DETROIT -- General Motors plans to use the buzz around the Chevrolet Volt to boost sales in coastal markets where Chevy and other GM brands haven’t excelled in the past, GM North American President Mark Reuss said today.
“We’ve got to do things differently in places we’re not strong,” Reuss said at a meeting with reporters at the auto show here.
Reuss cited California, New York and “green cities” such as Austin, Texas, as markets where GM has an opportunity to penetrate. All those places are among the markets in line to get the 10,000 Volts Chevy expects to produce this year.
He cited California and New York as two markets where GM wants to regain market share it ceded amid dealership closures and sales losses stemming from its 2009 bankruptcy.
“We lost a lot of our footprint, so there’s going to be some things we do footprintwise,” Reuss said. “We have some footprint opportunities in Califoria. We lost a lot.”
Reuss said GM can grow in those markets “without going in a crazy way with incentives, but rather going to market in a very good way in some of these places we haven’t paid attention to.”
Part of the plan includes tailoring marketing and advertising campaigns to specific regions. For example, he said marketing campaigns for the compact Cruze, launched in September, and the Sonic subcompact that will replace the Aveo this year will be different on the West Coast than in other regions.
“That [West Coast] market in particular doesn’t really know what GM cars are about,” Reuss said. “So we have to probably do something completely different on the West Coast than we do in some of the places where we’ve done well on a sales-volume basis with something like the Cobalt.”
He touched on several other topics:
Reuss said GM is fast-tracking the development of some truck programs, although he wouldn’t specify which ones or say how much the pace has changed. GM delayed the redesign of its full-sized Chevy and GMC pickups because of the bankruptcy. The redesigned trucks are expected in 2013.
GM cut fleet sales about 20 percent last month because “we wanted to drive residual resale value.” He said GM is sticking to caps it put in place for daily rentals “so that we don’t pollute residuals over a long period of time at auction.”
Reuss hinted that GM will make production quality a key focus in its upcoming contract negotiations with the UAW. “The opportunities for success will hinge on the quality we’re producing in the plants,” he said.