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GM to expand global presence


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GM to expand global presence

Ewanick takes on new marketing strategy

Christina Rogers / The Detroit News

With the appointment of its first global marketing chief, General Motors Co. is looking to elevate its global stature and create a more unified marketing strategy.

GM is striving to expand Chevrolet globally as part of its recovery plan and to improve its image, particularly in Europe, where sales have weakened and the Detroit automaker is losing money.

The promotion of Joel Ewanick, the vice president of U.S. marketing, is designed to help bring GM's disparate marketing operations under one boss, giving the automaker a more unified front globally. Ewanick, who arrived at GM in May after making a name for himself at Hyundai Motor Co., assumed the position immediately Friday.

"In a short period of time, with his marketing acumen and creative leadership, Joel has proven to be a vocal advocate for the customer," CEO Daniel Akerson said in a statement.

Ewanick, 50, will work with regional executives to establish a single and consistent image for GM's brands globally, including Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, Holden and Opel, the company said. He will report to Akerson, as well as North American president Mark Reuss.

His appointment reporting directly to the CEO is a sign that Akerson sees marketing as having a stronger position in the company, said Cameron McNaughton, an automotive marketing consultant based in Chapel Hill, N.C.

"It is a change for General Motors, and it reflects their belief that marketing is one of those things that must be leveraged on a global basis," he said. "Joel is a very savvy, savvy marketer."

Since joining the company, Ewanick has spearheaded the launch of a new Chevrolet campaign, sporting the theme line "Chevy Runs Deep" and resumed GM advertising at big events, such as the World Series and the Super Bowl.

"I have a philosophy," Ewanick said in a recent interview with The Detroit News about Chevrolet's upcoming Super Bowl ads. "You can be funny. You can be sad. You can be informative. You just have to do it with confidence."

Formerly Hyundai's chief U.S. marketing executive, Ewanick won national praise with the roll out of the Hyundai Assurance program, which during the recession guaranteed Hyundai buyers could return the car during the first year for a full refund if they lost their jobs.

Once at GM, Ewanick shook up management, dropping GM's long time ad agency Campbell-Ewald and hiring former Hyundai colleague Chris Perry to head up Chevrolet marketing.

With the appointment of a global marketing executive, GM is also taking a page from Ford Motor Co.'s play book, McNaughton said. Over the summer, the Dearborn-based automaker tapped U.S. marketing chief Jim Farley to head up its global marketing, sales and service — a move designed to further CEO Alan Mulally's "One Ford" plan.

Mike Wall, a Grand Rapids-based analyst with consulting firm IHS Automotive, said Ewanick's appointment will help strengthen GM's voice globally, especially in emerging markets where the automaker is gaining momentum.

This year, for instance, GM and its venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., have sold more than 2 million cars and trucks in China.

"China is becoming almost as important as North America," Wall said.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101218/AUTO01/12180343/GM-to-expand-global-presence#ixzz18fGfxjfg

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