Destroying brand value

Buick has been supposed to be a bit of a prestige brand. Now the headline of an ad in the Ottawa Sun, Feb. 26, p. 6:

Buick Allures for sale…Cheap!!

Heck, one could get the whole company…Cheap!!

As GM losses deepen, bankruptcy fears grow

By the way, Consumer Reports in its January 2009 issue (p. 51, not online) ranks the Allure (US Lacrosse) 20th out of 22 family sedans; only the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger are below it. And the Chevy Impala ranks 17th–Car and Driver review here. The Impala and the Buick are the only cars that GM now makes at Oshawa.
Damian earlier pointed out (first link in post) that the 2010 Buick looks a lot better than the current iteration. But it will be produced “at the Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kan.”–not Oshawa. Meanwile, I can’t find anything definitive about the 2010 Impala.
Mark C.

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5 thoughts on “Destroying brand value

  1. GM turned down the CDN gov’ts first bailout offer and now wants an open-ended commitment to take over all of the union pension plan (approx 4.5 BB$ unfunded liability and growing). Even then Oshawa is a long way away from the rest of the GM manufacuring infrastructure so it has less than a 50% chance of being around two years from now operating as a GM plant (IMO).

  2. I’ve always liked Buicks. In my life, I’ve owned 3 Cadillacs, 1 Oldsmobile, and my last 2 vehicles were Buicks. I loved the Buicks. The Regal they used to make at Oshawa (stopped in 2004) were among the most reliable cars anywhere. Now that my wife and I are planning children, I plan to trade the sedan in on a new Enclave later this year–assuming GM is still around.

  3. Gord:
    I would believe almost anything about GM and their “management”. Oshawa is GM’s most productive operation and one of the highest quality plants in North America – so let’s shut it down. IMO – the sooner GM goes into Chapter 11, the better.

  4. John:
    It’s not the plant it’s the pension liability. An Oshawa would be even more productive if it was non-union.

  5. Gord:
    An article a couple of years back in Autoblog stated there are something in the order of two GM retirees for every worker (this before the current layoffs). This was all due to GM’s loss of market share over the past thirty years. No doubt many of those retirees are not drawing full pensions having been laid off some time ago – but still.
    As for productivity, from the data I’ve seen this isn’t a material issue:
    “Overall, Toyota Motor Corp. outperformed the rest of the auto makers in manufacturing productivity, but Detroit’s three auto makers continued to close the productivity gap with their Japanese rivals.”
    “It took Toyota 29.93 labour hours to build components and assemble each vehicle.”
    “Nissan Motor Co., 2005’s most productive company, finished second at 29.97 hours, but Harbour Consulting had to estimate that figure because Nissan would not provide 2006 data.”
    “Honda Motor Co. finished third at 31.63 hours, followed by General Motors Corp. at 32.36 and DaimlerChrysler AG at 32.9, Harbour reported. Ford Motor Co. finished last at 35.1 hours, but that was nearly a 2 per cent improvement over 2005’s 35.8 hours.”
    “Mr. Harbour said the difference between the most and least productive companies last year was 5.17 hours, more than two hours better than the 7.33-hour gap in 2005. Yet the gap still is equal to about $300 per vehicle in favour of Toyota, the study said.”
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070531.wprodrpt_staff0531/BNStory/robNews/
    A difference of 5 hours or $300 to build a car (and that is from best to worst) means little in the end. It really comes down to design, product development and managing the legacy cost issue.

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