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Thursday, April 28, 2005

 

GM Redux

Have really enjoyed some of Robert Farago's insights into the car business. Whether speaking about the mistakes by GM or his insight into specific.

The concept of putting GM on every seatbelt...in every GM brand car is completely puzzling to me. GM is a holding company that makes products. GM adds nothing to a Saturn, Saab or Cadillac. If anything, it detracts...because it suggests to me that I'm buying something that may be watered down. Especially in the current automotive climate. GM's brand name doesn't connote a special level of excellence, quality or financial strength. Hurts to say it, but right now, GM connotes, "how the US automotive business went wrong."

I also see this in their advertising...when I do see it (I don't watch much television anymore -- I often feel dumber, fatter and older after watching TV -- please, no jokes abou the fact that I am dumber, fatter and older than I was 10 years ago...I already know that). I don't understand the idea of a mass mailer to me that piles all the brands together in one mailer and offers me discounts. Same goes with the GM brand commercials. GM is not a brand, despite what some at the corp. ad agency insist. GM is a stock that you buy and sell. Cadillac is a brand. Sure, it's nice to squander $100 million/year on "communicating" with our stockholders about how great things are at the corporation. But, I'd rather put the money into explaining what makes Saab special and unique. That's what sways consumers and helps sell cars. Incentives, practiced the way they are today, simply avoid the inevitable. Profit and share decline. You can buy customers for only so long. And...it's really expensive.

We took a look the other day at our internet traffic at www.motoralley.com. We compared demand for Chrysler Group, Ford and GM in every zipcode in the US vs. the "imports," Toyota, Honda, Nissan. Rather shocking. We'll be publishing that info in real time soon so everyone on the web can get their fill of a mass of colorful and confusing statistics. Here's the most important tidbit. From our little perch, the 2 most researched brands are Toyota and Honda. Strangely, GM is not researched at all. Which takes me back to my original point. Why is the GM logo going everywhere?

Comments:
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