I call it chaos. I'm sure GM calls it something else. But I'm having a little trouble seeing GM's decision to reopen 30 to 50 terminated dealerships as anything other than the result of disorganized dithering. For one thing, the fact that it's such a vague number shows that the reanimation dealer plan-such as it is-is a work in progress. Via Automotive News [sub] turns to GM's Marketing Maven to try to explain the reversal: GM says it will re-establish dealerships in about 30 to 50 locations. Terminated dealers will get the right to make the first proposals, GM says. Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of U.S. sales, said the open points were created when poor-performing dealerships in good locations were targeted. Other points will be filled if GM discovers that customers are driving too far to reach a dealership, he said. Needless to say, this is bound to piss-off some of GM's 1350 or so officially terminated-rather than GMAC-squeezed-to-death-dealers. To which LaNeve repeated his assertion that the terminations were fair and based on poor performance for sales, customer satisfaction and other targets. Formula please? Hello? At least one ex-GM dealer's not bothered . . .
In Madison, Wis., Tom Thorstad said he might apply to be reinstated, depending on what GM is looking for. Under GM's termination plan, Thorstad Chevrolet must close by October 2010. After that date, GM expects to have about 4,100 dealerships.
Yes, what IS GM looking for?
GM knows where the critical areas are in every city based on traffic patterns, LaNeve said. He described a critical location as one near a major auto mall and a shopping hub and having heavy traffic.
LaNeve said: If there's a Toyota store, a Ford store and a Honda store there, we pretty much need a Chevy store.
Which pretty much says it all, I suppose.