Posts Tagged ‘General Motors’

GM paid back the $6.7B loan, bring in the marketing guys?!

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I know we live in a world dominated by spin and soundbites but there is something cynical about GM making a big deal about repaying the “loans” and “early” no less. GM has the marketing & PR folks going 24/7, they’ve even made a commercial:

I think it’s great that they have repaid the loan and are showing progress, but this PR/advertising effort seems a little misplaced. Does GM think that we’ve forgotten that the taxpayers provided another $43B for which the government got stock and now owns 60% of the company?

It’ll be one thing when there’s a public offering, the government sells it’s stake and gets its investment back plus interest. That will be something to crow about. In the meantime making a big deal out of the fact that they paid us back roughly 15% of what we put in feels a bit like they’re trying to “sell” us something.

Rather than “sell” us that they’re succeeding, just get on with it, and when they’re no longer Government Motors, bring in the marketing guys.

In the meantime, marketing should be working on clearly positioning their remaining brands. That will help sales and create value for the shareholders.

Responding to Toyota’s troubles. With incentives!!??

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Toyota has been very successful in the US and has undeniably eaten Detroit’s lunch. Now Toyota has stumbled and you can hardly blame its competitors for attempting to take advantage of the situation.

That said, it’s a good time to pause and take a deep breath, because as so often is true, it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters.

Today’s New York Times has an article headlined: “With Toyota in trouble, rivals gain.” Manufacturers are offering incentives to encourage Toyota owners to come in their stores, trade-in their Toyota for a new whatever. Supposedly these incentives are not being widely advertised and dealers are being encouraged not to “try to take a predatory stance in this type of environment.”  According to GM and others, their dealers have requested incentive support.  Of course they wanted incentive support, there’s blood in the water.

There are a couple of good reasons to push back against this knee jerk reaction to offer incentives. (more…)

“GM must change perception to halt decline”

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009


This bit of understatement came from Steven Rattner and was quoted in a July 6th article in Automotive News.  He went on to say that “There’s often a lag between perception and reality.”  He was referring to the “fact” that GM’s products  and product quality would surprise many people.  Based on JD Power’s most recent IQS study where both Cadillac (#3) and Chevy (#9) were well above industry average, he seems to have point.  GMC and Buick were just a couple of notches below average.  By the way, the GM brands are ahead of many well respected marques like Audi, Volvo, Subaru, Jeep and Mini.

So, as the new GM comes out of its speedy bankruptcy there seems to be general acknowledgement that it needs to deal with this “perception problem” which means that the marketers are going to get their chance to help change the fortunes of GM.

Another Automotive News article declared:  “The New GM needs marketing blitz, experts say.”  The question that comes to mind is what is the “marketing blitz” going to consist of.  There’s a body of opinion that says that GM should lower its prices to get people in the showroom where they will see the quality of the products and be compelled to buy.  Some folks are suggesting that the message should be “Come give us a chance and see what we’ve got, because we’re going to grow.”  Others are saying that GM needs to take advantage of a growing “new nationalism” and Americans’ willingness to buy American.

This sounds to me like Detroit pulling pages from its traditional playbook.  What happened to “re-invention.”