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Detroit Left Wondering About Marketing Under Obama Plan

  • Ad Age, Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11 AM
Labor costs and union concessions are the most pressing financial issues at both General Motors and Chrysler, reports Jean Halliday, and marketing has not been a major topic of discussion beyond a revelation by GM that it would cut those costs by $800 million this year. But observers are speculating that Fritz Henderson, who is succeeding Rick Wagoner at the helm of GM, won't be as staunch a supporter of marketing as his predecessor.

"Rick had a strong desire to be aggressive in marketing," which "may be diminished" under Henderson, says Mike Jackson, who left GM in mid-2007 as vp-marketing and advertising in North America.

Much of the chatter in Detroit seems to support Wagoner. GM's vice chairman-global product development, Bob Lutz, calls his former boss a "ritual sacrifice."

At Chrysler, vice chairman-president Jim Press tried to remain upbeat in a presentation to its 3,000 dealers Monday afternoon, according to Massachusetts dealer Tom Barenboim. He said Press told dealers the automaker is "putting its soldiers in line to forge the company ahead and be a global player" with Fiat.



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