General Motors Can’t Count on Brand Loyalty

If General Motors is to survive, it must hang on to people who’ve bought GM cars in the past. How realistic a prospect is that? Rasmussen Reports polling in the aftermath of GM’s bankruptcy doesn’t make the odds look good.

Among respondents who now own a GM model, just 30 percent said they’re “very likely” to buy their next vehicle from the company, with another 12 percent “somewhat likely.” The numbers are even more inhospitable for GM among the poll’s full respondent pool: Just about one-quarter said they’re either very likely (16 percent) or somewhat likely (10 percent) to buy a GM vehicle. One other dire number: A mere 6 percent of those who don’t own a GM car said they’re very likely to buy their next one from that company.

Regardless of which automaker they turn to, consumers want fancy new features. A J.D. Power and Associates poll, conducted in April among people who plan to buy a vehicle in the near future, found 70 percent interested in “blind-spot detection.” Nearly as many voiced interest in a “navigation system” (67 percent), “active cornering headlight system” (66 percent), “premium surround sound” (66 percent) and “portable navigation device” (65 percent).

Of course, this doesn’t mean people are keen on paying for such features. One example: The number saying they’d be interested in a navigation system fell to 20 percent when respondents were told about its $1,600 price tag.