About 280 dealers who participate in Cadillac's voluntary Standards for Excellence program gathered in San Diego during Super Bowl weekend to plan for three major launches - the XLR roadster, SRX sport wagon and CTS V Series performance sedan. Marketing General Manager Mark LaNeve discussed plans with Staff Reporter Dave Guilford.
What do you have to do to make the launches work?
We went through the launch plans in pretty significant detail. For example, the SRX is the first car for us that you can order a V-6 or V-8, rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, ultraview roof or not, third row seat or not, magnetic ride control or not. So there's a lot of combinations.
We spent a lot of time with them on ordering information, regional differences in what people are going to be looking at, advertising plans, making sure salespeople are thoroughly trained.
What's the role of Standards for Excellence?
SFE is built around a quarterly sales increase and (customer satisfaction) targets. That triggers a bonus to them.
Additional bonuses are available for facility improvement, certified pre-owned performance and Cadillac's service loaner program.
Roughly what percent of eligible dealers received Standards for Excellence money in 2002?
It's a quarterly incentive, and over 75 percent of the dealers hit at least one quarter. Almost every dealer dramatically improved over the amount of money they received in 2001.
Did you hit your goal of selling 30,000 certified used vehicles?
We exceeded the target. I believe we did 31,000 and some change. This year, we're shooting for 35,000.
How many dealers are remodeling their stores with the design Cadillac commissioned?
We have 110 that are signed up and are under way. We anticipate that by the first quarter of '04 we'll have 150 that are either completed or are well under way.
What's the price tag?
It varies from store to store. It averages anywhere from $40 to $70 per square foot, depending on what a dealer has to do.
You had a 16 percent sales increase in 2002. What's the goal this year?
We're thrilled with the increase. It was all retail because we've continued to decrease the daily rental. In fact, the retail increase was 22 percent.
We don't think we can anticipate a 16 percent sales gain this year, but we certainly would like to grow over our 2002 total.
We've got new products coming, but we won't get the benefit of a full year of production out of them.