MARLTON, N.J. — A prominent member of General Motors' dealer advisory board on fixed operations says he wants GM to end what he calls its "nanny state" interference with dealerships' fixed ops marketing and purchasing.
Peter Lanzavecchia, president of Burns Buick-GMC in suburban Philadelphia, says the automaker's "intrusions" hurt dealer business in high-cost markets such as his by offering nationally advertised parts and service specials. A GM spokesman says the automaker seeks to "build customer loyalty" with the promotions.
"GM, with its nanny-state attitude, seems to forget dealers are pretty savvy, and maybe your go-to-market strategy in your own market, the market that the dealer knows best, would have been effective," Lanzavecchia told Fixed Ops Journal.
Lanzavecchia cites a GM deal for a $49.95 express service package that includes an oil and filter change, tire rotation and multipoint inspection. In his market, he says, that price is too low.
"New Jersey, New York and Long Island are different than Texas or Oklahoma," Lanzavecchia says. GM is restricting his ability to decide when and how he offers discounts to service customers, he adds.
Service specials are part of what GM calls its National Retail Plan, which the automaker says it maintains in collaboration with its dealer fixed operations advisory board, along with other input from dealers across the country.
"Our overarching objective is to build customer loyalty through a great service lane experience, because we know that customers who use the dealer service lane are far more likely to repurchase," says GM spokesman Jim Cain.
But Lanzavecchia says he's skeptical that the nationally advertised offers create long-term loyalty.
"A $49.95 special is not going to generate customer retention," he says. "It might generate a customer trial. Our efforts at customer retention are all focused on price, price, price."