Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealers will get new options for company-approved vendors as early as this spring.
The change means providers other than CDK Global can be used for dealership websites, according to several dealers who attended a combined make meeting for the brands. General Motors' use of CDK as its exclusive preferred provider and manager of the websites has been a point of contention in recent years. Dealers complained about the CDK directive at last year's make meeting.
Now there will be several alternatives to CDK. The new providers are expected to begin as early as the second quarter, said one dealer, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.
Steve Hill, vice president of GM North America, U.S. sales, service and marketing, said in a statement that the company has been working with its dealer councils to ensure that "dealer sites are innovative and have the best digital tools in the industry."
Chevrolet National Dealer Council Chairman Mike Bowsher called the additional options a "welcomed change that the dealers have been asking for and are excited about."
The move "promotes competition and opportunity for implementation of new technologies that come along," said Bowsher, owner of Carl Black Automotive Group in Kennesaw, Ga.
"It was a great meeting," said Angelo Salvadore, president of Salvadore Auto Family of Dealerships in Gardner, Mass. "I'm very pleased."
Dealers said GM executives spent much of their time promoting dealer profitability, including GM-approved and -created programs such as OnTrac, which assists dealers in managing service loaner fleets.
"I like OnTrac. It works well," said Ralph Shaheen, president of Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing, Mich., who started using the tool this month. "That's going to help us a lot."
Before the Saturday meeting, GM North America President Alan Batey told Automotive News that the company last year "rethought" the launch strategy of such programs and worked more closely with dealers than initially expected to implement them. The programs are a major part of the company's stand on the show floor.
Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick-GMC, showed new advertisements coming in 2019, dealers said. The GMC ads focused on the redesigned 2019 Sierra full-size pickup, while Buick ads featured crossovers. a