DETROIT -- General Motors Co. has set up a special office that will try to retain 3 million free agents -- customers that have lost their favorite brand, nameplate or dealership this year.
Julie Heisel is director of customer relationship management. Her new office will attempt to keep these customers within the GM family, said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick and GMC. Its already up and running, she said.
As GM sells or kills four brands -- Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab -- it will cut its nameplates to 34 from 78 and eliminate more than 1,000 dealers. It needs to make a special effort to make sure separated customers are not alienated, Docherty said today outside a dealer meeting in suburban Detroit.
Heisel, previously director of business planning for sales and service, continues to report to Mark LaNeve.
In addition, Docherty said:
GM will decide next week which vehicle will get the plug-in hybrid technology that would have been in the Buick crossover killed earlier this month.
Buick will spend 78 percent more on the LaCrosse launch than it did on the Buick Enclave, although she did not specify how much the Enclave cost was. Buick will shift its advertising message more upscale than its current Take a Look at Us Now. Said Docherty: Itll have more of a leadership tone than a parity tone.
GMC will retain its Professional Grade advertising tag line because it is working with the truck-oriented brands target audience.