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Old 01-25-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
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Default Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Robert Snell from the Detroit News: Stuart Lasser, who owns a Saturn dealership 34 miles west of New York City, sued GM on November 20 after the automaker rejected an attempt to subdivide his showroom and sell vehicles made by GM and South Korea's Kia Motors, according to federal court records. "All I'm trying to do is survive here," Lasser said in an interview with The Detroit News.

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Old 01-25-2009, 11:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

selling another brand at the Saturn retailer would ruin it for me. it's bad enough that Saturn is selling rebadged vehicles now

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Old 01-26-2009, 12:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

What a moron. I don't know of any maufacturer that would be willing to allow a competing brand to be sold in the same dealership outside of their division.

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Old 01-26-2009, 05:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

Kia and Saturn are not a combination that I would want. That's ridiculous.

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Old 01-26-2009, 06:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

The guy knows his customers, smart
Kia is right on target.
I promise I knew nothing about this guy before I mentioned Kia in another thread.

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Old 01-26-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Originally Posted by s-seriesguy View Post
What a moron. I don't know of any maufacturer that would be willing to allow a competing brand to be sold in the same dealership outside of their division.
Near me are
Kia/Toyota
Honda/Mitsubishi
Dodge/Mitsubishi
Audi/Suzuki
Suzuki/Subaru
Kia/Nissan
Mazda/VW
Hyundai/Toyota
Chevrolet/VW
There might be more
I completely agree with ending the mandate. Only brands that sell in such high volumes (Ford, Chevy, Toyota) that you can't fit anything else or brands that require a certain shopping ambiance (plus make enough profit that the dealer isn't losing money selling a few cars a week) require stand alone dealers.

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Old 01-26-2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Originally Posted by davidsky View Post
Near me are
Kia/Toyota
Honda/Mitsubishi
Dodge/Mitsubishi
Audi/Suzuki
Suzuki/Subaru
Kia/Nissan
Mazda/VW
Hyundai/Toyota
Chevrolet/VW
There might be more
I completely agree with ending the mandate. Only brands that sell in such high volumes (Ford, Chevy, Toyota) that you can't fit anything else or brands that require a certain shopping ambiance (plus make enough profit that the dealer isn't losing money selling a few cars a week) require stand alone dealers.
Are these actually dealers that are operating out of the same building or using separate ones and using the same lot? Or are they just dealers that are a part of an automotive group or network?

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Are these actually dealers that are operating out of the same building or using separate ones and using the same lot? Or are they just dealers that are a part of an automotive group or network?
Some are 2 brands sharing the same building, some are 2 buildings sharing the same lot. The Audi/Suzuki one is weird and they are in the same building.

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Old 01-27-2009, 08:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

(Buick Cadillac Pontiac GMC), (Mecedes), (Chrysler/Dodge) all shared a lot with different buildings. Guess which ones are gone from this lot...........

Saturns should be on the lot with a strong import. Kia and or Hyundai would be a good match with them.

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Old 01-27-2009, 07:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky View Post
I completely agree with ending the mandate. Only brands that sell in such high volumes (Ford, Chevy, Toyota) that you can't fit anything else or brands that require a certain shopping ambiance (plus make enough profit that the dealer isn't losing money selling a few cars a week) require stand alone dealers.
+1. Mercedes, or Bentley fit your latter criteria. Lower-volume marques like Mitsubishi, Kia, Smart, Mini would do well to partner up with a stronger brand for stability and variety. I find it odd that GM has taken pretty much everything unique away from Saturn save for its retailer arrangement.

At the same time, I understand both Mr. Lasser's frustration and GM's position. As a franchise holder (franchisee), he did agree to terms between him and the corporation (franchisor) and simply can't go and say I want to take on another brand outside of my franchisor to pick up the slack. Although in the case of Bob Maguire, GM rejected his request to pair up Saturn and Chevrolet showrooms he owns that are a short distance away from one another. There are going to be some interesting legal challenges from U.S. dealership owners moving forward.


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Old 01-27-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

IMO if you want to sell other cars then just close the Saturn part and sell the other cars. It's a terrible business decision to sell multiple brands that compete with each other. One brand or the other will be on the losing end of it.

If you're not happy selling Saturns or not selling as many as you'd like, just shut the Saturn part down and do what you want.

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Old 01-30-2009, 03:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

While I like the separate Saturn dealerships... I also thought the combined Saturn/SAAB locations in Canada were interesting.

