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American Cars Losing Market Share? But I Just Bought A Buick!

Buick Enclave 
When the great classic radio and TV comedian Jack Benny appeared for the first time on radio, he started off with this simple line: “This is Jack Benny talking. There will now be a slight pause while you say, ‘Who cares?” In a related development, the news has just come out that Detroit automakers’ (Ford, GM, Chrysler) share of the US market fell below 50% for the first time in history. The amount of time some analysts and car aficionados have spent prattling on about this issue is remarkable – one would think that we should set aside a day of mourning, but the cold reality is that most of American consumers will just shrug and move on to the next story…We all know the overall “rise and fall” story of the US auto industry from countless articles – but lost in the shuffle of bad news stories like this are the smaller success stories coming out of Detroit. TopRight believes in crazy concepts like identifying a target segment, designing a product or service to deliver value for that segment at the right price, and then successfully delivering the right customer experience in the marketplace around that new offering. I just recently purchased the Buick Enclave (side comment – see this site for a great example of a spirited web community of owners – but I will save that for another blogging day). That’s right, a Buick. And I am not 64 years old! Visit here to see what I am talking about. The Enclave has a distinct target in mind – people who want the space of a minivan including three functional rows of seats but don’t want the gas guzzling and rougher ride of a truck based SUV. The folks at GM delivered exactly that product – and delivered it with a cabin that is quieter than a Lexus and with a full range of luxury options normally found on the top luxury crossover vehicles. And did I mention it “only” costs around $40,000 fully loaded? That is a lot of money, but about $10,000 less than comparably loaded competitors from Lexus, Acura, and BMW that all have much less space inside (you try sitting in that BMW third row).Scale and share is not the right goal for every business – but delivering the right product to a target consumer segment at the right price is going to do pretty well every time. Sure, GM and Buick are not perfect (hello Buick Lucerne) but they are proving that it can be done….regardless of the macroeconomic domestic share trends reported in a colorful USA Today chart.  Are you focused on big picture conventional wisdom metrics like market share while ignoring the real story of what is going on with your company and brands?  Are you selling Enclaves?   Or Lucernes?

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