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KBB: Car Shoppers Confident in ‘New’ GM

July 31, 2014

IRVINE, Calif. — Fifty percent of new-car shoppers think GM is a different company today compared to five years ago, while only 24% of new-car shoppers believe the ‘old’ GM still exists, reports Kelley Blue Book.

“Despite challenges with the recall announcements, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has successfully positioned the brand in a positive light, as evidenced by Kelley Blue Book’s survey results showing half of new-car shoppers think GM has changed in recent years,” said Tony Lim, director of research for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “By reinforcing the message of the ‘new’ GM and distancing itself from the ‘old,’ Barra can continue to effectively distinguish the company from its past.”

The survey data also revealed more than a quarter of new-car shoppers think GM is being proactive and transparent regarding the recalls.

“GM initiated the ignition switch recall versus having it ordered by the government, and the company’s proactive stance taken in the areas of vehicle safety oversight and victim compensation has enhanced the automaker’s image despite the high number of recalled models,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.  “GM is suggesting to consumers it is more transparent about quality and the safety of its owners.”

However, U.S. car buyers continue to question GM’s product quality, as the survey indicates mixed feelings regarding the manufacturer’s ability to make more reliable vehicles today than it did five years ago. Only 39% of surveyed new-car shoppers think that GM’s current products are more reliable when compared to five years ago.

“High-profile recalls will put pressure on views of quality and reliability for any brand, and while many consumers think GM is a different company today, inevitably perceptions of product unreliability still exist,” said Lim.  “GM can overcome these challenges and change perceptions by focusing efforts on new-vehicle launches and commitment to innovative in-vehicle technology.”

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