In this case, it does not mean the auto division that General Motors killed some years ago. Instead, it refers to present auto divisions in the GM stable that could be (should be?) discontinued (Oldsmobiled). The talk is that GM needs to "Oldsmobile?"–or kill–either or all its Buick, Pontiac, Hummer, or Saab brands. As for GMC, Motor Trend recommends it–finally–be made a heavy truck brand. (Pictured is the new Buick Enclave crossover.)
It may be impossible to do. It took Ford a decade to completely kill the Edsel (the brand, not just the car). GM is still involved in lawsuits over the closing of Oldsmobile in 2004 and will probably be entangled in that mess for many, many more years.
Is there a way for GM to make the old dealers happy and still shut down divisions? Probably not. If they try to nudge these dealers into Saturn dealerships, let’s say, there will simply be too many Saturn dealerships competing with each other.
But what happens when all three lines are in place in dealerships? Then you don’t need a Pontiac SUv because the dealerships would be selling the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, or even the Saturn Outlook. Dealerships will then have a much harder time protesting if, let’s say, Buick finally closed its doors. In short, GM wants the platform mates and they don’t want to fight with their dealers if they try to kill a division.
So, good work, guys, for coming up with a new verb — Oldsmobile. However, put it back in the files because it ain’t going to be used.
At least, not yet.