Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY -- One of General Motor's top executives came to Salt Lake City Thursday to talk about the state of the auto industry and show off the future of dealership designs.
A couple hundred people showed up and packed the showroom floor. But the celebration wasn't about a new car. It was about the dealership itself: The Larry H. Miller Chevrolet Murray store, a new state-of-the-art design and one of the first in the nation. Across the country, other Chevy dealerships will copy the Salt Lake location.
"Our dealers, as we speak, are investing $3 billion in facilities just like this," said Alan Batey, the Vice-President of Sales and Service for Geberal Motors. "This is one of the first ones to be done."
Dealerships around the nation, not just Chevy, are expanding and remodeling more than ever now, becoming them more customer friendly and adding things like WIFI, cafes and children's areas.
Auto shows, like the recent Utah International Auto Expo in Sandy had huge crowds, which tends to confirm that the U.S. Auto industry continues to improve. Batey said 2011 was huge.
At General Motors and Chevrolet we saw the best year-over-year increase in 35 years.
"At General Motors and Chevrolet we saw the best year-over-year increase in 35 years," he said.
When the economy tanked, auto companies felt it in a big way and literally had to reinvent themselves. Chevy diversified its portfolio, adding compact cars to its already successful line of trucks, and have seen success.
GM has also added the Chevy Volt electric car. Batey said it originally launched in six U.S. markets a couple of years ago and has now now gone nationwide. It should be available at the dealership soon.
All the while, Batey said, General Motors realized that it couldn't be designing new cars and modernizing dealerships now, without the Federal Government bailout money a couple of years ago.
"At the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves every day that the money we received from the American taxpayers is the reason we're here. And that I think rallies us and gives us an amazing passion for what we do," he said.