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GM focusses on social, connection with buyers



Dan Ammann, the New Zealand-born president of General Motors has keynoted the 2015 New York Auto Show this morning speaking of the need for manufacturers to expand their connection with buyers.

That’s something that will be crucial as GM transitions Holden from local manufacturing to an import-only brand by the end of this decade.

Coming from a Wall Street background, Ammann has handled the mammoth task of restoring both the financial health and image of GM, the industry giant that once accounted for half of the new car market share in the United States. It was stressed by Jason Stein from Automotive News that Ammann isn’t just a banker – but also a “car guy” actively involved in the testing phase of new GM vehicles at the Nurburgring and Goodwood.

First on the agenda was a concession that the key buyer priorities remain reliability, capability, performance, styling and ownership satisfaction – and according to Ammann, these virtues are directing the redevelopment of GM’s lineup through its brands. That’s right through from GMC, known for its “professional grade” quality, to Buick, which is growing as a premium brand in the US – though neither brand is present in the Australian market.

A highlight of Ammann’s efforts has been a push for a greater “one-on-one customer experience”, with particular emphasis on support through social media. New Facebook and Twitter infrastructure is backed up by a higher number of follow-up calls to prospective buyers, not just from dealers, but a limited number from “executives within General Motors” – a side project that looks to “surprise” and delight buyers to pull them towards a product from the General.

Part of the connectivity focus entails bringing the internet closer to drivers, and Ammann was keen to tout the statistic that GM vehicles bring more high speed 4G-LTE connections through vehicles than any other brand.

Initial results are positive – Buick’s scored a number-one ranking in JD Power’s dealer satisfaction survey, and Cadillac’s expansion is beginning to restore the image of that brand. Can similar results be reflected through domestic efforts with Holden? We hope so.