• Aug 17th 2009 at 11:30AM
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GM explains "New GM" in new commercial – Click above to watch video after the jump

Remember the old General Motors? Too many brands, too many models, advertising campaigns that petered out too soon, and multiple products competing for the same buyers. That's changed, officials from the new GM say, promising a leaner lineup of four brands and just 25 models by 2011.

But automotive analysts quoted by Advertising Age say that's a good start, but critics say the automaker's weight loss plan needs more fiber and less frosting. First, the still-huge GM hasn't enough cash to properly market even four divisions, one expert says, citing Honda-Acura, Toyota-Lexus and Nissan-Infiniti as examples to follow. Three analysts recommend GM hold on to just Cadillac as the premium brand and Chevrolet as the mainline marque.

Then there's the company's marketing plan. Dump the GM name from ads, analysts told AdAge, and just sell the cars. "They shouldn't even identify themselves as GM. People don't buy GM cars; they buy Cadillacs and Chevys, and that's what they ought to be talking about," auto consultant Maryann Keller tells AdAge.

AutoPacific's president George Peterson has another issue with GM's marketing strategy. He points out that the company spent more than $100 million to launch the new Chevy Malibu in 2007, but it hasn't advertised the car in nearly a year. "It seems like they are going back to their old ways," Peterson said.

[Source: Advertising Age]


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Two points.

      First, Toyota has a third brand, Scion, which is the entry-level division aimed at first-time buyers.

      Second, if GM dumped every division but Chevy and Cadillac, you would have a number of GM owners with no place to go. I drive an Oldsmobile, and my wife drives a Pontiac. Neither of us have owned a Chevy. So, why would I want to go down in vehicle prestige?

      Right now, Cadillac is out of my price range, but Buick is very much in my price range.

      Unless Fritz Henderson and Bob Lutz do an about face and move the G8 into the Chevy brand, I have no interest in a Chevy, because I'm past the Chevy stage of my life.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Buick and Caddy don't go after the same demo.

      Cadillac has been pushing to a more youthful demo for years. CTS/XLR buyers are not the same guys as El Dorado buyers. They're also attempting to move the Buick upmarket slightly.

      The Goal is:
      Caddy = BMW/Mercedes
      Buick = Lexus
      Chevy = Toyota/VW
        • 6 Years Ago
        But BMW/Mercedes customers are also the same as Lexus customers. Heck, even Lexus is trying to go after BMW customers with their F-line. The is no room in the lineup for Buick when the prices of Chevrolets overlap with Cadillacs.

        The only reason GM kept Buick and GMC is because they think have a misguided notion that they need those brands to achieve sufficient sales volume. It really has little to do with the whole Buick/China thing. They could have just as easily made Buick a Chinese-only mainstream brand like Holden in Australia, Daewoo in Korea, and Opel/Vauxhall in Europe. But for some reason they think they need it to keep sales volume. Never mind the fact that Buick and GMC will be stealing customers that would have potentially bought a Chevrolet or Cadillac, which would have kept the volumes at the same levels.

        They also knew that trying to close even more dealerships would have given them a greater headache with franchise laws. They unloaded just enough dealerships that they thought they could under bankruptcy laws without incurring much wrath.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These guys read my mind. No need for Buick and GMC. What a waste of marketing and other resources. Save Buick for China-only duty, and keep Chevy and Cadillac for the US.

      GM (and Ford, Chrysler) are really good at trying to market a model in it's first year then forget about it for 5, 6 7, or 8 years. Meanwhile it gets more reliably (generally as bugs are worked out) and relegated to fleets because the competition has left them in the dust (Cobalt, Focus, etc). Ford is better now with the Fusion, but still...they should have an all new model ready to go in 2011 at the latest, as facelifts only get you so far. Similarly, a facelifted Malibu should be on call for next year, with a redesign in 2013 instead of wasting time and money on "spreading the love". Keep the products fresh and the buyers will come.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford already has a new Fusion set for the 2012 model year. It's going to be built on the next generation Mondeo platform. Ford has a new Flex on the way too and the Taurus is set to be refreshed in 2011 or 2012. The Edge gets refreshed next year and then will be all new in 2013 or 2014. GM has already announced a new Malibu for 2012 but some have said that could be pushed back a year. GM has also already planned updates for the CTS.

