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Do we need fewer Cadillac Dealers?

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There are more Cadillac Franchises (stand alone or combined dealerships = 1,469) in the USA than there are Toyota Franchises (1,224), Honda franchises (1,019), or BMW+Mercedes+Porsche put together (950). The advantage of having so many Cadillac stand alone (227) or shared (1,242) dealerships is that in all the large cities and most other places, there is a local Cadillac franchise which offers sales and service. The disadvantage is that the profits from sales are spread across a much larger network, and the process of supplying cars to each, monitoring quality, warranty repairs, and training are much more complicated for Cadillac, much less GM, than for their competitors.

I like having a local Cadillac Dealer. I bought my CTS from a dealer that is a few miles from our house. I have been in situations before with undersupported cars (Porsche) where not having a local Dealer was a significant hurdle. However, I could have gone to any of 4 other Cadillac dealers in my region for my CTS. That DOES seem like overkill.

Why do we want the Dealers to make more money? Because then they have more resources to spend on advertising and on training for their staff. I would also wager that more profitable Dealers tend to have more permanent, and more capable staff.

Why do we want Cadillac to have fewer Dealers? Because it would seriously improve their communications pathways to their Dealer network. If Cadillac had the same number of dealers as Lexus (221), they would have 1/5 the number of Dealers to communicate with. They are more likely to be better able to find out from the Dealers what is REALLY happening with the cars on the road, and to get design fixes in place and quality improvements.

Disadvantages? We would not have local dealers everywhere we do now. I think this could be mitigated with a program to allow delivery of Cadillacs ordered from a Cadillac hub to any GM dealer for customer pickup.


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I would like have many Cadillac dealers nearby. For the longest time, from 1993 until 2006, I had to drive 100 miles to the nearest other Cadillac dealer that I trusted. I had to do this 30+ times over the course of 14 years my three Caddys. I love that dealership. Stuff they fix stay fixed and they give me a loaner for however long I want it.

Now that idiots at the local dealership (2 miles from my house) are gone, I am giving the local guys another chance. So far, so good. However, some of the stuff they fix don't stay fixed and require return trips.

2003 Seville STS 43k miles with the Bose Sound, Navigation System, HID Headlamps, and MagneRide

1993 DeVille. Looks great inside and out! 298k miles!

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I've dealt extensively with two dealers, a Chevrolet-Cadillac dealer in the L.A. area and a stand-alone dealer in S. Jersey (but the owner has a BMW dealership down the road under the same name, and also a motorcycle dealership with BMW, Victory and others in a third location). The L.A. dealership was one of the largest Cadillac dealers in the world when I was there, and the Cadillac operation was wholly separate from the Chevrolet operation.

I think that the key is the technicians. Each dealership must have enough service, including older cars and in-depth diagnostic jobs, to keep top-notch technicians employed, engaged, interested and happy. Without that, we occasionally see things like posts here saying things that have us all wondering "how could that dealer/service manager think that?"

A better solution for us older car owners would be a revision of the way that they do service and employ techs. Since each dealership is an individually-owned franchise, the techs work for the dealership and that's that. If the dealerships in a region had a co-op that employed the techs, some of them could go where the cars are that need them, within limits. This would have the advantage of making in-depth tech experience available to dealers that are close enough for owners to feel that they own a mainstream car. This is a difficult thing to do for a car that has 2% to 2.5% of the market.

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