By on May 9, 2011

In TTAC’s early years, we spilled much digital ink over GM’s bloated brand portfolio, wondering again and again what brands should be cut, which should move upmarket and which should move downmarket. It’s a fun exercise, but one that history has largely passed by. Not only did GM cut Saab, Hummer and Pontiac in its bankruptcy, but Chrysler has more than doubled the potential number of brands to be sold through its distribution channels, shifting the brand-clutter center of gravity towards Auburn Hills. But GM isn’t done struggling with the legacy of the Sloan system, as GM North America boss Mark Reuss tells Automotive News [sub] that GM still has at least one major branding battle on its hands: Chevy versus GMC.

We need to make sure that we drive the differentiation in the product and the price to create that separation that we know we can on GMC and Chevrolet. I don’t think we have the margin opportunity set up quite right with GMC.

Reuss goes on to explain that GM’s two-brand truck strategy is sound, but that if “you don’t do it right, and you’ve got price overlap and identical incentives and go-to-market strategies then you’re going to get dilution.” So, if cutting GMC isn’t on the table, what does Reuss suggest as a way to stop Chevy and GMC trucks from cannibalizing each other?

I think we can do premium Chevrolets, and take GMC and move it even further up

Can they? If so, how? More importantly, with the pickup market at a 30-year-low and likely to decline further even before truck-unfriendly new CAFE laws hit, is it even worth keeping two truck brands? The problem is likely that GM can’t kill GMC without killing Buick as well (as the two brands share a dealer network) or at least radically reshuffling its retail strategy. So GMC will push on upmarket, even as GM eyes short-term production cutbacks and long-term existential threats to its truck business as it knows it. Given that Ford is charging a premium for its (relatievly) economical Ecoboost V6-powered F-150, might GMC’s new ever-more-upmarket mission include fuel economy upgrades over comparable Chevy models? Or is this strictly a more-leather, more electronic gadgets-type move upmarket?

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65 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: GM Battles The Branding Boogeyman Edition...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    GM could move the Escalade products from Cadillac to GMC. Baring that, how does a Premium GMC vehicle distiguish itself from a Cadillac Escalade?

    GMC has been a zombie brand for a long time. GMC products are almost identical to Chevrolet trucks, so what is the point.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I don’t see any point to it. In the case of pickup trucks, rebadging a Chevy truck, calling it a GMC and charging more for it, must have snob appeal to some. Doesn’t justify the added expense of carrying this division.

      But in the Acadia/Traverse vehicles the reverse occurred rebadging an Acadia and calling it a Traverse after putting a cheaper interior in it. We looked at both the Acadia and the Enclave but decided to go with the Highlander.

      In the case of pickup trucks, I’m more of an F150 person than a Silverado person, having owned both in the past. Now I drive a Tundra 5.7, its better than any of the others.

      I would favor doing away with the GMC division of the new GM, but that didn’t happen.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Here’s the shell game GM is playing:

    Buick was kept alive to keep the GMC-Buick dealerships in business.

    GMC is being kept alive to keep the GMC-Buick dealerships in business.

    So they are only being produced for the purpose of supporting each other’s dealership volume? Madness. If either one of the brands has a sales collapse (and it seems GMC could, if the CAFE predictions are correct), it is going to bring down the other one with it (as that simultaneously brings down the dealers that sell them).

    Why not make GMC a strictly commercial/fleet brand? That would keep the dealerships happy with volume. They wouldn’t need to be advertised as heavily either. Forget premium. Work trucks are supposed to be tough and inexpensive, not saddled with Bluetooth and power seats.

    • 0 avatar
      topgun

      +1 … Better yet, take the differentiation further. Cut out trucks and truck based SUV’s from the Chevy lineup altogether and move all that volume onto GMC alone. Pick up trucks are supposed to be utility vehicles anyways and GMC is the “Professional Grade” brand. This would be consistent with the GMC image while Chevy can focus on mass-market, consumer oriented (ie. non-utility) cars and car-based crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Buick was kept alive to not loose Buick in China

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      Although you bring up some very good points, you are incorrect on why Buick was kept alive. It was all about China. China is now GM’s biggest market and Buick is a critical nameplate in that country. Sales of Buicks in China were out stripping US sales years ago, and the design studio was moved to China pre-bankruptcy.

      This is why Pontiac, which was just starting a Cadillac grade turn around (G8 and Solstice, with the G8 ST and a much improved G6 on the horizon) was axed instead of Buick. Pontiac carried no mojo outside of North America, and was basically a dead brand because of mismanagement.

