View Full Version : GM Should....................

03-23-2005, 06:15 PM
I know there are a lot of "GM should do this" or "GM should do that" opinions and threads out there, but if you guys will humor me for a monent, tell me if you think my short, not very detailed plan would work or not. <p>First of all, my premise relies to a large degree on the observation that there aren't any mid-range brands left out there, or at least, not any successful ones. By mid-range I mean how the US market used to be divided, with say, Ford at the bottom as mass-market, Lincoln at the top as luxury, and Mercury as the "mid-range" brand that tied the other two together. <p>GM is the worst offender with Chevrolet at the bottom, Cadillac at the top, and Buick, Oldsmobile (formerly), Pontiac, and now even Saturn (according to recent press releases) somewhere in the middle. Volkswage is also somewhat guilty of this, as they've moved the VW brand somewhere to where it doesn't quite compete with Toyota, but it also doesn't quite compete with Lexus either. They're midrange, and hence, possibly, the reason for so many of their recent problems, but that's a different story. <p>Mid-range brands don't seem to work anymore because for decades now Luxury brands have been moving downmarket, while mass-market brands have been moving upmarket, thus squeezing mid-range brands and making them less and less viable. Mercedes for example, once the brand of kings, dictators, and potentates, now sells $25,000 C-classes, and wants to introduce even cheaper B-classes, not to mention the A-class they sell in Europe. At the same time, the Hyundais of the world, which formerly barely sold their brand new cars against other makers used cars, now make XG380s that run into the $30,000s. <p>Mid-range brands either don't offer the value of mass-market brands, or they don't offer the prestiege of luxury brands, so they lose out. <p>

03-23-2005, 06:28 PM
So back to GM............... with their three mid-range brands: Buick, Pontiac (GMC), and Saturn. My plan is for GM to position their brands to fully attack the luxury segment or to fully attack the mass-market segment, with none of the mid-range confusion. So their three middle brands need to either commit to either bracket.<p>My other point is that variety is the spice of life, but if you can't attack a segment (luxury or mass-market) with two brands, you won't do it better with three. There's a reason why one buyer will buy a Camry and one will buy an Altima, though they're both FWD midsize sedans. Styling and sportiness can differentiate two otherwise very similar vehicles, but one company investing in three or four similar vehicles just robs resources and is a recipe for disaster. GM can appeal to both the Camry and the Altima consumer, for example, but it needs just two brands to for each segment, no more. So which ones should they choose, then? This is where most will probably disagree with me, but here goes. <p>Cadillac and Buick should be fully targeted to the luxury segment, so they should share RWD/AWD chassis, engines, and technology, but with very, very, very different styling. Cadillac can keep the edgy styling and the BMW-like sportiness, while Buick can go with Maserati or Jaguar style veluptousness.<p>Though Cadillac has been praised, their styling definitely does not appeal to everyone. You constantly hear people saying they would buy one but they don't like the styling, so this is where Buick would come in. And I know, Buick is not at the same level as Cadillac or Lexus, but a concerted, long-term effort to bring the brand up, much like Audi has done, could get it there. Plus, it would be more cost-effective for GM to develop technology for both Cadillac and Buick than for one brand alone. <br>

03-23-2005, 06:45 PM
That brings us to the mass-market segment. Again, I would go with two brands, for many of the same reasons listed above, but which ones would you choose? Chevrolet is a no-brainer, so it's between Pontiac and Saturn. Personally I see no reason to kill a brand with so much history and tradition like Pontiac in favor of a new, corporat-created brand that has had not one stand-out product in its short and mediocre existence. All a spectacular turn-around takes is great product, as we've witnessed at Nissan. <p>Chevrolet could be positioned to take on Toyota and Honda, much as a sensible and reliable brand that's not too flashy, though also very distince from those two. I would also continue to push for it to go global through NA and Daewoo efforts, much as they're doing now. <p>Pontiac should be paired with Opel as they've done with Saturn. I think that program is not too far along, and it's still not too late to kill Saturn and keep the much bigger Pontiac as the sporty, edgy mass-market brand. <p>Another Pontiac advantage is that it's paired with GMC in its' dealerships. Trucks are still half the market, lets not forget. But here too I would make some changes, mostly because I'm trying to think long-term. <p>The market is getting more and more corwded. The Japanese brands entered one by one, then the Koreans came, soon will be the Chinese, and then who knows, the Indians, Russians, etc. Conditions will get more crowded, not less.<p>Consumers have to have a picture of a brand, it's name, it's vehicles, what it stands for, for them to consider buying its vehicles. But with so many brands competing for attentio that's difficult. My solution is to combine Pontiac and GMC, not just dealerships but the brands.<p>The next generation GMC trucks and SUVs would be given Pontiac styling cues. Some might say Pontiac should only make sedans and coupes, but the market has changed, and tha'ts one of the reasons why Pontiac has lost market share and is in danger of dying now. I believe Pontiac would be more successful if consumers knew they can get sporty sedans, coupes, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and whatever else the market demands from Pontiac dealerships. <p>Saab I would sell to get some money short term, and because to make it and keep it viable would require huge investments now and in the future. <p>Hummer might be able to stay, though I think consumer tastes are turning from huge truck-based SUVs, so they might have a difficult time survining in the future. <p>Those are my ideas. I would like to know what you all think.

