General Motors is in a tough spot right now despite earning solid profits — it made $35 billion in North America over the last three years — while closing plants in the United States.
G.M. is in a tough spot because 49,000 of its union workers want to share in these profits and they’re now striking at 50+ manufacturing facilities across the industrial midwest and south to negotiate a better deal with the domestic automaker.
A labor/management dispute of this magnitude doesn’t exactly drive car shoppers into the dealerships to test drive a Chevy. Some analysts estimate that G.M. is losing $50 million per day while the strike lasts.
None of this is good news for the ad industry. If you happen to be assigned to a GM account at the moment, job security could be a concern.
No factory workers, no cars, no ads—it’s not a good sequence.
Here’s the worker’s perspective, care of The Times:
“We literally gave up a lot during the bankruptcy and the American taxpayer gave up a lot,” said Ashley Scales, 32, a G.M. worker walking the picket line outside the Hamtramck plant’s main gate.
It also does not sit well with workers that G.M. has chosen to make certain vehicles in Mexico rather than in American plants. For example, the new Chevrolet Blazer, a sport utility vehicle that years ago was made in the United States, was assigned to a Mexican plant when it was reintroduced last year.
Meanwhile, the Teamsters, in support of United Auto Workers, is refusing to deliver G.M. cars to dealers.
In an ugly counter move, G.M. is denying healthcare benefits to striking workers.
Do you still want to buy a Blazer?
When your motives and actions put profits above people, people notice.
There’s a flimsy idea afloat that brand purpose doesn’t matter. Wrong. Brand purpose is directly linked to brand identity. Brand identity is an amalgamation of brand truths. Brand love is what happens when customers connect real brand truths to their own needs, which are not limited to merely product or service delivery.
Take today’s car shopper…
Toyota, which is a Japanese company, makes trucks, cars, and parts in multiple American markets. G.M. increasingly makes its cars in Mexico and other less expensive labor markets. Which brand is more American and more appealing to the American buyer?
Year-end sales figures may begin to tell us the answer.