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.
**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
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
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.
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.
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.
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. ;)
Joseph Oberlander wrote:
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 ;)
John Horner wrote:
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
John Horner wrote:
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...
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
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.
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
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?
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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