You may recall that I told of my visit to the General Motors Renaissance Center headquarters back in August as a member of NADA's Task Force on Facility Image Programs and Multi-Tier Pricing in the space. One of the results of that meeting was a commitment by General Motors to consult with small and rural dealers on the EBE program.
Mark Reuss commented that he wanted to help dealers "do what they COULD do" on a timeline that “worked for them”. I specifically asked if that meant some flexibility going forward. I did not get a straight answer on that question.
So shortly after I returned from Detroit, I called my GM Regional manager and asked him to schedule a visit to my store. I got a call back a few weeks later from my Zone Manager who scheduled a visit to my store in mid-October.
The Zone Manager came to visit my store recently. After introductions, he lusted over my desk for a couple of minutes (more on that later). I found him to be a very pleasant gentleman and we had a very cordial conversation as we learned a bit more about each other.
Eventually, the discussion turned to my facility and the EBE program. I gave him a bit of my background with the EBE program told him of the exceptions that I had asked for.
The short story here is that he had no authority, had no discretion, had no flexibility and was no help in getting relief from the EBE program. I could revisit all my discussion points that I visited with him about (they can be found here and here and here). But the bottom line is that it was a waste of time for both of us.
The irony of whole visit was the fact that he was smitten by my desk. When we discussed "customer touch points" and the fact that the EBE program disallowed the customer from seeing the desk in my office, he was stumped. After he thought about, he realized that the office was a customer touch point and there was no way that a customer could see the desk if my office was in compliance with EBE standards.
He took photos and is going to go through the motions of submitting (again) my requests but we both know that it is an exercise in futility. The requests go to the same group that rejected them before.
So I am much more skeptical about our visit to Detroit now. I feel like the whole notion about GM placing people in the field was more of an appeasement than an actual effort to help RCC dealers.
I will reiterate a point that I made after the Detroit trip: the NADA task force must hold GM accountable for the commitments they made.
I am not done with this. Stay tuned for developments...
NADA Issues Dealer Guidance on Counterfeit Air Bags
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in early October a consumer advisory on counterfeit air bags.
Federal investigators have determined that thousands of counterfeit bags have been bought and installed in U.S. motor vehicles over the past three years.
NHTSA also has determined that in the event of a frontal collision, these counterfeit bags are unlikely to deploy properly or may deploy in a manner that can harm vehicle occupants. See below for an NADA dealer Q&A document.
Vehicles with counterfeit air bags installed are believed to constitute less than 0.1% of the total in-use fleet. Nonetheless, dealers should be prepared to respond to inquiries from the public on this matter.
NHTSA is urging concerned owners to start by visiting www.safercar.gov/Air+Bags to determine if they are at risk.
In addition to the NADA guidance, dealers should expect to receive communications directly from the auto manufacturers they represent, addressing how to detect and manage counterfeit air bags.
It's important to note that unlike a safety recall campaign, customers should expect to pay to have their air bags diagnosed, and if necessary, replaced.
Service Advisors Overtime Exemption Extended Through March
Congressional legislation to prevent a government shutdown includes an extension of a federal overtime exemption for service advisors through March.
Since the late 1970s, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has held that the frontline employee-salespersons in the service department remain exempt from federal time-and-a-half pay requirements. In 2011, DOL attempted to reverse this policy. Congress intervened and temporarily stopped the Department from enforcing the change.
The Congressional ban was included in a funding measure that was set to expire at the end of September. Under the new continuing resolution that extends government spending through March 2013, DOL is prevented from enacting the new policy for service salespeople.