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GM moves quickly to realign brands


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By Jason Stein
Automotive News / September 05, 2005


DETROIT -- General Motors is moving quickly to realign its Buick-Pontiac-GMC retail channel, GM's top marketing executive says.

Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing in North America, last week told a group of Wall Street analysts that GM wants 80 percent of its Buick, Pontiac and GMC sales volume to be handled by one channel.

"We've accelerated plans by two years to get there," LaNeve said.

He did not disclose GM's time frame.

As part of its restructuring plan in North America, GM has said it will encourage dealerships to put Pontiac, Buick and GMC under one roof.

GM says 56 percent of its Buick, Pontiac and GMC volume is sold by stores carrying all three brands, up from 51 percent last year.

LaNeve said the automaker is trying to match buyers and sellers case by case.

"It is not being done by a specific program where we align certain dollar amounts," LaNeve said. "Every market is a separate story. Every dealership is a separate story. But we're moving very steadily down this path."

As of Jan. 1, Buick had 198 stand-alone dealerships, GMC had 168 stand-alones and Pontiac had 110. There were 784 Buick-Pontiac-GMC stores and 245 Pontiac-GMC stores.

Lynn Thompson, co-owner of Thompson Pontiac-GMC-Cadillac-Saab in Springfield, Mo., says he has spent years trying to negotiate with a single-point, family-owned Buick dealer in his town. Both parties are still too far apart on price.

Thompson has not been contacted by a GM mediator, but he would be interested in trying to make the deal.

"If I could add Buick to my store, along with GMC and Pontiac, I would really be able to cover everybody," he says. "Without Buick, I'm not dealing with all of the market."
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Buick, Pontiac and GMC. Such an amazing combo, full of world class vehicles with not a hint of rebadging done.  <_<

Solstice aside, these brands need a makeover asap.


With the three of them paired, they should just drop all similar cars..
just a few interesting notes:
NO SUVs for Pontiac or Buick!
Keep the vibe around, but base it off the delta.
Keep the Park Avenue name around, make it RWD and make it so much like a cadillac to drive, but make it buick on the skin.
Pursuit should stay around, but make it different from the cobalt
GMC should make their trucks way different than chevrolet, make everything chrome!
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There's a stand-alone GMC dealer not too far from me. I need to get a pic of it- it's looks like it hasn't changed in a good 4 decades (with the obvious exception of the vehicles parked out front)... and it sounds like a big change is in store for it.


Please do! Youngbloods like me have no recollection of such things. :)
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Here is a story of how this is taking place in the real world: We have 2 dealers; a Cadillac-Pontiac-GMC franchise (Of which I know the owner pretty well) and a Buick-Saab franchise which also happened to be paired with VW, Audi, Porsche, Lotus, Isuzu and Mitsubishi at one time.

The Dealer who had Buick & Saab sold off Mitsubishi, in a bid to be more of a "premium" dealership (Which is what they're known for anyway since they're uptown) and I guess they were planning on just dropping Isuzu.

But anyway, the Cadillac-Pontiac-GMC dealership BEGAN selling Cadillacs way back in the 40s and bought Pontiac & GMC on down the line so naturally, combined with the margins, this made them reluctant to forfeit the Cadillac part of the franchise. They've been approached by GM for years about various things to do with the Cadillac franchise such as GM giving them the option to either sell it (At that time GM was trying to pair Cadillac with Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile was down the road at the Mercedes-Chrysler-Jeep-Plymouth dealership that actually ended up buying the affore mentioned "premium" dealerships Mitsubishi franchise) or trade the "premium" dealership for the Buick franchise therefore making a Pontiac-GMC-Buick channel and pairing Cadillac with Saab at the "premium" dealership.

The owner would never budge though. So finally, right after GM announced the enhanced consolidation of Pontiac, Buick and GMC. The Cadillac-Pontiac-GMC franchise apparently brokered a deal to buy both the Saab and Buick franchises from the "premium" dealership.

This is good and bad.

Good because it creates 1) a GM megastore of sorts with more power over local media and advertising/influence and 2) because it creates 2 GM channels; Pontiac-Buick-GMC and Cadillac-Saab.

Bad because 1) I'm not so sure the facilities and resources at this dealership can adequately handle 5 GM divisions, especially luxury buyers and 2) Because we're losing exposure to an audience that GM really needs to be targeting at the "premium" dealership.

It probably helped sales and perceptions if people came into the "premium" dealership looking for a VW or Audi and came out impressed with a Saab or Buick. But, seriously how many of these people do you think will actually go to a GM dealership, especially when GM is screaming dime store cheap at the top of their lungs trying to clear out GMC SUVs, and then talking premium image and prices out the other side of their mouth about a 'fine' Saab.

The moral of the story: GM needs to do a lot more to improve things than just grouping dealers.
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Make all Buicks rebadged and decontented Cadillacs. Make GMC the luxury truck maker and leave Cadillac to cars. Keep the Solstice and GTO around to satisfy the small and midsize needs, then give Pontiac a kick-ass, high volume Zeta. Kill the rest.  :ph34r:


yeah, GMC should get the Escalade... Cadillac needs no truck!
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yeah, GMC should get the Escalade... Cadillac needs no truck!

GMC already has the Denali...same thing with better styling, IMHO. I don't care for the Escalade, but it has been a big success for Cadillac... I certainly wouldn't mess with that formula now. It brings in a different group of buyers than the Cadillac car models.
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i think that gm should DROP saab. it has no purpose. they didnt get tech or ideas from them and they are watering down the company by selling reskinned gm and subie products there. the only argument would be that they needed an inroad to europe, but that is what opel is for.
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