General Motors will offer dealership employees the same discounts on personal purchases of new GM cars and trucks that GM employees receive.
The automaker will launch the discount in April.
The company announced the initiative during a meeting with dealers from all its franchises except Saturn at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. GM undertook the program because it 'wants to solidify its partnership with dealers,' said Frank Ursomarso, a Delaware Pontiac-GMC dealer who chaired the meeting.
'For the past eight years, dealers were requesting the discount,' he said. 'This is in response to the dealers' requests.'
Dealership employees previously have qualified for discounts, but GM employees usually got a better deal.
GM also gave dealers at the meeting an update on its new field staff, plus the makeup of its new dealer councils. However, GM's plans to restructure those councils has caused some heartburn within NADA.
The automaker has not decided the makeup of its new national dealer council. A top NADA official said Feb. 7 that NADA deserves representation.
'NADA has to be on that council. That is the bottom line,' said outgoing NADA Chairman Paul Holloway. 'If they leave us off, that sends a message. That's our concern.'
GM already has agreed to let NADA representatives sit on its five regional dealer councils.
After GM announced that setup, NADA responded by appointing representatives in each region. But the makeup of GM's national panel is undecided, and GM executives are hedging on NADA's role.
'We haven't crossed that bridge yet,' said Darwin Clark, GM's vice president of sales, service and parts.
Under the new system, the regional dealer councils will advise GM's five regional general managers on sales, service, parts and other issues. Within each region, each GM division also will set up its own advisory councils to discuss brand-related issues.
Each GM division also will have its own council to discuss advertising, image and other brand-specific issues. Separately, a national GM council will discuss sales, service, parts, warranties and other issues that affect all brands.
The regional, divisional and national councils will meet twice a year.