Monday, May 28, 2007

General Motors At It Again!

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about GM's suggestion that Chevy dealerships should put Toyota Camrys in their dealerships to show first-hand how their new Malibu stacks up. Well, now Saturn dealerships are apparently looking to implement a similar strategy by making available a Camry and / or a Honda Accord for comparison to the new Saturn Aura.

This article suggests that you'll not only be able to touch and feel these Aura competitors at your Saturn dealership, but that you'll be able to test drive them as well! My guess is that you could only pull that off in a Saturn dealership. Imagine the push-back you'd get from salespeople at other places, if they were asked to take people out on test drives for cars they couldn't even sell!

As Valdes-Dapena writes in his article, GM probably figures it has nothing to lose by putting competing models in its Chevy and Saturn showrooms, because it is trying to get people to just consider its products as alternatives to the Camry and Accord, the category leaders. But why don't they put the Aura in Chevy showrooms and the Malibu in Saturn ones? At least then they might drive incremental sales for GM instead of its competitors.

Thanks to CarDomain for the link.


Anonymous said...

It was Saturns idea and it could work well for Saturn Retailers. But I think import buyers, intenders or owners would be hard pressed to enter a Chevrolet showroom. I think that Chevy will sell all the new Malibus they can get to American car buyers just because it is a very good Chevy.

Todd said...

Wow, you don't think Chevy has a chance at all with people leaning toward imports, huh? That would knock out a pretty big piece of the potential market, I'd think.

In any case, it'll be interesting to learn more about how this works for both Chevy and Saturn. If they're successful, maybe we'll see more of it in the future. said...

As you point out, GM really has very little to lose in this scenario. There is a whole generation of consumers that do not consider a GM car currently when they go car-shopping - GM has really got their work cut out for them in trying to get their attention.

We did an article on this - if you're interested, go to the Autosavant site (hyperlink above)and look in the March 2007 Archives for a post titled "GM's Long Road Ahead". It lays out the obstacles GM faces in trying to win back market share in the U.S.

Brendan Moore -

Todd said...

I enjoyed your article, Brendan. One point that you make, which we also touched on briefly in this post on Hyundai:

That is, it can take a looooooong time to repair a tarnished image in the auto biz. Car buyers seem to have long memories, maybe because they buy new cars so infrequently. A bad experience can linger in the memory for a long time. Especially if it was followed by better experiences with different brands.