GM's excess baggage - Buick, Pontiac, Saab, Hummer

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Fortune http://doiop.com/77487l
..Multiple brands mean multiple expenditures for marketing, advertising and distribution. Still suffering from negative cash flow,
GM simply has too many mouths to feed.
GM should keep Chevrolet where it is - the volume brand that is the heartbeat of America. Maintain Cadillac at the top of the market and expand its product offerings with derivatives of the popular CTS. And continue to use Saturn, with its dedicated dealer channel and loyal buyers, as the brand for import intenders.
Plenty of excess baggage remains. Here are my recommendations:
It is past time to perform euthanasia on Buick. Successive waves of new models haven't moved the needle on sales and it is unlikely that the new Enclave crossover will make a big difference. For nostalgia buffs, the Buick brand can soldier on in China, where it is uniquely beloved.
Pontiac should get the same treatment, though without the Asian escape hatch. Its boy-racer image is dated and GM's one-time excitement division has deteriorated into a regional blue-collar brand. In a world that increasingly is going green, there is little upside for its testosterone-laced pavement rippers.
Whatever noble intentions GM had for Hummer, they have been permanently damaged by the greenhouse gas debate. Hummer should be sold to whomever winds up with Jeep after Chrysler is broken up. More Jeeps fall off the truck on the way to the dealer than Hummer sells in a week.
Turn GMC into a commercial truck brand. As gasoline becomes more expensive, there won't be enough traffic in personal-use trucks for GMC to share with Chevy. There are lots of opportunities with huskier trucks that a player with GM's scale could exploit in the business-to- business market.
Say goodbye to Saab. With its perpetually tiny volume and high-cost European manufacturing base, Saab has defied GM's efforts for nearly two decades to make it consistently profitable. The success of Japanese sport-luxury brands Infiniti and Acura has made Saab irrelevant.
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This article/link was already posted here earlier (at least to the GM group)
Agree with the Buick and Saab dumping, maybe Hummer, but not Pontiac.
And even still, dumping those 2 brands won't completely turn the ship around, there's a lot more work to do yet.
On Wed, 2 May 2007 23:00:07 +0200 (CEST), Nomen Nescio

-GV
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On Wed, 02 May 2007 20:36:58 -0400, GlassVial

GM doesn't have a clue. But neither does that writer.
They continue to take brands with a loyal following and screw them up. Caddy has a core following - but instead of catering to it, GM continues to build Caddies that are not what the core caddy buyer wants. They did the same thing with Saab - a car with a loyal, almost cultish following. What do they do? They buy it and proceed to alienate the core buyers by pumping in lots of GM parts in lieu of Saab parts. Then, while speaking in the other direction, they re-label the POS Trailblazer as a Saab and rename a Subaru "Saab".
While talking about establishing unique vehicles/brands, they continue to homogenize and lose core audiences. In the meantime, anyone who joins management and wants them to move past their moronic 1970's management and production model is quickly forced out.
And the article writer says "keep Chevy". It may have a nice ring to it with some buyers, but it always has the worst reliability record of all the GM brands.
All very amusing.
They
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For GM to take the advice about its future from somebody in a NG, would be like a politician taking the advice from the drunks in a bar room. LOL
mike
wrote:

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Mike,
You forgot to say " in my opinion "
LOL ;)
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Of course it is, however do you not agree?
mike

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wrote:

