GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's Hot - Do GM Dealers "Get it"?
Can Dealers be trusted to Deliver?
4-16-04
GMinsidenews.com

Remember that bright yellow Aztek up on the pedestal in front of your local Pontiac dealership? Or the two-toned Astro conversion being hawked in a prominent place on your Chevy lot? Ever wonder why the dealership chose THAT vehicle to represent the best of the lot? What were they thinking? Maybe they were just trying to get rid of it by hoping the odd passer-by would have a thing for a baby blue Aveo sedan? Well, perhaps so, but there is no accounting for Bad Taste, especially when considering the choices dealerships make when ordering and displaying cars for their lots.

Regardless of how good a job GM's designers do of delivering attractive product on the floor of the Auto Show and in Magazines and brochures, there's no guarantee that those attractive designs, trim packages, and colors will make it to your local dealerships' lots. For a fan of GM who wants to see them succeed, this is frustrating.

Sure, you could order the color and style that best suits you, but what about the impulse buyer or cross-shopper? Or just the average Joe driving by and glancing at "Chevy's Best" displayed proudly on a platorm in front of the dealership he passes each day?

Sometimes I want to pull my hair out and wonder if the dealers "get it" at all. They're supposed to be the ones selling the cars, but I wonder if they even know what they are buying half of the time.

Take my local Chevy dealership that shall go unnamed. Being in the South, they know Trucks. They order a lot of attractive, if somewhat conservative Trucks. But when it comes to small cars, I really think they have no clue.

They recently had a small delivery of Aveos. All sedans. If memory serves, the much touted "Italian Design" of the Aveo does not extend to the sedan, only to the "5-door" hatch. From the front half back, that's not "Italian Design". It's some kind of Toyota Echo-ness that in my opinion is far from appealing. That, mixed with the Blanderization of the headlights and grille from the Daewoo Kalos, make the Aveo sedan look like the second coming of the Chevy Metro sedan - which was more of a lump than a looker. The Aveo sedan to me screams "rental car", whereas the hatch in some colors and trim levels actually looks good. And unlike the Metro of yore, they share the same engines and most of the available options.

"But its just an economy car, who cares about looks?" The truck and big sedan-centric purchasing staff at my local Chevy might say. Thinking like that almost ensures the failure of the Aveo with a percentage of its target market - "Gen Y". My guess from talking to them is that they had very little concept of what the Aveo was - and still think of the "5-door hatch" like the old Metro 5-door base vehicle -- as the bottom of the barrel, underpowered, lowest price margin version they want to stay far away from.

Since the early 1990's however, things have changed. Don't tell that to the 40+ year old purchasing staff, or the salesman disinterested in the cars he sells, however. "Why would anyone want a hatchback?" A salesman asked me. "A sedan is always preferable, and looks better." Of course, the salesman could have been saying this to me because we were standing in front of one of two of the dealership's Aveos, a baby-blue sedan I wouldn't be caught dead in. And no, I asked, there were no good looking models that had sold out and no hatches ordered - just two sedans left - the baby blue one, and a silver one with a lower trim level way in back.

It occurred to me that the baby blue Aveo might be something to advertise in the newspaper, a "loss leader" model -- the bait and switch with the ugly cutesy color. But I think not - it was right up in front.

Where is the cool electric blue 5-door that I saw at the Auto Show? I thought to myself. Then I realized that the guys who purchase the cars for the dealership probably never saw it, or again, saw "5-door" and immediately thought of those 50-horsepower, 3-cylinder Metro hatches of 10 years ago and balked.

It takes a lot more than GM propaganda literature to get Dealers to change their minds. It takes having someone with a finger on the pulse of trends in the market in the purchasing department - not someone who was hired because he/she was a good salesman, or a friend of the family. Nor should it be someone who has no interest in anything but trucks. It takes someone who knows that the youth market favors hatches now, and that my local Chevy dealership has not a one to sell to them.

