In a move that that will be mourned by…well, I am not sure by who, the lone surviving Cadillac retailer in England has closed its doors. English trade journal Car Dealer Magazine reports that dealership Bauer Millett in Manchester shut down just before Christmas. Citing the high cost of doing business and increased competition, owner Mitch Millet also gave up his Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep and Chrysler franchises.
It is not our intention to pile on poor Cadillac after our recent discussion, but comments made last week by the automaker’s marketing manager Ewe Ellinghaus must be noted. Speaking to Advertising Age, he repeated the new company mantra about the carmaker becoming a “the first luxury brand that happens to make cars,” and then added:
“When I recruit new people, I don’t need petrolheads. We have more than enough petrolheads and we will still. I need people with experiences in other industries, but with luxury brands.”
We must assume that Ellinghaus, most recently with Montblanc pens and formerly with BMW, was using the European term equivalent to what we call a “car guy” or “car gal.” If so, Cadillac’s future is as bleak as the B&B thinks it is, and not just because of products. (Read More…)
In an unprecedented move that has sent chills down the white-belted spines of American car dealers, General Motors has declared nearly 1,000 of its 4,355 US retailers as “unfit and downright dangerous” to its customers and will be recalled immediately.
Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier.
With Ally Financial’s IPO now making the rounds on the New York Stock Exchange, the former financing arm of General Motors has its eyes on taking more of the subprime market, a move benefiting dealers once the last ties to the U.S. federal government have been severed and sold to the stock market.
Duncan Aldred, Brian Sweeney and Don Johnson.
As inventories of unsold cars surge past 100 days’ supply, GM has shuffled its sales and marketing organizations in an attempt to move some of that bloated inventory. Last week, GM moved Buick-GMC sales chief Brian Sweeney, 46, to the top sales post at Chevrolet, taking over for the retiring Don Johnson. Sweeney’s replacement will be Duncan Aldred, 43, who most recently has been running GM’s British brand, Vauxhall. Both executives will will report to new U.S. sales chief Steve Hill, 53.
Automotive News is reporting that the continued changes in personnel at GM’s sales and marketing divisions has been a source of frustration for dealers and ad agency executives in recent years. Some dealers feel that what they see as GM’s strongest product lineup in generations is being compromised by chaos in the marketing team responsible for promoting those new products. (Read More…)
Inventories of unsold cars and light trucks have swollen to their highest levels since the recession while sales growth in the U.S. market has slowed significantly in the past five months. That combination could mean larger discounts and incentives and lower profit margins in 2014. According to Automotive News, all three domestic automakers started February with more than a 100-day supply of unsold vehicles. Industry-wide automakers had 88 days’ worth of vehicles at the start of February, the highest February inventories have been since 2009, when the industry was at its nadir.
Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s executive VP for North America, said that the company will revamp its dealer network as it aims to increase U.S. sales by a third over the next two years. Automotive News reports that underperforming dealers will be culled and dealers in poor locations will be encouraged to open up new stores in more promising places. The company has identified 35 key metropolitan markets where it will focus its sales and marketing efforts. Mazda is highly dependent on North American sales with almost a third of its global sales taking place here.
Mazda currently has 637 franchised dealers in the United States. (Read More…)
One week after we mused that electric carmaker Tesla would never be able to defeat current state laws prohibiting factory direct automobile sales and thus must join the franchised dealer model, the company proved us wrong thanks to the Commonwealth of Virginia.