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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM pursues 3 million customers left adrift by its upheaval

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THIS ARTICLE BELONGS TO AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

JESSE SNYDER

AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AUGUST 28, 2009 - 4:30 PM ET

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. has set up a special office that will try to retain 3 million "free agents" -- customers that have lost their favorite brand, nameplate or dealership this year.

Julie Heisel is director of customer relationship management. Her new office will attempt to keep these customers within the GM family, said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick and GMC. "It's already up and running," she said.

As GM sells or kills four brands -- Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab -- it will cut its nameplates to 34 from 78 and eliminate more than 1,000 dealers. It needs to make a special effort to make sure separated customers are not alienated, Docherty said today outside a dealer meeting in suburban Detroit.

Heisel, previously director of business planning for sales and service, continues to report to Mark LaNeve.

In addition, Docherty said:

• GM will decide next week which vehicle will get the plug-in hybrid technology that would have been in the Buick crossover killed earlier this month.

• Buick will spend 78 percent more on the LaCrosse launch than it did on the Buick Enclave, although she did not specify how much the Enclave cost was. Buick will shift its advertising message more upscale than its current "Take a Look at Us Now." Said Docherty: "It'll have more of a leadership tone than a parity tone."

• GMC will retain its "Professional Grade" advertising tag line because it is working with the truck-oriented brand's target audience.

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That would do it.

As long as you get to pick the color.....

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They could send me one of the prototypes and I'd be happy at this point.

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Maybe they'd let me have the tailgate or something...

Before they crush it.

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More wasted money.

The ONLY way this will work is if GM offers the product to retain these people through existing brands. And so far, that ain't happenin'

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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More wasted money.

The ONLY way this will work is if GM offers the product to retain these people through existing brands. And so far, that ain't happenin'

Oh, GM is going to lose customers, no matter what .

The true question is going to be how many....

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More wasted money.

The ONLY way this will work is if GM offers the product to retain these people through existing brands. And so far, that ain't happenin'

And they arent going to rebadge the G8 or Solstice, and those were for the most part their two best cars!

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The contingency plan should have been in place LONG AGO to attempt to retain these customers. I have a feeling it all happened too fast. Buick, GMC and Chevrolet should have had vehicles ready to send off the production line to fill gaps left by the tragic loss of Pontiac and the meh loss of Saturn and Hummer. SAAB has such a small presence here, it won't matter as much (although the new 9-5 is a knockout, and the rumored 9-1 looks promising). There is no excuse for this. They all knew what was coming, as far as killing popular brands. Any hope of retaining these loyal customers may have already been lost. Whatever. Good luck to them.
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More wasted money.

The ONLY way this will work is if GM offers the product to retain these people through existing brands. And so far, that ain't happenin'

Correct sir. You hit it right on the head. Ocnblu is correct too. They did not do this for Oldsmobile owners. They do not have anything at the other brands to fill these spots or gaps in the line up.

I was reading two articles last night that talked about the demise of Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis and Town Car. I had this to say:

Ford and GM do not get it sometimes. Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car will die. I have been saying this was coming for months. When these cars go, there will no longer be any traditional large cars anymore. GM is dropping Lucerne and DTS. That only leaves the midsized/fullsized Impala with a bench seat. No other car produced in this country after 2011 will be that long or offer a bench seat. Everything will be midsized or smaller and only offer bucket seats. GM and Ford need to realize there are many out there that would buy a larger car that was six passenger and luxurious. You wonder why people are keeping the cars like this and like mine ? They do not build them anymore. The only thing that comes close or is like that is Holden Caprice, Statesman and Commodore. As you know we do not have that option anymore. Pontiac is out, and GM said they are thinking about selling the Commodore as a police car here.

I cannot believe they have a segment and everyone has walked away from it. The police do not want the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger because they are not durable enough. Some police forces use the Charger. I know Sugarland uses Chargers. I know the front wheel drive Chevrolet Impala is used too, but it has not made any traction in the police market.

I wonder what they will use for limousines in the future because Town Car was used for that and executives and celebrities. The Cadillac that Obama uses is on the Escalade truck chassis and has parts from DTS, STS and Escalade.

The police stated they preferred a larger car with a big trunk(boot) and a column shifter and more. They also said they preferred frame on body cars as opposed to unibody cars too.

The reason I say that is because there are others in other segments who like certain brands and vehicles who have buying needs that will not be met. GM also needs to accept too there are people who will not buy from the existing brands either.

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It will be interesting to see if they have anything real in mind.

It's a tall order to bring folks like me back into the fold.

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And they arent going to rebadge the G8 or Solstice, and those were for the most part their two best cars!

Bingo!

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It will be interesting to see if they have anything real in mind.

It's a tall order to bring folks like me back into the fold.

Not impossible for me, but I'm waiting to see what comes of all of this.

Chris

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The only potential way to get me back is through Chevy, and I don't see anything happening there.

