Compared to the you'll-be-gone-next-year letters that General Motors sent 1,124 dealerships recently, it's just a small annoyance. Like getting the hay bill after your horse has been stolen.
But the nature of the most recent price increase by GM was just one more thing to make dealers a little less enamored of the factory.
GM raised the freight fee on many 2009 cars and light trucks -- an add-on charge that's paid by the dealer and isn't subject to the dealer discount. It's up to the dealer to recover his cost from the customer -- usually not a problem in a strong market but problematic these days. In any event, the factory pockets the entire amount of the increase.
The increases range from $20 to $60 -- ironically, in reverse proportion to the bulk of the item being shipped. The fee on GM's full-sized pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, rose only $20. But the bite was $60 on the wee Chevy Aveo and $50 on the Chevy Cobalt.
The freight charge is not an inconsiderable part of the purchase price of a new car or truck. At GM, it ranges from $635 on the Pontiac Vibe to $995 on the Silverado and Sierra.