Following its exit in 2009, Chevrolet medium-duty trucks will mark General Motors’ return to the segment. And dealers couldn’t be more enthused about the new trucks.
The trucks, which span the Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD, open up a host of new opportunities to not only expand sales, but grow fixed operations, too. Automotive News (subscription required) reported Monday many dealers lost a lot of service business with the end of Chevrolet medium-duty trucks in 2009. But, with their return, dealers aren’t simply meeting minimum requirements to sell the trucks, they’re going above and beyond.
We have a number of dealers that are going to grow their facility for either stocking or service or just building an adjacent building for the expansion,” said John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty at GM Fleet. “It’s not about what’s the minimum requirement. It’s about ‘How do I maximize my return for this opportunity?’ because they see it as a significant opportunity.”
Minimum dealer requirements to sell the Chevrolet medium-duty trucks include specific service door heights and lifts for the larger trucks. Specific training for staff in the sales and service department is also mandatory.
GM estimates it will cost dealers $100,000 to $200,000 to prepare for the Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD and 6500HD and an additional $10,000 to $15,000 for parts and training. Over 400 dealers have applied to sell Chevrolet medium-duty trucks and over a third are new to the business or re-establishing their operations. As part of the agreement, dealers must also sell Chevy’s low-cab-forward trucks.
As for the opportunity the trucks hold, GM estimates that for every medium-duty truck sold it expects three adjacent vehicle sales. Dealers are prepared to handle the volume and “priority service hours” will be in place to handle medium-duty truck buyers’ needs and schedules.
Randy Marion, owner of Randy Marion Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac in Mooresville, North Carolina, perhaps summed it up best.
“We’ve been out of the game, but now we’re getting back into the game. We’re really excited.”