No. 988
March 20, 2019

About The UjianNasional

Peter M. DeLorenzo has been immersed in all things automotive since childhood. Privileged to be an up-close-and-personal witness to the glory days of the U.S. auto industry, DeLorenzo combines that historical legacy with his own 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising to bring unmatched industry perspectives to the Internet with, which was founded on June 1, 1999. DeLorenzo is known for his incendiary commentaries and laser-accurate analysis of the automobile business, as well as racing and the business of motorsports. Author. Commentator. Influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today.

DeLorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press  ). It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. DeLorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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April 15, 2009


Turn out the lights, the party’s over for the “old” General Motors. But does a “new” GM really stand a chance if it’s still called General Motors?

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. The article that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times was telling in that it reported how the product presenters working the display stands for GM and Chrysler were being heckled and harassed by showgoers at the New York auto show because the two companies had received government money and were asking for more. One female show attendee even accused GM of being responsible for the death of American soldiers in Iraq, according to the Times, because “if GM made more fuel-efficient cars, the country would not need so much oil, and if the country did not need oil, United States troops would never have invaded.”

It’s clear to me that the constant din of negativity that has swallowed these two companies whole since the end of last year has effectively killed their futures (although as I’ve said repeatedly Chrysler didn’t really have one to begin with). And that, combined with President Obama and his auto team’s “telegraphing” of bankruptcy for these two companies - while pounding the notion into American consumers’ heads that these two corporate entities would be better off euthanized so that they can emerge as healthier, better and of course greener companies – has hastened their demise.

Let’s forget about Chrysler for now, because whether the Italians can convince the government that a link-up with Fiat would be just what Chrysler needs for survival is nothing but pure speculation at this point. Chrysler would still have to jettison almost two-thirds of its dealers and wring additional concessions out of the UAW and its bondholders before it has a clear shot at a future, and that’s a tall order by any stretch of the imagination. And it won't happen by the deadline.

GM, on the other hand, has tremendous product on the ground and in the works, and the “good” or eminently salvageable GM - which includes Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC - as opposed to the “expendable” GM (Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn & Saab) can and should be a worthwhile automotive entity for years to come.

But the fundamental question at this point is will the “good” GM get the chance, or is the American consumer consciousness so corroded about the idea of GM – any GM – that it’s just too late?

GM is teetering on the brink of permanent “unacceptable” status with the American car-buying consumer right now. Yes, there are enlightened consumers walking around who are very aware of GM’s “must consider” list: the Cadillac CTS line, the Chevrolet Malibu, Camaro, Corvette, Traverse and Silverado, the Buick Enclave and even some of the outstanding GMC products.

But for the majority of consumers “out there” the overriding message that has been hammered home since the end of last year is that GM is not only over, dead, and buried, it’s a company with no redeeming value whatsoever and the country would be better off without it.

Even though GM’s marketing and PR operatives are well aware of just how difficult a challenge this is going to be - hot products, or no - the task at hand to get consumers to embrace whatever shape the “new” GM takes will be monumentally daunting.

And I’m not so sure it can be done, either. A relentless cacophony of GM = Bad coverage in the media has enveloped the company in a shroud of negativity emphatically punctuated by the President of the United States getting up in front of the American public saying, for all intents and purposes, that GM was damaged goods.

I am sure, however, that it can’t be done with the General Motors name attached to whatever this new “good” GM entity is. The GM name is that far gone. One hundred years of accomplishment and historic value to the American industrial fabric has been decimated in a matter of months. Once one of America’s corporate icons, GM has now been reduced to being a punchline for a running national joke, and this new car company will have to be unburdened of the GM name, pronto.

Will a name change be the magic elixir for this “good” version of GM’s new automobile company? No, of course not, but it won’t be the focal point of negativity, either.

The endless train wreck that the GM bankruptcy scenario has become will creak and groan right up until June 1st. But after that day, the “good” automobile entity made up of the worthwhile remnants of the company formerly known as General Motors better have a new name attached to it if it’s going to have the slightest of chances of survival.

Thanks for listening.


See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" hosted by Autoline Detroit's John McElroy, with Peter De Lorenzo and auto industry PR veteran Jason Vines this Thursday evening, April 16, at 7:00PM EDT at . You can chat with us "live" too. Again, that's "Autoline After Hours"this Thursday evening, April 16, at 7:00PM EDT at .

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