A benefit of the stand alone Saturn retailers is that they should be able to have a sales staff that is aware of their products and do not have to learn about 5 different brands. They should be able to know their product in and out. While the staff at the local retailer are very good at that, I have seen some at others that have no clue.

Locally, the group that owns the Saturn franchise also own another 12 brand franchises in 4 other buildings.

1: Saturn: Stand alone, as all US Saturn retailers are supposed to be. There is only one combine building I am aware of. Saturn of Harlem shares a building with Chevrolet. Have not seen it, so I don't know how together they really are... but their website is chevysaturnofharlem.com so I am guessing they are pretty close.

2: Buick/Pontiac/GMC/Cadillac/SAAB: Single 2 story building they call the GM Center. They technically don't share the same lot with Saturn... but there is nothing dividing their pavement. Saturn actually has more land at 5 acres, to the GM Centers 2.5. To make more room, they bought a house next door and enlarged the lot. Saturn still has more space. Also, a sales person from any of the auto groups lots can sell a car on any of the others lots if asked.

3: Suzuki/Kia/Mazda: They call it the Import Center. While Mazda doesn't exactly require a separate facility, they do require separate showrooms and service people.

To handle that task, they built an addition to the right of the service drive. Have staff in there as Mazda sales staff... but can also sell any car on the lot. They also have a Mazda only service advisor and techs... they share the service drive with Suzuki/Kia.

That actually might be a way to keep Saturn retailers separate. However, the General Managers would be shared, so may be difficult to keep the sales practices separate. The local Saturn franchisee actually adopted the one price way for all their other locations, so they wouldn't really need to worry.

4: Chrysler/Jeep/Subaru: A single 25,500 sq ft building on 5.5 acres. Each has it's own showroom.

5: Chevrolet: 20,000 sq ft bldg on 3.5 acres.

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Old 01-27-2009, 09:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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Originally Posted by s-seriesguy View Post
What a moron. I don't know of any maufacturer that would be willing to allow a competing brand to be sold in the same dealership outside of their division.
My local dealer sells Chevy, Pontiac, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac out of the same showroom. You could argue those brands compete with themselves, but that's another topic altogether. They group the similar cars together on the lot. The Chevy/GMC trucks are together, the Acadia, Enclave, and Traverse are together, etc.

I know of a Toyota/GMC dealer that shares a showroom. They used to have Oldsmobile back in the day.

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

It's common to see multiple GM brands under one roof, particularly in rural areas. It may be a regional thing, but it's uncommon around here to see a GM car line share the same sign & roof with a non-GM brand ... they are usually separated by different showrooms, even if they share a parking lot & dealer name.

It would seem that the investment & overhead to maintain unique & elaborate showrooms, service facilities, etc. solely for the Saturn brand would be extremely difficult to justify economically from this point forward. Many of the new Saturn facilities are far nicer than the older Cadillac showrooms. GM should allow dealers to consolidate their facilities & GM brands in whatever way makes the most sense to the bottom line. The only exception might be to not mix Saturn with Chevy.

The days of cakes and celebrations for customers buying a new Saturn are long over. However, if they keep the same Saturn pricing and 30-day exchange polices, etc. that made Saturn unique, then they might live on.

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Old 01-27-2009, 01:00 PM   #15
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"The days of cakes and celebrations for customers buying a new Saturn are long over."

In this time of economic restraint, are service dept's still providing free car washes with any service?

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Old 01-27-2009, 01:29 PM   #16
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

A little hypocracy here!

Isn't this the same GM that allows Saturn dealers to sell Opels and Chevy dealers to sell Daewoo's?

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Old 01-27-2009, 07:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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My local dealer sells Chevy, Pontiac, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac out of the same showroom. You could argue those brands compete with themselves, but that's another topic altogether. They group the similar cars together on the lot. The Chevy/GMC trucks are together, the Acadia, Enclave, and Traverse are together, etc.
Yes those are all GM brands too. It's not too uncommon to see that.

Quote:
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It's common to see multiple GM brands under one roof, particularly in rural areas. It may be a regional thing, but it's uncommon around here to see a GM car line share the same sign & roof with a non-GM brand ... they are usually separated by different showrooms, even if they share a parking lot & dealer name.
That's they way I have always seen it whe it comes to GM dealers.

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Old 01-27-2009, 12:23 PM   #18
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Default Re: Some Retailers Want an End to Saturn Mandate for Stand-Alone Stores

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What a moron. I don't know of any maufacturer that would be willing to allow a competing brand to be sold in the same dealership outside of their division.
Huh? I see it all the time. There's a Ford/Subaru dealer that I was at recently, for example.

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