Opel

Andrew Hill

Straight-talking Karl-Thomas Neumann, chief executive of Opel, has given the world of reputation management a useful new metaphor for brand-blight: the “red elephant”.

At the Geneva motor show, he told the FT that the General Motors-owned German marque had suffered from a perception problem:

There was a red elephant standing beside the car that nobody talked about which says: ‘You can’t buy me because I’m an Opel’ … and we are addressing this now.

Not welcome in the showroom (image: Dreamstime)

Whether or not Mr Neumann has mixed up “elephants in the room” and “red flags”, I find the image compelling enough to be worth spreading.

Plenty of companies persist in assuming that a brand’s historic reputation will sustain it, without tackling the scarlet pachyderm that may be frightening off customers. Antidotes include: 1) making such a noise about the brand that it drowns out the trumpeting of the creature standing alongside; 2) improving the quality of the product so that it is no longer dwarfed by the public (mis)perception about it. Read more

John Gapper

General Motors’ plan to give “a higher profile” to its Chevrolet brand makes lots of sense, given that Chevrolet is the equivalent of the Toyota brand – a volume marque around which other brands are arrayed. But why stop there?

It is increasingly odd for GM, which has been attacking its brand proliferation in the US, to have different brands around the world for its volume cars – Vauxhall in the UK, Opel in Germany and Holden in Australia.

The company has already taken the logical step of losing the GM Daewoo name in South Korea and adopting Chevrolet instead. Why not bite the bullet and do that same in other countries? Read more