"Certainly, the Lessons of the Past, We Don't Forget Them When We Come Here"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Here being China. We being GM. The speaker being GM CEO Rick Wagoner. And yet… Automotive News reports that The General is deploying Ye Olde "A Car for Every Purse and Purpose" strategy developed by Alfred P. Sloan– and then annihilated by every cash-grabbing, corner-cutting CEO since, sending the former world's largest automaker sliding towards bankruptcy. Never mind; it was implementation that killed the golden goose. "The China market also gives it a rare chance to try to repeat the business past with a happier ending for investors… GM introduced Chevy to China just three years ago after concluding its Buick brand was over-extended by a product line-up that had saddled it with everything from a minivan marketed as a kind of executive taxi to a cheaper hatchback. 'We could see Buick was being stretched,' [GM's head of Asian operations Nick] Reilly said." Uh, hello? Buick still sells the same product line-up in China as before. They've simply added Chevy (i.e. rebadged Daewoos). Oh, and Cadillac's in the People's Republic as well. What are the chances GM will show the same branding discipline in China that they've shown in the U.S.? And if it's good enough for China…

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Edgett Edgett on Apr 22, 2008

    Given that plants are products of their environment, and CEO Rick Wagoner has shown his propensity for plant-like fast thinking and innovation, one shouldn't expect that GM-China will be anything more than the poorly executed sequel to GM-America. Unfortunately, Rick and his ilk look at the automotive world through number-filled glasses, apparently ignorant that the greatness of Honda, Porsche, BMW or Toyota has to do with looking at the automotive world as a series of products, each of which has value to the consumer first and stockholder second.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 23, 2008

    Chevy at the low end, Buick in the middle and Cadillac on top is a perfectly good strategy IF they can stick to it. Anything made by Daewoo is be definition low-end and Chevy label worthy. Chevy - worker-bee's car Buick - manager's car Cadillac - big-boss/owner's car Now, will they be able to stick to the plot? One bright spot is if Chinese locals take over even more decision making. Right now they already seem to have a keener sense of what makes a great Buick than anyone in Detroit has realized for the past 30 years.