A new advertising campaign by General Motors' Fleet and Commercial Operations targets owners of small businesses.
The print campaign features the 525 Chevrolet and GMC dealerships that sell work trucks to local businesses. Those stores represent about 10 percent of all U.S. dealerships that sell the Chevrolet and GMC brands.
Starting next month, the ads will appear in trade publications for such industries as construction, plumbing, painting, landscaping and contracting for heating and cooling. Dana Hammer, manager of commercial dealer operations for GM Fleet and Commercial, would not disclose the cost of the campaign.
Hammer says the ad campaign addresses the perception of many small-business owners that Chevrolet and GMC dealerships primarily serve large fleet customers.
"Smaller businesses with one, two, three, four or five trucks -- they don't consider themselves as having a fleet," Hammer told Automotive News.
The campaign publicizes the new names and logos of two business units, Chevrolet Business Central and GMC Business Central. Those units, formerly called Chevrolet Commercial Specialty Vehicles and GMC Commercial Trucks, include the dealerships that serve small-business customers, Hammer says.
The ads will debut in the March issues of magazines, including Builder, Lawn & Landscape, Plumbing & Mechanical and Business Fleet. The campaign will run all year.
Separate brand ads for Chevrolet Business Central and GMC Business Central will appear in the trade magazines, Hammer says. GM also will place ads in the publications for such vehicles as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Savana.
The ad campaign also includes a direct-mail promotion. Participating dealers will get new signs and point-of-sale materials. Chevrolet and GMC will include information about the Business Central units on their Web sites.
Business Central dealerships must adhere to a set of standards, says Jim McCallum, director of dealer operations for GM Fleet and Commercial. They must offer extended service hours. They must identify a manager to run the business and assign at least three salespeople to call on small-business customers.
They also must maintain a significant inventory of trucks -- as many as 100 -- that can be adapted easily to fit specific business needs, McCallum says.
Dealers "who are in it and dedicated to it generate additional business and profit," McCallum says. "They've got a piece of the business that is less sensitive to the ebbs and flows of the retail market."
You may e-mail Arlena Sawyers at [email protected]