DETROIT - After managing its brands to give each model a unique identity, General Motors now wants to capitalize on that diversity to position itself as an innovative leader in the global automotive market.
For the first time, GM will consolidate displays for all brands in a single exhibit at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
The 164,456-square-foot, two-level display - GM officials claim it is the largest ever built for a North American auto show - will be called The GM Experience.
GM North America President Ron Zarrella said GM's goal is to use the display to showcase the depth and breadth of its product line in its bid to be the industry leader in product innovation.
The global automotive market is rapidly fragmenting into smaller segments that require new transportation solutions and demand increased value, he said. To be competitive, companies must be global and offer a range of brands.
'Today, GM is that company and we want the world to know,' Zarrella said.
Last year, Ford Motor Co. claimed the Detroit show's size prize with a two-level display totaling more than 82,000 square feet that featured Jaguar, Mazda and Aston Martin alongside the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.
Zarrella said GM is not simply trying to one-up the competition. Plans to consolidate GM's exhibits have been in the works for years, he told reporters Wednesday, Oct. 27, before unveiling a model of the new display. It took time to gain support for the concept within GM and for show organizers to find a way to provide the space, he said.
GM is rolling out the new exhibit at the Detroit show to take advantage of the intense global media attention it draws, Zarrella said. The automaker also is working to incorporate the multibrand concept into its exhibits wherever possible at other auto shows, he said.
The GM Experience will showcase more than 100 vehicles, including production, concept and advanced class vehicles representing GM's full stable of brands: Buick, Cadillac , Chevrolet, GMC, Holden, Oldsmobile, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall.
GM partners Isuzu and Suzuki will have adjacent but separate exhibits.
Each brand display within The GM Experience will feature brand-specific design elements and marketing messages.
The display also will include an 800-seat Experience Theater and a cafe with capacity for 1,000 people. The theater will accommodate up to 1,200 viewers on two levels. All GM press conferences will be held there. During public show days, the theater will stage a live, hourly show about the automobile and the relationship people have with their cars.
Zarrella declined to reveal the cost of the exhibit, saying only that it was 'more than $10 million and less than $100 million.'