I mostly like your logic and comment. GM has two big problems that is killing it. One is upper management or think tanks that trys to set their product designs and course (and poorly too at times) and the other is general labor costs that drives them to use more "common" parts built by cheapest third party bidder and build several model/brands on same line. There is no easy fix here and they may have to go bankrupt before they figure it all out from top to bottom. Also, I agree that this all started in the 70's to save money and boost profit but rather than putting those increased profit into research and developement it went to bonuses, acuasiitions that later failed and bigger payouts for stock holders. They are reaping today what they sowed years ago. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Exactly. When buyers started to ask for smaller cars, their reaction was to just keep jamming larger cars down their throats. Good strategy.
And it continues today. Just at few couple ago, the CEO stood up and complained that raising CAFE standards was unfair because they (GM) manufactured more trucks and gas guzzling vehicles than Toyota and they would be unfairly affected... then later in the same speech he noted that their sales were way down because people were not buying large, gas guzzling vehicles with energy prices up so high.
(Knocking on his head) Hellooooooo... is anyone in there ?
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The may be your opinion but get real, GM like every other manufacturer wants to build what buyers are actually buying in the millions. Look at Toyotas growth in the US over the past ten years. Luxury cars that got bigger every year, larger cars in every segment, larger SUVs in every segment, and larger trucks in every segment as well as it latest addition, a truck that is closer to the trucks that GM and Ford sell in the millions and Toyota sells barely, in the hundreds of thousands. Domestic truck sales are down but the top selling vehicles in the US are still trucks. Even the best selling cars are NOT small cars but midsize cars.
mike
wrote:

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wrote:

They like SUV's for a few reason, first the biggers one are exemptment form current CAFE. Next they have a somewhat lower emission standard and different crash requirements. Last they used to be their highest profit items so they pushed them hard. Thise created a Market for makers like Toyota to thrive on the car side of things and now that Toyota is going into full sized trucks, Detriots last unchalleged market it being "invaded" too. The mentality still seems to be that they know what you need because you do not and they are in a twist now because this concept is not selling well anymore. The sad part is that there was a time that you could by a simply 4x4 or P/U for work needes as I have a few times over the years but last time I bought one in 2000 I had a hard time findind just a simple HD truck that did not have tons of options and a extened or crew cab. Today it would be a even harder task. Plus GM which likes to play the "Chevy Tuff" card with its trucks makes them cheaper every year. In 2000 when Silverados cam out they put a bumber on them that belonged on a lawn mower more than a truck and they took it further in 07 because that big massive looking bumber on the newset Chevy trucks is chromed plastic from frame rails out in front of the wheels on each side in front. PLASTIC!!!!. My 2000 is a 3500 and based on the old sytle 88 thru 99 trucks that still had a full front bumper. Not sure what I am going to do when it is time to replace it because nobody seems to know how to build a real P/U anymore as they are basically truck styled bodies on cars like riding chassis with car like interiors. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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> Not sure what I am going to

Perhaps wait for the Indians or Chinese to bring in simple rugged low priced trucks for the US work truck market. It is such an obvious move that it will probably happen.
Isuzu could bring itself back from the US graveyard by being the importer/distributor of such a thing. They are really in the medium duty truck and diesel engine business anyway, so it isn't a far move to make the modern equivalent of an 1990 F150/250/350 lineup.
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wrote:

GM thinks they can get away by beginning to sell rehashed Australian imports also. Those who by GM want American not Australian 4 door BMW wannabees as in the Pontiac G8.
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wrote:

And the funny part is that you are supposidly unamerican if you do not buy a Detriot product even if Detriot does not make it. As long as they sell it they figure is qualifies as american. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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SnoMan wrote:

Americans aren't very bright and are also all too willing to sign up to stupid counter-productive nationalism.
Whilst Americans continue to buy bad American cars just to be 'patriotic' they are actually killing the US auto industry by letting it off the hook in its domestic market and giving it an excuse not to address many fundamental issues about those same vehicles.
Graham
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On Sat, 12 May 2007 19:49:34 GMT, Eeyore

Yes, at times it is kinda like welfare for Detriot auto industry. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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I wouldnt call American cars BAD, they are really just as good as any from my experience, but I admit they are ho hum plain and boring. American cars used to have attitude and thats what those who drive american want back...attitude.
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BoobooBear wrote:

Well.... US cars tend to have relatively poor fuel efficicency and are the last bastion of the likes of live rear axles and poor suspension and indifferent handling it has to be said.
Graham
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How do you figure? Take a look at the ratings for domestic and foreign cars of the same size and there is little, if any, difference. People are still buying big cars, both imported and domestic.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Yes, big cars tend to have poorer fuel efficiency than smaller ones. Your point was ?
Graham
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