KausFiles

GM gives up on beating BMW?

Mickey Kaus Columnist

Well, this is one way of saying you can’t build a competitor for the BMW 3-series. (Slide is from GM Powerpoint presentation designed to lure investors at its Global Business Conference.) …

P.S.: Cadillac’s forthcoming 3-series size car, the ATS, is surrounded by bad buzz and dreary looking. … Is “Red Blooded Luxury” another way of saying “overweight”? … Also, GM says Chevrolet is really a global brand like Apple! That’ll fool the investors. …

Update: If you look at the entire slideshow, most of the crap is in the presentation of marketing head Joel Ewanick.  One slide is titled “Chevrolet and Cadillac’s Big and Different Goal”–and on the Chevrolet side it says, “A consumer goal not an automotive product goal.”  The next slide shows a list of the 25 “most valuable global consumer brands,” starting with Google and including Pampers, Olay and Colgate.  [Olay?-ed.] Alert reader “J” comments:  “They think the important thing is to get to the brand and that the product itself is sort of a way station to that.  Even though Google has done everything within the last ten or so years, and thus its entire story is accessibly within recent memory, the GM people seem not to understand that Google got where it is by a series of products.” 

It’s always been hard for me to understand what the “branding” discussion adds to a carmaker like GM except to provide grist for ridicule by automotive journalists.  Build good cars and the “branding” will come, no?  Honda made its rep as an “impulse builder”–it just kept coming up with new cars (e.g. the original Accord, the 4-door Civic) that didn’t fit the “brand” but were terrific. Meanwhile, GM has been brutalized by a focus on “branding.” Every time you heard the company was applying its “branding” magic, that meant the product in question–e.g. Saab, Saturn, Pontiac–was headed for the graveyard. Often “branding” meant something like willfully pretending that a negative association (e.g. the Pontiac Aztek’s styling) was really a positive association. You have to wonder if the same sort of delusion is behind Cadillac’s fidelity to its now-cheesy angular, winged “Art & Science” design. …