General Motors finally buried the last vestiges of Ron Zarrella's brand management scheme. It didn't work because brand character is not something that can be added at the end of the assembly line, even with clever marketing.
Real brand character begins with the product and the people who design, build, sell and service the vehicles. Brand character is like DNA: It takes a long time to develop, you can't fake it, and you can't change it easily.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota all use brand management. They just don't call it that. They are passionate about their products and their customers, which is what creates a brilliant brand. That lesson shouldn't be lost on the Big 3.