General Motors returned to the South African automotive market some three years ago and identified a need across its franchises to offer consumers a broader coverage of vehicles.
According to Warrick Beaumont, national sales support manager responsible for GMSA's G2 Certified Used Car Program, "we began locally: most OEMs and importers already had their own used car programmes in place."
Being a late starter gave GMSA an opportunity to examine what other players in the market were doing, thus allowing us to leverage best practice out of that.
"We also have the advantage of being part of a leading global motor franchise. GM has a number of its own used vehicle operations around the world," he says.
To Beaumont, the success of any used car programme is encapsulated in the statement: It must be "a standards-based used vehicle marketing programme that guarantees the customer product quality and ownership reassurance".
"If you can meet that core standard - where everything you do is measurable, and it delivers a certain set level of quality to the customer - then the customer walks away reassured they are buying a quality car," he says.
That was the journey undertaken - and the birth of GMSA's G2 Certified Used Car programme.
"On the one hand you have an OEM with a theoretical model based on local and overseas best practices. On the other you have dealers with their own local knowledge and ways of operating. We succeeded in combining the best of both worlds. If a franchise is not viable at dealer level, it's not going to grow," says Beaumont.
GMSA went to its retailers, laid out what the company's intentions were and asked them to apply for the franchise. It was not an automatic acceptance.
The retailers who applied were audited by GMSA, who examined their in-house processes, the way they dealt with customers, the quality of their vehicles, and appointed only those retailers who met GM?s requirements.
GMSA is currently undergoing a multi-million rand facilities upgrade programme in SA to meet the GM global standards. So it was opportune that GMSA decided to launch a franchise to coincide with the change and selected a number of prominent, qualifying dealers that would give the brand a national footprint.
So what is G2 all about?
Firstly, a 114-point quality check. "We have compiled a standards manual, which together with training, will ensure that final product is delivered at the correct level. Each customer is shown the technician's findings and rectifications, which ensures that a mechanically sound and well prepared vehicle is handed over.
Every G2 vehicle is subject to a 30-day exchange plan. This exchange plan is documented and all details are explained to the customer during the handover. Both parties sign this document, which in turn binds the dealer and the customer to the agreement.
The dealer certifies that everything necessary has been done to verify the mileage, service history, no major accident damage, and that it has no outstanding finances encumbered against the vehicle.
The entire transaction is transparent: all promises advertised are delivered via a fully documented handover process.
The handover standards are documented to ensure that the entire transaction is similar to that of a new car delivery.
The vehicle leaves the dealer with the minimum of a two-year unlimited kilometre warranty - this could be the balance of the OE warranty, and/or it could be an optional after-market warranty.
"We don?t limit the G2 programme solely to GM-brands," says Beaumont. "As long as the vehicles meet the G2 standard, it doesn't matter if they are a GM brand or not."