Early reports on spot buying by troubled automaker and its dealers suggest quarter will be flat compared with ’05.
It’s late, but TV group sales and agency execs finally are seeing some second-quarter spending from General Motors—and it isn’t much. They say dealer money is down and factory money is slightly up, which suggests the final take will be about the same as last year.
“Orders are coming in flattish,” says Kathleen Keefe, head of sales for Hearst-Argyle Television. “GM sales are down. Given all their trouble, perhaps ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œflat’ is not a bad thing.”
Over at the CBS station group, Bob Kaplan says reports on GM “are really incomplete at this point,” but early returns are “flat to a mixed bag.”
“The biggest issue is what the overall spending for all automotive will be,” Kaplan says. “Ford is even or flat, but the imports are doing very well.”
Asked to comment, GM released a statement to TVNewsCheck saying that GM had a “huge first quarter due to spending on GM’s important large utility launch and several premium events like the Olympics and Grammys” and that second-quarter spending would continue to be “strong.”
GM’s contributions to dealer advertising would be “similar to last year,” it said. Like other dealers, it said, GM dealers “like to put energy into the spring selling season.”
But GM’s bullish talk doesn’t seem to square with what the sales execs are actually seeing. “They were late in first quarter, and they were down,” says one group sales head. “Our second-quarter dollars haven’t arrived, but expectations are that they will be flat.”
“GM is struggling as a company,” he said. “They live for the moment, instead of planning ahead. Look at their problems with the SUVs. Meanwhile, they’ve been very late with developing hybrids.”