October 31, 2010: the day General Motors officially rid itself of 500 dealers by not renewing their franchise agreements. As a result, the GM dealer network is now smaller, more manageable, and more capable of meeting market demands with greater efficiency. But how has the smaller network faired in the marketplace?
Automotive News asked several remaining dealers about their experience in adjusting to the new, less-competitive environment. The answers are a mixed bag of responses, with some dealers reporting a big jump in sales while others seeing little to no change. A few dealers even reported a decrease in sales volume. At this point, whether these results are the outcome of a fluctuating automotive market or the loss of sales to competing automakers is unknown.
“Are they going to stay with GM or go try a Toyota?,” asks Jeff Parker, General Manager of Flemington Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac. The manager of the New Jersey-based dealer also said that the store has seen an increase in service referrals but not in overall sales. Other dealers, especially those in rural area, have seen a significant uptick in sales.
“We’re the only franchise Chevrolet dealer now in the entire county,” said Vic Gardner, General Manager of Bennett Motor Co. The Cheraw, SC-based dealership has seen a 20 percent increase of both new and used car sales.
Despite these varying results, let’s hope the revised dealer network delivers on the promise of greater profitability and higher levels of customer service.
Source: Automotive News