G.M. and Ford Stuck in Neutral ---NY Times

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John Horner wrote:


Read: Franchise. Quality and control as well as service are all up to a thousand different self-serving jerks. So you get hit and miss quality and service.
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John Horner wrote:

Exactly. How many different GM dealership are there in Dallas, for instance, including all of their wholly owned subsidiaries? All running as seperate companies selling a nearly identical lineup of vehicles.
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Phillip Schmid wrote:

**NOTE - I really do wish someone at GM will read this, it's not me yelling at you, but the truth. Innovate or die - the choice is yours.**
*** They need to consolidate, first off.
All trucks and SUVs from all lines are moved to Chevrolet. GMC is redundant anyways and is gone. All passenger cars are moved to "GM" - Buick and Pontiac become one unified brand selling cars only.
Cadillac remains mostly the same. Special cars retain their old names, like the GTO. If done right, they would retain the same offerings but with 1/3 the total number of vehicles and *half* the dealerships. All while providing the same number of overall sales. GM can survive if they get rid of the bloat and crusty layer of grime and rust from the past.
That they are fractured across over several different dealer lines and model lines(Pasadena, CA, for instance, has a Chevrolet, GMC/Buick, and Cadillac dealership - all within a mile of each other. Oh, and a Saturn dealership not far away either. Talk about waste of resources.)
One mega-dealership would work much better. Inventory should be controlled off-site. Keep a fleet of demo only vehicles on the site - so that they have all 50 GM vehicles at one dealership and run those into the ground. Want a specific model? Drive that from the warehouse/lot. Toyota in Studio City, CA. does this - they have a small lot and then a huge multi-level parking structure filled with their inventory that they don't touch unless the buyer is serious. This way they can keep the entire inventory on site for a couple of lines. Want a Toyota or Lexus? One stop shopping.
Rows after rows of LeSabres does nothing. You've seen 2-3 of them, you've seen them all. Just wastes space.
**** Secondly, they need to go old-school. Less plastic. Less gimmicks. Heavier metal and BRING BACK RWD AND STICKSHIFT!
What made their older cars have character was that they weren't like the other brands. Simpler, heavier, better built cars that had character. Love it or leave it kind of cars. A rolling jellybean with a million worthless options that nobody cares about other than some design department that's burdened with a "group-think" mentality doesn't sell. Welcome to the new century. GPS? Give me a better seat instead. Fancy trip computer? How about a battery that's not in an impossible place to get to when I have to jump-start this monstrosity? (LeSabre gets a mention for this blunder).
How about bumpers that are good for 5mph? Why *NOT* give us more than the government requires? Why not save us from thousands of dollars in repairs for minor things that a big $100 piece of chrome plated steel would fix(and that we'd gladly pay for)
Consumer Reports is right on this one point - that the sorry state of bumpers is a discrace. They are right to complain bitterly as it used to never be a problem. My old 1984 Regal that I had in High School was immune to parking lot mishaps. A new GTO(twice the price, relative, mind you)? Plastic that looks good.
Sure, the cars might get 2-3 mpg less, but they would be fun to drive and sell well. You'll notice, for instance, that the Wrangler still sells well even after hardly any changes. Why? It's basic and it works. You can work on it yourself and there aren't a million computers and fancy features to break.
Hyundai, for instance, which is essentially Kia(the two brands seem to have switched quality when they merged), makes nice simple cars. Just the basics and a low cost. Charging customers $3000 in options because you can't get them in the door at a low price is silly as well.
Honda has this down to an art. 2-3 models of a vehicle. Options are nonexistant, but each trim level drastically changes the car's interior and driving characteristics. Keeps costs down and makes choices easy for consumers. DX, CX, or LX? What color Civic you want with that?
Ford - they don't get this. They anti-get-this, in fact. Look at the basic Explorer. Now look at the Eddie Bauer line. Same dash, same insturments, same useless plastic slot in the center console for "storage". It's the same boring soulless vehicle. With $5000 in options that don't make it drive a bit better.
Now look at Mini. There's a world of difference in little things beteen the trim packages. And they don't charge a fortune, either. They charge more for the car up front, but the options are at cost. Smart move, as $20 for floor mats here and $30 there for another option - it all seems reasonable, as opposed to $50 floormats and $800 for leather and so on on a cheaper base priced vehicle. People don't feel like they are getting cheated. They buy the car and add $1000 in options $30-$50 at a time. Win-win for everyone as opposed to "here's a crate on wheels - want ABS with that for $1000?"
Totoya also gets this with their Scion line. Basic cars with no frills but lots of little inexpensive options(or some really neat ones like superchargers and ground effects kits)
Lastly, pricing. All GM vehicles should move to Saturn's model. Buy, option, deliver it like a grocery store. Be the first to break the back of the ogre that is the sales department. GM had a fantastic idea here(though the Saturns as a vehicle are bland as oatmeal) yet never carried it over. People hate and loathe shopping for most cars, yet are happy at the Saturn dealerships.
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I think that you're right with the part where the GM brands should all be at the same dealership with only a few demo cars. There may be minute differences between the cars, but let the consumers find those out and let the weakest selling cars go. What good is having extra cars within a brand if they're not selling? I know that GM and Ford take the "package" route with options, you MUST get this to get this. No ifs, ands, or buts. That looks like it's starting to change though with the Solstice.
On another note, I went to get a new Mustang a couple weeks ago. I was at the dealership from 10 to 4. I'd like it to be a much quicker transaction then 6 hours for a car. Alot of the domestic dealerships here don't work on comission but on volume of cars sold.
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On another note, I went to get a new Mustang a couple weeks ago. I was at

