General Motors' marketing missteps over Miami

Writer Lee Hawkins, Jr. at the Wall Street Journal has written an in-depth examination on a common General Motors complaint: its apparent lack of attention to the East and West Coasts markets.
Using the South Florida market as an example, Hawkins writes how a series of misses and mismanagement has led to the automaker’s current marketshare of 13.8-percent in the area. Example: Cadillac ads depicting cars cavorting in snow while the weather in Florida climbed past seventy degrees. Using Led Zepplin music. Or apparently not realizing that the word “Breakthrough” has no direct translation in Spanish, with regard to marketing to the burgeoning Cuban-Hispanic market. Or the difference between Cubans and Mexicans (the latter make up only 4-percent of the Hispanic population), with a Saturn ad featuring the Alamo.

(Continued after the jump)

GM has enjoyed some successes in the Floridian market with the Hummer and Solstice. But as niche vehicles, they generally don't bring as much money in when compared to volume sellers like Honda's Accord, one of the most popular vehicles in the state.

Other issues, such as GM’s bewildering ‘Matrix’ bureaucracy and historical ignorance of dealership pleas, are also discussed. But apparently there has been change: in 2005, GM’s share in South Florida rose by a credible 8.4-percent. And GM dealers currently feel they have better contact with the company itself.

"The whole organization is flatter than it used to be," said Doug Stevens, a sales manager in GM's Southeast region. "When I started out, there was no chance that I would have talked to the CEO or the vice president of sales and marketing."

[Source: The Wall Street Journal via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Share This Photo X