Sure, there's always the next Chevy dealership, 10 or 20 miles down the road. And you might be lucky enough to live near one that picks some stellar vehicles to stock its lots with. But you won't see any electric blue Aveo hatches or stunning orange Colorados with just the right mix of trim packages rolling out of your local dealership if they don't follow the trends like we do.

Perhaps GM should offer a mild, 100 dollar incentive to dealers for ordering specific "most attractive" models/trim levels when the vehicles first hit the market (perhaps based on Auto Show model colors and options) - so when they sell well, the dealerships will know what to replace them with that works. GM could base this on customer feedback from the Auto Show. Nothing speaks to dealers like models that sell. In the meantime, my local Chevy dealer is stuck with a baby blue Aveo sedan that is gathering dust.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
524 Posts
My experience with car dealers has been 90% bad. This is probably one area where could gain the most.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
This is a very subjective issue. You may like the fusion orange Colorado, but i think its ugly. Bottom line: GM dealers order what sells best. Lots of research goes into what cars get ordered, its not just some guy picking the cars he likes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
i wonder how often prospective buyers stop at a dealership because a vehicle on the ramp or front row caught their eye. i always know where i'm going when i hit a dealership, but perhaps the sight of a nice car would draw in people that otherwise wouldn't stop. but i'd tend to believe the previous post... a dealer won't order many vehicles it thinks won't sell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
What absolutely chaps my rear is that the last several times I’ve gone to the Chevy dealership, I’ve had to deal with salesmen that knows absolutely nothing about the car that he is trying to sell! I know one hundred times more about the vehicle than they do. I hate having to correct a salesman on what he is telling me. I recently went to look at an Equinox and he had no idea what kind of engine it had, that it shared platforms with the Vue, or anything about the innovative rear seat or other features! Granted, the Equinox is new, but still, he should at least know something. I even commented on the upcoming Cobalt, and he asked me what car company was going to make it!

Sadly, this is not the first time that this has happened, nor at a Chevy dealership. It’s happened at Ford and Chrysler dealerships as well. Yet, the couple of times I’ve gone to a VW of BMW dealership, I’ve been treated extremely well by very knowledgeable salesmen. It is just about enough to make me change my mind to foreign carmakers, and I absolutely hate that. At domestic dealers, the instant a salesman walks up to me, he’s talking about financing and how to “get that car in your driveway.” Let Me Look Around for a Second!!! ~Just venting some frustration, oldsmaniac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Wanna talk high pressure? Wanna talk salesman's BS? Anybody walked through their local "hot" Toyota dealer lately? With all their bling-bling, slicked back hair and their guido-persona? They guys make the polyester-clad, fat & lunchy 50-something (geez, that's me!) Chevy salesman of my youth seem like Mother Theresa.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
I agree, most salesman dont know what they are talking about. Only person that had a clue was the guy that took me for a test drive. I got the same answer when I asked about the Cobalt. They said something like no, we just sell chevy's here or something. The pontiac dealer didnt know the GTO was from Oz either. He also told me it had 400hp, even if it said 350 on the windshield.
Rather sad...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Keep in mind that GM gives dealers suggestions about what percentages of each color will sell within each model. Dealers have the option to order any color they want, but if a dealer is ordering 8-10 of a specific model he needs to try to create some variety through color. Dealers realize that MOST people won't want electron blue-pastel blue-Aztek yellow but they also realize that not everybody wants to drive the same silver-sand-black-red car as their neighbors and friends have. So unfortunately, because each model is only offered in 8-10 colors, dealers can only order so many black-red-silver-sands before customers complain that everything they have is the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,471 Posts
My local Pontiac - GMC- Buick mega lot has used toyota's and Mini Cooper most prominently displayed.

I can't believe GM allows that.

