GM dealers in Selma still doing business

Published 6:29 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

Selma’s General Motors dealerships are open for business and ready to serve. Reliable Olds and Turner Chevrolet did not received one of 1,100 letters General Motors sent to dealers saying their dealer relationship with the struggling auto maker would be dropped by late next year.

Decisions as to who to close, according to the letter, were based on sales, customer service scores, location, condition of facilities and other criteria.

“We didn’t get the letter,” said Bill Porter of Reliable Olds. “We fully look to be here. We’ve been here 63 years and we expect to be here.”

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Milam Turner III of Turner Chevrolet described his dealership as “rockin’ and rollin’.”

“I’m open for business and I’m doing business,” Turner said. “We haven’t gotten the letter.”

Those dealerships that received Friday’s letters will have until their contracts end next year, according to GM officials. The letters came via FedEx at GM franchises around the country.

GM doesn’t own the dealers, but company officials have said its dealership network is too big. This forces dealers to compete with one another. The result: shoppers can leverage prices down too far and that hurts future sales.

A portion of the letter said “Please understand that our planning in this regard is not finalized, and we are prepared to give you until the end of the month to submit us any information you would like us to see.”

GM’s announcement Friday came on the heels of a similar one from Chrysler, which opted to jettison about 1,900 dealerships. Chrysler told the dealers to sell fewer brands or close shop.

Selma doesn’t have any Chrysler dealerships.

Those who study the automobile industry in the US say the two auto giants’ cuts could mean 100,000 jobs nationwide.

Several area dealerships have received notification from Chrysler and GM that their dealership agreements will be terminated. Those include Greenville Motor Company and Norman-Blackmon Motor Company in Greenville; and Victory Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Prattville.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.