GM Europe – New Corporate Identity

This just in via email…..The Borg moves on relentlessly. It’s good they’re going to spruce up the place, but Saabs and Chevys as part of the same corporate identity? Call me a Saab snob all you like, but it doesn’t seem to me to be the way to build what’s supposed to be your global premium brand.

The subsequent question that remains after reading this:

Do Cadillac get dedicated showrooms?

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GM is launching a new dealer Corporate Identity (CI) program throughout Europe. The rollout involving approximately 9,000 dealers, started this month and continues until 2010, with most dealers converting to the new design in the 2007 to 2009 timeframe.

These numbers exclude Vauxhall brand dealers as a similar program is already being rolled out in the UK.

The new exterior signage, featuring blue transparent glass and a unique printing technique, combines the brands – Saab, Opel & Chevrolet – in one coordinated look that is cost-effective and flexible. No matter whether the dealership represents one, two, or all three brands, only one pylon is needed for logos and can easily be expanded to accommodate additional GM brands. Functional, high-quality interiors and displays include counter systems with atmospheric illumination and multi-media screens, retail display systems for catalogues or accessories, car data stands, sales consultant islands, brand walls and a display platform to feature new cars. The interiors clearly convey each brand’s identity and utilize brand-specific ‘signatures’. For example, within this group brand approach, Saab continues the roll-out of its “Unlimited” dealer showroom CI, which has already been implemented by about half of its dealerships.

“The newly developed group design is clean and its technically advanced look and feel communicates the right quality standards. It raises the bar for retail environments in the European automotive scene in a way that is both flexible and affordable for our retailers. This is a further important step in strengthening our European business,” says Jonathan Browning, GM Europe Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Aftersales.

The implementation of the new CI at larger multibrand dealerships, representing Saab, Opel and Chevrolet, will cost up to €100,000, with the investment shared between the dealer and GM. On the other hand, a small, single brand Authorized Repairer, can upgrade CI for around €10,000. GM Europe covers the complete cost of design development, technical development, engineering and prototyping. In addition, GM will make available a range of centrally sourced, matching storage elements and furniture that dealers can purchase for use throughout the dealership.

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4 Comments

  1. I think this partly has to do with new EU directives about how dealers that are not owned by the car companies now are able to choose brands. Where I live, the old Saab dealership took over the Opel dealership some 10 years ago when they basically were forced to do so by Saab. But now, they also sell Honda and Saab Sweden can’t tell them not to anymore. The VW dealership (VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat) now also sell Kia. In a town nearby, a dealer represents Chevrolet, Hyundai, Lexus, Opel, Saab and Toyota! It’s a way of attracting more customers into the showroom since there is ‘something for everybody’.

    Now the brands office in that country must provide more resources to the dealer and help them with the showroom. I think this is a part of that effort, but I could be all wrong. Would be nice to hear from some dealers in Europe about this.

  2. Interesting, CTM. American dealers have always had the option of multiple brands, with exceptions that varied from brand-to-brand. For instance, a Ford dealer couldn’t add a GM or Chrysler brand at the same location, but they could open another store just down the street and sell anything they wanted to.

    I like the graphics for what it’s worth. I wish that the US dealers would adopt such a scheme. Car dealerships are a blight on the face of many parts of many towns.

  3. Swade, I am a newer SAAB owner I purchased my ’06 9-3 SS back in February. I love your blog and appreciate your love for the company and the cars. I check your site religiously everyday, for I too am hooked on SAAB.

    I think the US should adopt the same design aesthetic for it’s dealerships as it plans to do in Europe. The design is absolutely beautiful and very modern. “Eggngrit” is right about the face of dealerships for they aren’t the most attractive of buildings and many are pushing several decades old without much change. VW has done an excellent job of unifying their dealerships whether it’s small or very large. Granted, they are only selling VW’s but you wouldn’t mistake it from a Honda dealer.

    Currently in the US Saabs are sold in dealerships with other GM brands, the dealership I bought my car was sold along side of Hummer, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC trucks. Each brand has its own dedicated space in the showroom. Saab is part of the GM family and tying other brands together with a unifying look I don’t feel damages the brand. (Although I think Jaguar’s would look funny being sold next to a Ford Focus.) When they start rebadging Chevrolets as Saabs that will be damaging, but that is a different story.

    Interestingly, a Mazda I purchased a few years ago came from a dealership that sold Mazda, Pontiac and Dodge all in the same showroom.

  4. The “liberalization” of the car distribution here in Europe its a totally disaster of the European Union. Only when brands decided to collaborate they only acomplished some points, but the results of that legislation only caused the concentration of the dealers in big multibrands dealers and a worse service in many cases. Here in Spain, since the end of 2003, GME take car of the distribution of Saab(before the license was of Porsche). Since then the network of dealers was increased, many of them by multibrand dealers, the majority Opel dealers. Under the same roof you can see Saab and Opels, in different zones, but the same mechanic that repair a Opel Combo, can touch your Saab. As you can imagine that image and service for the customer its a disaster. And Saab/GM Spain take care about it, and the idea is that those multibrand dealers make the effort to have different and Saab specialized dealers. But now GME comes with this…

    Many dealers make big economic efforts to be a “Saab Unlimited Dealer”. For example every line of lamps of the celing costs about 5000 euros, the floor comes from Italia and costs thousands of euros, and more…..

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