“We’re working with our dealer body to deliver not just a great product but an outstanding, world-class customer experience,” Williams said. “We want the ownership experience of a GM customer to be the best that they can find in the industry.”
When questioned about the closing of minority dealerships as part of GM’s restructuring plans, Williams said the company was careful to make sure that the closures didn’t unjustly impact minority dealers.
“It’s pretty clear that we had to look at the entire business and to actually make fundamental changes,” Williams explained. “We just simply had too many dealers in a given area. We restructured all of our dealer network to make it leaner because we want our dealers to have the ability to have sustainability and profitability going forward. And that includes restructuring the total network including minority dealers and/or multicultural dealers.”
The minority to general market dealer network ratio has actually improved slightly in the restructuring strategy, noted Williams.
“Our current percent of minorities or dealers as a percent – minority dealers as a percent of the overall dealer population – prior in the old GM was about 4.9 percent of our dealers were minority,” he said. “In the new company, after the wind-down agreements that we’ve put in place, we project that percent to actually be higher, around 5.2 percent so it’s not that we’re taking a disproportional impact on minority dealers.”
GM’s dealership strategy, explained Williams, is part of the automaker’s overall efforts to become a much more efficient and consumer-focused company.
“We have an all-new company with a focus on what we consider to be the three very critical elements that will drive our success in the future: customers, great cars, world-class products and a world-class culture,” said Williams. “So when you talk about GM and the change that we’re making, it’s all about customers, cars and a world-class culture.”
GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson echoed those sentiments last week before the scores of journalists gathered at the company’s tech center in Warren for the press conference when he stated, that for GM to succeed the company has to “win in the market.”
Williams said GM now has little room for error.
“If we don’t do the things we say we’re going to do, we simply won’t be here in the future,” he said.
To read more of Marcus Amick’s thoughts on the world of automobiles visit his blog http://marcusauto.blogspot.com/. You can also follow Marcus Amick on twitter at http://twitter.com/MarcusAmick.