For years, automakers have insisted that dealerships representing a particular brand should all look the same, instead of allowing retailers to individualize stores as they see fit. Factories want cookie-cutter stores, sort of an automotive version of McDonald's.
Yet, at the same time, they are encouraging dealers to develop their own personalities in the marketplace.
I have always wondered whether automakers really believe that forcing dealerships to have a common look will help them sell more cars — or if it's something done only to make company executives feel good about the brand.
I have felt it would be a lot fairer if the factory paid for a least half of the facilities upgrades that it dictates. Why not, if they are so sure that commonality will increase sales and market share?
Considering that many of these remodeling efforts cost six or seven figures, the factory should help defray the expenses.
And I am certain that after spending on remodeling dealerships, automakers would not see any increase in sales or market share and would be better off spending the money on brand advertising or on new products.
Mind you, I am not suggesting that retailers with out-of-date facilities should be ignored. I am only suggesting that the millions and millions of dollars spent to make sure all stores look the same would be better used to pay for activities that would actually generate sales.
But it seems every new marketing executive appointed to a brand immediately wants to change the look of the stores and is soon pushing for dealers to spend needlessly on brick and mortar.
All dealers want to be proud of their stores, but they want them to project some individuality as well. Spend the money in ways that sell more cars. That is the name of the game.