By Lloyd Frazier
The Pontiac G6, Chevrolet Corvette, Buick Ranier, Cadillac Escalade, Hummer H2, and GMC Sierra 2500/3500 all won their respective categories for 2005. The best showing for any manufacturer. The Pontiac G6 won over Toyota and Honda in the medium sedan segment. Buick Ranier won top spot in the medium SUV category. General Motors has proved that it builds great products, now it just needs to sell them. As you may know, sales have slid in 2005 for the automobile giant. GM stock is nearly at junk status after reporting a 1.1 Billion dollar loss. Bob Lutz knows how to build great products, he just stinks at the selling part. Unfortunately, building great products isn’t the only thing you need in your success formula. It is time for General Motors to clean up their marketing house. Gimmicks and rebates have helped GM weather recent storms, but it isn’t working well for them in the financial department. You can’t make money giving away your product. It is time to hire a marketing superstar to get the wheels turning again, or at least the wheels rolling out of dealerships. Dealerships are another subject. When Saturn took the tact of selling vehicles like a normal retail product people in the industry were wondering if it would really work. General Motors has only gotten positive response from that strategy. Imagine walking into a car dealership and not having to go through the barrage of characters that you are likely to see in the comics. The lot boy who lures you into talking with a sales person who lures you into a poker match with the sales manager. Then the 3-4 hours of haggling. It is just so ridiculous. But, it has been working that way since the dawn of the industry. What would lure people back. Hyundai has done wonders with their 10yr/100,000 mile warranty. What is the best you get with GM?…..5 years, if you purchase the extended warranty, otherwise it is 3/36000. Here is my take: clean up how you do business at the consumer level by changing how the dealerships work, get a decent warranty that you don’t have to shell out extra cash for, and market to us like we are thinking adults!