General Motors has slashed by a third the maximum amount a salesperson can earn in bonus payments from the automaker in its Standards For Excellence program.
The reduction came via altering the criteria salespeople must meet to earn the bonus.
Irate sales staffers are contrasting the move with bonuses some companies are giving employees in the wake of recent cuts in federal corporate tax rates.
"You see companies like Chrysler giving back to their employees, and here you have this so-called American brand, and they're taking away from their employees," said a sales associate at a GM brand store who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has said it plans to give a special bonus of $2,000 to some 60,000 American employees after the tax-law changes.
Likewise, dealership group Penske Automotive Group Inc., citing the tax changes, said last week that it will increase its matching contributions to employees' U.S. 401(k) savings plans to 2.5 percent from 1.5 percent. AutoNation Inc. has doubled the match in its employees' 401(k) plans, among other moves in the wake of the tax changes.
In its 2018 SFE Consultant Performance Program, a copy of which was obtained by Automotive News, GM has cut the top amount a salesperson can earn this year to $150 per car from $225 in 2017, assuming retail sales of at least 11 Chevrolet vehicles, seven GMCs or five Buicks in a month. The bonuses are smaller for fewer sales. Bonuses for fleet sales are calculated separately.
The optional SFE program is for Buick, GMC and Chevrolet dealers. Cadillac is not included in the 2018 program after last year's launch of Project Pinnacle, Cadillac's incentive program.
Some dealers worry such a steep cut could lead to higher turnover in sales personnel. Many say they may have to make up the difference. Others disagree, saying that if the dealership pays well, then GM's contribution is merely an extra bonus and losing some of it will have little impact on sales staff morale.