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November 03, 2005

How to save GM’s brands 

It’s clear that in the needs a lot more . It’s totally possible—one idea would be to eliminate the and . Saturn has become just another inside ; and with Chevrolet doing performance versions of its cars, Pontiac becomes irrelevant.
   An alternative, since it can be argued that each has its niche, is to use many of GM’s foreign companies—, , Chevrolet do —as suppliers. is already selling three lines of cars (Aveo, Optra, Evanda) through Chevrolet in Canada, so why not replace the Pontiac sedans with a full line of Holden’s VE ; and have Opel and Chevrolet do Brasil supply import-favouring Saturn buyers with Corsa, Meriva, Astra and Vectra? Federalizing these cars will be cheaper, and all that prevents this from happening is GM’s internal political fear of having foreign products infiltrate regular proceedings.
   The evidence is clear: the Japanese are doing this better—, and developed outside are fed in to the domestic market—and they are leveraging their costs. Pension plans aside, the failure for GM to leverage foreign units has led to its current financial woes.
   Why have them, if you aren’t using them? And why not use them, when the alternative is closing down entire GM brands and firing even more GM people?
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