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Buick Death Watch 2: Dealers Donít Need Buick

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Ed Welburn with Buick Avista concept (Photo: Steve Fecht for Buick)

Within the custom of TTAC’s august founder, it’s time to do some old style fantasy busting about Basic Motors. Particularly, we’re going to speak a few fantasy that lots of you have been perpetrating within the feedback of our first installment in our new Buick Death Watch collection ó particularly the fallacy that Buick GMC sellers “have to have Buick to have automobiles to promote,” or that “sellers would sue GM in the event that they killed Buick.”

Not even, man.

I imply, if that they had ever bought that dangerous-ass Avista pictured up there, then perhaps, however Buick’s car lineup has left a lot to be desired within the eyes of shoppers and†sellers.†I’ll clarify a element of Basic Motors’ vendor compensation referred to as “Requirements For Excellence” to you, after which we’ll take a look at charts and numbers and knowledge and stuff. Able to have your preconceived notions challenged? GO!

First, let’s speak about Requirements For Excellence, or SFE, as most GM sellers name it. SFE is a program that pays vital bonuses to GM sellers based mostly on a variety of ever-shifting targets. I haven’t seen a PDF of the 2018 supplier program (though the worker program seems to be one other humiliating kick within the crotch) so there could also be some variations from 2017 that I’m not conscious of.

Nevertheless, for the final couple of years, it’s been like so:†sellers are required to satisfy OEM targets for every model they promote. For instance, a Chevrolet vendor solely has to satisfy Chevrolet targets, however a Buick GMC Cadillac supplier has to satisfy three totally different targets ó a Buick goal, a GMC goal, and a Cadillac goal. These was quarterly targets, however GM switched them to month-to-month targets a few years in the past, which means a supplier couldn’t make up for a nasty January with a very good February. Then, the corporate made an extra change stating that a vendor needed to promote another vehicle than they did in the identical interval because the earlier yr to qualify ó when you bought 15 Buicks in February of 2016, you needed to promote sixteen Buicks in February of 2017. Capiche? Good.

Okay, now think about that you simply’re a Buick GMC vendor, and you must hit each a Buick†and a GMC goal each month. The GMC targets aren’t so dangerous ó in any case, GMC is a well-liked model with the horse racing and oil baron set in flyover nation, however Buick is a troublesome nut to crack. The truth is, it’s superb what number of GMC Acadia intenders find yourself shopping for Enclaves or Envisions as an alternative on the final weekend of the month (because of some industrious sellers). I gained’t identify names, however I’ve been informed by a number of sellers that they flip GMC clients to Buick CUVs on a regular basis, as incentives are sometimes larger on Buicks.

Wouldn’t these clients largely be higher served and be happier with the GMCs they need†to purchase as an alternative of the Buicks they’re satisfied to purchase?†However what concerning the automobiles, man? GMC sellers should have automobiles, proper?


I did some digging into the registration knowledge of my residence state, Kentucky. These are publically obtainable numbers, btw, in most states. I took them and I threw them into a knowledge visualization program. Take note, Kentucky†ought to be prime Buick territory ó little or no model snobbery, excessive “purchase American” quotient, and a lot of the cash is “previous cash.” Right here’s all of the Buicks registered within the final 12 months of gross sales in KY:

A fast tabulation will present you that automobiles accounted for less than 17 % of Buick gross sales within the Bluegrass final yr ó the remaining have been CUVs, and virtually half have been the decidedly non-premium, observing $22,900, Buick Encore.

So, assuming you might rebrand these CUVs as GMCs and certain†achieve†gross sales quantity because of the superior notion of the GMC model, do Buick sellers actually need automobiles to promote? Let’s see how the highest performing Buick sellers within the state did in quantity within the final yr.

Ouch. That is the Buick registration knowledge from the highest Buick supplier in Kentucky. That they had a few months the place they didn’t even break double digits in†complete Buick registrations. Now, let’s see how they did if we make it simply automobiles, and exclude all CUVs.

You’re studying the info appropriately ó there was just one month the place they hit double digits, and there have been a few months the place they bought†one.†I checked out each Buick GMC vendor in Kentucky, and I couldn’t discover one other vendor that registered greater than 4 passenger automobiles in†any month.

These are the Buick car registrations for the second, third, and fourth highest quantity Buick sellers in KY. I think we might name these “not excellent.”

So, no, GMC sellers†don’t want automobiles to promote, as a result of they’re not truly promoting any. The truth is, they in all probability groan each time they promote a Buick car, as a result of now it means they should promote yet one more than that to get their bonus subsequent yr.†The one Buicks they†are promoting might simply be relabeled as GMCs. Name the Encore the “Activia” and get Jamie Lee Curtis to put it on the market. GMC might even go upmarket with an Activia Denali for $35k and it will be a smash hit.

Let’s contemplate this fantasy busted, we could?

[Image:†Steve Fecht for Buick]

– Buick Death Watch 2: Dealers Donít Need Buick –

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