DETROIT -- General Motors is reorganizing its field organization to assign field personnel to one of its four sales channels -- Chevrolet, Cadillac-Hummer-Saab, Saturn and Buick-Pontiac-GMC.
The reorganization reverses a 1999 decision to remove field personnel's brand affiliation. It means that, for example, a Chevrolet dealer will deal with a Chevrolet-specific field representative, rather than one who works with several brands.
Mark LaNeve, GM North America vice president for sales, service and marketing, told Automotive News on Thursday that the effort will take 60 to 90 days to complete. Executive Pete Gerosa will head the effort as a special assignment before his retirement later this year.
LaNeve said field personnel will be dedicated to one of the four sales channels as much as possible. The move isn't expected to reduce headcount significantly, LaNeve says.
Changing the field organization is part of a broader change in GM marketing, LaNeve said. GM is trying to sharpen brand identity and target incentive programs to sales channels, minimizing big companywide incentives, he said.
"We want our dealers to align by channels, so I feel that we should," LaNeve said.
There will be some exceptions for dealerships that have two nonchannel brands in the same store, but field personnel will "almost 100 percent" call on a single brand, he said.
GM currently has about 80 percent of its sales volume going through stores that are "in channel," making the reorganization possible, LaNeve said.
"More and more, we are in channel," he said. "We couldn't have done this a few years ago."
GM said Wednesday, Feb. 15, that Gerosa will retire from his post as vice president for GM North America field sales, service and parts. Brent Dewar, currently GM North America vice president of marketing and advertising, will replace Gerosa effective March 1.
Dewar will be replaced by Mike Jackson, GM North America Western regional general manager in Los Angeles.
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