AutoExtremist - Its back to the wall, America fights back

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 23, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Saturn Gets Serious

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] by Peter M. DeLorenzo
    Issue 397, May 23, 2007

    The new advertising from GM marketing for the Saturn Aura - the "Rethink American" campaign, which made its debut last week - is the first work by Deutsch L.A. for Saturn (after Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco was summarily dismissed earlier this year), and it merits a closer look.

    Some background is in order first, however. The Saturn Aura is probably the most significant mainstream sedan from General Motors in at least a decade. Touted, praised and awarded by the automotive media, the Aura is an ultra-competitive entry aimed right at the heart of the market. But the Aura has started off more slowly than expected, which has been puzzling and disconcerting for GM marketing types, to say the least.

    There are a lot of reasons and theories about why this is so, but only one really matters in this discussion - and that's the fact that after years of building mediocrity, GM is finding it difficult to convince the American consumer that they're finally building vehicles worth looking at.

    This "perception gap" is something I've been writing about for years now. GM (and Ford, for that matter) has lost a generation of buyers to the import manufacturers. As a matter of fact, there are households out there in America that haven't had a domestic-sourced car in their driveways ever. And it's a situation that is not getting any better, despite the fact that GM's product renaissance is in full swing.

    What's the answer?

    Well, another touchy-feely ad campaign isn't it.
    When you don't have an image, or the image you do have is shrouded in such a cloud of negativity that consumers won't even give you the time of day, then something drastic has to be done to help turn the tide.

    Ironically, Ford was the first to get the ball rolling in this regard, with its recent and ongoing ad campaign that compares the Fusion to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. This kind of direct comparison advertising would have been unheard of just two years ago, but with a strong product story to tell, Ford is aggressively going after its import competition - and it's frankly refreshing to see for a change.

    GM's new Saturn campaign takes things even further, not only directly challenging the tired old formula of Detroit=Bad, Toyota=Good that has become rote in the media these days, but challenging the prevailing "perception gap" head-on too.

    The print ad starts off with the words Don't Buy It Because It's American. and continues with the following:

    Buy it because it's amazing. Buy it because it turns heads. Buy it because it gets all the little things right. And the big ones too. Buy it for the 5-star crash safety rating and 30 mpg hwy fuel economy. Buy it because 49 independent journalists voted, and it's the North American Car of the Year. Over both Honda and Toyota.

    The days of touchy-feely, hat-in-hand marketing thankfully appear to be over for Saturn.

    The ad concludes with the following: Introducing the award-winning, skeptic-slaying, game-changing Saturn Aura. The sedan that wins on its merits, and nothing else. And what's more American than that? Just something to think about.

    Will it be enough to get any attention or actually gain serious consideration from anti-Detroit consumers? We'll see. But GM (and Detroit) can't sit back anymore and allow the import manufacturers to dictate how the game is played. Reinvigorated, competitive products need reinvigorated and competitive marketing strategies. Advertising that takes the gloves off and confronts the competition - and the consumer - directly with a strong product story that dispenses with the previously apologetic tone of "we're almost as good for a lot less money" is not only desirable, it's mandatory.

    In other words, Detroit has to act like they belong in the game instead of employing their usual rope-a-dope tactics and hoping for the best.

    This new campaign for Saturn is significant because it marks a cultural shift for GM marketing. They finally seem to get the fact that whatever they were doing before wasn't working. And now that they're armed with some exceptional products, they need exceptional solutions and aggressive, unexpected communications strategies - the kind that go right at the preconceived notions that linger over Detroit like a death sentence.

    Next up for GM's aggressive new marketing attitude? According to Automotive News, Chevrolet marketing executives are encouraging their dealers to go out and put a Toyota Camry in their showrooms so that it can be directly compared to the all-new Chevy Malibu that's coming at the end of the year. The Malibu, which is on the same vehicle architecture as the Aura, is expected to be the most formidable, high-value competitor in years from GM - and they're taking dead aim at Toyota with it.

    I applaud every gutsy, take-no-prisoners marketing move that Detroit can muster at this point.

    Because after all, when you have nothing left to lose, why not go for it, right?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bare-knuckled, unvarnished, high-octane truth :eek3:
     
  3. MrRyan

    MrRyan Gary Johnson 2016 OT Supporter

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    You most certainly are Trishield.

    Good article.
     
  4. Hezkezl

    Hezkezl Rawr! OT Supporter

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    A Toyota Camry on the Chevrolet Dealer's floor? :eek3: That'll be interesting :o
     
  5. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    i like the Ford Edge commercial where they say it's faster than a BMW X5 and that it is sports car inspired :hs:
     
  6. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    ibsomeonebuysit
     
  7. LarryZ

    LarryZ i love sticky rice

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    that's right
    i wont buy it because it's american
    But will buy if it's rebadged and carried under Opel
     
  8. MrRyan

    MrRyan Gary Johnson 2016 OT Supporter

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    :slap:
     
  9. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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  10. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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    Or they compare their AWD V6 model to Honda/Toyota's FWD I4 offerings.

     
  11. Urinal Mint

    Urinal Mint bourbon afficionado

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  12. AeroSquid

    AeroSquid New Member

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    fuck all that
     
  13. cASe SenSiTive

    cASe SenSiTive Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime

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  14. DefBringer

    DefBringer Ronnie, if I don't do this, *that's* when I'm goin

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    a) that's a really, really good advertisement

    b) GM needs to count on making good cars for 5+ years without selling very many before their credibility goes back up

    It's like trying to fix your bad credit. After 20 years of behaving irresponsibly and not doing your job, you can't expect things to turn around after 1 year of doing things right for a change.


    Things are going to continue to get worse for GM before they get better.
     
  15. DefBringer

    DefBringer Ronnie, if I don't do this, *that's* when I'm goin

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    the game's changed....the horsepower wars are over. With gas prices like they are now, things are gonna be like the 70s all over again. it SUCKS but we can't escape reality.
     
  16. m3 bavaria

    m3 bavaria Come again?

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    America fights back by rebadging a European market car? :hsugh:
     
  17. Zoso

    Zoso OT Supporter

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  18. fridexter

    fridexter Active Member

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    The Japanese companies are going to continue shitting on American manufacturers.

    Good times. :embd:
     
  19. CitznFish

    CitznFish Don't live life by a single sentence OT Supporter

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    :ugh:

    keep dreaming.

    people like you should be brought out into the streets and shot to death then run over by american cars.


    To take joy in the failings of an american company is pathetic
     
  20. m3 bavaria

    m3 bavaria Come again?

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    As a buyer, I want as many options as possible. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have ignored my desires for so long, that I couldn't care less if they fail. They were already dead to me.
     
  21. blkhonda1991

    blkhonda1991 "Zoinks!!"

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    theres actually some GM products id look at buying in that guide :eek4: wish they didnt kill the gto
     
  22. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Aura is US homegrown.
     
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Check out pages 32, 36, 38, 42, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 60, 64, 73, 74, 78, and 82. Lots of good stuff this year.
     
  24. Buddyblazon

    Buddyblazon Broncos Naked Bootleg...FTW!!!!

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    My last two cars...a Ford...and a Dodge. Both well taken care of. Oil changed often...mid-grade gasoline their entire lives.

    I bought American because I felt proud to say I bought an American car...FROM AN AMERICAN COMPANY.

    Here is my biggest problem that's never mentioned in this ad...nor in the article following it:
    What about service records?


    I can't afford American cars anymore...the last two have nickle and dimed me out of so many other things I could've bought.

    The Ford always had some engine problem...and even AFTER making sure my transmission fluid was checked and changed regularly...it went out. It cost me several thousand to fix it. And it was still a piece of shit.

    The Dodge...everything that's anything breaks on this thing. The battery seems to die after every 6 months or so...had them check the alternator everytime the battery dies. Everytime they tell me there is nothing wrong with the alternator. I've been told this by three different garages including the dealer. Power window broke...during a rainstorm...WHEN IT WAS DOWN! The door lock actuator is broken in the right door. The engine light is always on. A little termostat type module blows every six months behind the glove box...making it so my fan only works on high. It's ALWAYS something.


    I used to do custom stereo systems in cars. I've taken about the interior of hundreds of cars. Japanese cars...they were soundly put together. Most European cars were put together really solidly...screws lot of times when other auto makers would use clips.

    American cars? You take the interior apart once and the never truly go back together the same way. Clips always break. Panels are always more brittle. Shit just seems to be more likely to rattle in American car if ever removed once it leaves the factory.

    That was years ago...I had hoped they made vast improvements.


    No more for me...for ten years I've gone American. I just don't want to be nickel and dimed anymore or worry that somethings not going to work right..or breakdown.


    I'm sorry. I was a VW owner for years. Our next car is either going to be a Toyota, a Subaru or a VW.

    When I see their service records beating Toyota...I'll think about buying American again.
     
  25. fridexter

    fridexter Active Member

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    Motherfuckin' :werd:

    My dad had a freakin' Taurus a few years ago and that thing was literally the biggest POS ever. Well maintained with routine visits to the dealership for service. But despite all that, the transmission failed at 70k miles. On top of this, build quality and materials was horrible compared to my freakin' Civic. Something's awfully wrong when you're comparing a family sedan to a econo car, yet the econo car still wins all across the board.

    Needless to say, my family's next car was a Camry and they've been EXTREMELY happy ever since. No more worries about random things falling apart, and an all around more reliable vehicle.

    Until American manufacturers can rival the Japanese automakers on a consistent basis, I'd be happier if they just fell apart so they can be restructured from the ground up.
     

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