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http://autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060201/FREE/60130011/1024/LATESTNEWS

GM's LaNeve says automaker will sell product, not price

By JAMIE LAREAU | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 01/31/06, 4:57 pm et

DETROIT -- General Motors' Mark LaNeve has been vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing for 10 months now. He seems relaxed in his office on the 39th floor of the Renaissance Center here, but closer scrutiny reveals bloodshot eyes and exhaustion in his voice.

LaNeve wants to promote a "product" message rather than the deal of the day. To do so, GM has lowered the sticker price on 80 percent of its lineup by an average of $1,300 per vehicle.

LaNeve and his team visited 24 cities in six business days to explain GM's new pricing strategy to dealers. He discussed the strategy during a Jan. 20 interview with Editor David Sedgwick and Staff Reporter Jamie LaReau. You just finished a 24-city tour to meet with dealers. How are dealers reacting to this latest pricing strategy?

It felt as good to them as it did to us, based on their reactions and questions. It's what they've been encouraging us to do. … We want to get our product message out.

There has been a lot of negative talk about GM. How do you change the message and get people to focus on the product?

That's another reason why we felt we had to go to market this way. From a tactical basis it'll be: Here's a Chevy Cobalt, here's why it's better and here's the price advantage. That's a way to cut through some of the negative atmosphere as opposed to a big incentive. (Incentives) just send a distressed message like: "These guys are really in trouble, look what the hell they're doing."

The new Chevy ads just talk about prices. There wasn't much talk about the product yet.

No, but there will be. Phase One was just: More Americans chose Chevy than the other brand. Phase Two is: We've lowered all our prices. Phase Three will get into quite a bit of specificity.

What keeps you awake at night?

I worry about fluctuating fuel prices because the line between supply and demand is pretty narrow. But I don't worry about the real strength of our product program. I don't worry about the ability to differentiate eight different brands.

The idea behind value pricing is that it works best when there is a new product that has some excitement behind it. Older products require incentives. So you can't eliminate all incentives right away. Do you agree?

I would agree that you are more prone to have incentives the older the product is, unless the product is just smoking hot. We plan for that, and I don't think any of that changes with what we just announced.

Coming out of the GM Employee Discount for Everyone sale last summer, you knew there'd be a sales drop-off. But the size of the drop in October had to be a shock.

Yeah, well we didn't know we'd get two hurricanes and a $1 spike in gas prices and spot shortages. It was a bad month, and it set us back.

Does Pontiac need a Firebird?

Any kind of a rear-drive, performance-oriented vehicle is something we should look at for Pontiac. Whether it's a coupe or sedan, that remains to be seen.

Wouldn't it compete with the Chevy Camaro if GM builds that?

I'm not speculating on any of that, but a rear-drive performance-oriented product would be a good fit for Pontiac.
 

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If the T/A comes back, the GTO needs to get the axe.
 

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I'd like to see the Firebird return, but for that to happen the GTO has to go away.

Also, there would need to be quite a bit of difference between the Camaro and Firebird, a product overlap in that segment doesn't really make sense anymore.
 

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OctaneZ28 said:
I'd like to see the Firebird return, but for that to happen the GTO has to go away.

Also, there would need to be quite a bit of difference between the Camaro and Firebird, a product overlap in that segment doesn't really make sense anymore.
Exactly. They would just cannibalize sales from one another.
 

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I'd buy a firebird over a camaro. But, who knows if thats going to happen, with GM's financial losses
 

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I've heard the next gen GTO's are supposed to be pretty sweet. So long as Pontiac is well represented I think I'd be ok taking leave of the TA for a while.


I'll still miss them, though
 

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I dunno, I guess I just see things a bit differently. I believe a Firebird AND a GTO could co-exist - and I don't believe having a Firebird would take away too much from the Camaro either (they never seemed to all thru the 1st and 4th gens, I don't see why they would in the 5th gen either).

Back in the late 60s/early 70s there was plenty of room for both a GTO and a Firebird. The GTO appealed to the people with families who wanted speed and style but needed the extra room of a bigger car - the Firebird largely appealed to the single person who didn't want or need the extra room, so they appealed to 2 different markets (same way the Chevelle and Camaro appealed to 2 different markets). Yes I acknowledge that that was a long time ago and things are different today... but I still think, if GM wanted to... they could still do something like that today. Have a modern-day GTO for people who need the extra room, and have the Firebird for the person who doesn't need the extra room - what would be so wrong with that? I really don't think the overlap would be that great.

I know I'm a bit old-school in my thinking (that's always been one of my issues lol), but I truly believe, if GM wanted to, it could be done. But I know there's no way GM will - guess we should thank our lucky stars that at least the Camaro is coming back, we probably shouldn't press our luck to push for a return of the Firebird too... :confused:
 

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I just don't think it's possible for GM to carry 3 competing 400hp muscle cars.
 

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the only way GTO could exsist is if it went more the Boniville way..but a 2 door bonnie..make the GTO what was supposed to be the G8..then you got your top of the line car..almost like the STS for comparison..if Firebird comes back would anyone be mad if they just produced the T/A verion and maybee a Formula V6 version?
 

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Caps94ZODG said:
the only way GTO could exsist is if it went more the Boniville way..but a 2 door bonnie..make the GTO what was supposed to be the G8..then you got your top of the line car..almost like the STS for comparison..
You talking about making the GTO a front wheel drive full-size car..? No way I'd ever go for that
I'd rather see the car die before having anything like that happen to it.
 

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Yankee said:
You talking about making the GTO a front wheel drive full-size car..? No way I'd ever go for that
I'd rather see the car die before having anything like that happen to it.
Dude the STS is RWD now :D or AWD for boot...and the GTO was a full size muscle car to begin with like the Chevelle and so on..so why not

The GTO for the Bonnie Replacement...something thats almost like Charger heck build two cars one a 4 door Impala and a 2 door GTO..seperate cost and get two cars out of it..

Trans Am (if it comes back) as the fighter for the G35 type car..

Solstice..the Miata Fighter
 

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i say give the camaro the IRS, the firebird the solid rear (totally interchangeable with the IRS of the camaro of course and vice versa), and if the GTO keeps it's current styling stick 2 more doors on it and compete with the new charger.
 

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OK Caps I see what you mean now - it was your initial comment about the GTO "going more the Bonneville way" (i.e. front wheel drive full-size car) that kinda threw me... :D
 

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thats cool man, yea I think the RWD large car movement is comming back..

a new Caprice should be put into play...would be a great car to market against Avalon and such, but Buick is already doing it so who knows.:confused:
 

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I can see where there would be sales rivalry if the firebird came back. I would love to see it but if it does not than hopefully my 2 will stabilize in value and at some point go up.
 

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well the only way that can go up is demand and or raritey (sp)
both of those play a factor in what its worth.
You see all gens of Camaro and Firebirds selling for the low thousands to 50-60 and more and they all could be the same year just diffrent cars.
For example the Turbo T/A is rare but the regular T/A of that year is not so sought after.
 
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