Well, I’ve have better ideas than that of GM buying the one or two Chrysler brands that might survive this downturn. Turns out that GM is looking to sell several brands of its own—from Hummer to Saturn and maybe Buick and Saab too.
So what we are seeing is a brand reshuffle—and recognition that customers relate to brands of cars, not car corporations. You are your brand, as Yves Behar says. Nothing more. Nothing less.
GM didn’t quite understand that, until recently. It bought a wonderful brand, Saab, and undermined it. It built a great new brand, Saturn, then starved it. It brought one old brand back from the dead—Cadillac—but couldn’t take the design lessons learned and apply them to all its other brands. And it didn’t invest in the leading brand today—hybrids—fast enough to have them out in force when oil skyrockdeted and consumers dove for higher mileage autos.
The innovative Volt plug-in electric car could still pull GM back from the brink but it’s getting very late for Detroit.