Here's a memory test:
Does General Motors' new channel strategy sound a tad familiar?
The plan is to offer a full line of vehicles for Chevrolet; position Cadillac as a rival for foreign luxury brands; eliminate product overlap among Buick, Pontiac and GMC; and consolidate those three franchises under one roof.
Here is an excerpt from a story we published on Page 1 four years ago in the May 21, 2001, issue.
Now that General Motors has decided to close Oldsmobile, it will eliminate overlapping vehicles in its remaining divisions.
The initial target: Pontiac and Buick mid-sized cars.
GM is looking to cut models now that its "channel strategy" for combining dealerships has progressed to the point that many Buick and Pontiac dealerships are combined.
"You'll see that," said Ron Zarrella, president of GM North America. "We've got too many mid-sized cars today. You look at our mid-sized car lineup and we have more than we need. " ... GM officials see the channel strategy as a way to trim the vehicle lineup without closing another division after Oldsmobile folds in a few years. But the strategy is likely to increase pressure on stand-alone Buick dealers, who already complain about a skimpy product lineup.
The channel strategy, which started in 1996, calls for stand-alone Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships in major markets, with combined Pontiac-Buick-GMC stores as a third channel.