Oldsmobile fielded questions at its make meeting Monday about its new advertising initiative, which has the factory matching dealers' local advertising dollars.
George Nahas, dealer council chairman for the lame-duck brand, said that in January the factory said it would match dealers' adverting spending dollar for dollar as much as $30,000 a month depending on the dealership's volume.
Oldsmobile, which will be dismantled after the 2004 model year, does no national advertising.
"If the dealer spends $10,000, Oldsmobile will match it. We just started Jan.1," Nahas said. He owns Nahas Oldsmobile in Tavares, Fla.
"It's a way to support the dealers who are supporting Oldsmobile. You have to be a marketing ignoramus not to take advantage of that. We have to do the best we can under most difficult circumstances."
Nahas said the dealer council proposed the co-op advertising plan to Oldsmobile in October.
Darwin Clark, General Motors vice president and general manager of industry and dealer affairs, said he believes giving Oldsmobile advertising dollars to dealers is the most productive use of the funds.
"You know your local market, you know the kind of advertising you want to do to bring customers in," Clark said. "It's the most successful way to ensure an orderly phaseout."
He said Oldsmobile also reassured dealers that Oldsmobile vehicle parts will be available and he discussed the latest Oldsmobile dealer count.
He said about 83 percent of the dealers Oldsmobile had before the announcement of its demise either have signed or are signing legal agreements to disband their stores.
He said the company still is negotiating with about 475 dealers.
"Out of the 475 there are probably 475 issues," Clark said. "We assured them that we will work with the 475 on an individual basis."
He said Oldsmobile, which sold 155,112 vehicles in 2002, is expected to sell about 60,000 to 70,000 in 2003.