To continue to have strong sales and to stay profitable - that's really all that the 2,500 or so retailers who handle Pontiac and GMC want, says John Wiesner, chairman of the Pontiac-GMC Divisional Dealer Council.
Wiesner, owner of John Wiesner Inc. (Buick-Pontiac-GMC-Isuzu-Hyundai) in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston, says factory support is a key reason why dealers had a prosperous 2002 and are looking for another good year in 2003.
"They have helped us tremendously," he said of General Motors, "with contests, with incentives, and product to the best of their ability."
Wiesner's two sons work with him at his five dealerships, where at least 35 percent of the vehicles he sells each month are trucks.
Texans - even famous ones that don't get to drive anymore - love trucks. In December, Wiesner took a few hours off to deliver a GMC Sonoma pickup to former President George Bush at his Houston office.
"I didn't sell it to him; a friend of mine sold it from up in Fort Wayne, Ind.," Wiesner said. "He wanted to meet me because we'd delivered two or three" other GMC trucks to him.
The former president probably won't be spotted behind the wheel anytime soon. "He said he hadn't driven a car (himself) since the 1980s, I think," Wiesner said. "I think (the pickup) was for a granddaughter. He didn't say."
Wiesner, two of his grandchildren and one of his sons spent about 25 minutes with Bush, who Wiesner says is "a very, very personable individual."
Wiesner hadn't met Bush before, even though his store services the former president's vehicles.
Wiesner says he and his family got some nice pictures with Bush. "My two grandkids really got a kick out of him," he said. "He was so gracious to them. You can't believe a guy like that would be so down to earth. He really was."
Wiesner spoke with Special Correspondent Karen Passino about issues facing GMC and Pontiac dealers.