• Dec 16, 2008
In a moment that makes us want to put on our most pensive face and say "Yes... that's profound...", Bob Lutz has said "It's really much better to have fewer brands, do it well and then market the hell out of them." Specifically, he's talking about the fact that a car like the Saturn Aura -- Saturn's take on the Chevy Malibu -- hasn't done nearly as well as the Malibu. So far this year the Aura trails the Malibu almost 3-to-1. Why? Because the Malibu got pushed out of the gate with a marketing budget somewhere over the $200 million mark, and the Aura didn't. That is why, according to Lutz, "Three years later, people are still saying 'What's an Aura?'"
We know that GM has the talent to get the job done, but it's this kind of self evident thinking (to us, at least, and not a few of our commentators) that makes us wonder what's been going on in the hallowed halls of the RenCen all this time. GM has said that it might try to rebuild Saturn rather than kill it, but with new spending at Saturn put on hold, if they decide to keep it alive, we sincerely hope they will "market the Hell" out of what they rebuild.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      It all sounds good except for the one-car brands idea.
      What's the point unless the BRANDS THEMSELVES are to be consolidated? Dealership consolidation frankly isn't enough to justify this.
      I think Pontiac should have 4 cars: G8 (along with a low-volume SportWagon), G6 (budget Alpha to ease costs of production), G5 (Cruze-based but with different sheetmetal, only SS/GXP (turbo/DI-thingy) version), and Solstice.
      GMC should only make ladder-frame trucks and have a focus on fuel-efficiency.
      Buick should have 2 models: the LaCrosse and the Enclave. Any sedan larger than the LaCrosse would overlap too much with the large Cadillac (DT7), and the LaCrosse makes a nice Lexus ES competitor (while the CTS competes with the GS, DT7 with LS, ATS (?) with IS).
      • 6 Years Ago
      All right all you saturn dealers, change your dealer saturn logos to a chevy logos. Take your saturn hats off and put chevy ones on. Do a "crtl + f" on all those important documents and replace "saturn" with "chevy".

      Done :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's all double speak. One minute they are going to cut Saturn the next minute it is going to be reborn. GM's management might as well go into politics because they flip flop and double talk like politicians already and like politicians every time they open their mouths I lose respect for them.

      The question that matters is why couldn't GM afford to launch every product with the big splash they did the Malibu?

      Pretty simple. When you build 5 different versions of the same vehicle (Lambda for instance) you can only spend 1/5th as much money on the marketing for each vehicle. In GM's case if seems like they spend 3/5ths on the Chevy model and 2/5ths on the Buick and ignore the others. Most of their competition can spend about half as much to blitz the world about their one model that competes and pocket the rest. To make things worse they keep changing the names to make brand recognition even more difficult. You would be hard pressed to find a non Saturn owner on the street who could remember the name of one or more of their current products.
        • 6 Years Ago
        perhaps... JUST perhaps...saturn will be reborn... as the electric division of GM. I mean think about it it fits more than anything else. I know we got the chevy volt, but the saturn image and electric cars fit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM should kill Buick, Saturn, and Hummer... In addition, it would be prudent to cease production of Chevy trucks to eliminate the overlap with GMC, and become a car only brand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here is a start when it comes to culling the herd of GM's current line up.

      Solstice & Sky: Pick one, kill the other, they directly compete with each other.

      Cadillac should have gotten this platform to compete with the Z4 and SLK. It's insane that they don't have an affordable/smaller XLR. This car would outsell the XLR and Corvette combined

      Here, I'll even tell them how to build it. Base model Corvette rear mounted transmissions with the 3.6 DI motor and the CTS interior. (don't tell me the 3.6 doesn't fit, you're engineers, make it fit).

      Time to market with your products. The Cruze for example is basically going to carry over the drive-train of the mechanically excellent Cobalt (SS). Isn't the 6 speed auto is already tested in the MalibuAura? The only reprieve is that no one is shopping now anyway.

      Lucerne, Aura, Malibu, G6 and Impala all direct competitors of the Accord and Camry. Combined, they probably outsell them both, but do we really need 5 models in this segment?
        • 6 Years Ago

        What about Cobalt-G5,Aveo-G3, the Lambda CUV's etc?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lucerne and Impala are actually more of the Avalon's rival.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like Saturn but it needs to disappear. They don't offer anything you can't get at Chevy. Only saving grace if they go to a 2 car brand like they did in the 90s.

