In making the announcement, GM President and CEO Rick Wagoner and Executive Vice President and President North America Ron Zarrella said that despite major investments over the past few years that resulted in critically acclaimed new Oldsmobile products, the division was still unprofitable and its sales volume continued to erode.
We stretched to find profitable ways to further strengthen the Oldsmobile product line, including developing products with our global alliance partners, but in the current environment, there was no workable solution, said Wagoner.
Wagoner added this has been a very difficult and painful decision because of the history of the Oldsmobile division. It is the oldest automotive brand in America with a history that is rich with innovation and success stories, including dozens of legendary cars, and over the years it was one of the jewels in the General Motors crown, he said.
In recent years, we have made major investments in new products for Oldsmobile - significant capital and engineering resources - in an effort to re-position Oldsmobile in the market, Zarrella said. Even with the introduction of several great new products, the brands sales and profit performance remain under pressure.
A dramatically changing North American automotive landscape is driving GM to focus its resources even more sharply on growth opportunities and on making the entire brand portfolio more effective in the marketplace. That means a portfolio dominated by innovative products with shorter lifecycles.
I want to assure you that we are very sensitive to the concerns and needs of the Oldsmobile customer, Zarrella said. We will work together with our Oldsmobile dealers to provide for a smooth and orderly business transition.
A call center has been established in Detroit to address dealer questions and capture dealer concerns for resolution. In addition, a transition team will be located in each of the companys five regions to address dealer concerns and inquiries. A dedicated team will work on an individual basis with all dealers involved to facilitate a smooth and orderly transition.
The company will also work with Oldsmobile dealers so those customers continue to receive quality service and parts. If there is any change in Oldsmobile representation in a customers area, service and parts will be made available through another GM dealer.
There will be several customer care initiatives beginning with a special 1-800 number for Oldsmobile owners. As valued members of the General Motors family, they will have the benefit of the largest and one of the most responsive customer care networks in the industry to address their concerns. In addition, recent Oldsmobile customers will be provided a certificate of at least $1,000 toward the purchase or lease of a new Oldsmobile or other GM vehicles.
Regarding Oldsmobile employees, Zarrella said that the dedication exhibited by the Oldsmobile team has been exemplary. This is why we will work hard to provide opportunities for these valued employees to stay in the GM family, said Zarrella.
While this is a difficult decision, we believe that in the long run, it is the right thing to do to increase GMs competitiveness, profitability and growth, Zarrella said.
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