A new 20 group for women who own General Motors dealerships met last week during the GM Women's Retail Network conference in Detroit.
The 20 group, formed in May, is sponsored by GM and facilitated by the National Automobile Dealers Association, said Celeste Briggs, director of the retail network.
Like those in other 20 groups, its members focus on financial statements and exchanging ideas. But the women-only group allows members to focus on issues facing female entrepreneurs and provides networking opportunities, Briggs said.
"In addition to looking at the statements, it's those operational issues they may have being second-generation [dealers] sometimes," Briggs said. "How do you step into that leadership role? How do you assume the leadership role? They are learning from each other."
GM formed the network in 2001 to nurture, retain and add to the ranks of profitable female dealers.
Briggs would not say what percentage of women-owned dealerships are profitable but admitted the group is not at parity with GM dealers as a whole, though they are making progress.
At the end of July, women owned 215 GM dealerships, down from 270 on Jan. 1, 2009. Though the network took a hit during the worst of the recession, it is now growing, Briggs said. So far this year, eight women have been appointed as dealers; 21 were appointed in 2012.
Briggs also pointed out that Saturn, Saab and Hummer were among the most profitable stores owned by women in the network, and overall profitability for the group was impacted when those brands were discontinued.