When I began my career in automotive marketing and advertising General Motors was holding 35 percent of the market share in North America. The goal was to grow their business among light trucks and large SUVs with the cross hairs aimed solely at stealing Ford’s truck market share each year.
Then after a few years and some losses in market share, Rick Wagoner the then CEO of General Motors handed out lapel pins that had nothing but “30” on them. Their goal was to maintain GM’s market share in the U.S. of 30 percent.
Finally, GM slipped down in the low 20s and even into the teens. It seemed that the product was getting old, the dealer body was not happy with the factory and the imports were taking over.
Then that humiliating day came for the industry in 2009 when the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler got drilled before a senate committee about bankruptcy. That combined with the loans needed to keep their businesses afloat almost made it seem like the end of the world.
Fast forward the clock to 2013:
In a recent press conference with Automotive News during their 2013 World Congress, Penske Automotive Group Chairman Roger Penske announced that his company was interested in buying GM, Ford and Chrysler brand dealerships. After spending the last decade getting rid of domestic nameplates and fueling his import and luxury business – one of the most respected automotive retailers in the world announced that his company is again looking for domestic dealerships in the markets where Penske Automotive Group already owns and operates stores.
When I saw an interview on Autoblog.com about Penske talking about the Cadillac ATS, then seeing the press conference from Automotive News I think it is safe to say the tides are starting to turn back in favor of the domestics.
We will see if the underdog mentality allows the big three to make a quick recovery and which brand can really stand the revival of the fittest.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising.