• Jul 7, 2008
FOLLOW UP: Tony Cervone, a GM spokesperson, has told Bloomberg that HUMMER is the only brand the General is considering selling or closing.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that General Motors is looking to cut thousands of white-collar jobs and sell, or stop production, of some if its brands. The General has supposedly set 2010 as a target for its return to profitability, but the automaker has never announced any details on how it plans to achieve that goal.

GM's management team will be meeting with the board early next month to discuss raising additional cash, and that could mean seriously pruning GM's bloated brand portfolio. HUMMER is supposedly already on the block, but Chevrolet and Cadillac – brands at the core of GM's business – are likely safe from the ax. However, Buick, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn, which haven't fared well during the biggest U.S. sales slump in 15 years, could possibly be sold or killed completely.

While it deserves note that all of this information comes from unnamed WSJ sources, GM's recent stock plunge and abysmal June sales numbers means something has to be done, and quick. If that entails cutting underperforming brands, so be it -- nostalgia be damned.

[Source: WSJ (Sub. Req.) via Reuters]


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  • 52 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      As mentioned above, GMC really needs to be killed as it is the most redundant.
      Pontiac is killed and the G8 is rebadged as the next Impala and the G8 ST, or whatever its called- rebadged as the El Camino.
      Saturn will do better once they thin out the brand and start offering complete Opels instead of "Americanized" Opels- read: fatter, heavier.
      Chevy just needs to update its lineup. There haven't been significant changes to Chevy's cars in quite some time.
      Hummer doesn't need to be killed or sold, its a niche brand. The H2 does need to be either slimmed down of killed altogether (Volt style powertrain?)
      Buick has too much brand cache, its been around since before GM
      SAAB- sold back to the swedes
      Cadillac- no problems there, just kill the Escalade
        • 6 Years Ago
        You must not realize that in order to "Americanize" an Opel or other European vehicle requires alot of re-engineering to meet US safety specs. That is why they get heavier.

        Certain aspects of fuel system integrity and occupant safety are more challenging here and to fix this on an already-developed vehicle means adding mass.

        Of course GM is now making any new architecture meet all global requirements so every new vehicle will already contain the extra mass to do this, even in markets where it doesn't need to. Sort of a double edged sword.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sell Saab back to the Swedes and can GMC. Don't can Saturn but simply rebrand all of the Vauxhall cars and replace the current junk Saturn lineup.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I assume you mean Opel's, not Vauxhall's. But, in either case, Saturn's lineup is already 80% rebadged Opels. The lone exception is the Saturn Outlook. Everything else has an Opel version overseas.

        Vauxhall's on the other hand, are also basically rebadged Opels but are sold only in the UK. In fact, if you go to Opel's main website and click on Great Britain, it redirects you to Vauxhall's website. Try it yourself, http://www.opel.com/flash.html

        Not exactly sure what your comment was meaning to say since it's pretty much already happened.

        It also seems that you feel that the current rebages are junk, so we should replace them with another set of rebadges of the same cars with a different brand name. Is that correct?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think any of the cutting or downsize of any of GM's brands is entirely their fault. GM has been too hell bent for years on how to out SUV the other companies which I knew this would end up coming to this, by blowing up in their face. How long did America think they could keep getting deeply discounted oil to make cheap gas? I have had at least one economical car in my driving fleet since I was 16. I am 33 now.

      Now onto the brands. It is fact of course Chevrolet and Cadillac are safe. Though I think Chevrolet's small car portfolio blows at the moment. Cobalt, Aveo..... need I say more? Looking at its competiton, the Honda Civic blows the Cobalt so far out of the water it is not funny. Volkswagen's Rabbit offers a lot for the money and has scored extremely well in Consumer Reports reliability and JD Power's APEAL surveys. Toyota Corolla, although as exciting to look at as a toaster, is new for this year and will last for eons while delivering great gas mileage.

      Chevrolet needs to spend cash on small cars that will blow us away rather than dumping millions into one car called the Volt that will sell for $40K and will probably only make like 20K a year if they are lucky. How many of your normal American public, already choking from high gas and food prices, are going to care one bit about a Volt that will set them back around 2 years of hard earned money?? Sure the Volt is a publicity piece, no doubt. But GM I think is using this to later ask the government to get a bailout, saying they had to spend all this money on this car and not the bread and butter vehicles, Mark my Words!

      Caddy is ok.... they are on a road to success from what I see so far, kudos there.

      Now the other brands.... GM ruined Saab since the purchase of them. Hopefully judging from some of the cool concepts, maybe they can find a good suitor to purchase them and carry on the concept designs into some reality. I mostly miss the original Saab 900. That car was bullet proof and could be driven everywhere, anyhow and was distinct. There was no mistaken it on the road.

      GMC needs to be put to pasture, period. They are nothing but Chevy clones. And any other vehicles they produce in the heavy duty category can be re-badged as Chevy's (we already know GM excels at re-badging so this would not be an issue.)

