DETROIT – As part of a key General Motors initiative to enhance the customer experience, more than 3,400 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealerships in the United States will upgrade their retail facilities to meet brand standards. To date, more than 1,000 dealerships have either completed their upgrades or are under construction.
The facilities image program is part of a larger General Motors initiative called Essential Brand Elements – a cooperative program that rewards dealers who voluntarily meet customer experience standards. The standards consist of a completed facilities upgrade, extensive sales and service training and other customer experience standards.
“We’re investing in our retail network because today’s new vehicle customer expects a shopping experience to match the character of the brand they’re considering,” said GM North America President Mark Reuss. “Our dealers also recognize this and are making their own significant investments so they better serve the needs of our customers. These investments are good for our business and are great news for the communities they serve.”
Retail facility improvements include new exterior entrances with updated signage; a bright, modern showroom featuring a customer greeting station and customer lounges with free Wi-Fi. In some cases, a café or salon is part of the experience.
Steve Rayman, owner of Steve Rayman Chevrolet, in Atlanta, Ga., says that his massive renovation took a 1960’s era facility into the present day, and beyond. Rayman opened the doors on his new dealership on Jan. 1, 2012.
“My philosophy has always been to take care of my customers so I wanted the new store to be a destination, not just a dealership,” said Rayman. “People’s time is valuable, so we designed it to be a place where everybody would feel welcome and comfortable. The new environment puts customers and employees in a good mood, and that means everything to me.”
Ken Ross, owner of Team Chevrolet and Cadillac in Vallejo, Calif., says the investment decision made sense. His dealership includes a contemporary customer lounge with Wi-Fi and computer stations; two areas just for the kids and a gymnasium complete with guest showers.
“The old store may have turned some potential customers away, so we wanted our new dealership to match the look and sophistication of the products we sell,” said Ross. “People seem to enjoy spending time in the new store, and we’re selling more cars and trucks to customers we’ve not seen before.”
Customers like George Franklin, who purchased a new Chevrolet Corvette, found the experience at the new Team Chevrolet and Cadillac facility to be more comfortable than before.
“I have found the buying and service experience in their new store to be on par with, and even better than, some of the foreign luxury brands,” said Franklin. “The facility is clean, the service area is open and easy to navigate, and the new amenities, like the gym and computer room, allow you to make the most of your wait time.”
Contemporary facilities are a key ingredient in providing a superior customer experience and in better satisfying customers’ needs, said Don Johnson, GM vice president of U.S. Sales Operations.
“We’ve worked cooperatively with our dealers to develop facilities designs that reinforce our brand’s character and meet the needs of today’s consumer,” said Johnson.
The facility upgrades coincide with one of the best product lineups in the company’s history. GM retail sales – those to individual buyers – were up 18 percent in 2011. By the end of 2012, GM plans to introduce all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles in segments that represent 60 percent of the U.S. retail light vehicle industry.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.