GM Dealer Sees Recalls as Opportunity To Shine
- GM Dealer Mike Bowsher, the president of Carl Black Automotive Group, welcomes the chance to help his customers through the automaker's multiple product recalls.
- "This is our time to shine," he told Edmunds.
- GM CEO Mary Barra recently singled out GM dealers for praise in her Congressional testimony, saying: "I can't be more proud of how our dealers are supporting the customer."
KENNESAW, Georgia — General Motors has recalled nearly 30 million cars so far in 2014, but the challenge of making good on all those recalls hasn't gotten dealer Mike Bowsher down. The president of Carl Black Automotive Group looks at it another way, telling Edmunds: "This is our time to shine."
GM CEO Mary Barra recently singled out GM dealers for praise in her Congressional testimony, saying: "I can't be more proud of how our dealers are supporting the customer."
Bowsher's group has two dealerships in the Atlanta area, plus one in Nashville and one in Orlando, Florida, all specializing in Buick, Chevrolet and GMC products. He told Edmunds that when customers come in for a recall, "a few are upset or agitated that they have to go through this, but for the most part, people understand."
Along with other dealers he's talked to around the country, Bowsher said he believes the challenge of multiple recalls is also an opportunity for them.
"This is our chance to put our best forward with people we haven't seen in years and show them new products," he said.
Bowsher has instructed his service staff to "put these folks at the front of the line and prioritize them, sometimes even picking up their cars at their homes."
Bowsher said his dealerships have some 350 courtesy cars in service and noted: "When someone who has a five-year-old car gets to test-drive a new model for days or weeks, it's the silver lining for them."
In fact, he said, some people come in for a recall wanting to just "trade in and get on with it."
The dealers are getting support at the corporate level during the recall crisis.
On Wednesday, GM spokesman James Cain told Edmunds that the automaker is providing courtesy transportation, including loaner vehicles, upon request for consumers affected by the recent 2013-'14 Chevrolet Cruze airbag recall.
Cain said there are currently about 25,000 GM customers affected by the GM small-car ignition-switch recall in loaner vehicles.
"Over time, we have processed 76,000 requests for rentals," Cain said.
As of June 25, GM said it had repaired 296,462 small cars involved in the recall for defective ignition switches that could disable the airbags. The 2005-'10 Chevrolet Cobalt is included in that recall.
At the dealership level, Bowsher said he doesn't deny that this period has been "a pretty wild ride."
But the entire dealership staff, from sales to service, has been engaged in the effort to make the recalls a time of strength.
"I'd obviously like us to get past this recall situation, but we know we have to get through this, and we will," he said.
In fact, he noted, traffic both for service and sales has been up at his dealerships, as with General Motors as a whole.
Looking toward the future, he commented: "At the end of the day, (GM is) going to seek out everything that could possibly be an issue and take care of it, which should translate into GM having the safest cars on the road. That's what I'm hoping."
Edmunds says: The enterprising dealer knows how to make the best of a challenging situation.