Reports are indicating that Project Pinnacle, Cadillac’s new dealer incentive program will be delayed for three months. It was originally supposed to start in January, but will now be launched in April 2017.
Johan de Nysschen, the company’s president, has noted the reason behind the delay is to allot more time for dealers to understand the logistics of the program; therefore, positioning them to receive payouts once it launches. He goes on to stress this is not because the company has doubts about the initiative, as there have been criticisms about Pinnacle, labeling it as unfair and potentially illegal under certain franchise laws, by state dealer associations and some dealers.
De Nysschen added that the program will be around for a long time, so there is no need to rush its launch; stating that the delay will not hurt. He also notes that a silver lining behind the wait is that it will now allow additional time for those Cadillac dealers that share showroom space with GM brands, so that they can work together to develop a higher level, exclusive client experience.
In other news for the brand, Auto News reported that the company let its dealers know of this Pinnacle delay one day after Cadillac’s 400 smallest retailers decided to agree to $180,000 buyout or not, therefore releasing their rights to their franchise. De Nysschen added less than 20 eligible stores decided to accept.
Cadillac has 925 dealerships across the United States, a figure that de Nysschen states is too high when compared to the company’s sales volume. From January to October of this year, Cadillac sold 133,234 cars, which is just over 5% less than the same time in 2015.
De Nysschen has stated that Pinnacle is not aimed at shrinking the company’s dealership network. The brand revealed its September buyout offer was a way to respond to appeals from the National Automobile Dealers Association and single retailers. The initiative was supposed to be rolled out in October, but was delayed three months due to dealer feedback. A simulated program was run at that time instead, so that the dealerships could get a feel for the project.
De Nysschen stated that a total of 832 of its dealerships registered for Pinnacle by its deadline, September 30. The 93 that did not, represent a little over 1% of the company’s total retail sales volume. He does hope that the others will decide to participate in Pinnacle, eventually.