Here's Bob's latest entry in his blog. GM game plan.
The Game Plan...An Edited Version
By Bob Lutz
GM Vice Chairman
Things have been pretty busy, as you can imagine, but I wanted to take a few minutes to post something because it's been awhile, and I'd like to address a couple of things that we read time and again in your comments.
The first is your comments themselves...yes, we read them, every one of them. It's not feasible to address them all, of course, but we try to gather up and get to as many as possible, as quickly as possible. And yes, I know that some bloggers do so more quickly than others...we're all doing what we can.
The second and more important issue I've seen asked repeatedly is, "What is GM's strategy for fixing its issues?"
A good and fair question. Let's start by saying there's no magic bullet for our issues, at least none that we've uncovered. The truth is we've spelled out in several forums and in several media interviews what we intend to do to address the challenges we face. What we won't tell you is exactly how we intend to do those things.
I can tell you this: First and foremost, our recovery is riding squarely on the back of our new product programs. There has never been a turnaround in this industry that didn't happen because of hot-selling cars and trucks. There never will be, either. We've talked a lot on this blog about the products we've introduced, and some we've got coming, and we'll continue to do so.
This is intended to be a blog about cars and trucks, by the way, and some of the peripheral issues surrounding the buying and selling of same. We will not turn this into a debate about health care costs or public policy or anything related. Our cars and trucks are our lifeblood; we have a lot of great ones coming, and as they arrive, we'll talk about them here.
For example, when we have news about a current product, like the Pontiac GTO, we'll tell you about it here. I happened to be at a Pontiac dealership in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and they only had two left! Each of those was priced at a premium, too. L.A. is the No. 1 market for GTO -- when was the last time we could say that about a Pontiac? Overall, GTO first-quarter sales were 81% higher than last year, and 2005 models are consistently outselling 2004 models, even though the '04s have substantially more incentives on them.
For another example, we announced pricing last week for the upcoming Chevrolet HHR, which will start at $15,990. This is going to be a great vehicle for us, selling at a great price for you. That's the kind of value story you're going to see from us as we continue to revamp our marketing and pricing strategy.
And that's exactly what Rick Wagoner has been saying in the context of GM's plan to right itself. The HHR is but one example.
To touch briefly on what we have already said publicly, we're going to take the new cars and trucks we build and we're going to get a lot smarter about pricing them, about marketing them, and about selling them. We're going to reach consumers we haven't reached yet, and we're going to reach them in places we haven't been before, at least not at full throttle like we're going to be.
The other two key aspects of GM's plan are costs and quality. Simply put, we're going to continue to be vigilant about eliminating waste and cutting our costs across the board, in every discipline, in every region. And we're going to sustain the progress we've made on improving the quality of our products, and take it even further. Quality will be an even bigger focus for us going forward.
Sound pretty general? You bet it does. But if someone had asked the coach of the New England Patriots before the Super Bowl what his game plan was, he probably would have said something like, "We're going to run the ball, we're going to pass the ball, and we're going to score as many times as we can. And, by the way, we're going to stop the other team from doing the same thing." I don't think he would've turned over the script for his first 15 offensive plays from scrimmage...not even on his blog.
Believe me, GM has a crystal clear strategy in place to turn around our fortunes, particularly in the U.S. Now we are working hard and smart to execute it. You are seeing the fruit of that today in products such as the Chevy HHR, Pontiac G6 and GTO, Cadillac STS and the dozens of others we've recently introduced.
Now, go test drive one and see for yourself!
And, as always, your suggestions are welcome.