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GM Makes Internet Buying Tool Available to All U.S. Dealers

Buyers can handle entire transaction on the Web.

by on Nov.06, 2013

Just a week after saying the company was piloting Shop-Click-Drive with 100 dealers, GM made it available to all 4,300 U.S. dealers.

One week after General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson said the company wanted to make it easier to buy cars and trucks online in partnership with its dealers and that it was piloting a program, the company rolled out its expanded Shop-Click-Drive tool to all GM dealers nationwide.

The tool allows users to complete all aspects of a purchase online, from getting a price to applying for financing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. GM’s 4,300 Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick-GMC dealerships can feature the Shop-Click-Drive tool on their Web sites.

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“We want to make it easier and simpler for dealers to connect with customers who are looking to combine the convenience of online shopping with the personal service of a neighborhood dealership,” said GM’s Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. “We engaged dealers to help us develop ‘Shop-Click-Drive’ to address this need.” (more…)

Federal Report Criticizes Auto Dealer Closings

by on Jul.19, 2010

Clarkston Motors, one of many that have or will be dropped by GM and Chrysler.

A new report is harshly critical of the Obama Administration’s efforts to have General Motors and Chrysler sharply cull their distribution networks as part of their bankruptcy reorganization plans, last year.

Together, the two troubled companies agreed to shed thousands of retail outlets across the country – something corporate managers had actually long wanted to do – in order to receive billions of dollars in bailout funds GM and Chrysler needed to survive.

But the White House’s automotive overseers failed to consider the potential impact such dealer cuts would have both on individual jobs and on the communities that the targeted retailers serve says the report, released by the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.  Also known as TARP, the program was initially created under the Bush Administration to help save the nation’s faltering banking industry.  It was later tapped by the Obama Administration to salvage GM and Chrysler.

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Balanced Reporting!

“Job losses at terminated dealerships were apparently not a substantial factor in the Auto Team’s consideration of the dealership termination issue,” declared the audit of the $787 billion TARP program prepared by auditor Neil Barofsky.  But, it continued, “The fact that Treasury was acting in part as an investor in GM and Chrysler does not insulate Treasury from its responsibility to the broader economy.”

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Chrysler May Re-Hire Nearly 100 Dealers

Maker reportedly backing off on hard-line stance.

by on Mar.25, 2010

Chrysler could reinstate as many as 100 dealers fired last year. The termination left outlets, like this one in Mt Clemens, MI, scrambling to find ways to stay in busiess.

Chrysler is reportedly ready to bring back as many as 100 of the dealers that it terminated, last year, as part of its bankruptcy.

The news – still unconfirmed by the smallest of the Detroit makers – comes just three weeks after General Motors also reversed course, re-hiring 661 of the dealers it fired in an effort to consolidate its retail network.

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The Detroit Three, as a group, have been trimming their distribution chains, in recent years, taking a page from import brands, like Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, which have found that fewer showrooms can actually improve sales and profitability.

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GM Agrees to Rehire 661 Dealers

Another 439 retailers still face arbitration.

by on Mar.05, 2010

It's time to move on, says GM President Mark Reuss.

In a sharp reversal of course, General Motors has agreed to reinstate 661 of the more than 2,000 dealers it had planned to eliminate after its bankruptcy, last year, though more than 400 other retailers may yet be reprieved through a Congressionally-mandated arbitration process.

The final GM dealer count is yet to be determined, company officials cautioned, during a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon, but it will likely approach 5,000 by the time all is wrapped up.  That’s significantly more than the 4,100 retailers the automaker had hoped to go forward with, but still far less than the 6,150 dealers that were representing General Motors in the U.S., as recently as December 2008.

“We are eager to restore relationships with our dealers, and get back to doing what we do best – selling cars and taking care of customers,” said Mark Reuss, President, GM North America.

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Inside Knowledge!

When GM filed for Chapter 11, last year, the maker said it would streamline its retail network, in part reflecting the fact that it planned to eliminate four of eight brands during the bankruptcy process.  The strategy also reflected conventional wisdom that since there’d be more sales per showroom dealers, in turn, would be willing to invest more in the surviving General Motors brands.

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Canadian Dealers Sue GM

Seeking $750 million under franchise laws.

by on Jan.26, 2010

Ousted Canadian GM dealers are suing the company for $750 million.

A class action lawsuit seeking $750 million in damages has been filed on behalf of 215 Canadian auto dealers terminated by GM as it reorganized last year under the threat of bankruptcy.

The suit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and claims that GM of Canada Limited breached franchise laws as it selected dealers for elimination.

The suit also takes aim at a Canadian law firm, CBB, which had been retained in advance to represent Canadian dealers in a GM restructuring or bankruptcy.  The suit claims the law firm failed to disclose to the dealers that it was simultaneously acting on behalf of the Canadian Government in the GM auto bailout. CBB is denying the allegations.

