By on August 9, 2011

With GM’s share price currently hovering below $25, well under its $33 IPO price, The General is holding its second annual Global Business Conference in hopes of encouraging investors the world over to buy into its turnaround. A webcast is currently streaming over at the GM Investor Relations website, but the key points are available in slides available in PDF here. The presentation involves nearly every level of GM’s business, so listening in and reading the entire PDF is going to be the best way to make sense of what GM is trying to communicate… but if you just want an overview, check out the gallery below for a few hand-picked slides, illustrating some of the more important points.

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73 Comments on “The Case For GM, In Glorious Powerpoint...”


  • avatar
    aristurtle

    First impression on reading that slide: Dan Akerson is a dangerous lunatic.

    I can’t believe people keep comparing him to Alan Mulally. Yeah, they’re both from non-automotive backgrounds, but Mulally came from Boeing, which is a company that actually makes things, whereas Akerson came from some finance company.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Akerson is dangerous but he can’t destroy GM by himself. This little Powerpoint exercise is scary. Akerson is surrounding himself with little clones and yes-men. They think that marketing, using the right words and images, will solve all their problems. The vehicles are secondary to them. I thought that kind of Powerpoint abuse was done but it still survives at GM. Surely eventually someone will lose his job over this. Ron Zarella is back at GM.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        The part that pisses me off the most is that the elements of success are all there. There’s some genuine engineering talent working at GM. They’ve got history (some of it even good!), they’ve got an extensive dealer network, they’ve got manufacturing capacity, etc. etc. but with the wrong guy in charge they’ll piss away their opportunity to turn it around. And that’s exactly what they’re doing when they focus on branding instead of product.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        And haven’t we seen this movie before? Remember Roger Smith and his merry band of yes-men? If GM actually succeeds with this management team, it will in spite, and not because of them. No faith in GM from this corner.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Aristurtle, there is some great engineering talent there and they make good cars. The engineers and the people in production are better than management. Let’s face it, Akerson got the job in spite of his resume and he seems to be infecting or inflicting himself and his yes-men on the company.

        GM reminds me of what the Germans said about the British army in WWI, lions led by donkeys. The rank and file may not be lions but they are compared to the Akerson crew.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        “This little Powerpoint exercise is scary. Akerson is surrounding himself with little clones and yes-men… The vehicles are secondary to them.”

        It’s Red Ink Rick, all over again!

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    It looks like the Ackerson years will result in a slimmed down GM.

    What caught my eye was the 50% reduction in both body platforms and engines. Will a 1 liter engine pass muster in the US?

    Does this mean that there will be no full sized van for Opel/Vauxhall to compete with the Transit and Transporter – or – will one full-sized van platform fit both Europe and North America?

    Today’s North American full-sized vans share a sizable parts bin with perennial sales leader, the full size pick up.

    Pay attention to the chart that shows high versus low production costs countries. My bet is GM wants to make greater use of the latter.

  • avatar
    chrisferguson

    As a brand, Apple is such a one off that “be like Apple” is a misguided strategy. Their success is very path dependent. Chevrolet’s positioning is so far off Apple’s that to think they will ever be in the same league is ludicrous in the near and medium term.

    • 0 avatar

      Okay, GM, let’s see a plan where you can be just like Apple.

      Ready?

      Great, let’s get started!

      First, you have to rethink the entire control mechanism of cars. Imagine how a car would be controlled by a touch screen instead of a steering wheel and pedals. Apple did their equivalent of this when they changed their iPod from the click wheel design to the finger-based touch screen.

      “But that would be illegal! Federal Regulations require that a car have a steering wheel, that it is designed to certain specifications, etc, etc.”

      Well, you can’t be like Apple, then. Apple differentiates themselves from the pack with completely unique design. If you are in an industry that’s so heavily regulated cars need to be extremely similar to each other, you can’t be Apple.

      Sorry.

      By the way, I am not saying cars should not be regulated in this way – it would probably be quite dangerous to have cars hurtling down the road with radically different user interfaces and designs. But that means that no automaker can use a strategy even slightly like Apple’s, and the fact that they think they can is worrisome to the extreme.

