here, but it won't happen because the BMW Group won't be able to get the acquisition financing it would need for that 4th brand...

VW-Audi-Bentley (and Bugatti and Lambo)
You forgot Seat and Skoda :AH-HA_wink:
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that's a good thing to copy because all these brands have very, very sharp focus. I think a 4th brand fits in here, but it won't happen because the BMW Group won't be able to get the acquisition financing it would need for that 4th brand...

Where will the 4th one fit? Below Mini? How many vehicles do you envision and what would be its target market?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where will the 4th one fit? Below Mini? How many vehicles do you envision and what would be its target market?
Above MINI and somewhat parallel to BMW, offering turbocharged 4-cylinder sport-luxury cars with a very sharply focused "green" image. It's targeted at those who want a "green" image, practicality and styling that reflects that set of Values. I don't see it selling more than MINI's volume, but I think BMW could pull it as they did with MINI.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Above MINI and somewhat parallel to BMW, offering turbocharged 4-cylinder sport-luxury cars with a very sharply focused "green" image. It's targeted at those who want a "green" image, practicality and styling that reflects that set of Values. I don't see it selling more than MINI's volume, but I think BMW could pull it as they did with MINI.

People concerned about 'green' are buying those butt ugly Prius's faster than Toyota can build them. My MB gets a hair under 30 MPG highway, my Reatta gets 25 MPG highway and my corvette (now my sons) got 35 MPG highway in 6th gear using cruise control. How many people would even suspect that the corvette is the most 'green' of that bunch? How many Prius owners would even believe it? And Im not talking EPA mileage figures. I am talking what I got on multiple road trips. How many people concerned about 'green' would buy the 'vette? And why is that aforementioned butt ugly Prius selling 10 times as much as the hybrid Camrys or Escapes? Because the Prius is recognizable a hundred miles off as a hybrid. Will a Prius owner even consider a hybrid Tahoe or Escalade? Of course not. A hybrid 'sports car' wont sell for crap. Sportiness isnt a priority for people overly about 'green'. They just want to look like they are 'green'. Your opinions may vary. ^_^

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
People concerned about 'green' are buying those butt ugly Prius's faster than Toyota can build them. My MB gets a hair under 30 MPG highway, my Reatta gets 25 MPG highway and my corvette (now my sons) got 35 MPG highway in 6th gear using cruise control. How many people would even suspect that the corvette is the most 'green' of that bunch? How many Prius owners would even believe it? And Im not talking EPA mileage figures. I am talking what I got on multiple road trips. How many people concerned about 'green' would buy the 'vette? And why is that aforementioned butt ugly Prius selling 10 times as much as the hybrid Camrys or Escapes? Because the Prius is recognizable a hundred miles off as a hybrid. Will a Prius owner even consider a hybrid Tahoe or Escalade? Of course not. A hybrid 'sports car' wont sell for crap. Sportiness isnt a priority for people overly about 'green'. They just want to look like they are 'green'. Your opinions may vary. ^_^

I didn't write Hybrid, I wrote "green" which can be achieved through lower displacement engines, which do get better mileage if you're mostly driving around town (as people outside the US do most of the time); lighter-weight materials; something like BMW's Efficient Dynamics...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BMW wants a 4th brand because they need to meet CAFE and CO2 targets. The can't realistically expand mini too much without ruining it. Some would say the Mini crossover has gone too far already. The can't green up BMW much more than they have without ruining it. So they think they need a new brand to target the green standards they need to meet without compromising the existing brands.

Cadillac and Mercedes can build a car as green as they want—fuel-cell, plug-in, electric, it doesn't matter because the only real brand values are money, personal power and style. A price-no-object green vehicle of any size is not a problem. For that matter a purely electric Rolls-Royce is entirely within character—who wouldn't fail to be impressed by a virtually silent Silver Spirit wafting up to a luxury hotel on electric power alone. But of course while you can build green Cadillacs and Mercedes in volume, you can't do that with Rolls-Royce. So BMW needs a brand it can both sell in reasonable volume and green up to the hilt. Triumph doesn't work, that's more-or-less a cheaper English version of BMW.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

Loading...