DETROIT — General Motors wants to match the dealership networks of Toyota, Nissan and Mercedes in the nation's major metro markets.
For every Toyota store in a metro market, for example, GM wants just one Chevrolet store, selling as many units as the Toyota store down the street, says GM sales chief Mark LaNeve.
On Friday, May 15, GM began to implement that plan when it notified 1,124 underperforming dealerships that their franchise agreements likely would not be renewed when they expire on Oct. 31, 2010. By the end of next year, GM plans to reduce its dealership count from 5,969 stores as of May 15 to 3,600.
"In the metro markets ... we'd like to have competitive throughput where Chevy dealers can compete with Toyota, and Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers can compete with Nissan, and Cadillac dealerships with Mercedes," LaNeve told Automotive News on Friday.
Although President Obama's automotive task force is said to admire Toyota's business model, LaNeve said the task force did not force this plan on GM.
"This is our plan," said LaNeve, who is GM's vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing. "The task force was not prescriptive on any element of the plan."