Chevrolet MD Mark Terry has hit back at the results of the most recent RMI Dealer Attitude Survey, which ranked the brand seventh from bottom.
It’s only a year since Chevy broke away from GMUK and Terry says everyone is still in transition.
“Traditionally our dealerships have been dualled with Vauxhall, and it’s been a mixture of people who have bolted Chevrolet on the side and given it little attention, or those who have done it properly and treated it like a separate brand.”
He said the responses fed in the RMI study had been polarised because of that, leading to the poor result.
He added: “Some dealers think very little of the Chevrolet brand because it’s typically a small part of their business.
"If you don’t give it the passion, focus and commitment it requires, it’s not going to work.”
Terry said solus retailers were extremely positive and “see a good future” for Chevrolet.
He says current demand for the Orlando MPV is strong with 650 registrations since launch and all arriving vehicles meeting customer orders.
The new Aveo goes on sale in the autumn and the Volt EV is due next spring.
So have dealers quit because they’re not happy? Terry said not.
“Even those who haven’t tried hard enough, it still makes sense for them to keep it.
“We want them to give it more, but that doesn’t mean we want them to build a gin palace. It’s more important to have the right people and attitude.”
He said his goal was to have 100% motivated dealers, but at the moment it was only about 25% who were doing a great job.
“We’ve got many others who are enthusiastic but constrained by their premises. We still want them as partners and can work out a plan with them but we have a minority who don’t have a spark of enthusiasm.
“We’re talking to everyone as an individual, but for those who don’t want to come with us on the journey it’s time to part company.”
Terry would not be drawn on the detail, but revealed a plan was in place to close the main open point in the retail network.
Chevy has never had a dealer in Milton Keynes, mainly because of land supply and use regulations.
As one of the Government’s Plugged-In Places – to encourage ownership of cars such as the Volt – Terry said it was vital that a solution was found.
Boosting the brand’s presence in the fleet sector is one of Chevrolet’s main 2011 targets, but not in a way that’s going to damage the brand.
“We’re doing it by going into the user-chooser market, what we see as proper fleet.
For example, having Orlando allows us to get into Motability. But the problem is supply.
“We had our own internal forecasts for annual Orlando sales and we could have more than doubled them but at short notice and with the Japan situation, it’s not possible,” he said.