The move is designed to increase efficiency in backroom functions for the Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet dealer networks.
A spokesman says GM hopes this will make the brands more attractive for those dealers already representing one GM franchise who are seeking expansion with other franchises. He adds that this is not a step towards forcing dealers to take on all GM brands. Each brand will still keep its own corporate identity and showroom design.
“This is a pan-European agreement by the brands to simplify and align standards where it makes sense. It has been done in conjunction with the franchise boards,” says the spokesman. Dealers are required to sign and return the new contracts by Christmas.
GM has created a new single standard for all three brands, rather than soften Saab’s and harden Chevrolet’s. The spokesman says the number of requirements in the new standard has been reduced by 40%. Some demands, such as keeping the forecourt clean, have been dropped in favour of dealers using their common sense.
“This hasn’t meant that standards have been brought down or raised, but we’ve taken out a lot of the things that weren’t necessary,” he adds.
The spokesman also refuted rumours that GM has ordered its European operations to cancel planned investment in carmaker-owned dealerships. That stemmed from claims by a UK property developer that Saab had withdrawn from a deal to buy a site in Brentford hours before exchange of contracts.