For a GM/Hummer break-up news update, GM just witnessed the launch of its first green dealership. Located in Highland, Michigan the LaFontaine Automotive Group celebrated the opening of their new, $15 million dollar, 64 thousand square-foot facility on Wednesday, July 16, 2008.
In addition to enormous skylights aimed at reducing electricity bills, the building also features doors made of entirely of hard-packed, solid forms of corncob and wheat [insert your own waste-related joke here] . The building’s most innovative and most expensive feature, however, is the underground geothermal heating and cooling system which consists of 64 in-ground wells used for the capture and storage of natural energy.
Considered a ballsy move given GM’s current financial woes, owner Mike LaFontaine anticipates recovering the debt in as little as 5 years. According to LaFontaine, “There’s a tremendous number of consumers out there who want to purchase from a green dealer.” Although the decision to go green wasn’t suggested by GM, LaFontaine predicts that any new dealership built within the next ten years will be enviro-friendly. Undoubtedly a smart marketing maneuver, green dealerships will also help GM to compete with other notoriously green automobile manufactures like Toyota and Honda.
According to Susan Docherty, vice president at LaFontaine Buick-Pontiac-GMC, GM already produces vehicles that are more fuel efficient than those of their rivals, but consumers don’t typically associate GM with “green” products. With the construction of more dealerships like LaFontaine, Docherty hopes to change that misconception.
[Source: Automotive News]