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General Motors - On the Road to Recovery?

Launching a Product at the End of an Era

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When executives decided to unload the Oldsmobile brand, one burden was lifted off General Motors. But now they have to buckle their seat belts and drive their other brands to the limit.

The first challenge GM faces is the launch of the Bravada. How do you convince consumers they should buy a brand that's extinct before you even drive off the lot?

There are a couple of ways to package the Bravada into a hot-selling SUV. For instance, Oldsmobile could offer an extended warranty to help eliminate consumer fears. Another way to approach consumers is through discounts to unload the inventory. Incredible financing options would attract buyers as well.

Selling a new Oldsmobile product is still like selling damaged goods, though. An unusual tactic might be to present the Bravada as a last chance opportunity. Oldsmobile's line of attack could feature the Bravada as the final vehicle of a generation's worth of quality automobiles.

Just because GM cut Oldsmobile from the family tree doesn't mean there aren't any other struggling limbs. Saturn's losing money too. But GM has already made the decision to shift major ad dollars to that brand.

Execs expect Saturn to carry the brunt of Oldsmobile's weight. In fact, GM's plunking $1.5 billion into four new Saturn vehicles, including the first SUV. The Saturn VUE is set to debut in the Fall of 2001.

GM is also banking on new Cadillac and Buick cars to attract new buyers. But Chevrolet, Pontiac and GMC brands are pretty solid and aren't viewed as a problem.

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