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Bob Lutz Reaches Out

by Keith Cornett on February 23, 2006

Bob Lutz, GM’s Vice Chairman, recently wrote on the GM FastLane Blog about the state of General Motors perception in the marketplace. The perception or misperception is that GM is producing vehicles nobody wants, or the vehicles they do produce are built at a lower quality than the imports. Bob blows those two perceptions out of the water with the examples of Corvette winning MotorWeek’s Driver’s Choice Award and Corvette winning the Intellichoice Best Overall Value Award. For those of us involved in the Corvette hobby, we know all about GM’s commitment to not only giving us the Car we want to own, but following through by giving us one of the best made cars with one of the highest customer satisfaction levels. So how does GM (and Chevrolet) do so well in marketing these two attributes to potential Corvette buyers, but not so well on their other vehicles? Obviously, Corvette has a history and therefore a built-in base of fans so it is a bit easier for Corvette designers and engineers to read the tea leaves when working on changes and upgrades. And when new Corvettes hit the marketplace, there are already long list of buyers who have deposits down to secure their car. GM needs to get its product in front of their target market in more non-traditional arenas. We recently posted a story about the Drive experience GM is putting together in Las Vegas where consumers can drive GM products in a controlled environment. I also remember they had similar “Drive A Chevy” experience that would roll into a market for a couple of days and you could drive all their products. I think that perhaps GM should take the product display a little further. At a local upscale mall I visited this weekend, I saw a display of Jaguars from the local Jag dealership. GM should consider putting Minivans and SUV in Grocery Stores and displays at some of the larger local youth sporting events. Truck displays at outdoor and sports trade shows. I know it sounds simplistic and perhaps a bit unrealistic, but go where the demographic market is. GM should also introduce a new extended warranty or key a portion of existing advertising to quality of product issues. With both Toyota and Ford are going Green, a new campaign could help differentiate how GM’s products are built with the consumer in mind. Again, I am just a guy that loves Corvettes and not a domestic auto marketing expert. But my car selling theory is that to sell product, you have to get it where your market is. Hope that helps, Bob.

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