General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) definitely faces an uphill battle when it comes to repairing its slaughtered brand image, which initially took a hit from producing mostly terrible products for the American consumer for decades. Then, after dishing out those poor quality vehicles and running its business into the ground, it stretched out its hand for the American taxpayer to pay up and save it from its own doing.
Rightfully so, consumers have been left with a bad taste in their mouths. It has a new nickname, one I hadn’t heard until recently. No, I don’t mean Government Motors – I’m talking about “General Tso’s Motors”. I’ll explain the new one, and show General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s attempt to repair its brand image.
General “Tso’s” Motors
I’m not going to lie, I chuckled when I heard that new nickname coined by Edward Niedermeyer in an article published in The Wall Street Journal. Here’s something that you likely won’t chuckle about. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) recently announced at the Shanghai Auto Show that it would spend roughly $11 billion on facilities in China by 2016 – creating almost 6,000 new jobs. To further twist the knife, according to AutoNews.com, the number of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) workers employed in North America has fallen by 76,000 since 2005.
All of the sudden that uphill battle GM was fighting has now turned into a slog up Mount Everest. It’s already losing the battle to rival Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) who didn’t need to take a taxpayer funded bailout. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) took out its own huge loan, restructured itself within three years, and returned to profitability. It then paid the loan back entirely on its own, with interest. Not only that, but Ford recently noted – likely jabbing at GM – that high demand for its F-Series led to 2,000 jobs being created in its Kansas City assembly plant.
Public Relations 101
I was shocked when I read the following quote from General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) China President Bob Socia in Niedermeyer’s WSJ article. He said that Americans “could very well” soon find Chinese-made GM cars on showroom floors, and that “[there] is no reason why we can’t be exporting to the [United] States.”
Didn’t anyone in PR 101 explain to Socia what you should and shouldn’t say in a world so interconnected with publications and social media? I’ve done my part, not so much defending GM, but trying to move on from this ugly chapter – but this makes me think twice.