Wednesday, February 18, 2009

GM Edits Its Product Mix

As marketing textbooks like to say, GM is "editing" or "pruning" its product mix, shedding Hummer, Saab, Saturn, and moving Pontiac to within one of the other product lines. This is a long-overdue change that should help GM focus on strengthening its brands and its quality.

Most interesting is this statement from GM's press release about its plans for Saturn as it restructures for a hefty government bailout:

Saturn will remain in operation for the next several years, through the end of the planned lifecycle for all Saturn products. In the interim, if Saturn retailers or other investors present a plan that would allow a spin-off or sale of Saturn Distribution Corporation, GM would be open to any such possibility. If a spin-off or sale does not occur, GM plans to phase out the Saturn brand at the end of the current product lifecycle.

How many consumers are going to buy new Saturns now, even at fire-sale prices, knowing that support will be going away soon? Why would the retailers want to save a brand that lacks GM support and has lost its identity? GM might as well say goodbye to Saturn right now and get it over with. Bye-bye.

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