Hundreds of Dealers Converge on GM's Delta Township Plant

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

DELTA TOWNSHIP -- Sixteen months removed from first declaring bankruptcy -- and this place has perhaps never seemed so alive.

"The entire dealer body is leaving here today absolutely overwhelmed," said one of the 900 Buick and GMC dealers converging on General Motors' Delta Township assembly this week.

They're here from across the country to get a closer look at the vehicles that are saving their businesses.

"Sales are up this year probably about 25 percent at my dealership," said Tim Matheny, owner of a GM dealership in West Virginia. "That crossover market is probably 20-25 percent of our sales."

The Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia -- both made at Delta -- are two of the crossover vehicles that have helped pull GM out of bankruptcy.

The auto-giant's sales climbed 10.5 percent in September, led by a 62 percent surge in Acadias, 60.4 percent in Enclaves.

Just across the way at the Lansing Grand River plant, the Cadillac STS saw a sales jump of 71.7 percent over last September.

"Without a doubt, we're not without our challenges, but we're seeing some really good things happen out of Lansing," said GM spokeswoman Jennifer Brown.

Here at Delta, a third shift -- some 900 workers -- has been brought on.

And for dealers like Mike Bowsher out of Atlanta -- many of them were on the verge of losing their businesses. Now?

"We trade in Lexuses, Land Rovers, Acuras, things we haven't even seen before," Bowsher said. "Stuff we've had to learn to appraise."

Wednesday those dealers took some time to appreciate the build side of their business, which they say will eventually help them sell the product off the lot.

"Whether it's the guy standing over here doing this job, or me selling the car to the consumer, we're all on the same team. And it's gotta work together," Bowsher said.

The one complaint from dealers here? The crossovers are selling so fast, they simply don't have enough of them.

"We are working as many Saturdays as possible," Brown assured eager dealerships. "Including volunteer Saturdays."

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