As General Motors attempts to come out of its government owned era, it has the massive task of reinvigorating the American buyer. As with most large purchases, the American consumer is also rather uneducated. As we can see by the downfall of the housing market, all too often consumers over extend themselves and make poor decisions. Admittedly, the decline of the real estate market and the downfall of the big three automakers are due to completely separate reasons, but some similarities can be found.
One of the biggest struggles that General Motors will face in the coming years is making people believe that their product is superior to the competition. As emissions laws tighten and consumers become more environmentally conscious the problem for an automaker like GM is extrapolated. GM is a company built around its truck sales and the most environmentally unfriendly thing on the road this side of a Hummer is a heavy duty pickup truck.
However, General Motors has surprised us by coming out of bankruptcy so quickly and with so much vigor. Its new models are impressive and cross every segment that the company operates in. Many may think that this is the same old GM singing a new tune that will fade away soon, but the company has organized several events to educate the consumer and let them know that these changes are here to stay.
This past weekend we attended the Main Street in Motion event in Newport Beach, CA. Several years ago we were at a similar event in Las Vegas, Nevada, but this time things were a little different. General Motors brought their typical heavy hitter models like the Corvette , Camaro , Sierra , and Tahoe . They also included some of the newer, cleaner, and less known models like the Volt , Cruze , Acadia , and Tahoe Hybrid . Those who attended were able to test drive every model and see how each model handled when compared to the competition.
Hit the jump to read more about the Main Street in Motion event.
The best idea that General Motors has was to include the vehicles that its competition produces. The Ford F-150 , Dodge Ram , Toyota Tundra , and the like for each segment were all there and you could drive them as well. This was a good idea because General Motors had created a controlled environment where their employees could articulate the reasons why each GM model was superior to the competition. An uneducated consumer could easily be swayed by these employees and to my surprise, they were much more educated on the product than your typical salesman. We found the pickup conversations especially hilarious due to how these companies market the trucks. As you watch commercials you can see how one company advertises its “class-leading pulling power” and another advertises its “class-leading torque” when essentially the trucks have the same capabilities and increase each tiny piece of the equation 1-2% each year so that they can have those advertising campaigns.
The setup for the event was also well executed and featured a road course on the outside ring with an off-road track in the center. It allowed the cars to be driven by those most interested in them, while truck fans could test out some of the products at the same time. There were 70 different types of vehicles at the event and it was free to anyone that signed up. That is a great way to market your vehicles and reach the mass markets, because honestly most people do not like going to a dealership and being hassled. The only place where GM really slipped up was the marketing of the actual event. Information about it was rather scarce and a little more media attention surrounding it could have been helpful. That being said, we were there on a Saturday and there was a steady stream of people coming and going throughout the several hours that we attended. If you are looking at any new GM model or want to compare it to the competition in one place than the Main Street in Motion event is the place to do so. Events are still going on throughout the country and more information can be found at http://www.mainstreetinmotion.com/Default.aspx.