Chevrolet and Buick-GMC dealers were told at their joint make meeting today to expect increased pickup and SUV production, as General Motors pushes to grow market share for all three brands.
Dealers who attended said GM executives are looking for retail share growth this year across those brands, including 10 percent growth for GMC. GM already expanded its market share about 1 percentage point in the first quarter, to 16.4 percent, the company said Friday.
Chevrolet U.S. Vice President Brian Sweeney confirmed that dealers were told to expect increased production of the Silverado full-size and Colorado midsize pickups, though he didn’t discuss numbers.
“We did tell them that they’re going to see more of both,” Sweeney said in an interview after the meeting. “There is inventory and availability upside on both.”
Sweeney said he expects to sustain Chevy’s brisk retail sales pace, driven by continued strong demand for pickups and SUVs, as well as the redesigned Malibu midsize sedan and the next-generation Cruze compact, which arrives in dealerships this month.
“We never want to give up any ground. It’s good, healthy share,” Sweeney said when asked if the retail sales gains are sustainable. “It’s conquest. I think we’ve taken it out of Toyota and Honda and Ford for sure.”
GM execs also told dealers to expect a continuation of the Essential Brand Elements, or EBE, incentive program once the current one expires in the fall. The program has helped the majority of GM’s roughly 4,300 dealerships renovate their stores and has become critical to the bottom lines of many dealers.
Sweeney said the 2.0 version of EBE still is being hashed out with the Chevy and Buick-GMC dealer councils, but should look “extremely similar” to the program that has been in place since 2010. He said it would emphasize investment in technology and processes, such as operation of business development centers.
Brad Sowers, a St. Louis-area dealer and chairman of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council, said the EBE program will continue to pay dealers on each vehicle they order from the factory.
“Once we’ve finalized everything,” Sowers said, “I think dealers are going to feel really good about it.”