  • avatar

    comparing Chevrolet to Apple… ha ha that’s funny

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      I laughed pretty hard at that one too. Doubt very much the mullet behind the wheel of a Camaro has any clue about the success or innovations of Apple products outside of his gen 1 ipod loaded with a catalog of 80’s hair metal.

      Apple is a hip brand that has a huge following with the younger techies and Chevy stands for

      unhip appliances you rent while on vacation.

      • 0 avatar

        Apple has reinvented itself many times, I don’t know whether the changes possible in the car industry are something along the scope of Apple IIe -> iPad.

        As for your feelings of superiority toward your hypothetical Amurcan with a Camaro and mullet, it’s not very becoming to stereotype people, even po’ white trash. Hell, over on Jalopnik some youngun thinks I’m a racist just because I’ve noticed that B-body Impala SSs and high performance Panthers like the Marauder are popular with big black men.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Puleeeeeze…

    I’ve owned GM cr*p. Never again.

    I have many Apple products. All still work.

    Apple has talent in management and in engineering.

    GM has slime in management, they’ve suppressed both of their engineers, and the UAW can shove it up their smelly Obamas. Shove it GM.

    • 0 avatar

      Apple also has major marketing talent, which is something GM has lacked for a long time.

    • 0 avatar

      Wait a second. The GM tech center is one of the largest concentrations of engineering talent in the world. No question about it. They have something like 4 Cray supercomputers. Many countries’ governments don’t even have one Cray. GM owns more desktop computers than any company in America, and they’re Autodesk’s and other CAD software companies’ best customers.

      As Pete Delorenzo points out, it’s not the true believers and car guys in the trenches who make the mistakes.

      As for Apple, considering that Alfred Sloan supposedly invented planned obsolescence, Steve Jobs made it into an art form. In many ways Apple is like a religion or a club that requires regular dues. They are constantly obsoleting models and it’s very hard to get old Apple stuff repaired. They didn’t exactly treat their customers well concerning the flaming battery issue.

      Imagine if GM sold a car whose batteries burst into flames, and then said that if you don’t get it fixed within two years, they’re not responsible for it. Weren’t there some privacy concerns over what the iPhones do? Imagine if OnStar was doing that? Think GM would get as much slack as Apple has?

      I’ve admired Jobs (and Wozniak) and Apple product and software designers are among the best, but the company is not quite ready for sainthood. I owned an Apple IIe, was an early Macintosh owner, and supported about 400 Macs at a DuPont site. They certainly make great stuff. Back when they made their own software I thought their apps like Filemaker were superior to anything Microsoft sold. But it’s not a perfect company.

      I’d say that some of Apple’s behaviors concerning the iTunes store, what they will and won’t sell in terms of apps, what they will and won’t let you do with their products, would have attracted the attention of anti-trust investigators at one time.

      Today, with car companies hooking up in all sorts of formal and other ways it sounds funny, but in the 1960s and 1970s, some Detroit auto execs wouldn’t play a round of golf with someone from another of the Big 3 for fear of an anti-trust investigation.

      Also, GM and the rest of Detroit get pilloried for losing market share. Apple has to keep moving into new markets because in every one, they lose big chunks of market share as new competitors arise. In the personal computing field they went from about 10% of the market to 3%. Likewise with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, their groundbreaking, market creating products quickly have had competitors, all taking market share.

      One of these days, either before or after Steve Jobs leaves the company one way or another, Apple will have another Lisa, another Next.

      I’m certainly no Apple hater, though I personally use a PC for legacy software reasons. To me, though, if anything, Apple’s “hip” appeal is a turnoff. I own a couple of fedoras not because I want to look hip, but because I like hats.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Ronnie: I’m a long time Apple user, mostly a consequence of being a graphic designer and production artist. Generally speaking they make a darn good product. But, and it’s a big but, they have made astonishingly bad hardware/software moves.

