By on December 8, 2009

The last of the lifers? ( here on out, GM’s success in the US market comes down to two people: Susan Docherty and Mark Reuss. The two fielded their first joint sales conference call last week,  and it was clear that they were still settling into their roles. Listen to the whole hour of awkwardness here, or, for a quick summary check out the final questions of the session (from the WSJ’s John Stoll), and the prickly, defensive answers from Docherty and Reuss. When Stoll asks how Reuss and Docherty expect to change a culture when they’re a product of that culture, the tension is palpable. Then, when Stoll accuses Docherty’s sales organization of buying market share with incentives, the pair’s non-answer is “I guess that’s what you feel.” Meanwhile, Edmunds reports that GM has by far the highest incentives of any automaker, with a True Cost of Incentives of $4,270, over a thousand dollars more than number two Chrysler. Good thing we’re tackling those problems head-on then.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

38 Comments on “GM Gets Awkward Over Incentives And Market Share...”

  • avatar

    It is not enough to poison Rasputin. One must also shoot him in the head, then roll him up in a carpet and toss him into river Neva…

    As long as there is one lifer in a VP role, nothing will change at GM. The may be ‘nice’ people, but GM is the only way they know. They are only capable of collecting a ridiculous paycheck until they are terminated.

  • avatar

    Well, remember, everyone gets promoted to their own level of incompetence…

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    I really am surprised Ford and other carmakers haven’t made a complaint to the WTO as this is clearly an unfair market. Whilst Ford, Toyota, Hyundai et al have to give incentives out of their own pockets, Chrysler and GM can give as many incentives as they like as it all comes from Uncle Sam’s printing press.

  • avatar

    I’d hate to be these two.
    On one hand, they have Whitacre’s sword of Damocles hanging over their head.  On the other, they have years of cognitive dissonance to work out: all the tools in their mental toolbox are suddenly wrong for the job and they have to re-learn how to do everything, in a short period time, and with definite goals this time.
    Note: I can empathize with them, but I don’t sympathize.  It sucks when you’ve coasted for years and suddenly have to produce results, but it doesn’t mean you didn’t coast and that you’re not getting a little karmic comuppance.
    Suddenly, Mark La Neve looks pretty smart for gettin’ while the going’s good.

    • 0 avatar

      They certainly have their feet to the fire, and I wish them well.

      However, I wish that Reuss had not taken the bait and decided to defend old GM (“biggest, most respected, high quality, example of the way America did business, etc etc, etc.”).   They must purge all of that out of their thinking – GM has been in a downward spiral for 25+ years, they FAILED and are only standing thanks to government support.   Move on.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought LaNeve looked dumb for staying while the going was gettin’ bad … and not manning up to the fact (although that is what he was paid to do.)

  • avatar

    Uncle Ed will probably give them 90 days before they get “fritzed”

    • 0 avatar

      ‘Uncle Ed will probably give them 90 days before they get “fritzed”.’

      Now THAT is funny!  

      Fritz gave me the creeps with his “harder/faster” comments.  I’m glad he’s gone just for that reason alone.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I wonder if these two are familiar with the expression “give them enough rope to hang themselves with”? It is a fairly common upper management catch-phrase and might be what we are seeing go on here.
    I wonder if Jim Press is looking for a new gig? He did a great job for Toyota, and the Chrysler-Cerberus gig was a complete no-win situation.

  • avatar

    General Motors does not have an unlimited time frame to get back on track and solidly making money. The old mantra of “Pile it high and watch ‘em fly!” was worn out by the old, bad GM.
    When you see a GM ad in the paper with 8-10 rebates, many of them clearly ridiculous, it’s a big dis-incentive. When Consumer Reports ranks GM’s best product 9th and 13th on a list, it’s a big dis-incentive. When the newsstand is filled with newspapers and magazines universally extolling GM’s competitors, it’s a big dis-incentive.
    When you consider walking into a GM dealership then realize there are at least four competitive dealerships with superior cars and trucks to pick from, you look foolish looking at any General Motors offering.
    The white knight, if he or she makes it in time, will be someone sick and tired of GM’s poor showing on every respected list. You will know they have arrived when they go across the desk and down the throat of whoever it is that routinely strips the last $200 out of a car’s GM cost in a way does $2,000 worth of damage to the style, comfort, reliability, and NHV.

