Park City GM dealer "not worried" about closures
May 1, 2009
General Motors will begin closing dealerships across the country next week a crucial move as it struggles to remain in business. Park City’s Mike Hale Chevrolet is vulnerable just for being a GM dealership, but Hale said his dealership will remain open.
The auto manufacturer promised to move fast in trimming the company Monday and held a teleconference with dealerships Tuesday to explain details.
Spokesperson Susan Garontakos said which dealerships will close has not been announced yet, but dealers will be notified starting in early May.
People who watched the teleconference Tuesday said the company’s criteria for selecting dealerships to close was vague.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Hale said he’s not worried.
"I’m not going anywhere. We’re so into the community," he said. "We’re not worried. Chevrolet is not going away."
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Once a dealership has been selected for closing, GM will honor contracts to repurchase vehicles that meet set terms. Garontakos said she knows dealers are very concerned.
"This is a big deal, it’s no small matter," she said.
The announcement of the closures comes almost simultaneously with the arrival of the new and highly anticipated Chevy Camaro. Excitement over the vehicle has been brewing since 2006, and it’s arriving at dealerships now, said Adam Denison, a Chevrolet spokesman. The company has pre-sold 14,000.
Mike Hale called it a "home run" and "new deal."
But rather than mixed news, Hale suggested it as further evidence that Chevrolet dealerships are well situated and will not be among the massive cuts to start soon.
"Unfortunately, some dealers, who are my friends, are going to have to go away. Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab they’re gone," he said.
That was his forecast, but Hale said Chevrolet is stable and is as American as baseball and apple pie. They make better trucks than Japanese companies, he said.
Hale also predicted that dealers in rural areas will be at risk, as will those with a lot of debt. Over on Rasmussen Road, Hale said his building is paid for.
While it’s difficult news, Hale said he’s optimistic about the future. He called the current situation a "cleansing" and related it to what’s happening in the banking and mortgage industries. GM needs to restructure and may declare bankruptcy, but everything will "turn out to be a real positive," he said.
Hale said his heart goes out to everyone who will be hurt by the ripple effect, including tire and part manufacturers. Efficiency will improve, though, he said.
"It’s certainly not all gloom and doom," he said.