One of the most frustrating aspects of the past two decades has been watching General Motors' ship sink - from a share of about 45 percent in the early 1980s to just over 25 percent now.
I am convinced that GM's latest turn to new marketing will only speed the process. Why? Because GM's problem is not marketing. GM's problem is not product. GM's problem is not dealers. GM's problem is price.
GM's chronic incentives since 2001 have had negative effects on resale value, brand cachet and consumer expectations that will be long-lasting.
This is why incentives are sweet poison. Once they are in the system, they cannot easily be counteracted by a new marketing campaign or new product.
The only way to reverse incentive effects in a timely manner is to cut sticker prices - 5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent if need be - and to eliminate incentives for an extended period.
Impossible? Well, not for BMW, Mercedes or Audi in the early 1990s. Not for Acura or Lexus in the late 1990s. Those makers stopped their losses and turned on to a sustained growth path as soon as they cut their prices and eliminated incentives.
The strategic blueprint is there for a similar GM turnaround. But GM must stop seeking solutions in future product and new marketing; it must price its vehicles at market-driven levels. Until GM fixes its pricing, the only thing that will change is how fast its market share slips away.