Sunday, November 1, 2009

When better cars are built .....

China will build them.

Starting in 1936, the Kudner Advertising Agency of New York handled the advertising account for the Buick Motor Division of General Motors. Through the use of clever slogans, as well the creation of the most famous auto slogan of all time (when better cars are built, Buick will build them) , the agency helped lift Buick sales from fewer than 100,000 units a year to 514,497 in 1954, second only to Ford and Chevrolet.

Although Buick sales peaked at 737,879 in 1955, a series of errors on the part of the ad agency, largely tied to television, caused it to lose the ad account at the end of 1957. Those errors caused Buick sales to slide, and by 1957, Buick sales were down to 332,102, well behind Plymouth.

For many years, the bulk of Buick sales were in the United States, but General Motors has long had a presence in other markets. The first Buick sold in China was to the Emperor of China in the 1920’s

The Chinese market has expanded rapidly in recent years, and it recently became the largest auto market on the face of the planet.

In 2006, Buick sales in China surpassed Buick sales in the United States for the first time, and the gap has widened considerably since then.

For the first nine months of 2009, Buick sold 312,798 cars in China, and only 72,389 in the United States. As a result, when Buick redesigned the Lacrosse for the 2010 model year, the design studio that did the work was in Shanghai, not in America.

“Old timers” may bemoan the fact that the most popular cars in America today carry Japanese nameplates (Toyota sold 2,958,000 cars in North America in 2008), and “they just don’t build them like they used to”, but here’s a couple of things they should consider:

Toyota now has 12 manufacturing plants in the United States, and the majority of the vehicles that the company sells here are made here.

The fact that companies “don’t build them like they used to” is definitely good news, and the “proof of the pudding” can be seen in the attached video that was produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

good old Detroit Iron?

Even though Tiger Woods can walk on water (which you can see below),

where have I heard this story before?

the world’s best golfer wasn’t able to revive Buick sales enough to make a difference, and his $7 million a year contract was terminated by Buick last year after a 9 year partnership.

As far as I know, the owner’s manual for the new Lacrosse will be printed in English, and not in Chinese characters, but if you haven’t figured out by now that “the world is flat”(thank you, Thomas Friedman), you’re definitely not paying attention.

Zai jian

No comments:

Post a Comment