Chrysler dealers who were terminated and then re-instated have been left out in the cold, after a federal judge ruled that the Federal Appropriations Act, a 2010 law that opened the door for dealers to regain their franchises via arbitration, did not overrule state dealer laws that deal with dealer markets.
In 1992, the Ritz-Carlton chain won the Baldrige Quality Award for its excellence in customer service. Their idea was to write all customer preferences down, to feed them in a database and to henceforth deliver as expected.
Twenty years ago, I pointed this out to Volkswagen. I was VW’s customer service guru at the time and thought it was a swell idea. Volkswagen enthusiastically adopted the program. It was a failure, what do you expect from a company that retains me as a guru. Also, VW did not want to spend the money on a database. Instead, the Ritz-Carlton ended up running the hotel at Volkswagen’s Autostadt, and giving the occasional seminar to car dealers who still roll their eyes over the “gottverdammte Unsinn.”
Twenty years later, “Ford draws on luxury hotel experience for Lincoln overhaul,” writes Reuters, reporting that “in the plan to overhaul its luxury Lincoln brand, Ford Motor Co is embarking on a new approach, leaving behind the routine ideas of the auto industry and instead taking cues from the likes of high-end boutique hotels.”
Before that happens, Ford is reducing its dealer network to boutique size. (Read More…)
Some car dealers are missing the bad old times when Detroit was preoccupied with problems at home. Carmakers again have the bandwidth to look at “the channel,” and some don’t like what they see. Suddenly, dealers find themselves at the receiving end of harsh criticism. Both Chrysler and GM dealers are receiving a derriere chewing. (Read More…)
Back when I was semi-serious about photography— as in Pliocene Epoch photography with lots of chemicals and red lights— I scored a bunch of two-piece glass 35mm slide mounts at a camera store in Los Angeles. Most of them were empty, but a handful came with Chrysler dealership promotional slides from 1974. (Read More…)
Ford brought two pieces of good news for their dealers at this year’s NADA meeting: The dealers will get more cars. And they will get more cash. But wait, there will be less … (Read More…)
Troubled BYD has even more problems: Dealers defect the Chinese car maker, because the alleged master of the electric vehicle has perfected one ancient tradecraft: The art of channel stuffing. A Beijing BYD store switched to another brand because BYD required them to carry a whopping six times the monthly selling rate on the lot. The poor dealer that moved 70 BYDs in a good month was sitting on a steadily restocked inventory of 400 units.
Even that generous inventory strategy did not help: (Read More…)
Forget about Europeans complaining about missing parts. Over in America, there is an acute car shortage. Dealers blame who they always blame: The manufacturers. “They’ve cut back production so much that we’ve run out of cars,” Boston dealer magnate Herb Chambers tells his hometown paper, the Boston Herald. He says he had to “beg, borrow and steal” Cadillacs from dealers in other parts of the country. Down at the South Shore, dealer Dan Quirk loses 60 to 90 sales a month. “The Big Three just don’t have enough manufacturing capacity any more,” kvetches Quirk. “Some of the automakers, particularly General Motors, closed a lot of their plants when the meltdown hit.” Supposedly it’s not just a Bostonian phenomenon. Supposedly. At closer look, it might be a fire breathing, rip-snorting chimera. (Read More…)
Dealerships are a pain in the neck. The salesman tries to convince you that they’re your friend (when you know damn well they want as much money as they can squeeze out of you), getting warranty work out of them is sometimes a nightmare and, if you’re buying used, you don’t know what the car has been through. You can write a letter of complaint, but will that really help*? You may get a discounted service as compensation, but will anything REALLY change? Well, BMW wants to shake the dealership experience up a bit. In the customers’ favor. (Read More…)
A few days ago Ford reported that 35 percent of the Lincoln dealers are superfluous and should be sent out to pasture – to avoid the word “cull.” The metro areas appear to have a particular overabundance of Lincoln dealers. According to Mark Fields, President of Ford Americas, this is where “the efficiencies” need to come from. The news didn’t go down too well. The Freep quoted one dealer. “It was a somber day,” said Larry Taylor, Lincoln-Mercury dealer near Dayton, Ohio, “I’m secure. But there are some guys who have had a store for 50, 60 years who are going to have to give that up.” Mark Fields, President of Ford Americas is adamant: “We are fully committed to transforming Lincoln into a world-class luxury brand.” Now Ford is upping the ante against uppity Lincoln dealers. (Read More…)