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Olds General Manager Says 1995 Model Year Will be ‘A Real Test For Us’

September 8, 1994

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ General Motors Corp.’s Oldsmobile division, rumored last year to be on GM’s chopping block, expects sales to grow more than 3 percent in the 1995 model year.

But with no all-new products scheduled except its 1995 Aurora, Olds general manager John Rock said this will be a difficult year.

″The toughest challenge we have at Oldsmobile is getting to 1997,″ he said at a Thursday preview of the 1995 models.

The Aurora, introduced this spring, is designed to compete with luxury imports such as Lexus, Acura and Infiniti. More important, it is to set the tone for Oldsmobile products of the future.

Oldsmobile’s game plan is based on a program to ″Saturnize″ the company by shifting to no-dicker prices and training salespeople to focus on customer satisfaction instead of deal-making. GM’s Saturn subsidiary has built a strong customer base using these techniques.

But Olds can’t force dealers to sell for prices it sets and not dickering is a new concept for many dealership employees.

″The art of the deal is why we picked ’em,″ Rock said. ″It’s hard for all of us to change.″

Olds expects to sell about 453,000 vehicles in the 1995 model year, up from 437,000 for the 1994, said Dave Lahti, sales and service manager. The 1993 total was about 403,000, but Olds had been selling a million cars a year until the late 1980s.

Aurora’s early sales are promising, the executives said. About 8,000 have been sold since the spring introduction and the target is 40,000 a year.

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