General Motors' minority dealer body was larger and more profitable in 1999 than in 1998, and the man in charge of the automaker's minority dealer development program believes 2000 will be even better.
Eric Peterson, general director of the program, said the number of minority-owned dealerships increased to 320 last year from 294 in 1998. He said almost 80 percent of GM's minority dealers were profitable compared with 62.5 percent in 1998.
Peterson attributed the success to the dealers and to the fact that last year GM made the program part of its vehicle sales, service and marketing division.
'What a difference a year can make,' Peterson said at a reception sponsored by General Motors Acceptance Corp. for the GM minority dealers at the Disney Contemporary Resort. The reception was held in conjunction with the NADA convention. 'You see some success and it starts to steamroll.'
The program has been reorganized as a result of an independent evaluation two years ago. Weldon Latham, senior partner of the law firm Shaw, Pittman in Washington, studied the program and made 215 recommendations to improve it. GM implemented all but two of the recommendations.
Peterson said the program's goal is to have the minority dealers reach profit parity with the rest of GM's dealer body by 2001 and surpass the dealer body in 2002.
Peterson also said:
GM plans to increase its minority dealer count to 350 in 2000
34 GM minority-owned dealerships earned $1 million in 1999 before taxes and bonuses
GM minority-owned dealerships had sales of more than $8 billion in 1999
Bill Perkins, the new president of the GM Minority Dealer Association, said at the reception that it has been a phenomenal year for GM's minority dealers.
'GM is doing its share; what we've found is that as dealers we have to make sure we live up to expectations as well,' said Perkins, owner of Dearborn Pontiac-Nissan in Dearborn, Mich., and Taylor Chevrolet in Taylor, Mich.