I just had an interesting conversation with one of my local service desk writers about GM parts, specifically for Saturn: Looks like GM is purchasing said parts from what used to be Saturn, having them shipped to some regional GM depot, then turning around and "selling" them to the GM designated Saturn service departments, who in turn get a "credit" back from GM for warranty replacements.
And he commented that the system isn't much better for the other divisions either.
Not sure where he got that information, but I doubt that's the actual truth. Since Nov 1st, ANY GM dealer can order Saturn parts just like any other GM product line's parts. Same prices, same warehouses, same warranty reimbursements, etc. Any GM dealer can do any warranty work on any GM line, although some can opt out of certain lines if they don't want to spend the money on the required special tools to service that line. (Corvettes take a bunch of special tools.)
As far as the workload, dealers have just had to get more efficient or perish. Repair work in general has dropped off quite a bit in the last decade or so, basically GM has just been making better cars than they did in say, the '80's. (For the most part, total crap cars!) Service work peaked for our dealer in the late 90's, and has slowed down since then. Now that most of the dealers around us have closed, our business is doing great. We've hired more techs, and highly trained, skilled ones too because there's plenty of them out there right now. (at least in my area.) Even still, at times we get a little slow, and I'm still saying it's because cars just don't break as much as they used to.
One thing I've noticed around the country though (I've traveled quite a bit) is there is a HUGE difference in what a dealership is like in say, the middle of Kansas, vs. the middle of LA or San Francisco. There's even a big difference between a flat rate dealer in LA and an hourly dealer in LA. (I'm talking about Los Angeles, not Louisiana.) Or a privately owned dealer vs. a big corporate owned chain of dealers. And even more than that, if there's 15 techs in a dealership, 2 might be awesome and fix your car perfectly every time, 8 or 10 would probably be ok and get you fixed, maybe not the first time, but the rest might totally suck and never fix your car or might even make it worse.
Sooooo, what I'm trying to say is find that dealer, and tech, that knows what they're doing and be super nice to them. If they take care of you, bring them donuts or pizza next time you come in, believe me it goes a long way towards how they take care of you. Don't assume every dealer and every tech is a dumb**** that's out to rip you off. Don't walk in acting like you know more than they do, even if you do. After all, you know your one car inside and out, they work on hundreds of different models and years of cars and may not know every little thing there is to know about your particular car. A good tech will listen to things you suggest or what you've learned about your particular problem by researching on the net, just don't say "Here's my car and here's what's wrong with it- fix it".
Sorry to get a little off subject here, Bogie I wouldn't worry too much about the access to service and parts in the future, the dealership base will adjust to the demand. If the dealerships are swamped and it starts to take 2 weeks to get an appointment, a good dealer will realize they have to expand to keep up with the demand, and the profits it will bring in. As far as my particular dealer and the market we're in, it's been working out quite nicely having fewer dealers in the area.