Mike Losh used to build excitement, now he's trying to build traffic. Losh is young and full of energy. He needs both as he tries to bring Oldsmobile out if its doldrums.
On July 1, 1984, Losh, at age 38, became general manager of the Pontiac division of General Motors. On June 1, 1989, the now 43-year-old Losh was named to the same post at Oldsmobile.As general manager of the Pontiac division, he generated excitement. Customers and dealers were both well served by Losh's tour of duty at Pontiac.
Now Losh's new assignment will require more endurance and energy. The Oldsmobile share of the marketplace has been in a tailspin. In 1990 Oldsmobile will sell about 500,000 vehicles, a significant drop from years past.
Much of the Oldsmobile problem could have been predicted. For years this GM division has attracted the older buyer. Losh's age itself may well be a major factor in turning things around.
To bring new, younger customers into Oldmobile showrooms, Losh has approved several projects. There is a new, well-received convertible.
The Cutlass soft top had a slow start, with just a few cars being offered for sale as 1990 models. However, for 1991 this young-at-heart car should be available in ample quantities. It has a price tag in the low 20's, considerably less than the BMW 325i and Saab turbo convertibles that are considered the prime competition.
Oldsmobile also now offers an upscale mini-van called the Silhouette. This should bring into the fold affluent families in their mid-30s. Another new car is the Bravada, a four-wheel drive station wagon with off-road capability. Oldsmobile dealers have never had either a van or 4-by-4 to sell before.
If these new models do get new customers into the fold, there are plenty of other models to tempt them to become repeat buyers. New 98 luxury sedans and the Trofeo sport coupe should fit the bill of rising executives. There also is a full-sized, rear-wheel-drive station wagon called the Custom Cruiser.
Oldsmobile has just begun several new programs that are aimed at the heart of customer satisfaction, a program collectively called the Oldsmobile Edge. Each buyer of a new Oldsmobile receives a 24-hour roadside assistance plan. Each vehicle is covered by a 36-month/50,000 mile "bumper-to-bumper" warranty.
Customers also have the option to return their vehicle for any reason during the first 30 days or 1,500 miles for full credit toward the purchase of another Oldmobile model.
If none of the options result in solving a customer's problem, there is also the Oldsmobile Customer Assistance Network, with a toll-free number that is answered by people trained to assist you.
How is Losh doing? So far the picture is looking rather good. During October Oldmobile sales were up 16 percent, with an increase in market share of 6/10ths of a percent.