Senior sales vice-presidents of GM and Ford, Pete Gerosa and James G. O’Connor, agreed that despite all the technological advances, such as the Internet, the central force in retailing cars is “product appeal” plus dealer salespeople’s ties to customers. “That’s unchanged,” said Gerosa. “Whether the dealership is a megastore or a mom-and-pop shop, those are key selling tools. It’s the strength of the franchise system that keeps that relationship essential.”
O’Connor conceded that Ford made some moves to shore up dealership relationships that had soured several years ago, indicating the automaker has resolved not to repeat initiatives such as buying stores or staging auctions on the internet.
But the power of the Internet as a sales channel was emphasized by eBay’s vice-president and general manager, Simon Rothman. With approximately 300,000 used cars and trucks sold on eBay last year, independent and franchised dealers accounted for most of the volume. “The average dealer spends about $500 in ad or auction expenses and commissions to sell a used car,” Rothman stated. “The savings on eBay is 75 percent or more, so we look for continued growth.” –Mac Gordon
FROM THE SOURCE
XM Satellite Radio, America's leading satellite radio service, will be available as an option on several key Acura and Honda models, Honda announced. Scheduled to be released in the spring of 2003, the 2004 Acura RL will be delivered with XM Satellite
Radio hardware as standard equipment. This will be followed by the all-new 2004 TL sedan in the fall. For Honda products, a dealer-installed option will be available in the spring on the 2003 Accord and Pilot. The Honda Division of American Honda expects to have XM Satellite Radio factory-installed beginning with the 2004 Accord.
|AMER AXLE & MANU||AXL||24.53||-0.20|
|BALLARD PWR SYS||BLDP||11.43||-0.10|
|FORD MOTOR CO||F||10.43||+0.13|
|HONDA MOTOR CO||HMC||18.16||+0.20|
|UNIT AUTO GRP||UAG||13.11||-0.06|