(Over 1,200 ousted U.S. GM and Chrysler dealers file for arbitration. Click Here for that  story.)

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The lawsuit noted that the Canadian Government insisted that GM scale back its dealership network as a condition of its multi-billion dollar bailout funding. The bailout was the largest government subsidy given to a corporation in Canadian history.

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Over 1,200 Ousted Dealers File for Arbitration

GM’s Whitacre says, “We’ll get through this.”

by on Jan.25, 2010

"We'll get through this," says GM CEO Ed Whitacre as ousted dealers get ready for arbitration.

They have until midnight to file their claims, and General Motors’ new, full-time CEO expects there’ll be some more dealers rushing in to demand aritration before time runs out.  But as of mid-afternoon Monday, more than 1,200 ousted GM and Chrysler dealers have taken the first critical steps necessary to winning back their franchises.

As part of their bankruptcy filings, earlier this year, the two automakers announced plans to eliminate more than a third of their dealers, in a bid to streamline their retail operations.  But the politically well-connected dealers didn’t go quietly into the night and Congress passed legislation giving the retailers a chance to fight back.

The final tally seeking arbitration could come close to half of the roughly 2,000 dealers cut by GM and 789 Chrysler slashed.  The numbers were growing rapidly, the industry trade publication, Automotive News, noted, reporting that as of Friday, only 959 dealers had paid at least $500 of the $1,625 filing fee.

How many of those dealers will actually pursue reinstatement is unclear.  Records show that only a third of business arbitration cases go to conclusion, not all favorably for the filers.  But considering the potential multi-million dollar losses involved in the closing of a showroom, observers say it’s a safe bet to at least begin the arbitration process while there’s still time.

It’s unclear how long it will take for the suits to work their way through the system, though Congress set a six-and-a-half month deadline for the process.  It’s possible that some dealers will settle while others will abandon their efforts.

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Earlier this month, GM CEO Ed Whitacre acknowledges that “mistakes” were made in the system the automaker used to choose which dealers to cut.  At the time, he suggested “hundreds” could be reinstated, though he later suggested that might mean a number of around 150.   (more…)

Dealer Closure Battle Heating Up on Capitol Hill

Congress threatening to order GM, Chrysler to reinstate thousands of retailers.

by on Jul.09, 2009

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is one of those calling for the reinstatement of thousands of dealers "fired" by GM and Chrysler.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is one of those calling for the reinstatement of thousands of dealers "fired" by GM and Chrysler.

The Obama White House may soon be faced with a potentially no-win decision: whether to maintain its support of Chrysler and General Motors or give backing to those who contend the two automakers have unfairly issued death sentences to thousands of U.S. auto dealers.

Momentum is building on Capitol Hill, especially within the U.S. House of Representatives, to take action that would reinstate 789 Chrysler dealers who were summarily terminated as part of that maker’s recent bankruptcy.  A proposed bill gaining ground on the Hill would also force GM to cancel plans to trim thousands from its own retail body.

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The larger maker, which could re-emerge from bankruptcy by week’s end, hopes to trim its dealer network to as little as 3,600 from 6,100 last year, but GM is giving retailers up to 16 months to wind down their operations.  So far, the maker says 98% of the dealers it is eliminating have signed contracts that will also provide financial assistance to ease the shut downs.

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“All 3,181 Dealers…Face Elimination,” Chrysler Marketing Chief Warns

Meanwhile, GM facing Saturn dealer lawsuit.

by on May.21, 2009

Chrysler needs to cut 789 dealers, argues marketing chief Steve Landry, or all 3,100 retailers "face elimination."

Chrysler needs to cut 789 dealers, argues marketing chief Steve Landry, or all 3,100 retailers "face elimination."

Chrysler’s marketing chief is issuing a stark warning to those who insist it didn’t need to fire 789 of its dealers as part of its court-protected bankruptcy reorganization. 

“The stark reality is all 3,181 dealers will face elimination,” Steven Landry, executive vice president of marketing, asserts in a new posting on the automaker’s blog, TheFirehouse.biz.

The troubled automaker, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, late last month, has taken some sharp criticism for its decision to eliminate nearly a quarter of its retail body, but in his blog, Landry insists the process of choosing which retailers to drop was “thorough, rigorous” and fair, and was based on a “data-driven metric” that looked at factors such as sales volumes, customer satisfaction, and whether the dealer handled all or just some of Chrysler’s three brands.

“Chrysler began the process to consolidate dealerships and locate all three brands under one roof more than 10 years ago,” Landry explains in his blog entry. “The Company made the decision not to continue to manufacture and market overlapping products. It is critical the majority of our dealers offer customers all three brands under one roof.”    (more…)