Regarding Maryann Keller's April 20 column, "With the right leader, GM can be reborn": I was a General Motors dealer -- Chevrolet, Cadillac and Oldsmobile -- for about 15 years. Before that I was an import dealer for 16 years. I sold my Mazda and Isuzu operations and took on the GM brands at the same location here in Dartmouth, Mass.
I'll never forget my first new-car shipment from GM, a load of 1993 Chevy Cavaliers. One of them was badly damaged, hardly drivable. I told the driver not to unload it and to take it back (thinking like a Mazda dealer). He looked at me and said: "Pal, I don't care what the car looks like. It could be a cube for all I care. You're taking it."
You know what? That pretty much summed up the next 15 years of the GM culture.
In my opinion, GM never connected with its dealers, and for sure there was a my-boss-wants-this kind of attitude when the reps came in. Those field people were order takers and yes men. They didn't care about what you wanted, only with what they had to sell -- whether it was standards of excellence or parts programs or new-car inventory.
I would like GM dealers to know there is life after GM. I sold my company in February 2008. I'm back in college getting a degree in graphic design, and I'm the principal in a graphics and Web design firm.
I miss my customers and my employees very much. I think GM builds a heck of a car, and I wouldn't drive anything other than GM cars ... while they are around.