DETROIT -- Many General Motors dealers hope their sales woes will come to an end in Las Vegas this week. No, not at the roulette table -- rather, from a podium as a GM executive announces a new national incentive program.
But the odds of that happening are stacked against dealers.
While dealers hope to hear news of a big national incentive program at GM's 2005 Dealer Business Conference, a source inside GM said they shouldn't count on it.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Automotive News that it appears that October sales will be bad and GM might be forced into "panic incentive mode." But no one at GM was talking about another national incentive program last week, the source said.
GM plans to announce more value pricing at the meeting and is even contemplating some dealer discount reductions, the source said. GM's definition of value pricing includes lowering the sticker price and adding features to many 2006 vehicles. A dealer discount is the difference between the sticker price and the wholesale price expressed as a percent.
The source said any dealer discount reductions would not cut into dealer profit significantly since dealers trade most of it away. But it's likely to be a highly emotional issue among dealers.
Buick dealer John Rogin heard from dealer council members that GM is considering reducing dealer discounts and warned against doing so at the Las Vegas event.
"I just can't see anybody doing that at this time in that forum," said Rogin, president of John Rogin Buick and Isuzu in Livonia, Mich.
"They'd really open it up for public dart throwing."
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at