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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One Lounge topic recently focused on dilluting specific car model names.

What about losing great marques? While I don't fret much about the loss of DeSoto or LaSalle (I'm not that old), my kids won't be driving a Plymouth or Oldsmobile. With the level of saturation in this market and other automakers still looking to squeeze in, such as Renault, something has to give.

I can see Isuzu finally dying. Will Mistubishi make it in the long run?

What about American marques? Will GM have to pare another brand from its stables? How much brand equity does Buick have today? What about the Buick name 20 years from now, when today's young generation hold the bulk of the buying power?

What do you think?
 

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Isuzu will be gone from light-trucks in the near future, but Mitsubishi will remain. Mercury could fade away, but that's a long-running thought. My bet is on Saturn disappearing in the next decade, unless GM would rather take the bath than admit defeat. Unless Fiat finds a partner (and GM isn't the one), I could see Lancia disappearing. MG and Rover could disappear if their partnership in China and India don't pan out. Among the brands on the bubble (but not necessarily going to disappear) is Ssangyong.

In the next decade or so, the US market will probably gain more brands than it will lose including Peugeot (and/or Citroen), possibly Alfa Romeo, possibly Renault, probably Geely, and possibly Seat or Skoda.
 

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it doesn't seem clear that GM plans to axe any lineups (they seem dedicated to saturn), but they've really gotta stop muddling about. if the brands have mission statements they're surely not being followed. i know canadian customers buy more small cars than americans, but try to convince me pontiac needs the wave (an upcoming aveo clone). look out BMW... pontiac builds 103 hp excitement!

the "everything to everyone" footprint of most of GM's brands makes me think some deserve the axe. i can't even say which. what good is pontiacs performance heritage if they don't offer perfomance vehicles? buick was a storied marque half a century ago, but if buick isn't going to build excellent luxury cars for the everyman, why keep the buick name? GM should take advantage of the emotional impact the brand names still carry before it's diluted too much. at the end 'plymouth' didn't mean much to anyone anymore. how long before pontiac no longer conjures up images of classic firebirds and grand prixs, but instead is remembered for the flatlined wave?

i think most of the GM brands are heading in the right direction, but with few home runs yet. i wanna like them, but there's some damn good product coming from all the major competitors. if you support the idea of bringing opels to north america (under the opel brand), then you surely must agree that buick or saturn or pontiac should be axed to make room. opel means nothing to most north americans, and if the 'fresh start' approach (an unburdened nameplate) appeals to you then, conversely, ditching a name with baggage only makes sense.
 

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Lake:

I can't see Dodge and Chrysler providing ANY value to investors without Jeep. If DaimlerChrysler were to spin-off any Chrysler Group divisions, they'd have to spin them all off. But I think that's less likely than it was two years ago. I'm still putting money on the possibility that Hyundai would take over the Chrysler Group whenSchrempp gets the axe.

Paul:

Don't bet on GM being "dedicated" to Saturn. I've heard stuff that makes me think otherwise.
 

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Originally posted by Hudson@Jul 16 2004, 03:09 PM
Don't bet on GM being "dedicated" to Saturn. I've heard stuff that makes me think otherwise.
fine by me! could be troubling for saab though... at least in canada, saturn and saab dealerships are paired in most cases. not sure how many saab dealerships could stand alone. but that's not enough reason to keep saturn around of course. and i guess it makes sense that GM would keep quiet if they had plans to can saturn. it wouldn't help the situation if consumers knew GM had no confidence in saturn.
 

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Well my thoughts on this are that Buick might fade away unless they can keep up redesigning cars appealing to all ages not just older buyers. If they want to be "American Lexus" then they need more luxurious cars that appeal to everyone. Saab does very well here in Maine. I believe Maine once sold the most Saabs of any state. We own a Saab. I think they'll be fine they plan to expand their lineup so I'm not worried for them. I agree with some people about Mercury. I don't see the point of their existance in the Autmaker world. Why sell Fords with different emblems?? That could be taking away from Ford's sales as well. I think Saturn will be fine. Chevrolet will fail miserably and we will forget that Chevrolet was ever a brand. Haha Just kidding. :p At the rate Cadillac is going they will be A ok. Overall I'm concerned that Buick and Mercury would be next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Originally posted by amark329@Jul 16 2004, 11:55 AM
Well my thoughts on this are that Buick might fade away unless they can keep up redesigning cars appealing to all ages not just older buyers.
Agreed. The more I think about the current Buick line-up and the near future pipeline (LaCrosse), the more I think Buick could be in danger of following Oldsmobile.

The current line-up of Buick cars is dated, and several of its cars are out of production now. The LaCrosse doesn't look that dramatically different ... more like a small evolution of the LeSabre.

Trucks won't save Buick. Buick truck inventories as of July 1 are horrendous! 231 days of inventory for Ranier, 115 days for Rendezvous. More people are buying Azteks than Raniers (1580 vs 1399 in June). People don't think 'Buick' when they think 'trucks'.

Today's young crowd has no idea what a Buick is. Buick is in danger of falling off the radar screens of the future buying public.

Personally, I would have preferred that Buick got the axe and Olds stayed on. The Olds car lineup was nicer and more up-to-date than the Buick lineup was.
 

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it doesn't seem clear that GM plans to axe any lineups
And right into 2000 there was noone thought that Olds was on thier way out

Well my thoughts on this are that Buick might fade away unless they can keep up redesigning cars appealing to all ages not just older buyers.
I can't see Buick going anywhere, Changing thier model line up yes, but not thier key demographic

Mitzu, Izuzu(vehicles only) Mercury, Fiat and in the farther future I even see Volkswagon struggling
 

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Originally posted by doh@Jul 16 2004, 06:36 PM
And right into 2000 there was noone thought that Olds was on thier way out
yes, very good point. if anything GM'd done more to bolster the olds lineup at the end of the 90's than they had in decades. so it looked like olds' fortunes were changing. and 4 years later? gone! so i guess i can't assume that new product (relay and redline models) mean saturn will be spared the chopping block.
 

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My 2 cents. Lincoln/Mercury bye bye especially Merc. The dopes at Ford, DO NOT GET IT. Rebadgeing in this day and age is a major NO NO. I can't believe they could not come up with completely different sheetmetal and a different theme for Mercury. I have no idea what a Lincoln is anymore. I thought DCX was a gone. I am not sure anymore. I see a Dodge LX sedan comming, a Dodge coupe and Chrysler conv on the LX platform and other ideas. Then we get a new Neon and Stratus that could compeate in the mid size class. DCX is not done yet. GM? As usual they are driving me crazy. Lots of great ideas but slow to market. I still think GM is just too big and there are to many suits with the old mentality who just do not get it. What do I mean? Example 1. - G6 Pontiac. Your going to get all of the models gradually over time. This is horsebleep in an ultra competative market. It gives the compitition (who your already behind) to much time to respond. Example 2. - Chevy SS Cobalt Supercharged. This car is three model years behind the Dodge SRT. Hello! This car should have at leased matched the SRT. Oh down the road you get more improvments. Big friggin deal. You wonder why the **** keep kicking our ***?
 

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Ford can't afford to give Lincoln/Mercury unique products, especially after spending billions for Jaguar and Volvo. Giving L/M rebadged Fords is just a cheap way to try to keep dealers in business. Lincoln and Mercury will either survive together or go down together. I wouldn't be surprised if Lincoln's Five Hundred derivatives look just like Five Hundreds with Lincoln grilles.

Unless current trends change and Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai start to slip, I predict that the following will be gone within 10 years: Lincoln, Mercury, Saturn, Buick, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and Suzuki.
 

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Have you guys seen the Zephyr? It's not a rebadged Futura or Mazda6. It's worthy of the Lincoln badge.

ehaase:

I welcome your opinion...and will defend your opinion to the death, but I think you're misguided. Lincoln will be around...as will Buick and Suzuki. Probably Mitsubishi and Mercury as well. As much as I think Mercury and Saturn aren't long for this world, getting rid of them in ten years will be tough. Saturn is a better bet, in my opinion, to go before Mercury. And we all agree that Isuzu will stop selling light trucks in a short time.

Why do you think Suzuki will be gone? It's currently one of the fastest growing brands in the US...and it usually has the top selling vehicle in India (not a small market) and one of the top 5 in Japan...it's also the largest seller of "kei" cars (minicars) in Japan.
 

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For the year, Suzuki has sold 6,107 Aerios (down about half from last year's 12,146), 12,266 Forenzas, 7,451 Veronas, 4,352 Vitaras/Grand Vitaras (down from last year's 7,062), and 9,630 XL-7's (down from last year's 12,779). I have serious doubts about Suzuki's future in the U.S., even though it is successful in Asian and possibly European markets.

Secondly, I do not see that Ford and GM will be any more successful at resurrecting Mercury, Lincoln, or Buick than GM was with Oldsmobile. The efforts to badge-engineer the Freestar and TrailBlazer into the Monterey and Rainier, respectively, have been flops. This makes me question the success of the upcoming Montego. The LaCrosse looks like a dud. Buick's 2007 Zeta sedan looks interesting, but will be too expensive to turn Buick around.
 

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Secondly, I do not see that Ford and GM will be any more successful at resurrecting Mercury, Lincoln, or Buick than GM was with Oldsmobile. The efforts to badge-engineer the Freestar and TrailBlazer into the Monterey and Rainier, respectively, have been flops. This makes me question the success of the upcoming Montego. The LaCrosse looks like a dud. Buick's 2007 Zeta sedan looks interesting, but will be too expensive to turn Buick around.
I have to agree with that assestment. I think the days of some of Detroit's famous brands are on the way to the junkyard in the sky. If future products can't convince the public to come back in support, then I think all is lost for these brands.

I supported the idea of keeping Mercury as I have some ideas on how to bring it back, but I just don't think Ford has the money or desire to really do anything with Mercury but badge engineer it. It reminds me of Plymouth in its decline years. I guess I get to the point of total frustration that I just say "Let it go. Another American brand left to fade away." I don't know if I care anymore.

I am not as depressed with Lincoln or Buick, but I am not pleased either. If either brand does not get great new products out, then they might as well go too. Frankly speaking, I'm not too optimistic on the future of Buick. I just think its golden years are in the past. Even if the Zeta sedan is promising, it still has a few years before somebody can buy it. Until then, precious time is ticking away as more and more Americans discover Lexus, Infinti, Acura, Hyundai, etc.... Buick just does not have that punch it once had, and I'm sure it will ever have that. We'll have to see what GM comes up with.

Lincoln is still in decent shape. It hasn't totally disappeared from the public's memory, but it better get its act together in a hurry. The attention to interiors and engineering will help Lincoln as long as it is still seen as premium luxury make and has quality to match. If it becomes another weak attemtp, Americans will see through it and Lincoln will be on life support. Buick and Lincoln are so far treading water, but for how long.

As for the other foreign brands, I really wouldn't notice if they left. That will be just more market space for Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

In any case, the slow decline of Detroit is moving right along. AMC is asorbed and is gone, Plymouth, Eagle (who really cares), and Oldsmobile are gone, and then Chrysler Corporation is taken over and sent to junkyard heaven only to have the name linger on as Daimler's little cash cow. Yep, Detroit has seen better days. The decline continues.
 

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My understanding is that Mercury still makes a lot of money because of the Grand Marquis, even though sales seem to declining little by little each year. However, fuel prices are going to rise, CAFE standards may go up substantially if Kerry is elected, and most Grand Marquis customers will soon be in the nursing homes. The same is mostly true for the Lincoln Town Car and Buick's most popular car, the LeSabre. I have a hard time seeing Lincoln Mercury around after the Grand Marquis and Town Car are gone.
 

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I think Saturn, Mercury & Buick will fade if a 'big' comeback isn't in its future. Otherwise, there is nothing else I can think of.
 

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I think the Mercury strategy at present is actually OK. They make basic Fords more distinctive at relatively little cost, and pitch them to a distinctly different market at a premium. They've got a good, consistent style going - the heavy looking waterfall grill and other nice aluminum-look trim bits, stylish two-tone upholstery and aluminum interior trim. Mercurys are actually some of the more consistently distinctive offerings out there these days.

What they really need to work on is how they're pitching them. I think they're clearly conceived for sophisticated, urbane upscale women - a pitch they did very successfully with the last Mountaineer. If they can just get the marketing element clear, I think they could go places with Mercury. No, it's not going to be huge, but it definitely extends the reach of the Fords on which it is based, and the trimmings are attractive enough that they ought to be able command a premium. And that's a win/win.
 

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The brand I think ought to go extinct is GMC. It has little or no added meaning next to its Chevy stablemates. Geez, for years, it barely even had model names of its own. And yet, GM is pending a small fortune marketing it.

And what they're pushing: "professional grade engineering" (as if they Chevies are amateur grade, or something like that) is inconsistent with the attempt to be upscale stylish that jazzed up luxo-barge offerings like the Denali and Envoy. Meanwhile, most of GMC's volume is in basic pick-ups.

The whole exercise is utterly pointless.
 

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GMC makes too much money for GM to drop it. Badge engineering is OK if it makes money, in my opinion. But those were some excellent ideas about Mercury, and I hope it does succeed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Originally posted by AMcA@Jul 18 2004, 11:23 AM
The brand I think ought to go extinct is GMC.  It has little or no added meaning next to its Chevy stablemates.  Geez, for years, it barely even had model names of its own.  And yet, GM is pending a small fortune marketing it. 

And what they're pushing: "professional grade engineering" (as if they Chevies are amateur grade, or something like that) is inconsistent with the attempt to be upscale stylish that jazzed up luxo-barge offerings like the Denali and Envoy.  Meanwhile, most of GMC's volume is in basic pick-ups.

The whole exercise is utterly pointless.
GMC is a significant brand for GM. Through June, GMC has sold over 273,000 vehicles in 2004. That's more than Jeep (226,000) and Lincoln-Mercury cars & trucks (165,000). Within GM, GMC is outsold only by Chevrolet.

Also, GMC helps keep many Pontiac dealers afloat. That truck line is significant. In addition, public perception surveys indicate that GMC has a higher brand image than Pontiac. Perhaps that is part of the reason that GM decided to give GMC a sport wagon in the next few years instead of Pontiac.
 
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