        So they are way ahead of you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "then forget about it for 5, 6 7, or 8 years"

        That right there is an inherent problem that seems to only affect the Big 3. Nearly every other automaker sticks to a 4-5 year model cycle with refreshes about halfway through. The only exceptions are niche models and trucks. Ford is getting better at this and GM is hinting at getting better by redesigning the Malibu for 2012, but they need to make such measures cohesive across their entire line-up. There will have been 3 different models of Honda Civic by the time the Focus finally gets a full redesign. There will have been 3 models of Toyota Camry by the time a new Impala arrives.

        Long product cycles may give the illusion of increased revenue but that's what it is...an illusion. Consumers are fickle and always want the latest and greatest. The competition is more than willing to give that to them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You must not stay up to date with the auto world because everyone already knows a new Malibu is going into production by 2012 and for that I will now low rank you. If you're going to try and sound smart at least don't make it so obvious that your not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm struggling to understand how this is news. These 'analysts' seem no more educated than the anti-gm comenters here.

      I guess I just don't see how dropping so many brands, some with decades of heritage, and completely revamping the model lineup with more fuel efficient and higher quality vehicles is the same as the old GM. Maybe I'm the only one who sees the incredible quality improvement that has occured at GM over the last decade... thank you, Mr. Lutz.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ....How does it hurt them to put a GMC badge on a Silverado and sell it to people who may prefer that look? I prefer that approach to Ford's 15 trim levels for the F150.

        Selling 5 Seirras and 5 Silverados is better than 9 F150s, is it not? I don't think they are competing against each other as much as they're widening their appeal. Think of the GMC badge as an option, not a competing brand. The profits of both go to GM and its not like there's a lot of development cost. And don't give me crap about GM being the only company that does this...

        Chevy - Basic cars for everyone
        Buick - Entry level luxury
        Caddy - Luxury
        GMC - Commercial and upscale premium trucks

        What is so wrong with this plan? Keep in mind that this is what GM is working towards. It won't happen overnight.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's old GM because they still are the biggest group of brands that overlap in the world. Companies like Toyota do well with three brands in the U.S. market but GM feels the need to have 4 brands. Even with their 3 brands there is no overlap with Scion and Lexus and only a couple rebabadged Toyota's as a Lexus. GMC, the most redundant brand simply sells Chevy's.


        That looks an awful like when GM sold the Celebrity, Buick Century, Olds Cutlass and Pontiac 6000. One model spread across multiple brands when the Chevy would have been enough.

        It's not GM hate, it's frustration. Sure the quality has improved but that credit goes far beyond Lutz. One example where this is true in parts suppliers make better parts. It's the same thing that helped cars in general become more reliable. The problem is GM would do well with just Chevy and Cadillac in the U.S. If you want cars like Buicks why can't Chevy just fill that need with a really nice Impala replacement or a fancier Traverse?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only brand with any history worth having was Pontiac. That being said, modern Pontiac cars were in no way related to its own great history. It had already divested that history in its modern focus...so why keep it?

        Buick is now exactly the same as Pontiac (and Oldsmobile before both). It has no ties to its long and storied history in its home market. I am among those who think Buick should live on -- in China or other overseas markets alone.

        With GM being the way it is, there is no need for Chevrolet (and GMC trucks), Buick, and Cadillac. Buick and Cadillac are essentially after the same demographic, which is oversaturation. Until Cadillac truly becomes a luxury brand again and sheds it entry or near-lux standing, Buick offering boring vehicles to the same exact market is pointless and indeed wasteful.

        When Cadillac is looked at like a Mercedes or BMW competitor, then something like Buick to go alongside the Lincolns and Acuras is fine. But GM is not at that point yet.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What did you expect? It's the same team with different jobs. Have you guys seen their excuse for viral marketing? I'm not talking about 230 here (which didn't work either), I'm talking about that 'clever stuff on Youtube' Lutz talked about. I didn't think it could get any worse.

      I think Buick would do better than Cadillac, personally, but that's just me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I'm not talking about 230 here (which didn't work either)..."

