General Motors transitions to EV the Nokia way

GM makes the strategic error of announcing a full transition to EV without have the portfolio of cars to back it up. 

 

General Motors started the year with a big splash…. a new logo and a new company direction (link)!

General Motors invites ‘Everybody In’ – underlying the change to electric vehicles using their new Ultium platform.

This is the new home page:

And yes, you are reading that right:
We’re making Electric Vehicles for all.

Never mind that the current product portfolio has one electric car!

The stats across the GM brands:

  • Chevrolet: 1 EV  out of  16 car models
  • Buick: 0 EV out of 5 car models
  • GMC: 0 EV out of 12 car models

This reminded me immediately to a company very dear to my heart: Nokia.

Back in 2011 (the 11th of February, a day I never will forget)  the Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced transition from the  ‘smartphone OS’ Symbian to Windows Phone 7. All of this was done without a single Nokia Windows Phone ready to hit the market.

 

The fallout was massive… the Symbian sales went down the drain, and in fact the brand Nokia went down the drain.

What -on paper- appeared an ‘easy transition’ turned out to be not that easy. The company had an enormous knowledge of the ‘old technologies’ and very little of Windows Phone, it was a transition that was not easy, and it turned out to be very unsuccessful.

The reason for the failure was not alone the internal Nokia execution. The other part was  consumer perception. Whether Nokia employees liked it or not, Nokia as a brand was not Apple or Android.

Fast-forward to 2021 and GM… we see exactly the same happening:  introduction of a new strategy to ditch conventional car engines without having a line up ready to  underscore the strategic direction to consumers.

The result: consumers will pretty much stop buying GM conventional engine cars until the cheaper EV models are available. During this time GM will need to transition… at rapid speed. Similar to Nokia, GM is full of conventional engine experts and none of that is relevant anymore.  That is A LOT to bridge… especially in an economic downturn time.

On top of that GM is still not Tesla or any another EV car brand…

The only real benefit GM has at this point, is the fact that there are not yet any real affordable EV players in the market that consumers can buy right now.

GM: I am afraid you made a strategic error by pleasing shareholders (short term benefit) while ignoring the product portfolio and consumer perception (GM does, unfortunately, not equal EV). Announcing a transition without cars will result in stagnation in sales of conventional engine cars.

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