      Buick is about to be on a role with the new product coming and already gaining momentum in china
      Cadillac is awesome
      Chevy is doing well
      • 6 Years Ago
      This just goes to show how clueless the CEO's are. GM might have more brands then anyone, practice what you preach. If he believed this then it should have already been done years ago, after all the reason all these brands were created no longer applies. I always thought the Malibu got the press because the reviewers picked up on it being an excellent car and everyone ran with it. I assume everyone is afraid to kill off a brand and be blamed for it, so in these economic times, its their best bet to kill some off.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Could they not quite kill a brand, keeping one lame model for that brand and nothing else, thus forcing the dealers to call it quits themselves in order to avoid having to buy the dealerships out?
        • 6 Years Ago
        It clearly IS a question of killing a brand, only plural. It cost a lot to kill of Olds, but to do away with Hummer, Saab, Pontiac AND Saturn? Impossible. They have themselves to blame, though, and the past 20 years of horrible decisions. It took that long to amass such a number of useless brands, it would take that long to get rid of them under the best circumstances. During a recession? Good luck.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Welcome to your Pontiac/Buick/GMC/Saturn/SAAB/Hummer Dealer. I think not... that would still cause dealership closures and renegotiation. In addition it would be easier just to market two brands (Come visit Chevy today instead of Come visit your Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Saturn, SAAB, Hummer dealer today). The only brands that continue to make 100% sense are Chevy and Cadillac. Hummer will most likely be sold.

        I think perhaps your idea would work if they named cars the GM Pontiac G8 or the GM Buick Lucerne or kept the different marque but sold them only at GM Brand dealerships. That would they could advertise... come into your GM dealership today.
        • 6 Years Ago
        it's not a question of being afraid of killing off a brand. clearly, GM isn't, as they killed of Oldsmobile in 2003. The issue is that they have contracts with dealers across the country, and they would have to make enormous payouts to the dealers if they were closing brands, payouts on the order of hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars, money they can ill-afford to spend at this time.

        what i think will in all likelihood happen is that GM will start letting the brands die by giving them less and less new vehicles, forcing dealers out of service. like GM announced a couple days ago, for example, that pontiac might become a one-car brand (G8).

        in fact it might even make sense for them to make a few of their brands one-car brands. just produce one car, with its own brand, but sold under the same roof with some other brands. for example: Pontiac makes G8, Saturn makes Astra, Buick makes the Lucerne (or whatever that car is that the chinese designed), and GMC makes the Acadia, Saab makes the 9-3, Hummer makes the H3 (Wrangler competitor). All six vehicles sold under the same roof would be a reasonable possibility. these would essentially be operated as one brand/company, but this way you can also keep the names alive. i don't know if that's a truly manageable system, but it might be... Then you keep Chevy and Cadillac intact, and there you go...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Better yet, maybe GM could just stop fubaring saturn. Anwyone else recall how they treated the brand for years while they attempted to decide if they were keeping olds?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice fake tan, Lutz.

      How about taking that marketing money and make your cars even better.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gee what a great revolation, too bad the rest of the world has kown it the last 10 years. And he get $20 million per year. Send me a resume please.
      This is what your congress has sold him to say, if he wants some of tax money that is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      More marketing? Yes, that's GM's whole problem. They didn't advertise their crappy cars enough.

      Maybe GM should just make cars that people actually want and stop begging for money.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bob Lutz and Rick Wagoner should spend time in dealerships getting to know their dealers and their customers. They have neglected both of them.

      GM could save millions of dollars per year by packaging their cars and trucks better. They need to stop offering 9 million different configurations. Forget the Burger King mentality!

      Bring back the S-10. Was the Colorado designed in a Crackhouse or was that the location of the focus group approving it? It's a good truck but damn it's ugly.

      Kill or sell or give away everything except Chevrolet and Cadillac.

      Chevrolet should have:
      3 Great Sedans (goodbye Aveo)
      Camaro
      Corvette
      Small and Large SUV
      Small and Large Truck
      Small and Large Van (bring back the Astro)

      Cadillac should have:
      3 Great Sedans
      1 Sports Car
      1 Large SUV


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