Dealers receiving payments for what GM calls its Essential Brand Elements program also must adopt each brand's Web site look, agree to staff training and give GM their sales and service customer lists so the company can coordinate marketing mailings.
If dealers do everything that GM requires, "there's some fairly significant cash rewards that are intended to help offset the cost of the facility," says Kurt McNeil, Chevrolet's general sales manager.
Ed Peper, general sales manager of Cadillac, says GM will pay participating dealers based on their annual vehicle shipments. To determine the total amount, the company will use a seasonally adjusted formula that takes into account the price of the vehicles sold.
McNeil says the cash, which would come over five to 10 years, could "conceivably" cover the recommended changes. Of course, if a dealer decides the recommended construction provides a good opportunity to replace the roof or air-conditioning unit, those extra costs are the dealer's responsibility.
GMAC Financial Services also has said it wants to help finance construction, McNeil says.
GM and the San Francisco architectural firm Gensler will assess each dealership's needs.
Dealers will be asked to give competitive brands distinct space separate from GM brands by October. And GM will ask some dealers with a particularly high-selling GM brand to move that brand to its own building. If they comply, they'll get the cash. If not, they won't.
The automaker's quest for GM-specific showrooms is occasionally thwarted by independent-minded dealers, McNeil says. Sometimes, he says, "we show up and they've got a different franchise in the showroom."
About 100 of the 3,100 ongoing Chevrolet dealers currently include competitors' brands in their showrooms, McNeil says. Buick-GMC and Cadillac did not provide numbers.
Peper says Cadillac will have a long talk, at least, with any dealers who don't remove competitors' brands from their showrooms. GM hasn't decided what to do about dealers who don't comply.