    The hour is late and getter later for that person to show up.

  • avatar

    Well hell froze over and I have pruchased American. After 25 yrs of driving Honda, VW, Mitsubishi, BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus. I traded my 2008 Evo X Mr for a 2009 CTS V. Fit and finish easily tops Mercedes and BMW (not Lexus) and the power and toys (OMG). This car is incredible and thats coming from someone who has actually owened some of the best mass market automobiles made. Alas one car cant save GM but this car should be the min benchmark for them. 

  • avatar

    As good as the CTS-V is (and it is VERY good), it can’t be expected to carry GM.  Sure, they have one or two great cars (like the CTS-V and Corvette), but the problem isn’t in one or two cars.  The problem with GM is the cars down in the weeds…where they have to duke it out with the likes of Civics, Corollas (maybe not as much from what I’ve seen of this current iteration…Toyota should be ashamed of themselves), Camrys and Accords.  Without a competitive complete line-up, incentives will do nothing to shore up their standing (much less the resale value for those souls that did bravely venture to buy GM).

    • 0 avatar
      Christy Garwood

      GM is also selling this year the Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Chevy Malibu – all of which are very competitive in my GM employee opinion. But based on feedback from buyers.

  • avatar


    Thank you. CTS-V sale should contribute big $$$’s towards GM loan repayment.

  • avatar

    How long has Heather Locklear worked for GM?

  • avatar

    The CTSv is a great car…..when it’s new! I know 2 disgusted owners of these whips. Both are being robbed blind with repairs. Typical GM reliability. They forgot the 3 simple rules of purchasing a GM vehicle (if you must)!
    1. Never pay MRSP. Make sure there’s lots of cash on the hood. Also arrange your financing with a view to:
    2…not keeping the car past it’s warranty and do not drive it hard, or if you do:
    3. Buy a good extended warranty because you will need it.
    It might be a good idea to keep an old Civic or Corolla around as emergency transportation for those days when your GM is in the shop unless your warranty includes a loaner.

  • avatar

    I am very disappointed that Ruess and Docherty were promoted to their current positions. Outsiders are what is needed if GM stands any chance of survival. I hope both are gone in the very near future and replaced by non-GM lifers. The WSJ reporter had a very valid question when he asked them how they intend to change a culture of which they are both products. Fact is they can’t.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    For some one trading a 2008 vehicle in for a 2010 Model, this person has to be nuts and full of Money to waste as well, somehow I don’t think this person is so smart after all, the Detroit three like people like him but some how I don’t think the World would appreciate such a act either! imho.

  • avatar

    Body language of clenched fists is very defensive. She’s definitely not getting fired going down without a fight.

  • avatar

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Reuss or Richards.  I don’t think the Rasputin R-X will work with Susan! Susan! Susan! … she’s so perky and always comes back for more.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if GM doesn’t mess up the 2011 Buick Regal and Buick makes a nice comeback as an entry-luxury brand and we don’t have to bury like it Oldsmobile and Saturn after their botched revivals?

  • avatar

    love those little clinched fists, soon she will htting her head with them as she realizes she is in WAY over her head!

  • avatar

    I don’t think Ford is at a disadvantage. Your forgetting that the money is not a gift from the US government. It’s a loan and GM plans to pay it back

  • avatar

    The true costs of incentives that edmunds puts out needs to have ratios for all of the brands.  GM sells more large vehicles than the other manufactures and less cars which will drive the number up.  Also, the brands that are leaving have huge incentives.  They are selling in smaller numbers, but it is still driving the number up.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • sirwired: This review was lacking in a little depth; it consisted of “[spec sheet][spec sheet]The...
  • Pig_Iron: Took the words out of my mouth ;-) Thanks Corey. Yes, Maxwell before Chrysler, and Chalmers before Dodge. I...
  • sirwired: The lack of colors makes sense if you ever watch a YouTube video of a Honda factory. Apparently to make the...
  • 28-Cars-Later: Ban politicians.
  • N8iveVA: “Ah, forget it. CA politicians are only focused on the next election cycle ” Uh correction,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber