Saturday, August 23, 2008

Automotive Incumbency

Peter de Lorenzo at Auto Extremist criticises General Motors for it's advertising cuts.

GM, like the other Detroit-based automakers, is in a desperate race to convince consumers that they’re building cars worthy of consideration.

This “perception gap”.....centers around the fact that GM (and Detroit) lost a generation of buyers to the Asian and German brands due to past years of building vehicles burdened with excuses, piss-poor quality and a stunning lack of imagination.

These consumers - and now their offspring - are not only reluctant to buy Detroit vehicles - they find it difficult to even muster the energy to give them a passing look, no matter how good the reviews.

I agree with Peter, but I think he left out an important point, one related to my previous post about elections.

If an incumbent is involved, the election is first and foremost a referendum about that person. Unless something compromises the incumbent's reputation, he'll probably get re-elected.

That applies even more strongly to purchasing a car,which is a bigger decision to most people than which politician to elect. If the customer is happy with the service he got from his old car, he'll probably buy another one from the same company. Toyota,Honda and company aren't giving their owners reasons to look elsewhere. GM can advertise all it wants and it won't matter. The car on TV may look spiffy, but it's the car currently in the driveway that will make the next sale.

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