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There is a big difference between your analogy to Toyota and Lexus. They made the decision that they are different markets and price points, and it would be detrimental to have too much of a cross association between them.

For GM, the price points and segments do overlap. It is also not economical to have the same car under two badges (Taurus and Sable for example). As such to make the transition from multiple sub brands to one brand you must start to have your customers associate positively with the new brand.

The result will be positive associations with GM, not with the individual sub-brands (Pontiac...). Then when people contemplate buying a new car they will look at the entire GM line (with whom they have a good association); which is a full line.
 
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