      GMC as I understand it was kept alive because GMC margins are incredibly fat, and on paper, when the bean counters counted the beans, was the only name plate making money. You are correct that the impact to the Pontiac – Buick – GMC dealer network if it was just Buick would be devastating.

      If GM had sold off Buick a Chinese enterprise would have definitely bought it, would have definitely paid a premium for it, and would have slapped the mark on everything they could – hurting GM’s growth in the world’s biggest car market.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        GMC as I understand it was kept alive because GMC margins are incredibly fat, and on paper, when the bean counters counted the beans, was the only name plate making money.

        Stop making so much sense. It gets in the way of the parlour games.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        Close, but it’s about capital. They would never have cut Buick from China, but wouldn’t cut it or GMC from the US because they both have near zero development costs (one is a Chevy +$1500 and the other has all development and tooling design paid by SGM).

      • 0 avatar
        Amendment X

        @ SVX and Holden, et. al

        Jeez guys, GM doesn’t have to DUMP Buick, they just have to move it to a market that appreciates it. Why couldn’t they stop the NA distribution and make it a China-specific brand, like an Opel. I doubt the Chinese would care.

        Plus, the “Buick of China” is vastly different (superior?) than the “Buick of NA” because they have proper RWD large sedans. They are similar in name only. You basically have Buick of China as China’s “Cadillac” and the Buick of NA as Opel. Barring a few stylistic similarities, they aren’t that closely related.

        And comparing the Opel-Buick synergy as of late, it is pretty clear that Opels are being sold in NA as Buicks. Buick was converted to Opel for the convenience of NA-EU operations.

        So, back to GM’s shell game:

        It keeps the Buick nameplate in NA and China. Merges the NA product with Opel, but distinguishes the Buick nameplate from the NA product in China. What we end up with is really TWO brands: NA-EU Buick (Opel) and China Buick.

        Brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      No, Buick was kept alive because the Chinese like them. But you are correct. There is no reason for GMC. There never really has been.

    • 0 avatar
      theo78-96

      GMC did once actually sell proper commercial vehicles, but that is long gone and they just sell “lifestyle” vehicles now.

      I don’t think the suits at GM ever really liked Pontiac ; it was introduced as an ultra-cheap brand, made a few interesting but handling-challenged cars in the 1960s and then later became the dumping ground for every new and undeveloped idea (Aztek, LeMans, Aveo, G8) afterwards.

      Buicks are still popular with the soft shoe set, and make nice margins than you very much. It also is a convenient dumping ground for European GMs (Astra, Insignia) that have limited appeal.
      The Chinese market has no relevance to North America.
      I believe the GMC brand may be more significant in the Canadian market ?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Huh? Buick exists because GM sells more and earns more in China than the US, and can be expected to so by ever increasing amounts for the foreseeable future. Dumping Buick would have been as incredibly stupid as Ford investing untold billions of US dollars into Aston, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, and then dumping them all at firesale prices to make a quick buck. Oh, wait…

      GMC exists because the development costs are miniscule compared to higher transaction prices commanded by “Professional Grade”.

      Pontiac is gone because they’re basically Chevy with a minor sport twist in the low-margin entry segment.

      Like Saturn, HUMMER & Saab never should have existed outside Olds, GMC, and Caddy respectively.

      Overall, GM shed the right brands when they did.

      • 0 avatar
        theo78-96

        I still don’t see the relevance of China ; Vauxhalls and Holdens are not sold in North America.

        There was no Chevrolet Lemans, G8, or Aztek. The Aveo was “trialled” first with the Pontiac brand.
        Pontiac was orginally introduced to sell four cylinder cars when all Chevrolets went six cylinder and upmarket. That’s all it ever was – somewhere to fit cars GM didn’t want to contaminate other brands with. The 1960s were an exception.

        GMC is not “professional grade”. It’s just a bog standard Chevrolet pick up sold in a different dealership with a few extra bits.

      • 0 avatar
        Motorhead10

        I don’t get it – from GM’s 1Q11 report deliveries in GMNA were 684K with adjusted EBIT of $1.3bn. Deliveries in China were 686K with equity income (which is how the JV earnings are consolidated, no?) of $400 mn. So GM may sell more in China (marginally), but how are we calculating that they earn more in China?

