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roopull

What's with all the brands?

15 posts in this topic

One of the things I admire about the Toyota corporation is their clearcut brand identities. Unlike GM, who acquired all of these varying brands via buyouts, Toyota acquired brands by creating them to fill a void they saw in thier line-up. That puts Toyota at a distinct advantage over GM which has to balance the future of any brand identity with the brand's history. All Toyota has to do with its brands is deal with the future. For example, when Pontiac relaesed a Mini-van, people booed & hissed because THAT wasn't what Pontiac was supposed to be. Toyota makes Lexus whatever they want... there is no history to contend with.

With that, they have a very well defined set of brands:

Hino - commercial vehicles, trucks, etc...

Toyota - the bread & butter catch-all brand

Lexus- luxury

Scion - entry level/youth.

I look at the GM brands & am just befuddled. Of every car company out there managing different brands, I think GM has the most difficult lot to manage.

Judging by the way things are now, I'm assuming these descriptions fit the brands... correct me if I'm wrong...

Caddy - top luxury

Buick - luxury, but below Caddy

Pontiac - sporty cars

Saturn - not sure... import fighter?

Chevy - GM's Toyota, a catch-all brand.

GMC - commercial vehicles

Hummer - Mega-SUVs... Jeep on steroids

Saab - Euro-Buick? Euro-Saturn?

I'll leave out Holden Vauxhall & Opel so I don't have a siezure.

Anyone else see a problem here? GM is scared to kill off a brand because of intense loyalties. However, I feel that by 'building confusion' (thanks Flint,) they're turning customers away.

Agree?

If so, how would you clean it up? Putting your loyalties aside, how would you clean up the GM brand mess, if at all?

Personally, I'd model them after what Toyota has done... not sure which brands I'd keep & which ones I'd can... but, I suppose Caddy would have to be the luxury brand, Chevy the catch-all, and GMC the commercial brand. I suppose that'd leave Saturn or Pontiac as the brand for entry level/youth marketed cars.

You?

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Disregarding their current relevance to the industry, this is where I'd LIKE to see GMs brands.

Cadillac > High-end sports Luxury, think Benz / BMW

Buick > soft, smooshy luxury, think Lexus

Pontiac > premium sporty cars, think up-scale Mazdas

Saturn > premium family offerings, think upper-trim Jap Big 3

Chevrolet > High-volume family vehicles, think low-mid trim Jap Big 3

GMC > premium SUV/trucks

Hummer and Saab are just niche sales at this point, and don't really fit anywhere

Edited by bowtie_dude

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Toyota makes Lexus whatever they want... there is no history to contend with.

Dude, the reason there's a "lexus" is BECAUSE of toyota's history.

When a small company has aspirations to become a big one, multiple brands are a common practice. toyta has gone from 1 to 5; who's to say if they're done yet?

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Dude, the reason there's a "lexus" is BECAUSE of toyota's history.

When a small company has aspirations to become a big one, multiple brands are a common practice. toyta has gone from 1 to 5; who's to say if they're done yet?

You missed my point.

Toyota can do with Lexus what they want. If they want Lexus to be like the Germans, they can do that. If they want them to be like Buicks, they can do that. They don't have a LEXUS history to grapple with.

On the other hand, GM MUST grapple with the history & chache each of its brands brings with them, except for maybe Saturn, since they just made that up on the fly.

Lexus is whatever Toyota makes it. Cadillac is whatever GM makes it, mixed iwth the last almost 100 years of Cadillac history.

DAIHATSU... I was referring more to American brands, which is why I left out Opel, Vauxhall & Holden. They cater to entirely different markets for different reasons. However, had Daihatsu been successful in America, I sincerely doubt there'd be a Scion brand...

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Cadillac's history is full of luxurious, prestigious cars. They never had a history of SUVs, but that hasn't stopped them from selling every Escalade that they build.

I think that a brand's history is something for the brand to draw on, to use as inspiration for future products, not as something to hold a brand back. And if a certain car isn't part of a brand's history, it can never become part of it unless it's built and sold.

