A Philadelphia dealer and prominent member of GM's dealer advisory board says that the automaker's interferences are hurting dealers' fixed ops marketing and purchasing.

"GM, with its nanny-state attitude, seems to forget dealers are pretty savvy, and maybe your go-to-market strategy in your own market, the market that the dealer knows best, would have been effective," Peter Lanzavecchia, president of Burns Buick-GMC, told Fixed Ops Journal recently.

Citing a national GM deal for a $49.99 express service package that includes an oil and filter change, tire rotation, and multipoint inspection, Lanzavecchia accuse GM of meddling in his business's operations.

A GM spokesperson responded to Automotive News by arguing that the automakers' goal was to "build customer loyalty through great service lane experience," but Lanzavecchia is not convinced.

"A $49.99 special is not going to generate customer retention," he told Automotive News. "It might generate a customer trial. Our efforts at customer retention are all focused on price, price, price."

The problem, as he sees it, is that GM is applying the same deals that would appeal to Texans and Oklahomans to New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians.

Rather than cutting the price of an oil change, Lanzavecchia would prefer to see a "price and spend-back" strategy.

"If I could capture a reasonable price and margins for the day-to-day stuff, like the lube, oil, filter, tire rotation, then when a customer starts to drift - like they've been away 10 months or 15 months," he says. "I could make them a better offer, or maybe a really last-chance offer when they've been away 18 months."

He feels, though, that the current margins just don't allow for it. Still, he's eager to work it out with GM.

"Our goals and GM's goals are aligned, but it's tough."

[source: Automotive News]