ORLANDO, Fla. -- General Motors continues to tell dealers it will work to combine Buick, Pontiac and GMC brands into a single sales channel.
During the question-and-answer session of the all-GM brands make meeting, dealers asked why GM has been pushing so hard for a Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel. GM officials have said they currently have about 60 percent of the three brands' volume in stores that combine the brands and that they want that number to hit 80 percent.
After the meeting, GM CEO Rick Wagoner told reporters that there was discussion about the channeling strategy and that GM has been clear on what it wants to do in terms of aligning the brands and streamlining products.
"But, on balance, it's not a major focus for us to try and, frankly, drive it as an artificially consolidated network," Wagoner said. "Over the last 20 years, people have made their own calls in terms of a franchised system, and it's sort of consolidated naturally for us."
Wagoner said he doesn't expect Buick-Pontiac-GMC channeling to happen by itself and said GM will work to push it.
GM executives spoke about the GM Powertrain division and its work on alternative sources of fuel. But when GM showed a slide listing the future products that would be offered in hybrid versions, dealers said, it was too small to read.
Dealers also asked executives why GM wanted to sell part of its financial arm, General Motors Acceptance Corp., said Scott Brasher, general manager of Brasher Motor Co. in Weimar, Texas. He said they answered that GM wants to reduce costs of capital and get more return on investment but they declined to say who might buy it or when a sale might occur.
GM dealers said executives insinuated that they are planning to build a Chevrolet Camaro production model, said Gordon Stewart of Stewart Management Group in Harper Woods, Mich.
They first must justify the cost across all brands, Brasher said. "They just said they have a lot of plans and things are ramping up," he said.
Dealers also pushed to know whether Buick and Pontiac will get entry-level vehicles. Brasher said the answer was that GM plans to "keep things the way they are right now."
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]