Opel, dealers battle over proposed margins

Opel is in conflict with its German dealers over a proposed new margin system.

Opel wants the new margin system to be central to the revised contracts it offers its dealers, ahead of the new block exemption sales and distribution regulations that come into effect on October 1.

But "an end is not yet in sight," Opel Chairman Carl-Peter Forster told Automobilwoche when asked about how negotiations with dealers were proceeding.

The current draft of Opel's contract, as seen by Automobilwoche, proposes a maximum margin of 14 to 16 percent. The margin includes up to 2 percentage points for the fulfillment of brand standards; 3.75 percent for operational standards; and a 0.75 percent customer satisfaction bonus. But the Opel dealers' association isn't happy with these figures, considering them too low.

Under current contracts, the customer satisfaction bonus amounts to a maximum of 0.8 percent of the recommended retail price.

There are additional bonuses available, linked to the number of cars a dealers sells a year. They range from 0.38 percentage points for a dealer selling up to 251 units a year, to a maximum of 1.96 percentage points for more than 4,100 units sold. A performance bonus worth a maximum of 1 percent is also on offer.

Today, the basic dealer margin for the Corsa and the Astra stands at 14.9 percent; at 12.9 percent for the Agila and the Meriva; and at 15.3 percent for the Vectra.

Currently, Opel dealers also operate under a complicated system designed to measure the performance of sales promotions and other activities. This can add up to another 10 percentage points to their margins.

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