Chevy's Marketing Mali-boo-boo

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Even a freshman marketing student knows you don't launch a multi-million dollar ad blitz for a new product if you don't have the product on hand to sell. Yet that's exactly what GM did with the redesigned Chevy Malibu. GM says they sold about 7K Malibus in December. That's about the same number as in December '06. What they haven't said is how many unfilled orders or deposits they've taken for future delivery. Yet GM marketing maven and spinmeister extraordinaire Mark LaNeve told the Detroit News it'll be spring before production meets demand. That's despite ramping up production at a second plant. Monster Mark gushes, "they're selling well in Southern California. They're selling well in Flint." I'm happy to hear they're selling somewhere– because Malibus don't seem to be going anywhere in the southeast. I have yet to see a new 'Bu on the road in the Atlanta area; the only one I've seen outside a showroom was somewhere on an interstate in Texas. On my way to visit the family at Thanksgiving, I saw the car you can't ignore at a Chevy dealership in central Alabama. When I went back at Christmas it was still sitting in the same spot. How about you? Have you seen the new Malibu in the wild, or have you only spotted GM's next next big thing at dealerships (if at all)? Let's get empirical! Em-piri-cal.

Frank Williams
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  • Supremebrougham Supremebrougham on Jan 03, 2008

    Last month I decided to stop at the Chevy dealer around the corner, Dean Arbour, and see what they had. They had a Sandstone Beige 2LT 4cyl in the showroom. I have to say, I was impressed. The build quality was amazing, and the color scheme really worked on it. I was supposed to go back later that week and drive it, but it disappeared after a couple of days, and I haven't seen it since. They did get a white one in soon after, it's still in the showroom. I saw a silver one drive through town last month, and I saw another (same?) one when I was near Ann Arbor in late October. Other than that, nothing!!! Here in NE lower MI there are lots of GM retirees, so you would think they'd want to sell all of them one-oh wait, I forgot, that's what all those Silverados are on the lot for!!!

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 03, 2008

    I'm confused, why has this car showed up on rental car lots when customers who want to pay retail for it can't find them anywhere. Plus I thought they said this car wouldn't be going to fleets, especially in the first 2 months of launch. Just how stupid are these guys?

  • Mikey Mikey on Jan 03, 2008

    Redbarchetta:When you buy the volume of cars that the rental people do,you get to make some demands. Such as,having a few of the newest hot models,cause thier clients demand them. These "stupid" guys feel that sending a few cars to rental,is not too bad an idea.Its a chance for people to rent one and gives excellant exposure.

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Jan 04, 2008
    Mikey those would all be valid points IF they were producing enough volume to satisfy the customers and the fleets, but their not. For a company that needs this car to be a retail success not giving the customer first dibs seams pretty stupid. I guess going to Enterprise and renting the car liking it and then not being able to find it on a Chevy lot when you want to buy it is going to make them some sweet profit. Plus seeing a car they said would not become a fleet queen at rental fleets right at launch isn't going to put much confidence for customers worried about depreciation in the future especially after what they did with the last gen Malibu. They need to build trust not lose it.