DETROIT -- Cadillac is preparing to welcome back hundreds of franchisees, many in small towns. That will end its post-bankruptcy plan to rebuild sales with only about 500 dealerships in large metro markets.
But new sales chief Kurt McNeil is keeping a key part of the original plan. He wants all dealerships, big and small, to provide the customer service of a glitzy big-city store.
Once arbitrations and settlements finish this summer, the brand will reabsorb 400 to 500 franchises -- mostly at small dealerships -- cast off during General Motors' 2009 bankruptcy.
"We were going to make drastic changes, but now, we're going to have to go back and continue to improve our network," says McNeil, who took over as Cadillac's U.S. sales chief during GM's sales and marketing shake-up in March.
The brand had about 1,400 stores at the beginning of 2009, so it has still trimmed its dealer network, even with the reinstatements. McNeil says more reductions are possible.
"Where we might have one or two too many stores in a metro area, we're going to have to work on that," he says.