By Colin Bird on December 8, 2010
As GM strives to remake Buick and GMC into more premium brands, the automaker is also upgrading its dealerships and service departments to play the part, too.
So far, GM has given nearly 400 Buick-GMC dealerships, which accounts for nearly 40% of all showrooms, a more luxurious look (shown above), said GM spokeswomen Dayna Hart.
Those renovations include new signs and bright, airy showrooms featuring a customer greeting station, lounge areas, free Wi-Fi and, in some cases, cafes and salons, according to GM.
The facades of the new Buick-GMC dealerships come in silver and black. The main entrance incorporates a “twin tower” facade element, which features a large overhead arch, and the Buick and GMC logos painted in black and silver.
GM is heavily involved with making sure that each new Buick-GMC dealership has a consistent look. Bob Clapper, who owns a Buick and GMC franchise in Janesville, Wis., told the Janesville Gazette that GM regulates the look down to the “floor tiles, furniture, colors and [other] branding items.”
Overall, the new showrooms look good enough for salespeople trying to peddle an Acura or Land Rover, which is probably what GM was going for with the makeovers.
Each renovation costs anywhere from $200,000 to a few million dollars, Hart said. Dealerships pay a relatively small portion of the bill; overall, GM’s design firm initiates the project and fronts most of the cost.
Besides the physical building, GM has tweaked its dealership practices for the brands. Each brand has offered a courtesy vehicle during repairs since 2006, but now greater effort is taken to offer a similarly equipped vehicle or a vehicle that may fit a customer’s future needs.
Hart says it will take a few more years for the program to be fully completed, but by the end of 2011, 80% of all Buick-GMC dealerships should be upgraded.