Other Editorials

First Thing I'd Cut

Jim Dollinger
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The General Motors Standards for Excellence program gives dealers the opportunity to meet sales and service criteria after having ponied up an initial investment and, upon achievement of said goals, receive back tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars quarterly from GM. Independent contractors hired by the factory visit dealers under the guise of "SFE Coordinators". In essence, these individuals really perform the work that should be done by district managers anyway, namely informing and consulting franchisees on their operations. Having these coordinators is truly an exercise in duplication. In fact, the entire program was ill-conceived from the beginning. Targets were routinely adjusted so dealers would hit the mark and become excited (addicted) about the chance to earn additional income. In reality, the factory simply added another hook by which to yank the retail operators.

The very first thing GM needs to do in this day of capital conservation is to immediately eliminate this very expensive endeavor. Maybe if the management at GM exercised fiscal restraint, we wouldn't have to sacrifice GMAC (burning the furniture to have heat), an asset worth $24 per share being spun to ABSOLUETLY NO BENEFIT of the shareholders (you can bet the bankers ie. Goldman Sachs & Merrill Lynch will get their share, as will the lawyers. Heard of any impending lawsuits, ie. Deplhi?).

As GM does occasionally make a good decision, like extending the powertrain warranty, they should remain steadfastly focused on the purpose for which they are employed, rather than acting like the blind cat who just caught the dead mouse.

SFE needs to go, the Audit firm (Deloitte) needs to be rotated, and Marketing (LaNeve) should be forever barred from advertising price, payment, or rebate (no more idiots in red suits please!). The motto should be "impress", not "distress".



Rumor has it that our "friend", Mr Pete Gerosa, recently retired mentor of our incompetent leader of VSSM, has accepted a position with the Serra dealer organization. Word is that Pete is in charge of mergers and acquisitions, a proper place for the guy as he should be well aware of where the weakest dealers are. God knows he is responsible for destroying so many of them. ( I know you fellas read this...truth hurts a little Pete, huh?)