A rare bit of good news from the local auto dealership arena:
History is being made in Middle Tennessee as Crest Cadillac is awarded the highest honor in customer satisfaction by General Motors Corporation according to Dave Sickmeyer, General Motors Southeast Zone Manager. Sickmeyer today presented the award to Brian Palmer, Crest Cadillac general manager, and his entire team, with Palmer announcing new additions in customer service for his company. “Crest Cadillac has earned the GM Mark of Excellence dealer award for the past five consecutive years. Of this class of dealers, they have risen to the top and are considered “best of the best” with the highest customer satisfaction rating in the United States earning “2008 Best In Class Cadillac Customer Satisfaction” award. This shows a total dedication to premier customer service from sales and service to maintenance and this award is a wonderful reflection of the good business practices and leadership of Brian Palmer and his entire team,” Sickmeyer said. Sickmeyer indicated a Customer Satisfaction Survey is completed by individuals purchasing and/or servicing a Cadillac in the United States. This rating information is compiled on an annual basis with one dealership in the United States earning this honor. “Crest has gone above and beyond in meeting the expectations of its customers and should be very proud of this accomplishment,” Sickmeyer said.
May 19, 2009 11:58 PM
Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Nissan and Renault, said reports of his interest in a future iteration of Saturn aren't entirely correct.
A source close to the proceedings told BusinessWeek that confusion on the newswire and daily newspaper resulted from talks between Penske and Renault-Nissan, as well as between private equity firm Red Oak Partners, which is looking at acquiring Saturn, and Renault-Nissan about the French and Japanese automakers supplying Saturn with vehicles after 2011 when GM has said it won’t guarantee supplying cars and SUVs to Saturn showrooms.
May 6, 2009 9:54 PM
Senator calls Saturn brand 'critical part' of state's automotive history
May 6, 2009 3:15 PM
Russ Darrow, chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, offers a response to the "growing and unsettling wave of anti-dealer rhetoric in the news."
The Obama administration's auto task force and the executives of Chrysler and General Motors seem to think cutting their dealer bodies will solve all their problems. In truth, they are digging themselves deeper into a retail hole. I can't believe our government or anyone else thinks GM or Chrysler can make more money with 20-30 percent fewer retailed customers – their dealers. And it is not just automakers who will suffer when dealers close up shop. Communities of every size and in every region of this country rely on dealerships to act as a major employer and tax base, and to support local teams and charities. When dealerships go, they leave a vacuum that won't be filled in these difficult economic times.
May 6, 2009 2:41 PM
A day after auto dealer and racing team owner Roger Penske said he's interested in acquiring the Saturn brand, Bloomberg News reports that Nissan officials are interested in teaming with Penske in an interesting arrangement that might borrow from the latter's approach to distributing the Smart in the U.S. – and unite the two auto brands most closely tied to Middle Tennessee.
Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn may want to put Nissan’s North American factories to work producing vehicles under the Saturn nameplate after Nissan and Infiniti sales in the U.S. fell by a third. ... Unlike most other vehicle-distribution networks, Smart takes customer orders and deposits via a Web site, allowing dealers to keep fewer cars in inventory. Penske executives refer to such a vehicle distribution method, sidestepping the traditional U.S. franchises in which only dealers can take retail orders, as “plug and play.”
May 5, 2009 11:38 PM
That thought keeps coming to me as I read reports of Sergio Marchionne's plans to cobble together the centerpiece of his conglomerate with Chrysler and GM's European division. That "marriage made in heaven" would create a Frankenstein of a car company with more than $100 billion in revenue. (GM had $149 billion last year but would shed more than $30 billion in sales with its European arm.) Yes, other auto makers have turned around their fortunes. Lee Iacocca revived Chrysler in the '80s and Carlos Ghosn wouldn't be in charge at Renault today had he not worked his mojo on Nissan. But it wasn't that long ago that GM was fighting like mad to not be forced to buy 'hapless' Fiat outright, the result of a put option included in a 2000 agreement to share parts.
Whatever happens, experts say that the troubles for the company that was once Europe's largest automaker and the crown jewel of Italian industry will not be solved. Extra capital will help Fiat buy time, but the lack of a hot-selling vehicle in recent years has led to dwindling market share in all of its major markets and losses of $1.3 billion in 2003 and estimated losses of $1.1 billion in 2004.Five years later, are Marchionne and Fiat really strong enough to pull off this industry-changing coup? Or is this the Italian orgoglio before the fall, a classic case of over-reaching?
May 3, 2009 11:43 PM
The shutdown of Chrysler during bankruptcy and GM's planned extended downtime in June and July will push many companies to the brink.
"Prior to this, 30 to 40 percent of auto parts companies are in some form of distress financially, and I would guess all of these shutdowns are going to pump that up to maybe 50 percent suppliers being in a real financial distress situation," said Anthony Faria, an analyst at the auto research center of the University of Windsor in Ontario.
May 1, 2009 2:59 PM
That would be the call to from Detroit telling them they have to give up their Chrysler franchise. Much like GM, the auto maker's reorganization plan includes serious cuts in its dealer network, which includes nine outlets in the Nashville MSA.
Apr 30, 2009 11:07 PM
With GM entering the month of truth about its factory network, CNNMoney's Steve Hargreaves examines the dynamics that will determine the winners and losers. And while the Interstate 65 corridor has become a big player in the U.S. car industry, he says one major factor could be the network of suppliers that line the original auto artery of I-75.
Apr 28, 2009 9:47 PM
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