DETROIT -- If you're puzzled by the serial reorganizations of General Motors Co.'s sales and marketing staffs, here's the simple explanation: Ed Whitacre wants to sell more cars -- NOW.
The CEO doesn't care to watch another PowerPoint presentation showing that sales will improve next year. Whitacre wants higher sales immediately, informed sources say, and will keep applying pressure until he gets results.
That priority drove last week's sweeping changes in sales and marketing, including a handful of firings and the decision to reinstate hundreds of rejected dealerships.
In announcing the changes, Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said GM "is not moving fast enough, with enough success."
He said performance of the reorganized staff will be "based on how many cars and trucks they sell."
In February, Ford Motor Co. passed GM in U.S. sales for the first month since July 1998.
Here are last week's major changes:
-- GM moved to reinstate 661 of the 1,160 dealerships that applied for arbitration after GM moved to eliminate about 1,350 dealerships and an additional 650 GM franchises at dualed stores last year before its Chapter 11 reorganization.
The reinstatement removes the huge distraction of fighting those stores through federal arbitration -- and gets more stores open to sell cars and trucks.
-- The sales operation was split off from Vice President Susan Docherty's responsibilities and put directly under Reuss, with Docherty retaining marketing. GM also eliminated the position of general manager for each brand. Instead, each brand will have one staff for marketing and another for sales.
Reuss said the changes will bring him closer to dealers, and two sources familiar with the matter said executives hoped to increase the accountability of field reps. (A full list of changes in sales and marketing is online at autonews.com/gmshakeup.)
-- GM shook up Cadillac marketing after the luxury brand's sales trailed other GM brands in rebounding from dismal 2009 levels. High-profile former designer Bryan Nesbitt, who had been head of Cadillac sales and marketing, was moved back to a design post. GM terminated two Cadillac marketing executives, Steve Shannon and John Howell. Jay Spenchian, an executive who worked on Cadillac and other brands, also was let go.
-- Reuss revamped the former Service and Parts Operations, a multibillion-dollar unit that will be called Customer Care and Aftersales. Docherty said she will run the operation's marketing. Its field staff will combine with GM's sales staff.