Forbes columnist Jack Trout weighs in on General Motors’ branding strategy, past, present, and future. He notes that Alfred Sloan, who was elected president of GM in 1923 and would guide the company for the next thirty years (he finally retired in 1956), had, in Sloan’s words, an "irrational product line". Sloan separated and gave each brand its own distinct character and limits.

Unfortunately, the company's focus shifted after Sloan left the company, with “badge engineering” standardizing the vehicles similar to those back in 1921.

"You cannot be everything for everybody," writes Trout, referring to GM's myriad number of similar products. "... and the more you try, the more you risk sinking the ship."

We wonder if GM already knows this and is doing the best with what resources it has, or if it really believes the buying public doesn't notice that Pontiac's Torrent looks an awful lot like the Chevrolet Equinox.

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