        Re-reading your post, I see your meaning is likely that BUICK earns more in China. OK, that makes more sense – do we have stats supporting that? volume, transaction costs and contribution margins? I’ve never heard the company give anything but a “we don’t break out the numbers that way”. Just wondering if you had the password to computer in Ammann’s office or something?

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        GMC trucks command higher prices, so “Professional Grade” is working.

        GM has repeatedly stated that China is growing faster and driving more money than the US market. They sell a lot more Buick there than here – if you actually go there, as I’ve done, you’ll see it with your own eyes.

        I suppose it’s possible GM is actually making more money on the smaller number of Buick sold in the US, but I doubt it.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    It would make a lot more sense to sell soft-style luxury Buicks and German-style luxury Cadillacs in the same dealerships while putting a bigger focus on promoting the Silverado as the sole GM big truck offering. GMC will always be just another Chevrolet in different threads no matter what they do. Also, Buick should have the Terrain (with better styling) instead of GMC.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    GM’s still building vehicles for dealers instead of customers. They still just don’t get it.

    Either kill GMC or the Chevy truck line. There’s no justifiable case for both. And if it wasn’t so important for China, Buick should be gone too…there’s not enough price differentiation between it and Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’ve always thought the GMCs were a far-better looking truck, as witnessed above. Chevys, not so much.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    Either moved all trucks and SUVs to the GMC nameplate, or get rid of GMC altogether. Most of the differences in the trucks both divisions sell is basically cosmetic, and if truck sales collapse due to rising fuel prices GM again have excess capacity to deal with.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    “I think we can do premium Chevrolets, and take GMC and move it even further up.”

    What? (Scratching head.) How bout we just Cheyanne and Scottsdale Chevys and then only sell Denali GMCs?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Just kill off GMC, Chevrolet and Buick brands altogther and just have “GM/Cadillac”. Like Toyota/Lexus, Ford/Lincoln, Nissan/Infiniti etc. Badge engineering is so old Detriot and borders on silly. No it is silly.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      This idea is so revolutionary, yet makes so much sense, that it will certainly never happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “GM/Cadillac”? No, that won’t work. General Motors Impala? No. GM Impala, GM Corvette? Hmmm… The brand name is more than one word. Nope. Sorry. Won’t work. Kind of like TM Camry (Toyota Motors). General Impala, maybe? Don’t believe so. It works for Toyota, but won’t work for GM.

        Who says Buicks don’t sell here? I see them everywhere, so someone’s buying them. I’m certainly old enough for one, but I’m an Impala guy at heart.

        They do need to differentiate GMC from Chevy, though – maybe in styling. Go back to the “Gentleman Jim” moniker from the 70′s. Even though that was just a (poorly-applied) decal, add some chrome side top rails and it made a difference.

        I wish Chevy would drop the “Silverado” tag from all models. It used to be “Custom Deluxe”, “Scottsdale”, “Cheyenne” and “Silverado” – or was “Silverado” originally a GMC term? I also liked “Apache” and “Cameo” too. Just throwing stuff out there…

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “TM” is not a trademark in itself as “GM” is. Impalas are known to be GM products, Chevrolet specifically. Wouldn’t cause that much confusion. We may be stuck with a rebadged Sierra, regardless of trim divisions, because ditching the Sierra would leave a few loyal fans butt hurt and buy Toyota for instance, but would be worth it in the long run.

      http://backseatdriver.driverside.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/GMBRANDMARK_3metallic.jpg

  • avatar
    86er

    How many times are we going to have this asinine discussion?

    Repeat after me: profit.

    And if anyone thinks all the GMC business is going straight to Chevrolet, well, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Otherwise we’re just arguing that General Motors should downsize itself into oblivion, because that’s exactly what axing GMC division will aid in doing to GMNA.

  • avatar
    craiger

    Either kill GMC or stop making Chevy trucks. Will Buick dealers go bankrupt without GMC? Will Chevy dealers go bankrupt without trucks? This is insane. Every other car maker in the world must be laughing at this.

  • avatar

    There is only way GMC can go and that is to target Jeep. It should do what HUMMER couldn’t do for the automaker. This article breaks it down:

    http://www.autotribute.com/7044/gmc-next-logical-step/

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      +1. Brilliant idea. Jeep has such high brand cachet but not enough product. If GM could build a Wrangler-style pickup… wow, just wow.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      This is exactly what I was going to say. They could even go so far as to eliminate 4×4 vehicles at Chevrolet dealers. Chevy trucks would become the basic trucks. Serious trucks and offroad stuff would be at the GMC store.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Seems to me the solution is to just let Chevy AND Buick dealers sell trucks that are badged “GMC”. Or heck, make up one new name to replace both. But having to design, market, and support two almost but not quite identical truck lines is just plain stupid.

