Brand Dilution: Gm’s Real Problem
Throughout General Motor’s post World War II history, the company has managed to sell various products across its entire line up, thereby offering visitors to its showrooms a wide variety of models. This custom of “brand dilution” was an acceptable practice at GM, Ford, and Chrysler for several generations, but the practice has had its pitfalls.
cost of rebadging models to cross the entire GM spectrum is much more than you might think be. No, I am not talking about the price of slapping a different name on various models to market them under different brands, instead I am talking about the “cost” to the brand: the consumer’s perception that there isn’t anything uniquely sold with that brand.
I, for one, am okay with General Motors keeping all of its brands, but I would like to see the company distinguish each brand from one another. Only Saturn and Cadillac seem to have a clear identity, with Pontiac and Buick being little more than divisions carrying rebadged versions of other GM cars. Chevrolet, with its broad line up, partially escapes the brand dilution problem but it is often their models which eventually migrate to Buick and Pontiac to be sold as rebadged versions of Chevy vehicles.
Word has it that now GM’s niche division, Hummer, may also branch out. This would be unfortunate as it is the brand’s “nichieness” which gives it an edge.
Here are my suggestions for GM: Keep Cadillac going as it is; don’t mess with success. Distinguish Buick as a true “near luxury” Lucerne and LaCrosse are both good sellers, but consider bringing back the , you read it right to spark interest.
Pontiac needs real excitement…invest in the GTO and really make it go. Drop all minivans, SUVs, and concentrate simply on sporty models. Chevrolet absolutely needs the Camaro. Also, a potent Impala along the lines of the Dodge Charger would be a big help. Is it too much to ask for an exciting Malibu?
Saturn must keep tapping its Opel relationship in order to affordably distinguish itself from its American counterparts. The SKY is a hit, the new Aura looks hot and the upcoming VUE replacement looks like it’ll sell well.
Leave Hummer alone. Not everyone can or should be able to afford one! GMC will probably plod along as reskinned Chevys. GM could consider dropping GMC and ramping up Chevrolet trucks as the real world leader that it is.
Saab. Pity poor Saab. Neglected and almost not worth keeping. Still, if GM allowed Saab to thrive as Ford has given Volvo plenty of autonomy, then Saab could also make a difference for the general.
I doubt anyone in Auburn Hills is paying much attention to my words. For GM’s sake, I do hope that they are examining this whole brand dilution practice closely and will put something into practice to get the world’s number one automaker moving again.