To the Editor:
During the last few years, starting with the loss of Oldsmobile, we have been hearing calls for the elimination of other General Motors brands, like Buick and Pontiac. I don't agree. Each GM division has earned its own reputation, identity, brand/model recognition and loyal following.
In the case of Oldsmobile, I believe GM threw the baby out with the bath water. The name recognition of Cutlass and, more recently, Aurora, was wasted.
Can you imagine doing away with Corvette, Impala, Suburban, DeVille, Grand Prix, Grand Am, Jimmy, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Riviera and Hummer? Those names are recognized by millions of people. Unfortunately, some of them have already been dropped.
What I see is a softening of the divisional divide. I can see dealerships becoming GM-brand stores and selling a mix of the best from each brand. For instance, maybe a high-line store selling Cadillacs, Buicks, Saabs and Hummers, and a midline store selling Chevrolet, Pontiac and GMC models.
As we already have seen, Pontiac, Buick and GMC blend; certain models have been or will be eliminated. I think that will continue. It almost has to. A lot of design, testing and production facilities have already been merged to take advantage of the economies of scale.
The Big 3 are the only automakers in North America that have different divisions selling similar products. Those in the business know that Toyota and Lexus and Nissan and Infiniti do it, but the public does not yet perceive it that way.
I believe there is too much value in divisional reputations and some product names to eliminate them. Modify and take advantage of what you have going for you.