03-23-2005, 07:05 PM
I think GM just needs to realize where they need to focus on. Big changes are needed, so jsut stop the old tricks of mild refreshes or constant rebadging. The new Impala and Malibu take okay-looking sedans and turn them mundane and ugly. Dont they see that?? And the Monte Carlo is still being sold? whats the point?<p>GM is too big to handle and spread far too thinly. I say leave commercial vehicles to Isuzu, which makes most of GM's commercial vehicles anyway. GM cannot spend more money on a commercial lineup which does little for GM overall. There are already rumors about this anyway.<p>Obviously, the consumer today is enthralled with Japanese brands. GM has Suzuki, which it has tried to invigorate, but Suzuki has never been that popular in the US. On the other hand, Isuzu was a popular brand at one time and has a larger consumer base than Suzuki. How about sending some resources over there??<p>Axe Saab and Pontiac, unfortuantely.<p>Saab 9-5: Already very outdated, get rid of it<br>Saab 9-3: Send over to Isuzu or Suzuki<p>Pontiac G6: Would make a killer Isuzu sedan, convertible, and coupe<br>Pontiac Montana SV6: Make into Isuzu or Suzuki van<br>Pontiac Solstice: Isuzu <br>Other Pontiacs: old or very rebadged<p>And then if Buick does not improve, axe it as well and add entry level Cadillacs to replace it. It won't be missed much.<p>GMC is also somewhat redundant......... So maybe jsut axe Pontiac/GMC dealers altogther, make them into Saturn or Isuzu or Suzuki.<p>Saab dealers, do they exist lol? I really have never seen one lol.

Naga Royal Guard
03-23-2005, 07:24 PM
Izuzu Corvette too?<p>oh i get it, how about the Izuzu Corvette C6-R<p>anything else?

03-23-2005, 07:44 PM
I think GM should try to sell brands to Toyota.<p>Just kidding!<p>GM would be better eliminating overlap as much a possible.<p>The way I see it, there really is no purpose for Pontiac. Sure, it's a somewhat sporty alternative to the mainstream, but I'm sure GM would be better off axing Pontiac than Chevrolet.<p>Buick is also losing it's purpose, with GM seemingly intent on moving Saturn upscale, evidenced by the recent concept that I forgot the name of. Bye bye to heritage!<p>GMC is essencialyl rebadged Chevrolets, but it probably shouldn't be axed since it seems to be targeted more towards "professional grade" customers. I think GMC should be switched to commercial/fleet sales exclusively with Chevrolet exclusively handling consumers.<p>Personally, I feel Hummer should go bye-bye. Stupid fuel hogging bethemoths. With fuel prices on the rise and parking spaces shrinking (just an observation of mine that newer parking lots have smaller spaces and newer driveways are really narrow), Hummer's bound to go down the drain at some point.<p>Saab is losing it's identity, which is basically ruining Saab. Mercy kill Saab.<p>This would leave GM (for consumer sales) with Chevrolet to take the mainstream and the low-end, Saturn to take the slightly upscale, and Cadillac to handle the luxury markets.<p>As for their Asian brands, they all seem to be dying out, except for Subaru (I know GM only hasa stake in Subaru).