        But, I submit it’s the whole “computer mystique” culture, and the fact that the general public has just gotten comfortable with computing. What I’m speaking of are issues just like the flaming (or dying) batteries, OS software with security holes all through it, etc.

        The computer industry as a whole has just about totally ignored any kinds of responsibility in regards to consumer protection, either from external threats or internal screw ups where we get to be beta testers.

        Again, imagine if your telephone gave you a shock every time you used it. Would you continue using it? Of course not. But we (as the general public) have bought into the whole “computer mystique” idea with geeks as the high priests of the unreadable scrolls.

        It’s only taken 25 or so years, but we as consumers are finally getting around to demanding better software/hardware. And just barely at that. I’ve seen (dimbulb) people threaten to drive their malfunctioning but new cars through the windows of the showroom because of some defect, even though they were wrong about the issue. But we accept all kinds of flaws in our daily business machines, with hardly a whimper.

        When Steve Job leaves again (or dies), Apple will flounder. Witness Microsoft, especially with Ballmer in charge. Or HP. Or any other company where the founding father(s) exit.

        I too am no Apple hater either, but there is a plethora of choices out there in the technology arena. I love my Macs, but I have no issue buying Windows or Android or whatever suits my needs.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        +1000 Ronnie

        I can’t believe it…someone who hasn’t partaken of the Apple Kool-Aid. Of course, God help you if a member of the Cult of Steve reads this…watch out for the brickbats.

        A seldom-discussed reason for the success of Apple is their advertising strategy. You’ll notice that you never see Apple computers advertised next to an equivalent PC, because if that happened, people would see just how overpriced Apples are in comparison to an equivalent PC of the same size. I like to call it advertising by isolation.

        Another thing is the slavish following that Apple has from certain members of the media. I dare you – double dare you, to find me ONE negative review of an Apple product in the mass media. It just won’t happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        You can add me to the list of people who steadfastly refuse to drink the Apple Kool-Aid for all the reasons Ronnie cited above. I certainly respect the graphic use of their computer – geozinger, what, exactly, is the reason Apples are better than PCs for graphics, anyway?

        Still, computers have ‘way too much stuff on them that 99% of people have no idea or rhyme or reason why that stuff is weighing down their computers in the first place – me included.

        I like my automobiles the same way – nice-looking, but I don’t need all the bells and whistles the higher-end cars have.

        All GM needs to do is make cars that are attractive inside and out like they built from 1955-1972, make them reliable, and they’ll be fine.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: The Apple Macintosh came with pretty decent graphics capabilities right out of the box, and Apple had developed it’s own drawing program to ship with the computer. Steve Jobs had taken calligraphy classes in college, which apparently influenced some of the characteristics of the original OS.

        Other developers saw the potential in this machine and decided to develop page layout, illustration, and photo manipulation programs. Generally computer-adverse artists came to appreciate the fact that all of the Mac stuff worked together pretty well and didn’t leave you with a bunch of glitches and incompatibilities like the contemporary PCs did at that time.

        The funny thing is, most of the PCs when properly equipped, could outperform almost any Mac, you had to buy expensive upgrades to get the real performance out of a Mac. But, at the time Mac had the graphics & design market, and they wisely decided to hang on to it. Apple was wise in it’s marketing, too. It had “Apple Evangelists” back in the day, keeping the troops rallied, and not only defying FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), but spreading some Apple FUD of their own. Can you imagine a GM/Ford/Hyundai/whatever Evangelist? The hoots of derision would echo for weeks!

        Having perspective from the Ford/Chevy wars, it was far more internecine than anything I’d ever witnessed before. But being involved in print production, you use a variety of platforms in everyday situations, and after a while you realize they’re all just plastic boxes with flashing lights.

