Warc Blog

GM brand strategy under fire

18 August 2009
DETROIT: A number of US auto consultants are questioning whether General Motors, which recently emerged from a US government-sponsored reorganization, is "lean and mean" enough to compete effectively with the likes of Toyota and Honda.

“It just feels like the same old GM,” says consultant and author Maryann Keller, noting that a number of GM's models still overlap, including the new Chevrolet Traverse against the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.

The company will have cut its number of models from 48 to 34 by the end of 2010 but GM chief executive Fritz Henderson recently outlined plans to launch 25 models between now and 2011, allocating ten for Chevrolet, the company's mass market brand, five for Cadillac and ten for Buick-GMC.

GM has dumped four of its eight brands – Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn – and is trying to sell its Opel/ Vauxhall business in Europe. But critics say that it should cut further to just Chevrolet and luxury brand Cadillac, mirroring Toyota's Toyota and Lexus line-up.

GM's new marketing chief Bob Lutz is putting his faith in better design and an attempt to attract younger customers by increasing online spend.

But, despite its bankruptcy, the company spent a massive $424 million (€300m, £259m) on measured media in the first quarter of 2009 and doubts persist that its four-brand strategy is sustainable.

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by WARC staff

 
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