PORTLAND, Ore. - If you're a big-volume Pontiac dealer in a hot, sunny state, consider yourself lucky. If not, you might wait awhile to get the new Solstice roadster on your lot.
With 13,000 orders in hand, Pontiac has devised a dealership allocation plan based on a combination of "turn and earn" and geography.
Turn and earn means dealerships that have the highest sales volume for the past 12 months will get a Solstice before smaller dealerships, Chris Ayotte, Pontiac marketing manager for small cars, said at an event here last month.
Pontiac also will consider where the roadster segment is strongest, which is typically in sunny and warm climates, says Mark-Hans Richer, Pontiac marketing director.
"We have a distribution strategy that does have a small skew toward sunnier climates," Richer says. "At the same time we want to make sure we take care of our Pontiac dealers.
"Many of our largest dealers happen to be in more North Central and North Eastern markets. So we've taken a balanced approach whereby everyone gets taken care of but maybe at different times."
Richer says during winter, Northern markets might not get as many Solstices. Distribution would flow to Southern areas. In the spring, distribution would flow back to Northern dealers.
Pontiac debuted the car on the April 14 episode of NBC's "The Apprentice" TV show. At that time, 1,000 customers placed orders for special versions of the car. So far about 750 "Apprentice" orders have been filled, says Lori Queen, GM's vehicle line executive for small cars.
Once the initial "Apprentice" orders are filled, Pontiac will deliver the cars to dealers based on the allocation plan, Ayotte says. Richer and Ayotte don't believe customers will cancel their orders if they have to wait.