Originally created 08/04/98

Report: GM plans to reorganize North American marketing operations



DETROIT -- General Motors Corp. plans a major reorganization of its North American operations that would dilute the marketing autonomy of four of its divisions, the trade weekly Automotive News reported today.

The reorganization would affect marketing, sales and service at Chevrolet, Pontiac-GMC, Buick and Oldsmobile, Automotive News said. Saturn and Cadillac would be excluded.

The plan is the latest in the No. 1 automaker's continuing effort to reduce the power of its divisions and provide a more cost-effective and coordinated way to market GM's many models.

The plan was being reviewed today by GM's board and was expected to be approved, with a formal announcement anticipated by Tuesday. GM officials would not comment.

Eventually, GM may consolidate Buick with Pontiac-GMC and Oldsmobile with Chevrolet, Automotive News said. That would ensure each division had light trucks to sell -- the fastest growing segment of the U.S. market.

"There will still be car divisions, but there will be realignments," GM spokesman Jim Farmer told the magazine. "If the board says it's a done deal, we will push ahead." Farmer did not return a phone call today.