General Motors is now up to 90 percent profitability, and it has learned from past mistakes. The company committed $3 billion to upgrade 3,400 dealerships, and almost 1,000 are already getting the work done.
So, as American automakers continue to reduce the number of dealers — the Big Three (Ford, as well as GM and Chrysler) shut down 234 in 2011 — they're making sure what's left can compete with Hyundai, BMW and Mercedes.
The foreign brands continue to expand in the United States, while also doing equivalent investments in current dealerships. Hyundai opened 40 new dealers in 2011, more than any other auto company. Mercedes was extremely aggressive in 2011, sprucing up 300 dealerships at a cost of $1.4 billion. BMW has been investing billions in dealership upgrades since 2000 — which has not slowed down.
The new mantra of the auto dealer? Leaner in numbers, meaner on profitability ... but nicer to the American consumer.
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