03-23-2005, 11:51 PM
I totally agree with you Calin...I believe it should go as this...<p>Chevy- Handles vehicles such as the trucks and SUV's and high performance muscle cars such as the corvette, maybe a rwd v8 powered impala, and something along the lines of a camaro...maybe even bring some rebadged holdens similar to what Opel is doing with Saturn<p>Pontiac- Merge Saturn with Pontiac, so in other words, instead of keeping saturn around, give saturns products to Pontiac so we can still get the opels coming in from europe and Pontiac will take it from there providing the sporty cars with the european feel and flair<p>Buick- Make it cushy luxury to compete aginst the likes of jaguar, lexus, mercedes etc...3 cars with multiple trim levels and engine options, compact, midsize, and full size, 2 SUV's one being a crossover and the other full size, and one flagship model something along the lines of the velite perhaps...<p><br>Cadillac- Make it sporty performance luxury to attack the likes of BMW, Acura, Infiniti etc...3 cars with multiple trim levels and engine options, compact, midsize, and full size, 2 SUV's one being a crossover and the other full size, and one hi-po flagship vehicle similar to the role the xlr plays<p>Saab- This can be a take it or leave it situation...if they really put some time and effort into it, saab can become a great international car to go up against volvo and even compete with some bimmers, although it wouldn't be such a total loss if they were to get rid of them, and infact right now it would probably be their best decision.<p>GMC- unless you like the GMC grill, or the Denali trim, then there is essentially no reason to keep GMC around...not that it is really affecting anything because it's not like GM has to pour a lot of money into GMC being that all they have to do is more or less rebadge an existing SUV or truck to say "GMC"<p><br>Hummer- If the right time and effort were put into it, it could go up against the likes of Jeep and Land Rover...though Hummer isn't one of GM's most important brands, it could stay around without much effort...keep the H1 around, maybe stuff a bigger engine and some mroe creature comforts and features into it but leave it essentially the same...Make the H2 somewhat luxurious but still have the ability to take on the trails, it could kind of in a way go against the range rover sport. Then there would be the H3 along with an H3T which would esentially take on the Jeeps...<BR><BR>
<i>Modified by Nick at 10:59 PM 3/23/2005</i>

03-24-2005, 10:33 AM
To sumarize my agreement with your analysis, GM's biggest problem is redundancy. Too much of the same product types overlap and compete with each other. As a result, no product types are truly distinctive and very very few are trult exceptional. It's no wonder that they need steep rebates to move the metal.

03-26-2005, 07:42 AM
GM will continue to implode if they do not get rid of redundancies, but moreover they need to have first class cars in performance, stying, and reliability. The new Impala is "nice" whereas the '59 (I believe...the one with the sideways tail fins) and into the mid 60's were quite attractive. If GM would to to Chevy what it has done to Cadillac, they would be on the right track. Chevy needs new, iconic models.

03-27-2005, 02:15 AM
I say drop Pontiac, Buick and Saturn and just focus on one line. There is so little brand loyalty to keep all of them alive.

03-27-2005, 02:45 AM
actually as far as brand loyalty goes, GM probably has the highest out of any other manufacturer...

03-28-2005, 04:00 PM
<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>toontoy</b> &raquo;</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I say drop Pontiac, Buick and Saturn and just focus on one line. There is so little brand loyalty to keep all of them alive.</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Believe it or not, there are people who would only ever buy Pontiacs, and some would only ever buy Chevys, etc. But you're right, in a way, those people are probably in the minority. However, it's a little naive to say drop Buick, Pontiac, and Saturn. That would surely mean the instant death of GM. How would you, personally, keep all those many GM factories working without all the derivatives they build for those three brands? And your solution isn't really necessary, either, IMO.<p>Redundancy or overlap isn't really the main, singular problem, as far as I can see. If that were the case, why isn't Toyota the only company building midsize FWD sedans? It's because there's room, plenty of room in fact, for different variations on that theme, with different styling, suspension tuning, engine characteristics, demographic targeting, etc. That's why you have Camrys, Accords, Malibus, Fusions, G6s, Sonatas, Passats, and a host of others. <p>When there are so many versions out there, why can't one compny build two versions on a similar theme, but differentiated enough so that one will appleal to Camry buyers, and one to Mazda6 buyers, for example. There's room in GM, and every manufacturer, for two divisions in the same segment, but targeting different parts of that segment.

03-28-2005, 05:13 PM
<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD><i>Quote, originally posted by <b>CalinG7</b> &raquo;</i></TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"><p>Believe it or not, there are people who would only ever buy Pontiacs, and some would only ever buy Chevys, etc. But you're right, in a way, those people are probably in the minority.</TD></TR></TABLE><p>Actually, you'd be surprised how many number of buyers are there, the type of buyer you just described, many, would buy the same brand, generation after generation (Nick was right about the brand loyalty), except they don't cross shop and are mostly very close-minded about the bigger market of automobile