Starting in March, GMAC Financial Services will charge dealerships more to keep some aging new vehicles on their lots.
In a letter this month, the finance company outlined changes in its policy, called the GMAC Wholesale Plan, for dealerships that use GMAC credit lines to finance vehicle inventories. Dealers say the letter details an accelerated schedule for paying off principal on loans for some older new-vehicle inventory.
GMAC took similar action last year toward dealerships' aging used-vehicle inventories.
GMAC has liberalized some lending policies since the federal government gave the company a $5 billion bailout last month. But dealers complain that GMAC still is not doing enough to make credit more broadly available through floorplan loans or consumer leases and subprime loans.
GMAC spokesman Mike Stoller said the changes to the wholesale plan are designed to confirm and standardize current company policy. He said it is not unusual for the company to require dealers to start repaying principal on cars and trucks that have been on the lot for a long time. The principal repayment schedule in the revised plan is largely unchanged, he said.
Because of the sharp slowdown in vehicle sales, many dealers say the age of their new-vehicle inventories is increasing. Last year, U.S. new-vehicle sales plunged to 13.2 million cars and trucks, down 18.0 percent from 2007 and the lowest total since 1992. New-vehicle sales by General Motors — whose dealers are GMAC's primary customers — dropped 22.7 percent to fewer than 3 million units.