General Motors (GM) has taken direct control of the sales and marketing for Cadillac and Corvette in a last ditch attempt to boost the popularity of the brands in Europe. Saab GB chief Jonathan Nash has been handed responsibility for the two marques, as well as the controversial soon-to-be-launched Hummer brand.
GM says the decision has been taken to allow the new marques to tap into the “considerable expertise in the crucial areas of retail and business sales, marketing and aftersales operations” of its existing brands Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet.
GM launched Cadillac and Corvette in the UK at the end of 2004 (MW November 25, 2004) but Netherlands-based Kroymans Group previously had the rights to market the brands across Europe. It then signed a deal with dealership Pendragon to market them in the UK. GM says Kroymans will now provide “back office services” in the UK.
The changes follow a strategic review by General Motors Europe and Kroymans. Nash has been made director of Cadillac and Corvette Europe and Hummer but will also continue his role as managing director of Saab Great Britain.
Cadillac and Corvette, two of GM’s flagship brands in the US, have failed to capture the imagination of European consumers. UK managing director Malcolm Wade and head of marketing Alastair Welham left last year after their roles were scrapped (MW November 23, 2006). Wade subsequently launched a stinging attack on US car marques, saying the launch had been a “mess” (MW November 30, 2006).
“They don’t understand, and don’t want to understand, the European consumer,” he told Marketing Week at the time.