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If they built cars that were more relevant and less 'brand managed', they'd be in much better shape...Trucks are the new XL 'merican mobile, check out the acres of chrome on most luxo-trucks...

Just make great stuff, invent niches, be aggressive...that's what needs to be done. Forget Divisional BS...you're 'dividing' a smaller pie each day.

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You missed my point. 

Toyota can do with Lexus what they want. 

They don't have a LEXUS history to grapple with.

Lexus is whatever Toyota makes it. 

...had Daihatsu been successful in America, I sincerely doubt there'd be a Scion brand...

sigh...

I didn't miss your point; you are looking at it too closely. toyota HAD to create 'lexus' on the fly because it could not do whatever it wanted with 'toyota'. Same deal with scion- it was toyota's history that prevented success had those models been positioned under 'toyota'. Yes; now that these extra brands were 'made up on the fly' very recently, they themselves have no history. Needless to say.

Still & further- any brand can be reinvented to mean something else and turn it's back on it's own history, if the product works. Has happened numerous times in the past.

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as long as all the brands are different whats the problem? theyre all differentiated to some extent, perhaps theyve been homogenized more recently, but are again moving in different directions so what gives? how come this bothers you. its not personal, if anything it was a matter of finances but again its working itself out and becoming more clearly defined.

chevy as a catch all? see the USA in your chevrolet. thats older thn i am. i think that chevy is relatively established and is trying to be unseated or dethroned however you want to look at it. if anything, toyota has been copying the generals game plan so again, what gives? only recently, too, so perhaps they missed the memo on how to conquer the world. nevertheless, it seems to be working quite well for toyota.

as far as names go...

lets see. chevy tahoe.

toyota sequoia

theres a suburban-- and then the land-cruiser... maybe toyota has been doing their homework. a little psy ops perhaps.

everyone else made all the other good points already, thats what was left.

see above.

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I didn't miss your point; you are looking at it too closely. toyota HAD to create 'lexus' on the fly because it could not do whatever it wanted with 'toyota'. Same deal with scion- it was toyota's history that prevented success had those models been positioned under 'toyota'. Yes; now that these extra brands were 'made up on the fly' very recently, they themselves have no history. Needless to say.

Ah... I see where we're talking past each other, now. I should have clarified by differentiating between the Toyota Corporation (which, of course includes the Toyota brand, Scion, Lexus, Hino & Daihatsu) and the Toyota brand of cars... My mistake. Methinks we see eye to eye.

Mr.Krinkle,

If you don't see what the problem is, how would you define the focus of each of GM's brands? I'm not being a smarta$$ here... I truly find them to be muddied & unclear. Toyota Corps' brands are crystal clear in their focus & it's easy to see how they are designed to NOT compete with each other.

FWIW, I'm no Toyota fan... in fact, I've never owned a Toyota product. If it weren't for the reliability reputation, I sincerely doubt many folks would opt for a Lexus ES over a CTS. I find their vehicles largely to be dull... they are simply very very reliable appliances with all the sex appeal of appliances. However, their business plan is clearly bulletproof & I think GM could learn a thing or two from them (obviously, as you point out, Toyo has learned a thing or two from GM!)

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'Competeing with each other' is extremely difficult to define with hard data. We're told GM's family cars do this in the middle ground, yet someone show me this in numbers between recent Olds & Buicks. I saw first year scion quarterly numbers and while they were of solid volume, the bulk of toyota car volume took a hit, some well into the double-digits- the prius was the big exception. How could anyone say a scion in the same showrom doesn't affect the volume of the corolla? And before someone posts numbers before and after, the long-term volume trend must also be considered...

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Glory days oh Glory days.

GM can't justify all these brands while they are still losing market share.

A smart company would pull resources to improve products but not GM. They have to give a little here and there just to prop up all these brands.

Would I like to see any of them go the way of Oldsmobile? No but I don't see GM doing a good job at separating each brand into it's own unigue status.

If Buick is suppose to compete with Lexus then they are doing a pretty piss poor job at it. The Lucerne just got beat by a Hyundai so the idea of competing with Lexus is a joke. Hell, Caddy is still not up to Lexus status yet!