        Having said that, I have six Macs at home, and 3 PCs. You can see where my allegiances lie, I guess. But, my next phone will be an Android, and when I get around to getting a tablet, I will probably look to Android for one of those. I’m asking Santa Claus for a 27″ iMac, though…

  • avatar
    ehsteve

    Well, if GM can build cars the way Apple builds computers, the first generation will be sold without headlights, and whenever new tires come out you will have to buy a whole new car which won’t work with the old roads and will require all stoplights to be upgraded as well :P

    This could be an interesting goal to aspire to…

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed I still own a Firewire iPod 10GB. It was also the generation where they went for awful touch-sensitive buttons. What a joke.

    • 0 avatar

      There used to be an old joke that if cars were as reliable as Windows computers, you’d get used to the car just stopping a couple of times a day.

      BTW, if you think car fanatics get crazy about brand loyalty, don’t provoke the Apple cult. They even get upset when I compare the Win-Mac rivalry to Ford-Chevy.

      Besides, all the real computer geeks that I know prefer Linux. In fact I recommend to all that make their Wintel boxes dual boot with a Ubuntu installation just to have a backdoor just in case.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    As a plan, the plan is actually pretty good. I do have doubts about the ability to execute.

    It looks as if GM finally wants to embrace a lean production model with supplier relationships to match. That’s good. But lean can’t work without a fairly horizontal management team and a willingness to maintain good relationships with line workers. These are things at which GM has been notoriously bad. Roger Smith sort of tried, and failed with it.

    Culturally, it could be a hard sell. They may have to fire quite a few managers and some of the more strident among labor in order to make it work. It won’t be an easy process.

    The goal to offshore the vast majority of production to emerging markets sounds like a real stretch. My guess is that it would cost more, take longer and produce less satisfactory results than anticipated. The cost squeezing mentality that has been a disastrous part of GM’s DNA seems to be lingering, and it isn’t a good one.

    I also question this desire to turn Cadillac into a global brand. This seems like a desperate attempt to make Cadillac more relevant than what it is. I would instead create luxury platforms, and design and brand them as Opels, Buicks or Cadillacs, depending upon their market.

    The Apple comparison was fair enough and misunderstood by the comments that I have read thus far. The goal isn’t an entirely bad one. However, I seriously doubt that GM badges are going to become iconic or, more importantly, that achieving iconic status is even necessary in order to sell more cars. For example, does anyone really think that the F-150, Camry or Civic are icons, or that they need to be in order to be successful?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @PCH: I would agree with most of your comments. I see the comments about offshoring as applying to the region closest to their markets, not necessarily the NA market. But I could be reading that incorrectly, too. Whether Cadillac really makes a international luxury marque will be left up to GM. I personally like your idea better. But neither one of us works there…

      Generally speaking, there’s really not much new here.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Generally speaking, there’s really not much new here.

        Well, there are some differences. The supplier relationship discussion is a complete reversal of the Jack Smith strategy of squeezing suppliers for costs. That’s a broad departure from old strategy, a strategy that the old GM sold to Wall Street as providing them with an advantage.

        The blatant commitment to emerging markets is also a bit of a change. Those who make the inane “profits go to Japan” argument might want to read this, so that they can see that GM profits are earmarked for destinations in the third world far, far away from Michigan.

        They’ve also proclaimed that Chevy and Cadillac are supreme brands. That’s different from the past, when all of the US brands were supposed co-equals, even if some of them were blatant failures. The commitment to two dominant marques with others subordinated to them is not something that the old GM would have done. That suggests that an effort is being made to change the political and cultural climate within the company.

        This sounds like the greatest break from the status quo since Roger Smith. And that didn’t go so well, because the turf brawlers within GM management hated Roger Smith. Then again, it might be easier today than it used to be, now that so many brands have been jettisoned and so many heads have rolled.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Pch: The whole business of supplier squeezing really started with our buddy Inaki, but Jack was CEO at the time, so he gets stuck with the rep. I think that after 20 years of hosing the people who truly make your cars, realizing that screwing them was not good policy constitutes an epiphany. Having worked for a Tier 1 supplier and friends and family who worked for Delphi, it will be a welcome change.

        I’m not sure that I would call the commitment to other markets much of a change, it’s been happening for a while. For my fellow USians, our market isn’t the biggest anymore and when India explodes, we may be the third biggest market. As USians, we may not like it, but it IS prudent.

