Dear General Motors:
I read in The Wall Street Journal that you want to attract a younger audience to your Buick brand. As an American taxpayer, I own 62% of your corporation, so it pains me to say that this strategy is doomed.
The Buick brand is imprinted as a car that belongs to an older generation. For young people today, it’s a punchline. Downsizing the LaCrosse isn’t going to make it a young person’s car, nor is tweeting about it.
This is, unfortunately, more of the same kind of flawed thinking that got you where you are today. You’re simply tweaking your products and expecting advertising to compensate for genuine innovation.
Even with Enclave crossover sales skewing to a younger buyer, the average age of a Buick owner is 70. Face it: Like its core customer, the Buick brand is in the sunset of its life. Instead of fighting the headwind of negative perceptions rooted in intractable generational experiences, you ought to replace the Buick brand with a fresh new one–with models that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen come out of Detroit. Properly done, this new brand would repel the typical Buick owner because it’s not for them.
Given the thumpin’ you have taken in the marketplace, you need to stop thinking like an invincible market leader and start thinking like a hungry entrepreneur. And by that I mean, stop imagining that you can compete by making me-too products and start looking for radical differentiation and innovative niches where a new brand has little to no competition.
Toyota did it with Scion. BMW did it with Mini. You can do it too.
Please, please try harder. My tax dollars are at stake.