DETROIT — Cadillac is reinventing the way its dealers sell cars.
The new program, called Project Pinnacle, sets standards for such things as how the sales-and-service staff interacts with customers, the sales team's appearance and how dealers receive compensation for selling vehicles.
The initiative is tentatively scheduled to begin on October 1.
"As the transformation of Cadillac continues to evolve, we are working with our dealers to ensure we are providing opportunities for delivering rewards while reinforcing brand-building behaviors," Cadillac spokesman Andrew Lipman told Edmunds.
"As a result, Cadillac is introducing a new dealer pricing structure and dealer reward program, called Project Pinnacle. The new initiatives are designed to help our dealers improve the customer experience and increase dealer rewards. The more a dealer engages in the new program, the greater the potential for earnings," he said.
Project Pinnacle is the brainchild of Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen, who joined the automaker in 2014 after holding executive positions at Audi and Infiniti.
Luxury brands such as Infiniti, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz have also taken steps to improve the customer experience at dealerships.
As part of that effort, Lexus is in the process of launching a pilot program at 11 dealerships that is centered around a one-price, no haggle vehicle pricing strategy.
Cadillac dealers have the potential to increase earnings, linked to attainment of certain criteria. Conversely, underperforming dealers will have less opportunity to obtain earnings, Lipman said. One significant change for dealers is holdback has been eliminated — the automatic lump sum payment made to dealers as a percentage of the sticker price.
Lipman said Project Pinnacle's initiatives include consideration of brand standards, customer satisfaction, marketing participation, sales performance, personnel training and certification, and engagement in the certified pre-owned vehicle program.
"We need to establish and reinforce relentless quality and consistency of execution — under each individual rooftop, as well as across our global network — which is a hallmark of all great luxury brands," Lipman said.
Under the initiative, dealerships with low sales volume will continue to sell Cadillacs but no longer be required to stock Cadillac inventory. Those dealerships generally have additional franchises such as Chevrolet, Buick and GMC.
Cadillac has about 900 U.S. dealers, approximately triple the number supported by Audi, BMW and Lexus.
Edmunds says: As European luxury brands and Lincoln have taken steps to improve the dealer experience, it comes as no surprise that Cadillac is following their footsteps.