GM Dealer's are far and away the worst about how they arrange theier product (or should I say their competitors products.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
yeah, great point. At my local saturn dealer, there is several mustangs displayed infront of a line of Ions. Then there is one on a car stand... I cant belive it. we should take pictures and send it in to GM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,632 Posts
I agree about the dealerships being terrible about how they order some of the models. For instants I haven't see an Impala that I have liked lately cause they are all ordered alike. Bench seats, wheel covers and boring colors. No you have to special order it to find bucket seats, alloy wheels and a leather wheel or a moonroof. Yeah they do have the LS model with it's tacked on spoiler for about 28 large but not everyone wants that. And the Cavs with their 1SB and automatic only setups can put you asleep. God forbid they order it with the sport package. Heck the only vehicles that are ordered with some variety are the trucks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
The REAL problem with the dealers is the design of the dealership. 99% of the GM dealerships I've been to look old, run down, low tech and just plain stuck in yesteryear. Not to mention you don't feel any more upscale at a Cadillac dealership than you do at a Chevy dealership.

In MY opinion GM's franchisee's should have to have some continuity. Like a Mcdonalds or a (insert name here) and so on. Wouldn't it be nice if they were all the same but different? I think so....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,944 Posts
My local Pontiac - GMC- Buick mega lot has used toyota's and Mini Cooper most prominently displayed.

I can't believe GM allows that.

GM Dealer's are far and away the worst about how they arrange theier product (or should I say their competitors products.



yeah, great point. At my local saturn dealer, there is several mustangs displayed infront of a line of Ions. Then there is one on a car stand... I cant belive it. we should take pictures and send it in to GM.


Boy...what are we going to complain about next.

"That darn GM logo is too square....maybe it should be round"....etc....etc..


Hi.....please remember that for the most part these are PRIVATE franchised dealerships. Why shouldn't the Saturn or a Pontiac-Buick dealer have a MINI or a Toyota on their used car lot. This gives the dealership an opportunity to woo in a customer that would have not otherwised stop to look at a Saturn dealership. I dont think that anyone will drive by and see the MINI, Mustang or the Toyota on the used car lot and ignore the 13 ft tall SATURN or Pontiac-Buick sign on the front and just keep driving looking for a Saturn or Buick or Pontiac dealership. USED CARS...are just that.....Every car dealership on the planet has a wide variety of different makes of cars on their used car lot. Whats wrong with that? A MINI is a car that can bring in a customer, they are popular, and someone interested in a MINI might just see that car on the lot and stop in and buy a slightly used MINI from the Pontiac-Buick dealership instead of a BMW-MINI dealership..and we would not want that, after all ...God forbid the Buick dealership might make money or something.

Or event better...think about it this way..maybe those were cars that were traded in for new GM vehicles? :)


They recently had a small delivery of Aveos. All sedans. If memory serves, the much touted "Italian Design" of the Aveo does not extend to the sedan, only to the "5-door" hatch. From the front half back, that's not "Italian Design". It's some kind of Toyota Echo-ness that in my opinion is far from appealing. That, mixed with the Blanderization of the headlights and grille from the Daewoo Kalos, make the Aveo sedan look like the second coming of the Chevy Metro sedan - which was more of a lump than a looker. The Aveo sedan to me screams "rental car", whereas the hatch in some colors and trim levels actually looks good. And unlike the Metro of yore, they share the same engines and most of the available options.

Perhaps the hatchbacks were constrained? Not every bodystyle, color or option is available all the time. Sometimes you are not allowed to order the car exactly like you would like to. I know because I used to the order the cars at the dealership that I worked at.

Back when the 4-door Yukon came out in 1995, I wish I could have ordered 1000 of them, because we could have sold all of them. But, there are other dealerships and the factory capacity is only so much.

The fact of the mater is that the dealership orders what the dealership wants to order within the constraints available. Those cars that are prominently displayed are either older age units or cars that can attract attention. Perhaps the Astro custom van was at a dealership that does a large ammount of custom van sales? Or the Aztek was an old age unit or a demo?