        Along with stuff I don’t like, making Chevy an entry level product in world markets is consistent I guess. The BK rearranged the Company in so many ways, I really don’t think we as the general public are aware.

        Which leads to two items: First, Cadillac as a supreme brand worldwide? Honestly, they need to step up the character of the product. Maybe they need to offshore Cadillac like Buick has been, and build exceptional products for other markets IN other markets, again, like Buick.

        Second, as I alluded to earlier and you say “Then again, it might be easier today than it used to be, now that so many brands have been jettisoned and so many heads have rolled.”. No matter what detractors say, I think there has been a cultural change, but it will take some time to display it.

        EDIT: Going back to the slide at the top of the post, I can’t imagine the management having something like made up this until recently. I think as shortly as 5 years ago GM thought that Ford was their only competition…

        /rant

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The whole business of supplier squeezing really started with our buddy Inaki, but Jack was CEO at the time, so he gets stuck with the rep.

        The CEO always gets the credit or the blame. But in any case, GM’s management decided that GM could be profitable if it sold low R&D vehicles (read: SUVs), built with cheap parts, at high prices, and put a guy on the payroll whose job it was to squeeze parts prices. At least Akerson seems to see that such a plan is not sustainable in today’s market.

        I’m not sure that I would call the commitment to other markets much of a change

        It’s the bluntness of it. So much for the heartbeat of America, etc.

        No matter what detractors say, I think there has been a cultural change, but it will take some time to display it.

        I don’t doubt the desire at the top to make cultural changes. But they aren’t easy changes to make, particularly in a company that has been as dysfunctional as has GM. If GM is serious about going lean, it could be a battle.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      80% of incremental sales should be build in China, mostly because this would minimise transportation cost.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Every business has to have goals. While I understand the allegorical reference to Apple’s loyal fanbase and success, I don’t think GM will be following exactly in Apple’s footprints. I can appreciate wanting to emulate Apple’s successes in the last 10 or so years, but Apple made a lot of mistakes in that time, too. So will GM. And everyone else for that matter.

    There’s nothing shown in the slides that indicates any kind of “madness”. All of this stuff has been revealed long before today. It’s been long known that GM wanted to use Chevy as a global brand, and the timelines for rationalizing platforms and engines seems reasonable. This is the macro-plan, the view from 10,000 feet, where they are headed and roughly how long to get there.

    Where it gets interesting will be in the micro-plan. But GM at least in North America has been moving the ball down the field, and seems to be gaining ground.

  • avatar
    Morea

    All I can say is that I have found Cadillac owners to be “ambitious and individualistic with an unmistakeable swagger.” Their “visceral, energetic, and unapologetic” tone sits well with me. I aspire to be one someday.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Apple? No. Apple pie, yes. Along with baseball and hot dogs. Although I think Toyota, Ford and Hyundai are farther along on that road.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Good to see they put the supplier survey information. At least they know good relationships with suppliers is important. Interesting to see the positioning of Cadillac and Buick.

  • avatar
    ehsteve

    Can’t wait for the keynote with Akerson in a black turtleneck showing off the iChevy!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Building the ‘brand’ has always been GM’s MO. They build cars on the side.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      @DenverMike: Building the financial portfolio has been GM’s MO much more so than building any “brand”. I heard a lecture from economist Richard Wolff that did as good a job as any explaining why American car quality went into the crapper.

      Wolff stated that once the car companies got into the finance business, i.e. GMAC, Ford Motor Credit and the like, building cars became secondary to the profit that they could make financing the cars. Once they figured out that they could make a hefty profit financing cars, it didn’t matter to them how the cars were built, just so long as people came back every two years to buy another car.

      The profit motive outweighed the quality motive, and the same still holds true for the “new” GM.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised it hasn’t been picked up yet…Apple’s marketing strategy is EXACTLY what GM used to do 50 years ago. In fact it was a strategy Harley Earl invented: Build a product that exceeds your expectations and makes you happy…until the next model comes out.