Show me something, GM!

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Ahh...Camino...your like what, 45 or so years old?

Go another 40 years and you'll be ready for a FWD Buick. See...good things DO come to those who wait...a long time...

Chris

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Ahh...Camino...your like what, 45 or so years old?

Go another 40 years and you'll be ready for a FWD Buick. See...good things DO come to those who wait...a long time...

Chris

That will never happen, when I'm ready to go I will still have a RWD.

Not negotiable - ever.

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That will never happen, when I'm ready to go I will still have a RWD.

Not negotiable - ever.

Glad you feel that way...I was just trying to make light of a bad situation.

Chris

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Oh, GM is going to lose customers, no matter what .

The true question is going to be how many....

I agree wholeheartedly. I think they'll drop to around 15% market share overall in a year or two and hover there for a while.

Pontiac and Saturn customers will either buy Fords or Japanese cars (more than likely Japanese cars though - especially everywhere but the Rust Belt).

I've actually seen a lot of new cars (brand new 2009 -2010 cars that still have paper plates on them) on the roads around Houston over the last month or so. Almost every single one of them has been an import. Every once in a blue moon I see GM truck or a Tahoe or something with paper plates. But I'd say that 90% are either Toyota's/Honda's or if they're a luxury car, a Lexus or a Bimmer or something like that. I'm spotting fewer and fewer newly purchased domestics on the road around here. I have seen a few of the new 2010 Fusions on the road (I like them) and of course the new F-150 is very popular here because Texas is just so truck crazy to begin with - but those are the only real "bright spots" I see for the Big 3 around here.

I actually kind of think that some of the conservative talk show hosts who were getting on the air waves and telling people not to buy GM made vehicles because they're "owned by the Govt." has actually worked at killing their sales around here. There are lots of conservative voters in this area that can still go out and buy new cars because the economy here hasn't totally tanked as bad as it has in other parts of the country.

I see GM doing poorly here in Houston for a while.

Who knows, I may be wrong. Clearly just spotting cars with paper plates and noticing that they aren't GM vehicles isn't really that scientific of a way to prove they're doing poorly, but it is somewhat telling.

One word for GM management over the last 20 years - Boneheads.

Edited by gmcbob
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I agree wholeheartedly. I think they'll drop to around 15% market share overall in a year or two and hover there for a while.

Pontiac and Saturn customers will either buy Fords or Japanese cars (more than likely Japanese cars though - especially everywhere but the Rust Belt).

I've actually seen a lot of new cars (brand new 2009 -2010 cars that still have paper plates on them) on the roads around Houston over the last month or so. Almost every single one of them has been an import. Every once in a blue moon I see GM truck or a Tahoe or something with paper plates. But I'd say that 90% are either Toyota's/Honda's or if they're a luxury car, a Lexus or a Bimmer or something like that. I'm spotting fewer and fewer newly purchased domestics on the road around here. I have seen a few of the new 2010 Fusions on the road (I like them) and of course the new F-150 is very popular here because Texas is just so truck crazy to begin with - but those are the only real "bright spots" I see for the Big 3 around here.

I actually kind of think that some of the conservative talk show hosts who were getting on the air waves and telling people not to buy GM made vehicles because they're "owned by the Govt." has actually worked at killing their sales around here. There are lots of conservative voters in this area that can still go out and buy new cars because the economy here hasn't totally tanked as bad as it has in other parts of the country.

I see GM doing poorly here in Houston for a while.

Who knows, I may be wrong. Clearly just spotting cars with paper plates and noticing that they aren't GM vehicles isn't really that scientific of a way to prove they're doing poorly, but it is somewhat telling.

One word for GM management over the last 20 years - Boneheads.

You are in Houston too?

Go to the Galleria area if you want to see new cars.

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The contingency plan should have been in place LONG AGO to attempt to retain these customers. I have a feeling it all happened too fast. Buick, GMC and Chevrolet should have had vehicles ready to send off the production line to fill gaps left by the tragic loss of Pontiac and the meh loss of Saturn and Hummer. SAAB has such a small presence here, it won't matter as much (although the new 9-5 is a knockout, and the rumored 9-1 looks promising). There is no excuse for this. They all knew what was coming, as far as killing popular brands. Any hope of retaining these loyal customers may have already been lost. Whatever. Good luck to them.

You got it ocn.

One reason why Ford is still hanging around....

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"Customer Relationship Management" = we think we can just reinvent ourselves via yet another marketing re-shuffle.

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And they arent going to rebadge the G8 or Solstice, and those were for the most part their two best cars!

And these are where GM has done the biggest disservice to GM fandom.

GM flipped flopped so much on the issue, they should have just continued with the niche plan for Pontiac with those two products, instead of having this boondoggle. Now they have burned the enthusiasts who help guide the sheeple in their mundane Malibu and Camry purchases.

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