Somewhat lost in the turmoil of GM's efforts to cut costs and trim excess manufacturing capacity have been the
company's plans to make its marketing and retail distribution more efficient. Brent Dewars, VP of Sales for GM's North
American operations told Reuters Thursday that the company will move away from ineffective national marketing campaigns
to campaigns specifically targeted at key markets like California, Florida and the Baltimore-Washington area.
Rather than marketing the company as a whole, GM will move towards pushing its eight brands individually. Meanwhile, the company's plan to reduce spending on sales incentives seems to be on track.
Perhaps the most interesting move will be to consolidate multiple brands in single dealerships - sort of a superstore concept. Dewar said GM plans to increas the number of dealers that sell Pontiac, Buick and GMC brands in the same showrooms, which should allow the company to eliminate overlapping models and badge-engineered clones. In a similar vein, GM will group Cadillac, Hummer and Saab brands in urban areas, with three showrooms sharing a common service facility - saving the cost of duplicate facilities on expensive urban real estate.
Ticking clocks would seem to be GM's primary enemy now, rather than Japanese and European competitors. It will take a lot of time to roll out market-targeted new vehicles, restructure dealerships and redirect and pare down the company's massive bureaucracy. We'll just have to wait and see if the company can buy that much time.