    That’s Apple in a nutshell…exactly what GM used to do before the Bean Counters took the reigns from the True Believers. The hysteria over the next Apple anything is merely the 2011 equivalent of the old 1950’s showroom reveal.

    That’s not saying the road to their branding goals isn’t filled with potholes…Dan Akerson’s still the CEO, for starters…and which engine/platform archetectures get the ax? And so on…but if they actually remember that the product comes first, as they so state in their PDF, then they’ve got a shot.

    • 0 avatar

      One other thing…the current administration in Washington won’t be in power forever. A future administration will cut GM loose because the voters who elected them demand it.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        I assure you that this administration is looking to sell all of its GM stock somewhere before November 2012. Personally, I think the best decision financially might be to throw some weight around to oust Akerson, replace him with someone whose head isn’t so far… excuse me, I think the current polite term is “someone less Oroboros-like”, and then hold onto the stock until it’s actually worth more money than we paid for it.

        Unfortunately, politics dictate that if Obama doesn’t sell off the stock before the election, the guy replacing him will sell it off in January as his own political media play, no matter what loss the government takes on the deal.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      @Budda-Boom: You are absolutely right in you analysis of Apple’s marketing strategy. Harley Earl invented it and used it to devastating effect in the 1950’s. There is one difference, though. In the 1950’s GM actually had product to back up the marketing. And, unlike today, Earl had the full backing and support of the brass at GM, because some of them understood that design, more than anything else, sold cars. Would that they recognized that today.

      Instead, we have more cost-cutting, silly little product “plans”, and no real product to back it up. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

    • 0 avatar

      Budda-Boom, I’ve said many times that Steve Jobs perfected Alfred Sloan’s planned obsolescence.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    It might not mean much, but on the slide that shows the benefits of cutting down platforms/engines, there sure was a lot of talk about saving money and cutting budgets, and yet “quality” barely got a mention….it was relegated to the “Other” section.

    It just kind of shows you where the priorities lie with the leadership… which is what makes the Apple comparison so ludicrous. Apple’s entire business strategy revolves around quality and giving the customer a fantastic product that they can’t get anywhere else. Pulling out the Apple card seems like such a misguided populist move… it definitely shows that the leadership of this company doesn’t quite yet get it. Might as well start rapping and wearing your hat backwards, Dan….then you’ll really be cool.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Yeah, it’s like you could peek in on the meeting where all this was brainstormed and some marketing guy was saying “People like Apple so we’ll compare ourselves to Apple so then people will like us.” GM still hasn’t even addressed the negative fallout from the bailout so this branding exercise is most likely futile and counterproductive.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      To be fair, improved quality is a potential secondary benefit of rationalizing platforms – the primary reason it is done is to cut expenses. It makes sense for “quality” to be grouped under “other” in this slide.

      Many of these slides begin with some variation of “Build good products” as the primary bullet point.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Seems like everyone is missing the point. They want the Chevy brand to be as recognizable as the Apple brand. They aren’t trying to use Apple’s strategy for marketing products or their product development techniques.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Apple’s entire business strategy revolves around quality

      “SquareTrade estimates that the iPhone 4’s malfunction rate over a 12-month span was just 2.1%, meaning that slightly more than two phones out of every 100 will die during a year.”

      http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9195760/iPhone_edges_out_Android_smartphones_in_reliability_race

      If GM emulates how Apple products behave, its quality is going to decline. In that respect, it would be better for GM to behave like Toyota, not like Apple.

      In any case, most of you on this thread are completely missing the point of the Apple analogy. As a result, the criticisms are off point.

      Here’s how GM touts the Apple metaphor: “Create iconic consumer brands that transcend the automotive category and become fabric of culture.”

      In other words, they want Chevy and Cadillac to become cult-like brands with a public consciousness that goes beyond cars. A bit like what Coca Cola has had for a long time, or what GM used to have back in the US back during the 50s.

      Of course, GM was able to achieve that in the 50s because it didn’t have much competition. Today, there is a lot more competition, and the competitors who are making money didn’t get there by focusing on icons. The Apple metaphor isn’t a good one for GM because a car company shouldn’t expect a bunch of geeks and hipsters to carry their business. Quirky in the auto business is spelled S-A-A-B, and we know how well that worked out.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Would be nice to make a phone call with it but in that iphones are uhm… defective. Andriod phones have two reasons why they die more. Some of them are much cheaper and much faster model changes so more phones are of the first run.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Looking at the below list, Chevy has an insurmountable mountain to climb, as do all automakers. (See methodology here: http://www.millwardbrown.com/BrandZ/Default/Methodology.aspx)

    2011 World’s most valuable brands in $ billion
    Rank in BrandZ (Millward Brown Optimor) “Top 100”:

    1.) Google $114.2
    2.) IBM $86.3
    3.) Apple $83.2
    4.) Microsoft $76.3
    5.) Coca-Cola $67.9
    6.) McDonalds $66.0
    7.) Marlboro $57.0
    8.) China Mobile $52.6
    9.) GE $45.0
    10.) Vodafone $44.04
    ……..
    27.) Toyota $24.2
    30.) BMW $22.4
    50.) Mercedes $15.3
    56.) Honda $14.2
    66.) Porsche $12.4
    88.) Nissan $10.1
    VW $7.4*
    Ford $7.4*
    Audi $3.8*
    Lexus $3.7*

    * Didn’t’ quality for the “Top 100”

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I agree the Apple comparison seems pretty ludicrous. Half of Apple’s success comes from creating, then dominating, new product markets. Can’t see GM or any car maker doing that. The other half is first rate design and engineering, if GM makes that a priority then more power to ’em. Cutting platforms and engines seems like a good first step, as long as they focus on making what remains world class. It’s interesting to note that when Jobs returned to Apple, the first thing he did was to drastically cut the number of Macintosh models they offered.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      No Apple is not the first to the market. MP3 players, smart phones and tablets were out before they did anything with them. They made their products much better than the others did. That is the strategy.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        It is more that they as company are good in being the first big company in a new market. After that the other big companies join in and Apple start to loose

  • avatar

    General Motors is run by pompous, egotistical, borderline maniacal fools who have no clue about how to sell cars. in short, not much has changed.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    GM isn’t a company focused on building, selling, and servicing cars. It hasn’t been for a long time. GM exists to feather the nests and protect the butts of those who are high enough up the corporate ladder. Customers and workers are just a distraction from this. (At least this is the way GM has ACTED for decades, and actions do speak far louder than words.)

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      +1 Dan: And that’s the reason that GM finds themselves in the sordid situation they’re in today. Chickens do eventually come home to roost, you know. And I have a sick feeling that Toyota is about to find that out too, much to their dismay.

  • avatar

    “Our direct competitors are Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Ford…”

    Bullsh!t. GM’s only direct competitor is itself; specifically, its piss-poor history of mediocre offerings and shoddy quality. The sooner the company faces up to that, the sooner it may actually move on and become relevant to more than 18% of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      +1 Rob

      And you know what? It’s hard as hell to beat that kind of competition. Especially when you don’t really want to beat it in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      +1 Rob. You forgot it’s piss poor dealers. There is so much low hanging fruit at GM that the weight of said fruit is dangling the fruit on the ground.

      Culturally, GM is still a 3rd rate operation. They have poor long term prospects until that is fixed. Many of their other issues stem from that one fact.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Maybe it’ll “work,” but the Buick and Cadillac positioning statements basically boil down to “luxury for nice guys” and “luxury for jerks.” Sounds like marketing designed around circumstances (dang! we have 2 brands that are alike — what do we do now?). Does any other luxury brand/company segment the market like this? One of these days GM will adopt Ford’s strategy. It’ll be called “One Chevrolet.” Why don’t they just skip to the third act and get rid of all the other brands now? Painful, but inevitable.

  • avatar
    chromeplatedwoman

    I still don’t think GM “gets it.”