    I mean, on average Americans are kind of dumb, but does anyone really believe there is any substantive difference between a Chevy truck and a GMC truck?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Yes GMC Sierras are always better looking than Silvys but that’s by design to keep GMC trucks from completely vaporizing. If Ford made an “FMC” truck to cannibalize F-Series sales it probably would. Of course the ‘regular’ F-series would be made garish to send folks across town to the “FMC” dealer for the better looking FM truck. Problem is there may be other brands of shiny new trucks for sale on the way to the “FMC” dealer and some sales will be lost in transit. Great idea, Ford.

  • avatar

    I don’t see GMC being killed off any time soon. With vehicles that are essentially a materials upgrade and badge job representing pure profit and a nice, thick black balance for the bean counters in RenCen, there’s no way GMC is being axed or even changed to the point that it ceases making money. People tend to be brand-loyal — kill GMC and only a scant few of those will flock to Chevy. Everyone else will drift off to Ford/Ram/Toyota.

    The only way I can see GMC being salvaged? If the Chevy trucks are decontented interior-wise and feature-wise. Get rid of the LTD/Caprice syndrome by drop-kicking leather and other fancy toys from most of the Chevy truck lineup. Offer the plusher appointments and gadgets on the GMCs and adjust the pricing accordingly. Chevy trucks go back to being the “value” choice and GMC lives to dine on dollars and dino juice another day as the “upscale” choice. Buick dealers get to retain GMC’s dealer sales volumes.

    Someone suggested killing the Escalade? Fat chance. The Escalade is currently the only remaining representation of the classic American vehicle: a full-size, body-on-frame V8-powered vehicle with most, if not all, of the attributes of Cadillacs before it. Kill it, and all you’re left with is an entire Cadillac lineup full of vehicles that would make semi-decent Acuras, if that.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @John Williams: “The only way I can see GMC being salvaged? If the Chevy trucks are decontented interior-wise and feature-wise…”

      100% correct. Keep the Chevys cheap and cheerful, let GMC truly be professional grade.

    • 0 avatar
      SP

      That makes some sense, but both sets of dealers would fight to the death before giving up leather, premium electronics, blah blah blah.

      It’s one of the biggest problems with a multi-brand strategy. They all want to sell luxury vehicles and make luxury money.

  • avatar
    craiger

    Like most of us I’ve always been amazed at people who think there’s a substantive difference between badge jobs. I once dated a girl who wanted to buy a Toyota Matrix. I suggested that she look at the Pontiac Vibe because it cost less than the Matrix. She replied that her father had a Pontiac 20 years ago, and it fell apart, so she didn’t want a Pontiac, because Pontiacs are junk. No amount of explanation on my part made the slightest difference in her thinking.

    I’ve always thought that people who buy pickups are more informed than the average buyer. I still think that if GMC went away, customers would go to Chevy rather than Ford or Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Or you’re well informed enough to realize that pretty much any truck will work perfectly well for you, and go somewhere else for your second favorite truck.

      For instance, personally I like the GMC Terrain while the Equinox is bleh. I would strongly consider the Terrain, but if that was off the table Chevy would fall to the back of the pack.

      I think that the reskins can really be useful to get two bites at the aesthetic apple. Maybe that’s not worth two brands, but it probably helps.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    People argue badge engineering then snap up Infinitis, Acuras, Lexuii, and Audis to name a few essentially badge engineered cars. The key here I think as most people have it is to decontent Chevy to be a baseline cheap truck and push the GMC as the contractor’s truck. More of a do-er with less of the ugly. In my area I have always seen more GMCs than Chevy trucks simply because they are engineered as GMCs first then as Chevys. Each generation the GMCs look better and generally are better appointed.

    As for the whole GMC/Buick propping each other up, I find it hard to believe. Buick could survive in the US without GMC though it would be diminished we would see Chevy/Buick dealers more often since arguably the gentle glide up in pricing of Buick actually suits Chevy better. GMC by comparison is a rural truck yard without Buick. Even now the Buick/GMC dealers I see out in the rural areas are odd birds. Massive dump trucks and heavy duty cabs along side lucernes. It just doesn’t mesh well. In more urban zones most Buick dealers I see are stand alone or in an auto complex with other GM or foreign makes.

