GM Selects Providers for Dealer Systems

The auto maker splits a deal between two vendors as providers of management systems for its vehicle retailers.

General Motors Corp. blessed two vendors, the Reynolds and Reynolds Company and Quorum Information Technologies Inc., as providers of management systems for its vehicle retailers.

The selection of providers of its IDMS (Integrated Dealer Management System) is separate from the 40-odd deals that GM plans to announce later this month—divvying up the huge amount of IT work once performed by former GM subsidiary EDS among a host of outsourcing providers.

"IDMS is a set of interfaces and protocols. Before, GM did not have a single system for its dealers to use. Instead, GM would certify existing systems," said Nick Bell, process information officer for North America vehicle sales, service and marketing.

"The dealers will get a better price than they have gotten previously," said Bell.

GM retailers in North America handling Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac and Saab will be able to choose between the two providers for their IDMS systems.

GM signed a separate deal in December with Reynolds and Reynolds to provide new IDMS systems to the 440 U.S. Saturn dealers in 2007. GM did not disclose the dollar value of the dealer systems.

In the Saturn contract, Reynolds and Reynolds systems will replace existing dealer management systems provided by ADP.

Unlike other dealers of other GM brands, the Saturn dealers vote on a single dealer management system for all to use.

GM began scoping out the need for new dealer systems two years ago, working with GM Dealer Councils representing its 7,500 North American dealers to analyze the business processes of GM dealerships.

One resulting innovation is the so-called "dealer workbench" that includes all interfaces—including parts, warranty and customer information—on one screen.

Another innovation of IDMS is to integrate data between retailers and General Motors so that dealers can keep their parts inventories lean while ensuring parts are available to customers.

Quorum, based in Calgary, Alberta, makes XSELLERATOR, a proprietary dealer management software package.

The Microsoft Windows-based software automates and streamlines automobile dealerships sales, service, parts, accounting and CRM processes, according to the vendor.

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It provides real-time access to GM parts information, a Quorum spokesperson said.

Reynolds and Reynolds ERA XT system offers retail, CRM and communication capabilities. It is geared to maximize contact between dealers and customers, a Reynolds and Reynolds spokesperson said. The software is delivered in a managed, secure ASP format, according to the vendor.

"Rapidly evolving and newly emerging technologies have forever changed the ways GM shares information and conducts business in the automotive retailing industry. We want to leverage the capabilities of these IT suppliers to help GM strengthen its relationship with its retail dealers and, in turn, provide the dealers with the tools that deliver greater flexibility to facilitate vehicle orders, manage vehicle and service parts inventories and, above all, sell GM cars and trucks," said Ralph Szygenda, group vice president and chief information officer at General Motors, in a statement.

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