Norman Chevy Dealership At Odds With Manufacturer

Wednesday, October 31st 2012, 6:20 pm
By: Karl Torp

One look at Marc Heitz Chevrolet in Norman and you quickly realize this dealership is different.

It has a dog park, playground, waterfall and a collection of many species of large fish.

"There are things you don't see anywhere else," says Nick Cunningham with Marc Heitz Chevy.

Those things include a windmill which powers the outside lights and it collects rain water from the roof to help water the flowers and grass.

The dealership built the design in 2008, but was just told recently by General Motors to drastically change the look of the dealership so it complies with company standards.

"They want to change the uniqueness of the store and make it every other Chevy store," says Cunningham.

The transformation would cost the dealership $3 million. Marc Heitz Chevy says it's not changing a thing even though it will cost the dealership about a million dollars a year in lost incentives from GM on the vehicles it sells.

"They picked a fight with us and we're confused," says Cunningham.

Several other auto manufacturers, like Toyota and Honda, offer dealers incentives based on the design of their dealerships.

A spokesman for General Motors released the following statement regarding this situation:

"The current Heitz Chevrolet facility was a design of the dealer's own choosing.  It was not consistent with Chevrolet's then existing facility image standards, and General Motors did not give any approval for its construction when he built it in 2008.

After the launch of its Essential Brand Elements (EBE) program in late 2009, Chevrolet attempted to reach an agreement on an updated design for Mr. Heitz' dealership that would comply with EBE, but Mr. Heitz was not willing to implement image elements that were consistent with the program.  As we've communicated consistently with all Chevrolet dealers, our EBE program is voluntary and the financial assistance we provide under the terms of it is intended to defray the costs of dealership facility image compliance. Unfortunately, since Mr. Heitz has chosen not to complete an image-compliant facility, we had no choice but to discontinue program payments."