Tulsa World: Oklahoma to Lose 17 Dealerships

Jun 16, 2009
In The News

WASHINGTON- General Motors has targeted 17 dealerships in Oklahoma for closure based on four criteria, according to documents the automaker provided Congress.

Nationwide more than 1,300 dealerships ended up on GM’s so-called "wind down" list.

That process is designed to give dealers on the list up to 16 months to sell their existing inventory.

GM has not publicly identified those individual dealers.

Dealers were evaluated and given a performance score based on sales, customer service, working capital and profitability, according to the documents.

The dealers on the list to close may have a deadline as late as October 2010, depending on their contracts. But those businesses will not be receiving new inventory, according to local dealers.

U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., expressed disappointment over GM’s closure list.

"These dealerships provide jobs and services to local communities, and they are a vital part of our economy in Oklahoma," Lucas said.

"Once again, bad decisions made by executives on the east and west coast have created harmful effects for Main Street America."

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., spoke of the "mismanagement by those in Detroit” that has led to the closing of dealerships in Oklahoma.

"These dealerships mean a lot
to local communities, whether it is providing quality jobs, generating tax revenue, or donating to groups like 4-H, Little League Baseball teams and churches," Boren said.

Seven of 13 GM dealerships in Tulsa County have not stated whether they will remain open.

GM official Greg Martin said it is up to local dealers to announce whether they have been selected for closure, adding they have business reasons not to confirm that at this time.

Two dealerships, Riverside Chevrolet and Danny Beck Chevrolet, which stated in an earlier report that they were instructed not to comment, did not return calls Monday.

For the dealers remaining, business could change dramatically, either from having less competition or the loss of brands.

Tulsa’s Don Thornton Cadillac Hummer Saab will remain Tulsa’s only Cadillac dealer, but the dealership faces uncertainty in its two other brands, which are on the selling block, said general manager Tom Bloomfield.

Steve Barnes, general manager of Jim Glover Chevrolet, 8130 E. Skelly Drive, said his dealership was notified it will remain open and is not aware of which dealers in Oklahoma will be closing.

"All we are hearing is speculation. It’s really ‘hush hush,’" Barnes said.

Kevin Grover of Kevin Grover GMC in Wagoner said he was notified earlier this month he had met the company’s score to remain open. He employs between 18 and 20 people.

Grover said he had to be willing to increase sales by 10 percent a month and increase his inventory, which he plans to do by 10 percent.

"A 10 percent increase, in reality, equates to two to three additional vehicles to sell a month, and I can do that," Grover said.

Being in a rural area with fewer dealerships may have helped, Grover said.

David Oakley Jr. of Bartlesville said his business, which employs about 20 people, will stay open as well. He added the word "Chevrolet" to Oakley Chevrolet Pontiac Buick about a month ago after a former Chevy dealer in town closed.

"Obviously Chevy is huge," Oakley said. "Chevy sales are more than all (the others) combined."

Oakley said his GM agreement was a "pretty scary" stack of paperwork. He said he is focusing on selling and fixing cars for customers who have purchased from him before, including the Jeep brand, which he no longer carries.

According to The Associated Press, several Oklahoma dealers have confirmed they are on the list and plan to appeal.

Dealers receiving notices of closure include the family-owned Brackeen Motors in Shawnee, Bob Moore Cadillac of Norman and four dealers in Sonic Automotive, which owns seven dealerships in the state. All reported they will appeal.

GM DEALER CLOSURES BY STATE
Alabama 33

Alaska 0

Arizona 11

Arkansas 17

California 65

Colorado 15

Connecticut 11

Delaware 2

Florida 35

Georgia 24

Hawaii 2

Idaho 8

Illinois 66

Indiana 48

Iowa 46

Kansas 29

Kentucky 23

Louisiana 10

Maine 14

Massachusetts 29

Maryland 21

Michigan 58

Minnesota 39

Missouri 38

Mississippi 14

Montana 16

Nebraska 21

Nevada 3

New Hampshire 6

New Jersey 33

New Mexico 10

New York 60

North Carolina 36

North Dakota 6

Ohio 79

Oklahoma 17

Oregon 21

Pennsylvania 90

Rhode Island 3

South Carolina 24

South Dakota 16

Tennessee 30

Texas 55

Utah 6

Vermont 8

Virginia 26

Washington 18

West Virginia 25

Wisconsin 50

Wyoming 6

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