    • 0 avatar

      If you believe half those marques are as badge engineered as you say then perhaps you shouldn’t know in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Audis are purely badge engineered with slightly uprated suspension pieces. Same applies to Acuras, largely the same Honda but with a larger engine in the RL and again uprated suspension. The sheer cost of making major changes to the same car is enormous, in most cases the luxury brands are given a better suspension, engine, and interior. Not a huge difference. Something along the lines of 4-5K was quoted back in the early 2000s as to the cost difference. So I can safely argue badge engineering between a GMC and Chevy could make for a major difference. The problem for GM and Ford was they were badge engineering on top of the same market. When the profit margin is roughly the same the cost of badge engineering goes up without the benefit of a heftier price tag.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Audi A3 and TT are built on the Golf platform. The Phaeton was a badge engineered A8 (not the other way round). That is about the extent of it. The A4, A5, A6, and A7 are all built on longitudinal drivetrain platforms (where the Passat is a transverse mounted engine). The R8 shares quite a lot with the Lambo Gallardo. The Audi SUVs share a lot under the skin with the VWs, but that seems to be the exception instead of the rule. While Audi is definitely engineered by VW, it isn’t just a badge engineering job for the most part.

        Lexus and Infiniti are badge jobs but other than the LX (Land Cruiser) and GX (4Runner/LC Prado), the vehicles that that they badge engineer from aren’t available in the US. The IS, GS, and LS have Toyota counterparts, but not in the US. The ES is related to the Camry, but the Sienna is related to the Camry, too. The CT has the Prius engine but in on the Avensis chassis. The tC is also on the Avensis platform. The RX is on the same platform as the Highlander, but is substantially different. I think that pretty well illustrates how to properly “badge engineer” versus just changing a grille and headlights, which is the classic case of badge engineering.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    First question for Reuss: Are you suggesting a premium, up-scale, GMC Savana panel van for contractors? Professional Grade ™ mated to The Men’s Warehouse? Gimme a break.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    With gas hanging over 4 bucks a gallon one of these truck brands are the walking dead. They just don’t know it yet. GM better figure that out real soon or they’ll be sucking some more taxpayer teat. Of course, bailouts deincentivize tough decisions, don’t they?

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Back in the mists of time there were different powertrain options Chevy vs. GMC. Maybe that would be the way to make the brands different. Offer big diesels only on the GMC version, or something like that.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I fully believe GM will muck it up. They couldn’t save themselves in the last go around from the brand blender that they created and it took bankruptcy and “Don” Obama’s pushing a button on Rick Wagoner to get them to do what they never should have allowed to happpen in the first place.

    Ed is right, GMC will just end up as a tarted up Chevy, excuse me, Chevrolet.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I think it costs GM very little more to produce GMC & Chevrolet products thus there would be little cost savings realized by eliminating GMC.

    Given that usually GMC & Chevrolet sales combined top Ford F150 sales the $64 question is if GMC were dropped would all or most GMC buyers switch to Chevy? Since one can only speculate on the answer my guess is no, a lot of GMC buyers would wind up buying Fords & Dodges. There is a reason they are buying GMC’s and not Chevy’s now. I’m not saying none of the GMC buyers would switch to Chevy but enough of them to impact GM’s bottom line. If you think that’s the case then it doesn’t make economic sense for GM to drop GMC. GMC products have had minimal differentiation from Chevrolet for years yet GMC still sells in reasonable volumes. At present I don’t see a business case for dropping GMC and I don’t think that’s likely to change with upcoming CAFE regulations simply because all brands will be effected equally.

    Also, consider the existing GMC distribution network, just more opportunity for GM to sell more vehicles, in this case highly profitable GMC’s.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    What you do is rebrand GMC as Buick trucks, keeping the same dealers and not messing up the mix. Give the new Buick truck division a cheaper Escalade and start shipping new Buick trucks to China where that brand has panache. Drop the compact GMC Colorado spin off, and keep that within the Chevrolet line up where it offers a better fit with the Chevrolet image.

    GMC was supposed to be the industrial truck brand. This never really caught on. The pricing rewrote the script so that GMC ended up looking like some kind of luxury/industrial brand, which isn’t a natural fit. So go with it – give GM a real upscale truck line by renaming GMC trucks as Buicks.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of a Buick truck line anymore than the idea of a Cadillac truck line. Cadillac can keep their expensive Escalade, but there is a market for upscale luxury trucks between Chevrolet’s and Cadillac’s.