I hate dealerships. A couple of months ago, I went to my local Ford dealer to buy a new F150. Of course the salesman couldn't make any decisions, so I had to wait 30 minutes for him to go talk to his boss. When he had to go back to his boss with my next offer, I told him if it took more than ten minutes, not to bother coming back, because I wouldn't be there. I waited 11 minutes and left. My phone was ringing when I got home. He wanted me to come right back because he was sure we were about to make a deal I would be pleased with. I asked if my last offer had been accepted. He wouldn't give me a straight answer so I told him to f---k off and hung up. Over the next week and a half, I got numerous calls from him on caller ID, but never returned his calls. Did I mention that I hate dealerships? I remember in the seventies, the deal could be done in under an hour and you picked it up the next day, washed and gassed, ready to go. I liked dealerships, back then. H
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<small snip for bandwidth>

Maybe if more of us did this the dealerships would get the message.
--

Drum-

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Saturn's fixed pricing would save you 2-3 hours right there.
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Sure, as long as you are willing to pay MSRP. One could buy any brand if they are will to do that. LOL
mike hunt
Joseph Oberlander wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

People have no problem buying Saturns like this. Imagine if GM lowered its prices on all models by 2-4K and dropped their silly rebates, then moved to a Saturn type pricing model. No salespersons. No sleeze. No franchises.
Lean, competetive, and lower priced than the competition.
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Why would the lower the price? Saturns are sold at the same market rate as other GM products.
No franchises? Who would sell the vehicles? Manufactures can not sell directly to purchasers, under current franchise laws in the US. ;)
mike hunt
Joseph Oberlander wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

Get rid of franchises. All factory run and controlled outlets. Saves huge money.
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Everyday Low Pricing would work!
John
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The automobile retail business is the most copulative business in the country. If you want to start a retail business that makes high profits open a furniture, jewelry or an appliance store, WBMA. When I was selling cars part time, when I was in college in the late forties, I earned a $25 Commission on car that sold for less than $2,000 and the dealership was netting $300. I was talking to a young girl that sells Toyotas. I nearly fell of the chair when she told me she gets $30 a car. When I was still in retail we were happy to net $300 on a $12,000 Corolla ;)
mike hunt
John Horner wrote:

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No wonder salesperson product knowledge is so lacking.
John
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Salesman is hardly the proper description for the folks that first meets at a dealership today. In fact 'greeter' of 'finder' would be a better description. The one that first speaks to you is rarely ever the one setting the price you pay. Sales Mangers set the selling price. The F & I guys determine the most important price, the drive home price. How many times do you hear a person saying I only paid $XX,XXXX for my "Pepmoble RX," when it fact they are paying far more when you ask the monthly payment and the number of months they are paying that amount and add back in the trade amount. ALWAYS compare drive home prices BEFORE you decide which vehicle to buy WBMA
mike hunt
John Horner wrote:

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::SNIP::

This is a load of crap. First of all, these dealers are franchises, not extensions of GM. Sure, a mega-dealership would sell a ton of cars, but who's going to SERVICE them? You can't tell me that a GM dealer in every little town across the country is a bad thing there.
In fact, the rest of this article does nothing to change my mind that the writer is horribly misguided in general...

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InjunRAIV wrote:

Then make them factory outlets or perish. That they don't scale themselves back and get rid of the shoddy franchise methods of running their business, well, it's their own fault if they crash and burn.

No, but each make having a full setup? That's silly. How about having a GM (corporate)operated repair center and the dealers are small places that take orders. That would cut down on costs and shoddy repairs by nearly the half that they apparently need to survive this mess.
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Except the money is in the service, not the sales.
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James C. Reeves wrote:

Which creates a backwards self-serving model of poor quality and higher prices. It's the drug-dealer and their low priced samples. "Buy this car at cost..."(We'll make it all back in repairs later). Sony? They make a decent profit on their TVs and very little on repairs. They'd rather they never had to repair them, in fact.
The whole industry is hopelessly corrupt and has their priorities mixed up. The vehicle and the sales should be what matters. But what we get is a huge service department and a tiny bit of attention to sales. Build as cheap as possible and repair as often as possible, while keeping the customers just happy enough to keep buying them.
Pasadena, CA. has no less than three GM dealers. All with full service departments and huge lots. (more than three if you count their subsidiary brands)
Any they're crying about loosing money?
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Joseph,
Have you ever walked into a dealership and asked to speak to the owner? Try that in a mega dealership, or your suggested corporate operated repair center. The fact is, it costs GM nothing to have a franchise out there selling and servicing its product. Yes, there are bad dealers out there. But imagine a world where corporate stuffed shirts manage these mega dealers. Who do they answer to? The bureaucracy back in Detroit? Wouldn't you rather pay a few dollars more to someone who is concerned about your local economy? Even if it's not important to you today, imagine the potential for collusion once all those independent dealers are gone. GM says this is the price (just like at Saturn), take it or leave it. As someone else already pointed out, your solution leads to list price for all. I, for one, don't need it...

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