    It sounds like the management thinks that all they have to do to make GM successful is consolidate all the global product, cut production costs, and manage the “brand.” Let me put this in plain terms: Chevrolet has no brand equity. Yes, Chevrolet once stood for something, but after all the Aveos, Uplanders, Optras, Epicas, Luminas, Citations, Cavaliers, Celebrities, and other misnamed, underperforming, low quality garbage that has gone under the Chevrolet name you come to the realization that General Motors in this day and age has no reason to exist. Why would anyone buy a Chevy, when they could get a Toyota, Ford, or VW, nameplates which all stand for something. Worse, GM cut all ties to the past (the only redeeming feature about the Chevrolet “brand”), as only the Corvette can claim ancestry with the glory days of Chevrolet in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

    If GM wants to be successful it needs to make exciting products. To be like Apple means taking risks, forging new ground, and committing to both excellence and a vision. Apple’s “innovations” often boil down to the successful repackaging and marketing of other people’s ideas. Yet these gambles often pay off, and the market and consumers both benefit. The current GM lineup lacks vision or innovation, as it consists mostly of placeholders in various segments of varying, but not exceptional, competence. As a result, none of the GM products really stand out

    I once cheered for GM, but years of waiting for the concepts that promised a return to GM greatness like the “rear-wheel drive V8-powered Impala SS” combined with consistently bland and uninteresting actual products soured me on the whole idea and showed me that the current company has little interest in or respect for its glorious past. Honestly, GM needs to make itself relevant and fast. I just hope these global plans don’t screw up the two bright stars in GM’s portfolio Opel and Holden.

  • avatar
    ajla

    When I think about vehicles that are unapologetic, individualistic, ambitious, and powerful with an unmistakable swagger I do not think about the SRX, 3.0L CTS, or XTS.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I hate Apple and I hate power-point. I shudder to think of a world where every single manufacturer from toothpaste to automobiles is trying to emulate Apple’s business model.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I shudder to think of a world where every single manufacturer from toothpaste to automobiles is trying to emulate Apple’s business model.

      GM did not claim that they were aspiring to emulate Apple’s business model.

      The GM presentation refers to Apple’s branding, not the business model.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    GM is still controlled by MBAs.
    What do these incompetents think…Reality is for Chumps.

    They will continue to try to manipulate people out of their money so nothing has really changed.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    Out of curiosity, could anyone tell me what that thing with the sideline kink above the rear door handle that they are building on slide 25 of the PDF is called? Thank you in advance!

  • avatar
    Morea

    Lost in this discussion is the observation that young people, generally speaking, are more interested in personal electronics (computers, phones, games) than they are in cars.

    Many people posting here (including me) are excited by cars and find computers, etc to be appliances. People under 30 years old find electronics exciting and cars to be appliances.

    I think GM is trying to channel that youthful excitement but doesn’t see the bigger picture.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      People under 30 find cars exciting, too, but they need to be exciting cars, and they need to be affordable to someone under 30 (in this economy!). This is tricky for anyone but a used car dealer.

  • avatar
    Derby129

    Slide 47 of 66: The United States is referred to as the “Untied” States.

    Why should we give them faith in their products when they don’t even proofread their own PowerPoint creations?

  • avatar
    ehsteve

    So which brand of automobile out there really is the most like Apple in terms of branding? Tesla? Lotus? This isn’t about who makes cars that most resemble ipods stylistically (that would probably be Toyota – when was the last time you saw a Camry that wasn’t white or silver?), but that their products are instantly recognizable as appealing to someone who wants functionality with a little flair. My vote goes to Mazda for the non-luxury category.

  • avatar

    Speaking of computer Holy Wars.

    I was a “Sysop” in those days. That’s what the moderators of a “BBS” were called. The feuds between “Windoze” and “F*intosh” and OS/2 caught in-between (I forgot what name that was called) became so bad that people poured acid over cars. Serious death threats were made.

    We had a secret meeting of sysops of warring BBS and agreed to ban everybody who just mentioned these things.

    The feuds continued, but on a more civilized level.

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