GM dealership cuts still a secret
FARGO It's still uncertain which and how many GM dealers in North Dakota and Minnesota are on the chopping block. GM isn't releasing a public list of the 1,100 dealers nationwide that the financially troubled automaker wants to eliminate. But Off...
It's still uncertain which and how many GM dealers in North Dakota and Minnesota are on the chopping block.
GM isn't releasing a public list of the 1,100 dealers nationwide that the financially troubled automaker wants to eliminate.
But Offutt Motors of Lisbon, N.D., announced Wednesday that its contract will not be renewed in 2010.
Offutt Motors, a Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick dealer, is operated by RDO Equipment Co.
"It is unfortunate that we will no longer be able to continue as a General Motors dealer in Lisbon," Christi Offutt of RDO Equipment said in a news release.
Steps are being taken to retain as many of the five Offutt Motors employees as possible, according to the release.
RDO Equipment will continue to serve Lisbon through its John Deere agriculture dealership, the release said.
No other area auto dealers contacted Wednesday by The Forum said they're affected.
Twenty-two dealers within 100 miles of Fargo-Moorhead were contacted.
Fourteen said they're not affected.
One dealer declined to comment, and seven dealerships did not return phone messages seeking to clarify their status.
Offutt Motors, one of the seven, issued its news release late Wednesday afternoon.
Officials with Gateway Chevrolet Cadillac and Luther Family Buick Pontiac GMC, both of Fargo, and Nereson Chevrolet Cadillac of Detroit Lakes, Minn., all said they're not affected.
"It's not us. We're still open, and we hope people realize that," said Brad Richards, co-owner of the Nereson dealership.
Karl Christian of Finley (N.D.) Motors also said his dealership isn't among the 1,100.
"We're still a dealer, and we'll be in business a long time," he said.
Christian said that even though he's a dealer, he's heard nothing official about which dealers are on GM's list.
"It's being kept pretty hush-hush," he said.
Cleon Brooks of Brooks Motors in Sisseton, S.D., declined to comment when asked if his dealership had been notified that GM wants to eliminate it.
He said the automaker has told dealers not to say anything publicly.
Bob Lamp, president of the Automobile Dealers Association of North Dakota, said he's heard only rumors about which dealers in the state are on the chopping block.
Affected dealers will be reluctant to comment publicly, he said.
Twenty-eight GM dealerships have told the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association that GM notified them they're being eliminated, said Scott Lambert, the association's executive vice president.
He said he's not free to identify the 28, which he said are "spread across the state."
The affected dealers apparently will have the right to appeal, but the process isn't clear, he said.
The names of the 1,100 dealers nationwide apparently will become public knowledge only if GM is forced to release the information, as was the case last week when Chrysler - in a bankruptcy filing - publicly identified the 789 dealerships it plans to eliminate, Lambert said.
GM notified the 1,100 dealers privately of its intentions on Friday.
Todd Christian of Christian Motors in Fertile, Minn., said his dealership isn't among the 1,100.
Red River Valley auto dealerships on balance are faring relatively well, thanks in part to good farm profits the past few years, he said.
"We're having some economic problems here, too, but we're doing a little better than most places," he said.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.