By on January 21, 2008

800px-virgin_megastore_-_oxford_street.jpgGM wants to consolidate its eight automotive brands into urban megastores. According to Automotive News [AN, sub], Marketing Maven Mark LaNeve even has a name for these Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, GMC, Cadillac, Hummer, Saab and Chevrolet megastores: "GM Collections." Apparently, the concept would help GM to "maintain a high profile in cities where real estate is costly." To that end, dealers would be encouraged to move service and parts operations to "satellite centers." Ya think? To represent, a GM megadealer would need at least 49 demo vehicles. And then there's all the pickup truck variants. Even without considering exterior colors or option packages, that's a lot of choice. Too much? Not according to AN writer Jamie Larau. "The superstore approach likely would make GM brands more attractive to big dealer groups such as AutoNation Inc. and Sonic Automotive Inc." (Maybe he should have asked them.) And what of GM's divisions' brand weaknesses, and the obvious product overlap? [crickets chirping] Folks, arguments can (and will) be made for this idea, but there's a compound word for the concept, and the first part of it is "cluster."

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13 Comments on “GM to Launch Metro Megastores...”

  • avatar

    This idea isn’t as stupid as it sounds. Nissan has something like this in the Ginza district in Tokyo. It only had 2 or 3 cars but had tons of foot traffic. You could sign up to do a test drive (I didn’t do this), talk to sales people, etc. I don’t know if Nissan actually sells any cars this way, but I suspect it works.

  • avatar

    Platform engineering – now under one roof, for your shopping convenience!

    Yukotahburbelade, Sierrverado, Coloranyon, Encadilook, AurabuG6 (or G6Maliura the correct version?), ImpCrosse (Impure if Canadian), CobaG5, Skystice (or Solky?).

    And for our Canadian friends, the Waveo!

  • avatar

    This is beginning to look like GM’s latest concept on how to reduce the dealer ranks. A multi-brand store–regardless of what brands it has–will make life challenging for other dealers selling a smaller number of models.

    IMO, substitute the word ‘metro’ for ‘every’ and you have the strategy.

  • avatar

    This doesn’t look like a bad idea, on paper at least. The HUGE brand overlap and over abundance of models are the big problems with this, but this could be the start of trying to weed that out. Except for the fact they keep cloning models for all the brands.

    The GM brand with mini-brands all under one roof. How convenient are these satellite dealers going to be to customers for service, how is this going to save money on real estate if they need to be close by so the customer doesn’t have to go way out of their way for service.

  • avatar

    Oh great! The “product specialists” at the individual dealers don’t know squat about the few models they currently sell (true story: I had to show a salesman how to open the hood of a vehicle I was looking at). Now they’ll have even more models to show their ignorance of. (Yes, Robert. I ended that sentence with a preposition. So fire me.)

  • avatar

    Frank Williams: (Yes, Robert. I ended that sentence with a preposition. So fire me.) I'll overlook it this time, but prepositional endings are something up with which I shall not put.

  • avatar

    I agree with Redbarchetta. This sounds like an attempt by GM to acknowledge the redundant overlapping brand structure that they have now. By consolidating everything into one GM metro store, they have a test bed to see which brands/models will sell, and can then reduce/eliminate the brands that don’t. Is Wagoneer finally getting GM’s s*** together? Oh well, we all have a dream.

    The Autoplex in Tempe, AZ is an impressive example of such – a collection of mega-metro-gigantic-super-duper stores of every auto and truck make, model, and variant sold in the USA. Who knows how many city blocks and acres it covers? I bet I could even find a horse and buggy there if I looked hard enough.

  • avatar

    If they can actually pull this off then it would be relatively easy to convert Buick, Pontiac etc from brands to simply a single model and eliminate the overlap.

  • avatar

    When you think about it, isn’t this really just another example of what is old becoming new again?

    Chevy/Caddy used to be the dream combination….anybody else notice a few more of these showing up around the country lately?

    And in what would be a stretch to call ‘metro’ markets?

    This will shrink the dealer body faster than any buyout plan ever could.

    How long before AM concedes the obvious and starts the rush of LM going into Ford stores….with the tacit acknowledgment that M is going away?

  • avatar

    This is a great way to get rid of brand overlap. If “GM” dealers sell the GMC Acadia, there’s no need for a Chevy counterpart.

    I hope it works…I think GM’s dealer structure is its biggest stumbling block to getting the right products to the people .

  • avatar

    The main reason GM makes so many clonemobiles is the stand alone dealers won’t have vehicles to sell in every segment. This is also the reason for combined brand dealers. With this kind of showroom, they can make the divisions truely different from one another and the dealer can sell big cars, small cars, luxury cars, sporty cars… Something for every market segment while maintaining separate brand identities.

  • avatar

    I like the part about dealers being encouraged to move service and parts operations to “satellite centers.”

    It doesn’t help sales when potential customers see the angry mob being held hostage in the “waiting room” outside the service center, or to see the parking lot full of late-model cars all waiting for warranty work.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    GM spends hundreds of millions advertising to lure potential customers into showrooms. It’s just plain nuts to blow away a captive audience. Would a movie house situate the candy counter across town?

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