Oldsmobile Brand of General Motors - I Tried to Save it

In the middle 1980s, Oldsmobile was rolling along, selling about 1.5 million cars every year. But then, their sales dropped off beyond belief, where by 1991, they only sold less than 0.5 million. They were in desperate trouble.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I had successfully operated a company which manufactured and sold my JUCA woodstoves. During 1991 and early 1992, I had collected the THOUSAND informational pages, as electronic files, and I invented a unique new language which compressed all those files to fit on a single 1.44 MB floppy diskette. I mailed out those floppy diskettes to customers who had called in or mailed in for information on my stoves. Everyone LOVED having such massive amounts of information available!

As it happened, someone who was important in the Advertising Company for Oldsmobile happened to request our JUCA floppy diskette, and she was VERY impressed with it. We got to be friends and she mentioned the severe marketing problems that Oldsmobile was then having.

So, at my own expense, I decided to create a 'car selling floppy diskette' which I thought Oldsmobile might then have mailed out (as a floppy diskette, for well under $1 total cost per customer) to maybe 100,000 street addresses. At that time, computers were still very new to most people, and people who received the JUCA floppy diskette tended to go to some trouble to stick it in their computer and watch what happened. (It was self-starting and totally automatic).

Actually, I had such confidence that this would sell large numbers of Oldsmobiles, that I even offered a variant to Oldsmobile which would not have cost them a dime! I was willing to pay for all the floppies to be created and the mailings to distribute them, as long as Oldsmobile would agree to give me a small fraction of the car selling price. But that would only have been if Oldsmobile did not want to invest maybe $100,000 to try it!

I sent a copy of my Oldsmobile diskette to General Motors Corporate Offices and to their Oldsmobile Corporate Offices.

There was never any answer!

My friend at the Advertising Agency also never talked to me again, and never bought a JUCA! I always wondered if they got into trouble for not having thought of my idea!

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In any case, Oldsmobile never tried my concept and a few years later, Oldsmobile ceased to exist! I will always believe that I could have saved Oldsmobile, if I had been given a chance!


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in January 2013.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago