A brand is a promise to a consumer. When a brandís products fail to live
up to the consumerís expectations (i.e. the promise in THEIR mind), they
are right never to trust it again. Why should a screwed customer give GM
another chance? Weíre not talking about sewing machines here. An
automobile is the average consumerís second most expensive purchase
(after their house). They have every rightóindeed an obligation to the
people who depend on themóto err on the side of caution. To AVOID
risking the money upon which their family relies. I repeat: if theyíre
satisfied with their current car company, they would do their family a
disservice to put their money at risk.
By the same token, a company thatís fulfilled a brandís promise to its
consumers has every reason to expect ongoing consumer loyalty. Success
Honda, Toyota and Nissan ascended to their current market share by
catering to disaffected Big Three customers. Institutionally, they know
this. They have not and most probably will not make the same mistakes as
GM has made. The thing of it is, thatís the only way GM is going to
recapture the lionís share of the customers lost to Hyundissanota.
If you need proof that New GMís corporate culture hasnít changed, clock
the fact that your take on Hendersonís take on the disgruntled
customerís plight is the official GM position (i.e. ďthe perception
gapĒ). Even worse. the head of The Presidential Task Force on
Automobiles (PTFOA) parroted the meme on the occasion of New GMís birth.
Seriously, check out CEO Hendersonís comments on GM dealer service. If
you donít like it, try someone else? Whatever planet Henderson lives on,
itís not revolving around its customers. http://tinyurl.com/nthake
Bottom line: If someone says ďyour brand sucks,Ē itís up to the company
behind the brand to go ABOVE AND BEYOND their consumerís expectations to
win back/win their customers. Sweeping their problems under the rug
(Ēthis is not representational of our fine dealersĒ) and/or calling the
victim names (close-minded) gets you precisely nowhere.
Sigh. What do you expect from a GM CFO, ex-CEO Rick Wagonerís
The only way New GM can succeed now: offer an iron-clad guarantee
against ANY financial loss. A five-year, no conditions, no questions
asked, bumper-to-bumper warranty would be a start. Providing, of course,
GM honors its obligations. And thereís only one way they can get people
to believe that (given their history): prove it. Over years.
At the same time, New GM has to win new customers. Weíre talking about
young, relatively poor car buyers, whose brand loyalties are not yet
fixed. Aveo? No frigginí way. Cruze? Not feeling it. Spark? As if. Who
makes the best entry-level whips? Iím betting youíre not going to
suggest itís New GM.
Digressing slightly, Bob Lutzís career was resurrected because someone
at GM/the PTFOA figures Lutz brings glamor to the brand(s). That Maximum
Bob creates cars that stir the soul. Products that will attract [young?]
customers who think with their hearts rather than their heads (Solstice,
SSR, G8, etc.). Which is just about the last thing New GM needs right now.
GM needs to produce a small range of class-leading vehicle for its
Chevrolet brand. Period. As Iíve stated previously, Cadillac is a
non-starter. Buick? What Buick? GMC? Nice volume, but a dead end. New GM
needs to produce volume sellers that . . . sell. And make a profit.
To do that, theyíre going to have to figure out what the Chevy brand
stands for (reliability? value? style? durability? comfort?), make its
products fulfill the brand promise better than anyone else on the
planet, sell the SHIT out of it, and back up those products with the
best sales and service known to mankind. No apologies. No excuses. All
day. Every day.
Forget it. New GM doesnít have the time to git Ďer done. In fact, they
havenít even started. Henderson promises that New GMís 43 nameplates
will all be class-leading. WTF? Does he actuallybelieve that? Does he
expect his customers to believe it? Why? Whatís different?
Our money is doomed. And itís not the customerís fault.
Civis Romanus Sum
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