Local dealers to remain with carmakers

Published 4:46 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

Two local car dealerships survived General Motors’ and Chrysler’s combined reduction of almost 2,000 stores this week.

The Dean Chrysler dealership will remain open as the Chrysler company undergoes restructuring, owner Reggie Dean said Thursday.

In addition, Action GM will remain open as General Motors faces the prospect of downsizing and possibly having to file for bankruptcy protection.

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Randy Soden, general manager of Action GM, confirmed that the Bainbridge dealership was not among 1,100 dealers that GM announced Friday it will cut out of its network by the end of 2010. However, GM has said it may opt to eliminate up to 1,500 more in the next year.

Dean Chrysler was not among the 789 dealers Chrysler will end its contracts with after filing for bankruptcy. Chrysler announced the list of dealers it was dropping from its network in a court filing on Thursday.

Dean said he received the good news his dealership was remaining open in an express letter delivered around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Dean said he had been concerned that rural dealerships would be cut, but he said it appears many of the dealerships on Thursday’s list are located in larger cities.

“We knew the list would be released today, but we didn’t know what kind of list or what criteria it would be based on,” Dean said.

Due to part of Chrysler’s restructuring, Dean Chrysler will also make GMAC its primary lender after Chrysler Financial Services—a separate company that is not in bankruptcy—announced it would cease making loans to dealers. Apart from that, customers should not see any short-term change as a result of Chrysler’s bankruptcy, Dean said.

“We’re proud to be part of the new Chrysler, and we’re here to stay,” Dean said. “We will continue to handle our customers’ sales and service needs.”

Dean said he is excited about Chrysler’s vehicle line for 2010, including its electric-powered vehicle, the Circuit EV, a major redesign of its Jeep Grand Cherokee, and updates to its popular Dodge Challenger muscle car and Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks.