GM Leader Offers Optimistic Take on Next Year
"I'll be thrilled to death if we gain a tenth of a share of the market this year," he said, noting that the company is intent on avoiding huge incentive campaigns. GM's current market share has stabilized at around 22 percent, but is trending gradually upward.
While GM has no plans to eliminate any of its eight brands, LaNeve said the company will continue to pursue a channel strategy of eight "vertically focused brands" partly by defining the media mix by divisional brand. "There was a time it wasn't unusual to see ads for all of our brands on one NFL game," he said. "That doesn't work."
While GM has gained market share from new compact and crossover models, the company has to compete better in the mid-sized segment of the U.S. auto market, La Neve said. The company rolls out three new models next year: the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Saturn Outlook.
"Vehicles like these will help us grow market share--incremental share--so we aren't cannibalizing our own business," he said. "We need to overachieve in the middle of the market."
The GMC Acadia, for instance, is meant to compete in the luxury SUV segment; the Saturn version with the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. LaNeve said the GMC version will have the highest volume, followed by Saturn's Outlook and the Buick Enclave. "Our annual volume for crossovers will be initially around 120,000 to 130,000 vehicles," he said.
LaNeve credits the year-old growth plan of focusing on customer service and retention, value over cut-rate pricing, a realigned divisional regional field force, and a raft of new mid-sized cars and crossovers with adding black ink to the company's fiscal performance.
While the industry trend in incentive spending is up overall this year, GM has managed to lower it $800 per vehicle, LaNeve said. Also down are fleet sales and the number of dealerships where Pontiac, GMC and Buick are sold separately. This is part of GM's strategy to consolidate the three brands in one showroom.
Roughly 80 percent of Pontiac, Buick and GMC sales are made from dealerships that sell all three brands under one roof--up from 67 percent the year before, he said.