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 breeds 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.
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 hand-picked successor?
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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