From the tribulations of bankruptcy, General Motors Co. must remake and remarket itself as a strong auto manufacturer, says Jeff Bennett, an automotive marketing professor at Northwood University in Midland, MI.

Though Bennett says GM’s situation is not so pyrotechnically severe, he likens it to the Phoenix, a mythological bird that bursts into flames, burns up and reemerges from the ashes.

How can GM accomplish such a dramatic transformation? Bennett offers some scholarly advice.

“Gone are the days of marketing car deals,” he says. “The real emphasis must be on the vehicles themselves.”

Consumers need their confidence restored in the product. Bennett sees a distinct marketing matrix for each remaining GM brand and offers precise ideas on what to do.

Buick: Develop a younger audience. The new Buick line should focus on performance and the ideals of a forward-thinking luxury vehicle. Think what a NASCAR driver would want on the weekends.

Cadillac: Market itself as the premier U.S. luxury brand. Consumers should buy a Cadillac for its prestige and quality. The latter must be paramount. This is top of the line, without compromises.

GMC: Showcase itself as a “personal use” line and focus on the development of a downsized SUV for the likes of grocery shopping, soccer games and trips to the hardware store.

Chevrolet: Steer clear from the “old-man car” concept and position itself for a new, young audience. The challenge is to transform Chevy into the entry-level price point that appeals to young consumers that want eco-friendly performance with cool design and an engine that still revs at a stop light.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com