General Motors is an automobiles company that has been in operation since 1930’s. It was founded in Detroit, Michigan and has done business with about a hundred and forty countries. In America, General Motor has an uphill and downhill history of sales.
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Five years ago General Motors was doing really well and their highest sales were trucks and jeeps. The last three years with the market and economy struggling the way it has been, sales have dropped. During cash for clunkers there was a small spike but as soon as it ended the sales went down again. Recently with drivers wanting luxury affordable cars, General Motors has changed its marketing strategy. Their cars have become smaller to the point where a Buick Lacrosse resembles a Toyota. Recently General Motors has been on a level about of sales. Currently sales have not been as good in one dealership because of the season. What this means is with students getting ready to graduate and families getting ready to go on vacation, there are less people buying cars. Although sales have been fluctuating in America, General Motors has been doing well in other countries. One of these countries is China. In fact it is believed that when the General Motors was in its lowest point, China was one of the countries that helped build General Motors back up. In China there are four brands that are selling; Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Opel. Opel is a brand that is only made in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Knowing that outside of the US, China has the highest number of car sales, what makes them the highest? Also how are they marketing their cars and what strategies are they incorporating into their marketing? These are the important questions that need to be answered to not only understand general Motors but it could be a way to incorporate a strategy in selling an automobile in another country.
There are many strategies out there to sell an automobile. The ones that General Motors incorporate are word of mouth, test driving, and television ads. In china, one of their big strategies is showing the automobiles at trade shows. The other big strategy that General Motors is using is seeing what types of people are more likely to buy their cars. Based on those demographics, they built their automobiles accordingly. Another way of saying this is target market selection. This is a very useful strategy in the automobile industry but to understand what makes it work in this industry, one has to know what target selection is and how it works. First, a company must find out what drivers look for in an automobile and what they are currently offering to the driver. After they know drivers look for, they have to decide what target to market to. An example would be General Motors has been looking into developing a more fuel efficient automobile. “The carmaker plans to add more hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles in China in the next five years to raise fuel efficiency. Hybrids and “start-stop” technology, which halts the engine to save gasoline, will yield additional fuel-economy improvements of between 5 percent and 15 percent, it said.” (Bloomberg businessweek) This shows where the Chinese automobile market is going and what drivers are starting to look for in a vehicle. The second part of General Motors strategy is developing a green marketing plan. What they are attempting to do is find a way to develop their automobiles so it does not affect the already smog filled country. The major strategy they are looking into is a market specialization. This refers to the idea buyers want a specific kind of automobile and General Motors is creating an array of automobiles that fit in with that target but still will be appealing to everyone who wants to buy their automobiles.
In an article in 2008 General Motors executive director in China talked about the need to go to a more efficient automobile and that it was important in China. There is another Target group General Motors is marketing to. In China, most people who can afford cars are not the ones who are driving the cars but have professional drivers who take them places. With this idea, General Motors has been developing an automobile that has more legroom for those who plan on being driver by someone else but do not want to use a limousine. Looking back it is easy to see that target marketing has been working for General Motors but there is another strategy that goes along with target marketing. This is putting the product out for those to see and they can get a feel for what is going to be the next group of winning vehicles. General Motors has been doing this by showing their automobiles at trade shows. It is here that they can create a buzz for the public and cause a chain of talk or word of mouth. What this means is those who see the cars and are impressed with them will go out and tell others. When the automobiles go on sale, it is already in the buyer’s mind what the car is like and if the person who gave the information was detailed enough, the buyer would be more likely to go and try out the automobile for themselves. This is one of the reasons General Motors has been doing so well in China.
Looking at how well General Motors is doing in China and the strategies they are using, it makes some want to know how they can break out in the international market. In an article written in May, it states that General Motors plans to sell them automobiles they make in China back in the United States. Doing this would create a whole new market strategy since Americans do not base their buying on trade shows and their target markets are drivers who are driving their automobiles. Part of General Motors strategy is developing an automobile where sales are up and selling that automobile to the countries that do not have high sales. It was General Motors CEO, Fritz Henderson who stated, “We have a philosophy of building where we sell. We think that’s the right thing to do, and the most profitable thing historically.” (nzherald.co.nz) there are those who do not agree with that strategy but it does make sense and it has shown to work. The article goes on to prove its point about automobiles having higher sales if they are made outside of the US by writing how there is an increase of automobiles sales by vehicles made in Mexico and South Korea. The ones who go against this idea claim that the strategy takes away from the automobiles that are already made in the US. Looking at General motors and seeing their sales of automobiles that are US made and sold, it might help them to sell the cars they make internationally.
Looking back at what we see in selling Automobiles internationally, we see the incentives and the need to expand our market. Not only this but knowing how to segment your market is the key to any kind of sales internationally and domestically. The strategy that ties all international selling is segmentation. All countries are different and what is sold in one country will not sell in another. That is the main point and it is shown by the difference of who is the driver in the US and in China. Both are different so marketers are going to see that and separate how they will sell to them. I have always been interested in selling overseas and looking at how General Motors Sells their automobiles helps me understand what I have to do and what I have to research if I want to succeed in as a successful marketer overseas.
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