More Clout at Dealer Level?

Two former General Motors Corp. divisional vice presidents tell Ward's Dealer Business it may be time for GM to give the divisions more clout among dealers by upgrading division general managers to the vice president level. GM scrapped the divisional vice presidencies during the 1990s when it moved to so-called brand management, stripping the divisions of their traditional autonomy for all operations

Two former General Motors Corp. divisional vice presidents tell Ward's Dealer Business it may be time for GM to give the divisions more clout among dealers by upgrading division general managers to the vice president level.

GM scrapped the divisional vice presidencies during the 1990s when it moved to so-called “brand management,” stripping the divisions of their traditional autonomy for all operations including manufacturing. This narrowed their responsibilities chiefly to sales and marketing.

Bill Hoglund, who served as GM vice president and general manager of the Pontiac Motor Div. from 1980-84, says the divisions have lost considerable clout since the 1990s reorganization.

“They should have (divisional) vice presidents” to give them more influence in working with dealers, he says.

Cliff Vaughan, who was vice president and general manager of the GMC Truck Div., from 1991 until he retired in 1996, agrees.

“These people need more status; they are GM's interface with the dealers,” he says.

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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