Did this same Chevrolet dealership have any SSR's or Corvettes displayed? Any full size trucks on display? The inventory varies, and sometimes the ultimate decision can fall to the lot porter who cleans up the cars and fills the holes on the front line of the dealership as cars get sold. If you want a hatchback I'm sure that the dealership will glady get one from a nearby Chevrolet dealership on a dealer trade.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,692 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Originally posted by sheithappens@Apr 16 2004, 02:42 PM
The REAL problem with the dealers is the design of the dealership. 99% of the GM dealerships I've been to look old, run down, low tech and just plain stuck in yesteryear. Not to mention you don't feel any more upscale at a Cadillac dealership than you do at a Chevy dealership.

I'm willing to cut them a little slack there.

The Honda / Toyota / Hyundai dealerships that look all shiny and modern are due in part to the way those dealerships keep popping up everywhere with increased market share and new dealers.

My local Chevy dealership is horrible and run-down, but they are building a new, modern site only a mile or so away, and it looks like it will be great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
My friend's dad is the used car manager at my local dealer, and he said GM made them do a bunch of renovations a few years ago. Definite improvement over the old look, but they still sell Chryslers next to GMs...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Originally posted by bigals87z28@Apr 16 2004, 02:15 PM
yeah, great point. At my local saturn dealer, there is several mustangs displayed infront of a line of Ions. Then there is one on a car stand... I cant belive it. we should take pictures and send it in to GM.
Think about why a Saturn dealer would put used Fords up front... If I was looking for a used Saturn, I would assume a Saturn dealer would have them. But, if I was looking for a used Ford, I wouldn't even think of that Saturn store unless I drove by and happened to see Fords. It isn't done to discredit the franchise, it's done to help draw customers in that you otherwise would never see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,174 Posts
Dealers need to improve.
I am shocked when used car from another company is promintently displayed at any dealer. It is saying look we are showing off the great car someone else sells except the have a larger selection.
Salespeople need to know their cars. Granted some do. The ones who frequent this site would be a good example. When I recently test drove a Grand Prix the saleperson seemed intimidated when he figured out I knew more about the Grand Prix than he did.
If dealers really knew what the public wanted then they would sell more cars and the same goes for the salepeople. Want a big hint on how to accomplish this lofty goal?
Learn to ask questions, accomodate your customers, be friendly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
I have never understood how dealers order for lot stock. Around here the GM dealers stock order is always the same - lots of base models or "advertised special vehicles" in a limited selection of colors, usually conservative ones, and almost always with gray interiors only. The one exception I can recall was when the Aztek first came out, our local dealer had dozens of them in all colors, including schoolbus yellow and lime green. Couldn't give them away, of course, and I think they finally got sold to Avis in a fleet order because one day they all disappeared. Currently the Chevy dealer here has dozens of new Impalas out front all in either red, blue, white or black. Any other color and you're out of luck. When I was shopping a couple of years ago I noted there was a huge number of white Intrigues around on the lots all with gray interiors. It was like they were trying to use up the parts, because that wasn't a particularly attractive combo. Meanwhile you couldn't find a sandstone or bronzemist one to save your life. Weird.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I am a salesmanager at a Chevy dealership and for the most part all of you are correct. The problem you have with ordering is you typically have a salesmanager who is so out of touch with the business ordering cars. I am a 35 and been in the business for 10 years; my peers are all over 50 and been in the business 25+ years.

They have forgotten who we are now trying to attract, they are ordering cars AND trucks like they would like to own not what our customers would want to drive.

At my store our dealer is 83 years old and does not understand buyers like myself who have expendable income and want a car that shows my personality.

Mark my words; you will see the Cobalt absolutley murdered in the ordering category. This car, like the Aveo, is not understood by the old codgers ordering this stuff. :(

We hired a 55 year old guy to order our stock. He is ordering sport model Colorados with OnStar and no XM radio; all of them. Now I for one, and I think most young men who want a sporty truck, could care less about OnStar, but like the idea of XM radio.

Ordering cars requires an open mind. Not what the conservative old guy wants but what the customers want!!!!

I used to order at my store and it is very easy to fall in the trap of I like that or I like this. You have to listen to your customers and your salespeople.

Constraints are an issue in some instances, but for the most part they can be overcome with a little thinking outside the box.

Just my two cents from the other side of the fence.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top