GM Rethinks Metro Superstores
GM Marketing Maven Mark LaNeve is changing his tune faster than a short-circuited juke box. Yesterday, speaking to Automotive News [AN sub], GM's Marketeer outlined the idea of creating metro superstores. LaNeve said he'd run the concept up the proverbial flagpole at the annual National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) convention next month. When the story appeared, LaNeve saw that no one was saluting it. In fact, dealers were firing Howitzers at the damn thing. So Marketing Mark sent a polite message to dealers (and AN) stating "there will be no announcements of any kind regarding any new initiative or change to our channel strategy." In classic GM what-you-thought-you-heard-wasn't-what-I-should-have-said style, LaNeve claimed that the AN story "gave the impression of a major policy announcement of shift in strategy." On the other hand, he also said GM is discussing the cost of real estate in prime markets and the inclusion of "more than one" brand at some locations. What LaNeve didn't say was how many irate phone calls and emails he received from NADA members threatened by his metro megastore misegos.
Saturn would be my choice to close as well. They just got a whole bunch of new product and it all bombed. They doubled the number of models and sales only went up 6%. GM can't afford performance like that. They will probably have to pony up the billion dollars to buy out all the Saturn dealers. I don't think they can go the Isuzu route and just freeze them out (too many dealers, many of which also own dealerships for other GM brands, etc.); they will have to do another buy out like Oldsmobile. In fact, Saturn, if it really needed to exist at all, should have been a Scion-like sub-brand of Oldsmobile in the first place. Oh well.
So if the Isuzu strategy works, why hasn't it been implemented?
Just curious.... are Saturn dealerships owned by GM? I ask because I'm not sure how GM could have found a franchise owner willing to purchase a no-haggle dealership. If GM owns the dealerships, then they can close them.
Megastores are great idea IF GM would streamline the vehicle lineup. A megastore would make it unnecesasry to create three mid size sedans(Malibu, G6, Aura). The only reason sells G5 and G6 models is so the PBGMC dealer chain has Chevy's to sell(albeit badged as Pntiacs with truly crappy interiors).