GM's LaNeve to Dealers: "Contact Politicians to Support Dealer Cull"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Why would GM’s VP of sales and marketing for North America expect his company’s [remaining] dealers to contact their elected representatives to support Government Motors’ dealer cull? Times two when you consider that GM is planning on making another round of dealer cuts in the future. “Hey. It’s Mark LaNeve. Thanks for lobbying for our downsizing. Oh, by the way, you’re next.” No, I’m not making this up. Here’s the e-mail, complete with fill-in-the-blanks phone script. [Thanks to you-know-who-you-are.]

Mark LaNeve06/12/2009TO: All GM Dealers

Recognizing it has been an extremely difficult period for everyone, I want to thank you for your continued commitment to General Motors and our mutual business. There is no better time than now to join together in a concerted effort to keep the momentum moving towards the reinvention of GM.

Keeping that in mind, it is critical to let your voice be heard to ensure the viability of our business well into the future by contacting U.S. Senators and Representatives in your districts. There have been significant reports, especially over the last week, indicating resistance by politicians who do not understand the steps GM must take to become a leaner, more customer focused and profitable company.

While talking with your representatives, following are some key points to remember from GM’s CEO and President Fritz Henderson during his June 3 testimony, specifically, relative to GM’s dealer network plans and the impact on consumers, dealerships, and their employees:

• As the “face of GM,” dealers are critical partners in our efforts to create a New GM that places customers at the center of all we do.

• In order to build a stronger, more viable GM, it is essential to have the best performing dealers, in the right locations, aligned with GM’s brand distribution strategy to be a part of GM’s reinvention.

• GM determined which dealers would be retained for the new GM by utilizing results of a thorough market and dealer performance analysis in each market across the United States.

• GM has maintained a strong position that dealers are not a problem but an asset for GM.

Following are a couple of convenient tools for use by you and your entire dealership team to provide important information about key GM initiatives to help your legislators better understand some of the necessary steps we are taking and, hopefully, gain their support:

1. To reach your respective U.S. Senators and Representatives by phone, you can call the Dealer Voice Hot Line at 1-866-874-9356 and follow the prompts. The phone script and additional talking points beyond those Fritz shared in his testimony are included at the end of this letter.

2. To send an e-mail to your legislators, you may access the WWW.GMDEALERVOICE.COM URL address. Once on the site, prompts will navigate you to a template letter that will be sent immediately following entry of your information.

Thanks again to you and your dealership teams for taking time to support these efforts.


Mark LaNeve

GM North America Vice President

Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing



· Hello Senator/Congressperson____________, my name is ____________ and I have been a part of [dealership name] in [city and state] for _____ years. [Add personal detail here.]

· I’m calling to urge you to support—as I do—the recent steps General Motors has made regarding their dealer network in the New GM. The New GM must be a leaner, quicker, more customer-focused and more cost-competitive company.

· As part of its reorganization efforts, GM has been required to significantly reduce the size of the company, which includes rightsizing its manufacturing operations, retail distribution outlets and supplier network. (Note: This significantly impacts GM employees and retirees.)

· Reduction of the number of dealerships is a key requirement of this goal. With your support, we can ensure that our dealer network matches a smaller, stronger and smarter GM built for today’s market and competitive realities.

· A smaller dealer network reduces costs associated with support provided for information technology systems and sales person incentives to field training and advertising. This support costs GM roughly $1,000 per vehicle, and being able to reduce vehicle prices will directly lead to more sales.

· Fewer dealerships will allow the New GM to focus on the four core brands – Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. This will attract and retain more private capital, the best dealer operators, and most importantly, new customers.

· Even after the cutbacks, GM will still have the most extensive dealer network in the country. More than Toyota. More than Honda. More than Ford.

· Thank you.

If you have difficulty reaching your legislators, we ask that you please try again until you are successful at having your voice heard.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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2 of 12 comments
  • 70 Chevelle SS454 70 Chevelle SS454 on Jun 15, 2009

    Cough...conspiracy in restraint of trade...cough.

  • Jpcavanaugh Jpcavanaugh on Jun 15, 2009

    What these letters should really say: Dear Senator/Representative I am one of the GM dealers who somehow managed to survive the first cull. In order to avoid the next one, I am going to be a craven coward and ask you to ignore the plight of those who have just been thrown over the side. I suspect that GM will cut me next if I do not send this letter, so I am sending them triplicate copies. I love GM and would sacrifice my life for it, so I want to continue to sell its world-class products like the Chevrolet Cobalt and Impala. As "The Face of the New GM", I look forward to building a brand new gleaming showroom so that I can double my overhead to make my lord and master look more successful. So please finish shoving the knife between the ribs of the dealer down the street from me so that I can steal his customers and continue to hope that GM will treat me differently. Yours very truly, (Your Name Here)

  • Analoggrotto Level 50 Trolling at it's finest. Well done.
  • Lorenzo The unspoken killer is that batteries can't be repaired after a fender-bender and the cars are totaled by insurance companies. Very quickly, insurance premiums will be bigger than the the monthly payment, killing all sales. People will be snapping up all the clunkers Tim Healey can find.
  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.
  • RHD Welcome to TTAH/K, also known as TTAUC (The truth about used cars). There is a hell of a lot of interesting auto news that does not make it to this website.
  • Jkross22 EV makers are hosed. How much bigger is the EV market right now than it already is? Tesla is holding all the cards... existing customer base, no dealers to contend with, largest EV fleet and the only one with a reliable (although more crowded) charging network when you're on the road. They're also the most agile with pricing. I have no idea what BMW, Audi, H/K and Merc are thinking and their sales reflect that. Tesla isn't for me, but I see the appeal. They are the EV for people who really just want a Tesla, which is most EV customers. Rivian and Polestar and Lucid are all in trouble. They'll likely have to be acquired to survive. They probably know it too.