        I'm not sure of that. I met an elderly family friend (who drives a Toyota, BTW) who asked me if I heard about "that car that gets 230 miles per gallon"...

        Even though the facts aren't there to support it, at least they got "the word out".
        • 6 Years Ago
        People didn't care until they were told it was the Volt.

        Any viral marketing that involves research is failed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      While I agree that GM should have been pared down to just Chevrolet and Cadillac, I have to disagree with the decidedly biased "Advertising Age" when it comes to spending on advertising. The only companies that tend to actively advertise their vehicles are the Big 3, Hyundai/Kia, and VW. Maybe it's different in other markets, but in MN that's the way it is.

      Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, MB, Audi, etc rarely advertise their vehicles after the first or second model year. For the most part, they produce vehicles that sell themselves. The only ads I see from them regularly are for "sales events" and even those are usually done by local dealerships, not the national headquarters. Yes, I understand that the local dealerships have access to funding from the national headquarters to pay for those ads, but it is fundamentally different than the national headquarters promoting new models. Heck, even Ford has been dialing back the advertising.

      If you make quality vehicles that people WANT to buy, you don't need to advertise. It all comes down to product and quality. Don't waste money on advertising to rebuild your tattered reputation. Spend it on the product.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There brand count now is actually 6, not 4. Do they not still have Holden and Daewoo?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, but Daewoo and Holden are moving towards essentially being rebadged Chevrolets for their specific markets (as is Opel/Vauxhall). Which is exactly what GM should have done with Buick for China and just drop it in the U.S.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The previous count was not 8 as they mention in the ad it was 12






      Did I miss any?

      No wonder they went down. They couldn't keep track of them all ;-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yep, they are the same useless, clueless company they have always been. Building the same crappy cars that start falling apart on the drive home from the dealership. Run by the same myoptic twits that ran the 'old' GM into the ground. But now the taxpayers own this no-account money pit. What a ridiculous situation. GM should have been let die as it so clearly deserved but oh no! Nobody in the Bush administration or the Obamanation had the guts to make the though decisions. Make no mistake, GM will die but now it will take 50 to 100 Billion dollars of taxpayers money down with it. How many kids could you put through college for that money?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I still don't get why they are keeping GMC, talk about obvious over-lap! And if Buick is so popular in China, then just keep it in China. It does not need to be an international brand.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Chevy LaCrosse.
        • 6 Years Ago
        F u I want my Lacrosse damn it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The China/Buick thing bugs me. GM has subsideraries in other countries (Holden for one -though I bought the G8, a rebadged holden) that isn't sold here. Why do they need to keep Buick in the US in order to keep it in China? There are Chinese only Buicks as well. Cut the US/China tie and kill Buick. Chevy - Caddy sound good to me. GMC just needs to go. It's a waste of money having it and chevy truck.

      Oh yeah, the GM chicklet on the side of the car... a piece of dental floss under it will take it off. I de-bagde my car. They can have mine back if they want to save some money.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Consider the possibility that the perception in China is predicated on the fact that brand in also available in the 'affluent' US.

        For example, if Rolls stopped selling in the UK to sell everything they made for more money in the US, US sale would nose dive shortly after because a Rolls wouldn't be a Rolls anymore.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just dropping the little GM badge off every car would save millions!
        • 6 Years Ago
        That badge of excellence thing was oddly enough something British Leyland pulled off.

        The similarities are astonishing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lutz has already stated that this will be disappearing over time and that new designs will not include the GM mark.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, every time I see a little fender GM badge (do they still put the logo on the seatbelt clips too?) it reminds me of a giant evil corporation, like OCP. It seems to work for chrysler though (probably because its a symbol without letters).

        But to get back to GM, its not like Lexus reminds anyone that its a toyota marque, and I don't know how many times my dad has forgetfully asked me if infiniti is a Chrysler brand (?). the japanese market in a way to have their brands stand on their own, and its seems to work well for them.

        I'm just gonna finish with saying that it seems that having GM on everything is sorta condescending to the consumer, suggesting that they can't figure out what they want on their own.
        • 6 Years Ago
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