LINCOLNWOOD, IL – Although all is not well for General Motors Corp., “it is an exciting time to be a GM dealer,” says Caroline Grossinger, president of Grossingler Autoplex here.
Her family dealership business includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac franchises.
Despite its current woes of rising costs, shrinking market share and an unprecedented drop to junk-bond status, Grossinger is an optimistic retail representative of the world’s largest auto maker.
“GM is doing a lot of things right lately,” she says. “They talk to their dealers like never before. There’s good support from zone managers like we haven’t seen in years. The top echelon is speaking to dealers and asking for feedback. It’s being done like no other car line.
“Quality is where GM has made huge strides. It will take a while for people to realize that. I’m confident GM will get back its market share.”
As for the auto maker’s financial troubles, Grossinger, who holds a degree in economics, says, “I’m not saying those aren’t serious concerns, but they aren’t insurmountable either.”
Here are her takes on GM products as well as three import brands her dealerships sell:
Pontiac: “The new G6 (midsize sedan) is an outstanding product with so many attributes and a competitive price point of $17,995. The Solstice convertible will arrive with a price like nothing out there.
“Problems? We didn’t have the right product for such a long time.”
Dealer Caroline Grossinger says Buick LaCrosse is generating a lot of showroom traffic.
Buick: “We’re getting real traffic with the new LaCrosse (a midsize sedan). Younger buyers are looking at it. The Lucerne (a fullsize sedan) shows promise. The Terraza (crossover sport van) needs more publicity, more public awareness.
“Buick owners are the most loyal in the world, but again as with Pontiac, we haven’t had the product until recently.”
Cadillac: “The CTS (sports sedan) has outstanding styling, value and quality. It is exciting and really performs. The SRX is a great SUV, but people ask, ‘What is it?’ For some reason, some people are not aware of it.”
GMC: “GMC makes outstanding products. I typically drive a GMC demo. The division offers among the best SUVs in the market and offers so much to so many different people.
“But it’s time for a new product line. The quality is there, but it’s time for restyling.”
Toyota: “I’m a huge fan of Toyota. The way they price, the way they don’t let product get stale. They price right from the start. It’s not about relying heavily on incentives or on correcting a pricing mistake.
“They don’t rest on past laurels. The new-generation Avalon Limited is a $35,000 car that’s comparable to a $45,000 luxury model. And quality for Toyota is not hit or miss.”
Suzuki: “Good product line with good value. But Suzuki needs to spend more money to have more people know their products. A lot of people don’t know of Forenza (a compact) or Verona (a sedan). Individual dealers can’t spend the amount of marketing money that’s necessary for national brand awareness.”
Volvo: “It has a very loyal customer base. The new S40 (sedan) seems like it will bring a lot to the table. Volvo is simplifying its number of models and trim lines. It will be easier for customers to understand.”