GM Closing Dealerships, Affecting Local Businesses
General Motors gave more than 1,000 pink slips to dealerships nationwide Friday. This news has changed how one High Springs company is doing business.
Jim Douglas Chevrolet has been up and running for 83 years, making it the oldest Chevrolet car dealership in Florida.
So when news broke of GM ending partnership contracts of more than 1,000 dealerships, Jim Forrester, a third-generation owner, was understandably unhappy.
"We're disappointed in GM,” Forrester said. “The dealers didn't cause this problem."
Friday's news came a day after Chrysler announced that more than 700 dealerships will shut down in June.
GM has more than 6,000 franchises nationwide, and these closings are just the beginning. More are expected through next year.
"Fewer more profitable dealerships is better than having thousands of smaller, less profitable dealerships,” said John Casesa or the Casesa Shapiro Group, a business that advises clients in the automobile industry.
GM has until June 1 to restructure its millions of dollars in debt or face bankruptcy.
And its CEO now thinks GM may not meet that deadline.
“It's certainly more probable today,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson said. “It is probable today that we would need to revert to a Chapter Eleven process.”
And for owners like Forrester, they are doing what they can to stay in business. Forrester plans to sell his business back to GM.
The company will then buy back all the new cars, and Forrester will only sell used ones.
"We're kind of excited that we're going to be selling all brands,” Forrester said. “We're going to be in the used-car business."
A change, for sure, after 83 years.
But there's one thing that won't change, and that's his love for cars.
Forrester did get a notice from GM saying his contract will not be renewed after 2010, and he has filed paperwork giving up his GM franchise.
Jim Douglas Chevrolet employs about 14 workers, and Forrester anticipates that everyone will keep their jobs during the transition.
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