DETROIT -- Mark LaNeve is offering a wake-up call to General Motors' 300 stand-alone Buick and Pontiac dealerships: GM is downsizing its product lineup.
Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealerships will have a full range of products; stand-alone dealerships will not.
Over the past month, LaNeve, GM North America's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, has explained his plan to nearly 3,000 dealers.
"We're not going to put a bullet to anyone's head saying you have to do this," LaNeve said last week during an interview with Automotive News.
But "we're not designing the portfolio for stand-alone Buick dealers," he said. "You might make it as a stand-alone if you're really good in the right market. But the business opportunity of all three is where you'll really see profits."
As of Jan. 1, Buick had 198 stand-alone dealerships, while Pontiac had 110. There were 168 GMC stand-alone stores. By contrast, there were 784 Buick-Pontiac-GMC stores and 245 Pontiac-GMC stores.
In an interview with Automotive News on March 23, LaNeve enunciated his plan to eliminate product clones. At the time, GM had just issued a downbeat earnings forecast. And during a question-and-answer session at the New York auto show, GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz had called Pontiac and Buick "damaged brands."
LaNeve subsequently assured dealers that those brands would survive. But GM concluded that it had to accelerate its plans to eliminate product clones.
That plan has been "turbocharged in the last six months -- especially in the last 60 days," LaNeve said.