Why do folks think that GM needs a whole brand just to compete with a car from a competitor?

Caddy is a Luxury brand and they should be able to compete with all luxury brands BMW, Mecedes, and Lexus. GM doesn't need Buick to do what a full Caddy lineup should do.

If people want GM to compete with the Chrysler 300 then give Chevy a nice RWD Impala and call it a day.

Plus, why do you need an Excitment Division when Chevy gets an SS version to every car and truck on the lot?

If folks would just realize that if GM spent the resources on Chevy and Caddy instead of Buick and Pontiac, what type of vehicles could be in the pipeline?

Instead of the Buick Enclave the Caddy Enclave with more Luxury and a V version for the hell of it. Even a convertible hardtop of the CTS coupe instead of wasting $$ on a Pontiac.

But, as a shareholder of GM depressed stock, I am well aware of each brands history but times have changed and with more competition coming from China on the horizon, I think it is time for GM to make some hard decisions about the viability of each brand.

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IT IS HARD TO TAKE MY FEELINGS ABOUT THE TWO BRANDS IN QUESTION OUT OF THE EQUATION, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT IF DONE THE PROPER WAY, PONTIAC COULD BE PURE SPORT. I KNOW I AM NOT ALONE IN WANTING TO SEE AN ALL RWD LINE UP FOR PONTIAC. BUT LIKE I SAID =, IT MUST BE DONT HE PROPER WAY. AS FOR BUICK, THE LUCERNE IS THE BEST LOOKING CAR THEY HAVE MADE IN QUITE SOME TIME. FULLY LOADED IT IS NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER CAR.

BUT UNLESS CADDY STEPS THEIR PRODUCTS UP A NOTCH, YOU ARE CORRECT THAT THEY ARE COMPETTING AGAINST THEMSELVES.

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if toyotas brands were so clear then how come the older set are buying up all the scions. arent they supposed to be for gen xyz? or whatever it is.

thats how it starts.

eventually they will not know what to do to please everyone all of the time and things will get murky. or clouded.

chevy--pontiac--buick--cadillac.

thats pretty much the chain of success. caddy will become even more upscale.

buick will continue on in the tradition of olds and buick, sport with luxo and power.

pontiacs will be not only exclusively sporty, but a "step" up from chevy. chevies with an attitude.

and chevy is chevy. what can yoiu say? the car for the any and every man woman child.

time will tell if the turnaround, strike threats, union contracts, concepts cars, and overall plans will be successful. theres a lot going on and it all costs money. im hardly making excuse because its us and them that are paying the price, but i do believe once all the above messiness is tidied up well reap the benefits.

08/09

until then its do the best with what youve got.

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if toyotas brands were so clear then how come the older set are buying up all the scions.  arent they supposed to be for gen xyz?  or whatever it is.

The average buying age for most brands hovers around 50. Why so old? Young people buy used cars... it's that simple. I'm 31 & have yet to buy something new!

While Scion may not have the average age of 25 Toyota may be looking for, they've managed to get it down to 31 years old. IIRC, that's the lowest of any brand. The strategy for Scion was to produce a brand, image & product that would appeal to younger buyers... thereby getting people hooked on the Toyota Corporate product line as early as possible. Considering THAT, Scion has been a roaring success.

I think that if the Xa were dropped from the line-up, the average age would drop even further... those old farts buying these runabouts, I'm sure, skew the average age. As I said elsewhere, I'd like to see what the mode age is - the age of purchaser that occurs most. I wouldn't be surprised if 80% were in thier twenties & 20% were geriatrics, giving an average age of 31...

Chevy-Pontiac-Buick-Caddy... that makes sense to me, although I might put Pontiac below Chevy (afterall, following Chapman's rule for gaining speed, you add lightness... removing all the luxo crap we cram in cars today.) Having Pontiacs be stripper versions of Chevys, except with big engines & sport tuned transmissions would certainly fit the "excitement" mantra, even if betraying Pontiac's more luxurious history.

Of course, I notice a distinct lack of Hummer, Saab, GMC, and Saturn from your line-up. Would you just drop them?

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