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Posts Tagged ‘GM Event Marketing’

Not so fast on that Saturn sale afterall

Posted by Bill Sluben on October 1, 2009

Wow! Huge what the heck happened to our deal? What seemed like a done deal…right down to the carefully coordinated resignation of key Saturn leaders from GM in the past two days to dealers reportedly signing contracts with Penske for marketing and distribution…to today with an empty void as the deal fell apart.

Pretty amazing to think that some 13,000 Saturn employees just got handed an early trick when they were looking for their October treat.  Leaves me with a hollow feeling as I (and my company LiveLink Events) have worked closely with the brand in an effort to create awareness, positive opinion, stimulate purchase consideration and register trial for Saturn.

Saturn product in the past few years has really turned the corner.   With the SKY, Saturn rolled out a low cost, yet sleek and sexy roadster.  With the AURA, they claimed North American Car of the Year.  With the OUTLOOK, they offered luxury and utility.  

Sure there were a few missteps along the way, but the brand and it’s 19 years existence deserves another chance at redemption.  The distribution network in the U.S. alone is worth it’s weight in gold.

Here are the sales figures, courtesy of Automotive News, since the inception of Saturn:

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General Motors offering 60 day trial – smart, very smart

Posted by Bill Sluben on September 11, 2009

60 days to drive around a new GM.  If you don’t like it…just return it.  Smart campaign from GM.  They needed (need) to get consumers in a different mindset when it comes to their knee jerk perception and consideration for the GM brands.

By knee jerk, I posit that many consumers who reject GM do so on anecdotal evidence that “GM is poorly built…or lacks design…or are a bunch of gas guzzlers, etc…”

This is a true opportunity for GM to hit the restart button with consumers.  New company (albeit one that passed through a re-org), new culture, new leadership at the top, new product strategy…and new product.  Get out and personally introduce consumers to the new GM, whether it be through a 60 day “extended test drive”, or through highly effective measures like street team marketing, where consumers can discover GM on their own terms at work, home or play…and not only at the retailer.

What a story GM has to tell now.  This is a golden opportunity to break the cycle that seems to be handed down from the previous generation:  that GM is not worthy of my choice for a new vehicle.

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Recession has been good for one thing: decreased traffic

Posted by Bill Sluben on September 1, 2009

Not a car in sight...

Not a car in sight...

Have you noticed that the traffic jams seem a little easier to bear, that the number of vehicles on the road seems a little lighter these days and that there is a little more room to make that 4-lane swerve to get off the exit you just passed (no one does that right?).

It’s not your imagination.  In a report by INRIX, a leading provider of traffic and navigation services in the United States, gridlock in the U.S. reached it’s low point in the second quarter of 2009…but has begun to rise due to the (slight) economic recovery.  “Traffic congestion across the country is rising due to signs of economic recovery, initial rollouts of highway construction projects funded by federal stimulus packages, and lower fuel prices. In fact, 64 of the top 100 most populated cities in the U.S. experienced increases in traffic congestion levels in early 2009.”

Kinda liked having the top end perimeter here in Atlanta all to myself the past 8 months…

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Walk down memory lane – 2003 – pretty accurate prediction

Posted by Bill Sluben on August 21, 2009

Happened along an article written by Jeffrey Garten of Yale School of Management Businessweek written for the 9/1/03 edition. In it, Mr Garten predicts that “before this decade is over, the U.S. auto business may go through some of the agonizing downsizing and even bankruptcies seen lately in steel and airlines.” And that “when the day of reckoning comes, two options will emerge: bankruptcy and bailout.”

Not that alot of pundits couldn’t accurately predict the demise of the big 3 with the bloated cost structure, huge pension obligations, and an industry that had 30% overcapacity (in 2003 nearly 20 million vehicles were produced globally…and consider that only 48 million were sold and on average consumers buy a new car every 3-4 years) and better product offerings/quality in the past from Asian entrants.

It wasn’t like we didn’t have the ingredients for a bonfire…we just needed the spark of the worst economic downtown in 70 years to watch the auto industry go down in flames!

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