After spending most of 1999 butting heads over the issue of factory-owned dealerships and vehicle allocations, General Motors' head of sales has called for peace between the automaker and its dealers.
'If the manufacturer doesn't trust the dealer and the dealer doesn't trust the manufacturer, all of us will certainly lose,' Roy Roberts, GM group vice president for North American vehicle sales, service and marketing, said in an address to the Automotive News World Congress. Moments later, Roberts announced his retirement.
After his speech, Roberts said GM will put as much effort into fixing its relationship with its dealers this year as it did last year into repairing its broken relationship with the UAW.
'We need to understand that dealers and manufacturers have different goals, sometimes even competing interests,' he said. 'As a result, it's not unusual for us to look at the same issues and see very different pictures.
'We are being called upon to make continual adjustments to a continually changing business environment, and that will demand our strength, flexibility, mutual trust and candor,' he added later.
Roberts continued GM's call for changes in state franchise laws. Many dealers believe GM wants to change the laws so it can sell directly to consumers, but Roberts said that is not the case.