GM withdrawal: ad agencies awaiting clarity
John Dixon, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa, GM’s events and activation agency in the country across the Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu brands, says he’s unable to comment at this time as it’s not yet clear what the news means for the agency. Saatchi & Saatchi started work on the GM brands in January 2016.
Ireland/Davenport, Admakers and McCann Worldgroup are also all impacted by the news. The Ireland/Davenport Group has been managing the Isuzu brand account (including strategy and brand marketing initiatives, product marketing, digital marketing, customer relationship management and retail advertising) since late 2015. McCann handles ATL communications; retail falls under Admakers; and Carat is GM’s media agency.
As a result of the withdrawal, GM will be phasing out manufacturing and sales of Chevrolet vehicles in this country. In addition, following the recent announcement of the sale of Opel to the PSA group, GM will work with PSA to develop the future strategy for the Opel brand in South Africa (but it remains unclear what that strategy might entail).
Isuzu is taking over some of GM’s infrastructure, including its light commercial vehicle operations at Struandale, Port Elizabeth, with the establishing of Isuzu Motors South Africa. According to GM, Isuzu will franchise a new distribution network representing the Isuzu LCV Brand with around 90 dealers. In terms of Opel, GM will work with PSA to develop the future strategy for the Opel brand in SA but details will only be announced at a later stage.
GM will award the responsibility for Chevrolet after-sales support to the approved Isuzu dealer network.
In its global press statement, GM said that “Isuzu will purchase GM’s Struandale plant and GM’s remaining 30 percent shareholding in the Isuzu Truck South Africa joint venture, with sales through a national dealer network. Isuzu will also purchase GM’s Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre and assume control of the Parts Distribution Centre. The company will phase out the Chevrolet brand in South Africa by the end of 2017. GM continues to work with PSA Group to evaluate future opportunity for the Opel brand in South Africa. Importantly, existing Chevrolet and Opel customers will continue to be supported in the market.”
GM is also withdrawing from East Africa: “Isuzu has agreed to purchase GM’s 57.7 percent shareholding in GM East Africa, assuming management control. GM will withdraw sales of the Chevrolet brand from the market.”
Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of MarkLives.com.