Impact of Recalls on GM Brand Loyalty

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A Marketing Expert says it may take a year before General Motors sheds the image tainted by more than 2 dozen recalls in 2014.

Clay Voorhees, A Marketing Professor at Michigan State University says when it comes to brand loyalty, the automaker has a challenge with Pontiac and Saturn customers. "The one big risk with those Pontiac and Saturn customers is you hope to keep them in the GM family. A lot of those consumers might have felt betrayed when those cars were discontinued to begin with, and now this is a second betrayal in a sense because they've had these recalls. It could be the straw that breaks their backs as far as switching away from GM as a manufacturer, which then is a big opportunity for the other Detroit automakers as well as the imports."

Good news for Lansing, Voorhees says, is the fact that the Cadillac models and Chevrolet Camaro remain strong products for GM. Workers at Lansing's Grand River Plant make the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and will soon begin production on the Camaro. "I think they would likely be buffered a little bit from the storm. Cadillac is a prestige luxury brand, not a lot of cross shopping with the models that were affected. Camaro, while its on the Chevy nameplate, that's really a specialty vehicle with a pretty loyal following. Since that particular model hasn't been affected, I don't think consumers will sway away. So I don't think we'll see any manufacturing dips here locally at our plants."

A Lansing Chevrolet Dealer tells News 10, they're still waiting for GM to provide details on the massive recall issued this week on crossover vehicles built at the Delta Township Plant. Managers say they're not sure if the recall will require an inspection or a replacement part for the flexible steel cable that anchors the seatbelts. The dealer says they have not had any customers come in asking about the recall.

Dealers for other auto companies say they're not seeing a big influx of GM customers coming in to switch brands. One dealer said, "Lansing is a GM town, and we don't expect the recall to have a major impact on buying habits here."

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