Buick dealers will adjust to a new reward program based on customer satisfaction scores this year as the division stretches to fill a premium niche.
Like Hummer and Pontiac, Buick will adopt the Standards for Excellence program that began at Cadillac.
But there's a wrinkle: Buick dealers must hit a higher target than Pontiac dealers to earn bonuses.
One Buick dealer, who asked not to be named, said bonuses will be figured on two criteria. The major goal is a total of combined retail customer satisfaction and service customer satisfaction. And dealers must post a sales increase each year.
But, the dealer said, some Buick dealers were irked by their numerical goal: 143.3 points out of a possible 200. He said that Pontiac dealers will have a target of 136.7. He said Buick officials explained it by saying that Buick dealers had focused on customer satisfaction because of a limited product lineup in recent years.
CJ Fraleigh, general manager of Buick and Pontiac-GMC, said the divisions were treated differently because they are starting Standards for Excellence at different levels.
"Buick is starting at a higher base level," Fraleigh said. "We think it's a fair program."
Another dealer agreed. Bob Droubay of Droubay Chevrolet-Pontiac-Buick in Delta, Utah, said lowering Buick's goal to Pontiac's would be a step backward: "The idea is, let's not start at a lower level than we already have."
Buick dealers said they are optimistic about new product coming their way after surviving on a limited lineup. They will launch the Regal replacement, the 2005 LaCrosse; the Terraza minivan; and the Rendezvous Ultra model.