Back in the second half of 2015, General Motors’ Buick–GMC division began trying out a revised version of its primary dealer incentive program. Proving effective and being well-received by dealers, the new program led to General Motors revising its Standards for Excellence (SFE) program to be more in line with the one used by Buick-GMC.
In place since the 1990s (in various iterations), General Motors’ SFE program is used to reward dealers for increasing sales and providing good customer service. According to Robert Morris III, chairman of the Buick-GMC National Dealer Council, the new program is called SFE Elite. It furnishes dealers with the opportunity to make more money by hitting specific objectives.
While on the trial program in 2015, high sales volume Buick-GMC dealerships reportedly earned $50,000 to $100,000 in monthly payouts from GM, significantly more than what they were earning under the previous version of SFE.
Morris, who is the dealer principal of Morris Cadillac-Buick-GMC in North Olmsted, Ohio near Cleveland, told Auto News that the changes made in 2015 “really drive a lot of focus and helped move the needly on increased sales in the second half of the year for both Buick and GMC, across all models”. He added that dealers are generally happy about changes to the program, but declined to discuss its specifics, instead stating that the program has been “revised and enhanced”.
Under SFE Elite, dealers are required to sell at least one vehicle more than they did during the same time period a year earlier. This has some dealers concerned that it will be difficult to achieve their objectives in the second half of 2016, since their performance will be compared to already-healthy sales during the second half of last year.
Morris doesn’t see that as much of a problem thanks to upcoming new vehicles such as the 2016 Buick Cascada convertible, which was launched in January, as well as the 2016 Buick Envision compact crossover and 2017 Buick LaCrosse full-size sedan, both of which arrive in the summer.