      Buick and Pontiac.... Hmmm... these are harder to decide upon. I have no love for Buick, but I do see they have a place in the heart of our Senior community and golfers. My thing is, once these generations pass on, I can not for the likes of me see anyone my age, or a little older or younger, care one bit for Buick's. So maybe this is a brand to look at here in the next 15 or so years to ax. Pontiac, if re marketed correctly, could be the ultimate performance division. Offering all levels of fun and performance. The Vibe is a good offering already, keep the G8, make a new G6 that is more stylish and sexy, NO COBALT CLONE, and for god sake's no SUVS!!!! Keep Solstice and hell bring over a version of the Astra, like the Astra CC or a 2 door Astra and give it the hot performance motor.

      Saturn I am not sure of, they have just started its Renaissance so it is hard yet to see how it will fare in the long run..... give it a few years then decide.

      HUMMER, RIP. No other comments for that company.

      I think basically GM has been caught with pants down, much like Ford and Chrysler. Had they been, since day one, working on nice attractive, fun to drive small cars that got great gas mileage, they would not be in this predicament. I am afraid only time will tell....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kill off everything but Cadillac and Chevrolet. The other divisions are extraneous. But they will have to payoff/bribe the dealers to get this done. And there isn't enough money available to do the bribes and keep GM running. So it still looks like Bankruptcy for GM ultimately. The guys running gm are real losers. They haven't make a profit selling cars for eons. Time for them to go bye bye. Hope they can at least get chapter 11. But remember they have to have some real cash to do a chapter 11. Hope Redink Rick doesn't waste too much time...What am I saying, all RIR does is waste time!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmm, seems like the WSJ has been trying to stir the pot quite a bit lately. Maybe Mr. Murdoch has determined that all those Pulitzers aren't worth much if they don’t' increase circulation and online subscriptions.

      Two stories in less than a week: one about bankruptcy and another about massive layoffs and brands being axed; Each from anonymous sources.

      Curious how official statement and there is no other news agencies back them up. Every one is saying the report of "unverified". GM's stock drop can be easily verified.

      Sounds like all too common media influence.

      But if you are rich like Mr. Murdoch, buying GM at $7 after your news agency and watching it climb back up to $25 where it should be is quite a nice profit.

      Think what you like but at least question the sources...
      • 6 Years Ago
      "actually Saturn's sales arent doing too bad so far this year. Does anyone do any research before posting?"

      Saturn: Has never turned a net profit since inception. 17,000 (approx) sales a month, 204,000 a year. There is no way Saturn can show a profit with those numbers.

      You can use % anytime you'd like to indicate a trend, it's the real numbers that count.

      Some of the % increases at Saturn are from more models in the mix and still more to come.

      It's time to stop playing games, Saturn, Hummer (while profitable on a per unit basis) need to be culled from the herd along with the associated costs.

      We've all waited long enough for Saturn to turn a profit, it's time to stop whishing and hoping.

      • 6 Years Ago
      actually Saturn's sales arent doing too bad so far this year. Does anyone do any research before posting? Other sites have said either Buick or GMC could be cut and my money would be on GMC since they sell nothing but trucks. Cutting Saturn or evern Buick/Pontiac would be stupid since they focuse primarily on cars. Since Saturn has two hybrids already and a two mode Vue coming out I cant see GM cutting them and retaining GMC or Saab.
        Jvijil
        • 6 Years Ago
        i think saab should be eliminated right away....they had a chance to compete with volvo but GM kinda blew it :(. hummer could have had a chance at being an offroad truck maker like jeep but i think it may be too late for that. GMC is basically selling rebranded chevys so that never made sense to begin with. GM has put alot of money recently into Pontiac and Saturn and even buick so i think they may be safe. it will probably be GMC, Saab, and Hummer on the auction blocks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think they would kill GMC. What about their medium duty trucks? They can't just turn them into Chevys. These trucks are sold and serviced at truck dealers along with Internationals, Mack, Freightliners etc. Maybe they could end the light duty GMC trucks and suv's and sell them as Chevy's. I don't think they should kill of the medium duty trucks. They make good trucks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        SAAB has some good engineering that it would be dumb to let go unless they do with it like they did with Alison Transmission. They kept the rights and group that came up with the two mode hybrid and sold everything else. They should keep SAAB Engineering (fictional division) and sell SAAB name, production and dealerships if they must.

        GMC should only be kept if they plan to stay in the commercial truck business. Chevy should sell all their light duty trucks. I would have suggested that Chevy sell no trucks and GMC sell all GM's trucks except there are way more Chevy dealers and Chevy faithfuls for that.

        Saturn should sell all three of the small cars they have been talking about (Beat, Trax and whatever the third one is) Add some others or variations but don't go crazy with all too many models or get to big in size of cars.

        Buick needs to live for no other reason than the second largest world market seems to like them. Maybe just Chevy and Buick in China. Not really needed in the U.S.

        Pontiac should go.

        Now the only question is how much will it cost to get rid of BPG in America.

        Maybe any GM dealer should be able to import select (i.e. any that meet U.S. regulations) Opel/Holden vehicles. And keep the name (Opel or Holden and not rebadge them a different name) Those millions of people coming to America every year will have something familiar to buy. Make sure the Opel and Holden signs are viewable at every GM dealer. It is a global market now and people like what they are familiar with. Plus it may intrigue enough import oriented buyers to stop in and shop for GM's imports.




        • 6 Years Ago
        I won't give my opinion in ways of who should get axed/sold. However let's stick with the facts. 1) GM bites off more than it could chew due to mismanagement. Someone on the inside is messin' up BIG TYME!!! 2) Most of GM's everyday, practical, affordable products are lack-luster and don't deliver anything that's innovative (this of course excludes Cadillac, Hummer, the Corvette, etc.). 3) Build quality! As a whole Consumer's Report stated Japanese build the most reliable automobiles. And from there it just gets ugly. It then goes to US auto manufacturers, then the Germans. For the most part, all you really see on the road are Toyotas and Hondas (Lexus and Acuras respectively) along with other foreign brands and let's not forget about Hyndai. They've stepped up and are are still steppin'! 4) There can only be one alpha-male. In the US economy none of Detroit's big three are it (sad to say)! Not all, but some people settled for domestic cars 'cause of there special pricing or rebates that Japanese companies would never be caught dead at selling their cars!!! Some others just like "good ol' American engineering"! GM cuts corners to stay in the game. Performance, tech-wise, reliability and innovation wrapped into a single car or truck. GM will never be able to hang. Maybe one day they can prove me wrong!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago

      But if GM kills some brands, it does not mean that loyal buyers of those cars will move over to GM's other brands. They might simply move over to some competitor causing GM to lose many sales. When Olds was axed many loyal Oldsmobile customers moved over to other companies like Toyota.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Precisely.

        My parents and grandparents used to buy Oldsmobile (Delta 88, Regency 98, Cutlass 442, Bravada, Aurora) all the time. When the dealership closed they drifted away from GM.

        My dad now drives a Chrysler T&C Minivan
        My sister bought a BMW Mini
        My brother bought a smart car
        I recently traded my VW Beetle convertible for a Honda Civic Hybrid.

        Does GM care? I don't think they will go down that road again. The billion dollars it cost to close Oldsmobile has ballooned into $2 billion with litigation pending.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just returned from the dealership that proudly takes care of my GM vehicles and was told that there is talk of GM going bankrupt! One of the problems is GM has over-stayed their welcome with the brand re-engineering thing, internally cannibalizing their successful brands. GM also takes way too long to bring product to market such as the Beat, Traxx and Groove vehicles. These vehicles must acheive 50mpg when they are introduced for public consumption in 2012 or else they will be considered the New Gas Guzzler with fuel at 7 bucks a gallon! The Camaro has taken entirely too long to bring to market! Everyone knows the 1st year run of the Camaro is still going to be riddled with recalls and unexplained design problems eventhough it has taken close to 4 years from concept to consumer. It is a disgrace for the titled largest automaker in the world to be only worth 6 billion dollars, leaving it open for an overseas private equity firm to snap them up like someone shopping at a supermarket!
        • 6 Years Ago
        What?

        GM is the 5th largest company in the world worth about 181.122 Billion. Unless Wal-Mart, Exxon, BP, or Shell plan on picking up an auto manufacturer; you can rest easy that no overseas private equity firm can afford this company.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The market cap of GM is less than $6 billion. Not sure where you got $180 billion - maybe you're thinking sales? For the sake of comparison, Toyota's market cap is around $146 billion, or ~25 times larger than GM's.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Kill GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab. Buick is too important in China to kill it now. I like Saab but since Opel/Vauxhall is moving upmarket and Chevy is now the entry level brand there is no longer a need for Saab. Maybe PSA would be interested into buying Saab. Sell Hummer to M&M.
      Plus, GM needs to work faster to bring the Beat or Corsa style cars to the US. 2012 is too late and the Aveo will not hold for that long with the new Fit coming at the end of this year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Buick should have been killed years ago, and they should have kept oldsmobile.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Saturn - Kill, all those on here saying they like it drive japan cars and will never buy something from gm.... never made profit in 20 yrs never will importing ovals with weak dollars only makes problem worse move any successful brands to pontiac but make them sportier and nicer

      Buick - keep make these luxurious chevys with lower hp and better mpg then cady

      Gmc - keep as work trucks

      Pontiac- keep this brand has some great cars and is more appealing to younger buyers then saturn style/performance/fuel economy

      Hummer - sell or kill it would take too much $$$ to make this brand good for gm
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