Other Editorials

Spade a Spade

Jim Dollinger
Sunday, August 13, 2006

Consider that perhaps the greatest automobile buying demographic (baby boomers) were allowed to move through the Buick segment as it was starved of product and exemplified by assinine marketing. Ponder the thought of a successful division retaining and even winning these potential customer dollars, then you'll likely realize the utter, complete, and unaccounted for failure by GM management. Still, their legions of lawyers, accountants, and spin artists create and provide more illusion than most even partially comprehend.

Buick has dropped 25-30% almost every year. We received Rendezvous (Aztek), Rainier (Trailblazer), and Terraza (Venture) while losing our best products. LeSabre was the best selling, highest quality car in America, so they quit making it. That makes any kind of sense? The marketing initiatives couldn't be any worse. I like Tiger but he has no business as Buick's spokesman, wrong demographic. He should have been signed to Pontiac. Corporate changes the slogan on a regular basis resulting in confusion. Our last General Manager, John Larson, knows virtually nothing about cars or retail and only got the job because his father in law is Bill Hoglund. No surprise, JT Battenberg's father in law was Tom Murphy. At times it seems GM isn't run by any standard of accomplishment other than birthright or marriage.

GM has done a fine job shrinking Buick. The dealers are almost completely alienated. Here's an example email received yesterday at GeneralWatch.com...

"I will be voluntarily terminating my Buick franchise after 46 years because I suspect this is a valid report of yours. What else do you know about Buick's situation? Future? Selling only 3 models in the future is not viable."

I have one thing to say to Mr LaNaive..."Channel This"