General Motors' exit from the medium-duty truck business last summer is hurting light-duty sales for some dealers. But GM may be working on a solution to the problem -- one that involves a deal with a medium-duty truckmaker.
Gordon Moore, vice president of McCormick Motors in Nappanee, Ind., says his commercial customers are thinking twice about buying McCormick's light-duty Chevrolets. Why would they place orders with two dealerships -- light-duty at McCormick and medium-duty somewhere else -- when they could move their light-duty business to a Ford store that offers one-stop shopping?
"The more simple and direct solution you can provide people for the range of vehicles they need, the better off they're going to be," Moore says.
Before GM killed its Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick last summer, 60 percent of McCormick's business was medium-duty vehicles.
Moore says his light-duty sales have yet to see the full impact of the medium-duty loss. But the dealership's 2010 light-duty sales are up only slightly compared with last year's crash levels and are down one-third from 2008.
A source with knowledge of the situation says GM has kicked around a joint venture with companies such as Freightliner or Navistar's International Truck division -- or even an outright acquisition. International introduced a new Class 4 and 5 TerraStar in March.
GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers-Arb declined to comment.
Navistar and GM have talked before. GM struck a deal in 2007 to sell its medium-duty truck unit to Navistar, but the pact expired last summer without any sale.