    Chevrolet auto is in competition with Hyundai, while their truck line is in competition with Ford. That remains.

    Before posting this, I read through the previous postings to see if anyone else thought of this. But, so far, I hadn’t seen anyone suggesting this.

    What am I crazy? This is the first thing I thought of.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      I’m not sure but I don’t think there’s much of a market in China for upscale trucks. In the U.S. I don’t think it makes any sense to rebrand GMC as Buick considering GMC’s brand equity in the U.S. The GMC brand here is over 100 years old and well established as evidenced by GMC sales.

      Although GM has made plenty of branding mistakes over the years I don’t see GMC as one of them. GM makes money on the GMC brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Besides the sole example near my neighborhood, where did all the “Blackwoods” go? Now there was an idea!

      EDIT: VanillaDude – I scratch my head knowing that somewhere in your comment, something makes an awful lot of sense…somehow…

      • 0 avatar
        SP

        There’s a big hole somewhere in Detroit full of them. Someday, a sinkhole will open up and a future human will become rich!

        You have to give Ford credit (blame) for trying it again with the MKT!

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    The current structure keeps the franchised dealer viable. In the Buick/GMC scenario, customers can start at the Buick Verano(soon) and eventually walked up through to Regal, LaCrosse and ultimately Enclave. Also on the menu is a full truck line in GMC. Terrain up through Sierra/Yukon/Yukon XL. Similar situation in Chevrolet dealership. Cruze up to Impala. Full truck lineup. Couple extra exclusive goodies in Corvette and Volt.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    People talk about “Brand” loyalty but the other side of the coin is “Dealer” loyalty. How many GMC’s are sold vesus a Chevy or vice versa due to the dealer? If I’ve purchased my cars for the last 20 years from a certain Buick dealer and I want a truck am I going to go to a Chevy dealer whom I have no relationship with? I suspect that is a bigger factor than than most realize.

  • avatar
    Monty

    This is an exercise in a merry-go-round discussion. We can toss this around until the cows come home, but the fact is that whatever the best solution is in this scenario, GM will not do it.

    Somewhere in the RenCen, an senior level executive just did a spit-take on a junior level executive at the suggestion of eliminating one of either the GMC or Chevrolet truck division. Upper management cannot comprehend this issue, period.

    There are several valid suggestions and solutions, just in this thread alone – GM will not have the mojo to make any move that might upset the dealer apple cart.

  • avatar

    I think GMC could definitely be further (farther?) upmarket, and Cadillac should just be cars. GM knows higher is where GMC is supposed to be.

    Perhaps if the yk Denali had the same interior differentiation as the Escalade does now, perhaps maybe an exclusive engine, xenons, maybe, a cool truck. Complete pickup-truck haulin capability, but statusy, and not an ugly Lincoln. I think there’s more than a decent demand for nice trucks, and from who better than GM? The King Ranch only goes so far (as do Ford’s luxury fingers).

    But what of the work truck problem? The Silverado can come with Malibu panels OR truck plastics, for the selective buyer. Could the Sierra, post-Denali, put its foot down at the work interior?

    (I don’t think they can be merged)

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I don’t really understand the problem. The “development costs” for the GMC version the the Silverado is almost nothing, and there is very little difference, except in appearance, so basically every truck they sell is another Chevy anyway. When I was looking for a truck back in 2000, I wanted a Chevy over the GMC because the front end looked better and it had better looking wheels on it. I looked and was unable to find a Chevy, so I went to the close by GMC dealer and they had about a dozen of them equipped just the way I wanted, at least one of every color they made. The deal was made quickly, and the only nonsense was when the salesman says, “Well, A GMC will always cost more than a Chevy!”. I just said, “I hope you aren’t serious!”. The sticker was about $37 higher than a nearly identical Chevy at the other lot, (not including the awful looking running boards, bed rails, and mud flaps the dealer had tacked on). I raised my top offer $50, and told them that was it, final offer. I had to get up to leave twice before they said yes, then they almost killed the deal when they sent us into the F&I office and the moron they put us with pissed us off to the point where we threatened to leave if he didn’t go. He was sarcastic, agressive, and just plain obnoxious. They sent him out and put another guy with us instead. I have to say my dealings with Dodge dealers since then have been much more pleasant then the GM dealers have been, ever, even going back over 30 years.


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