Business Case Studies, Advertising and Promotional Strategies Case Study, General Motors (GM)

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Brand / Marketing Communication Strategies and Advertising and Promotional Strategies Case Study

Case Title:

GM in US Files for Bankruptcy; GM in India Builds the Brand

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Prashanth Vidya Sagar Thalluri and Saradhi Kumar Gonela under the Guidance of Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Industry: Manufacturing


Case Code: MCS0015

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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What happens to a subsidiary when the parent company files for bankruptcy, especially when the subsidiary’s products are manufactured, sold and serviced in a foreign country? What should the head of such a subsidiary do in the face of bankruptcy looming large on the parent company? How should he go about reaching out to the market – the customers, the employees and all the other stakeholders? Set in mid-2009, this case study mainly focuses on the brand communication strategies of General Motors India (GMI) in the face of bankruptcy filed by its parent company, General Motors (GM) – the world’s second-largest car manufacturer and the global player in the industry – in US on June 1st 2009. This case study, meant to be discussed in ‘Integrated Marketing Communication’ Course, enables an interesting discussion on using the marketing campaign as a brand communication strategy. It offers an in-depth understanding and thought-provoking discussion on the effectiveness of brand rebuilding strategies, particularly during the troubled times.

The ramifications of GM’s bankruptcy spread across the globe deterring the effective functioning of GM’s subsidiaries. As the bankruptcy and restructuring plan was pending and yet to be approved by the US court, the subsidiaries across the globe had to figure out their new status – if in or out of business. One such subsidiary is General Motors India (GMI). When the parent company filed for bankruptcy, GMI launched an aggressive media campaign the very next day to reassure the customers, dealers and franchisees about its immunity to the parental company’s bankruptcy. The managing director of GMI, Karl Slym became a constant traveller with a mission to protect the brand image of Chevrolet (Chevy) in India by launching an open media campaign with the tag line, ‘There for you. There for India’. This case study also attempts to delve into the intricacies of the turmoil faced by GMI and the immediate brand protection and rebuilding strategies adopted by Karl Slym in his ‘Mission Chevy’.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the business strategy of General Motors (GM) in India – its product offerings, market share, etc.
  • To analyse the importance and the key elements of GMI’s new ad campaign and its brand communication strategies and also to debate on the effectiveness of 'There for you. There for India’ campaign in achieving the same
  • To debate and discuss on the ways and means for de-risking/decoupling an MNC's subsidiary (operating in a foreign country) from the parent company's business misfortunes and what should be the role of the head of such a subsidiary.

Keywords : Managing Crisis, Communication in Crisis Times, Brand Communication Strategies, Brand Communication Strategies in Crisis Times, Brand Reinventing, Brand Rebuilding, General Motors India, "There for you. There for India" Campaign, Managing corporate Reputation during Troubled Times, Leadership in Managing Crisis, Marketing Communication Strategies


  • General Motors Filing for Bankruptcy
  • General Motors in India: Riding on Wrong Credentials
  • General Motors in India: Banking on Brands rather than the Parent Company
    • Strengthening Dealer Relations
    • AggressiveAdvertising

    • Assurance from GMI about Uninterrupted Supply
    • Launch of New Models
    • Investments after the Bankruptcy
    • Reactions from Industry Experts, Analysts and Market Observers
    • Raising the Prospects of GMI and Brand Chevrolet

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