Several North Dakota General Motors dealers said they were experiencing stressful times Friday. However, none of the dealerships contacted by The Minot Daily News had received notification from GM that their contracts would be dropped.
A GM spokesman said the company would not be publicly releasing a list of dealers to be cut, only that they would be notified on Friday.
Danny Roy, owner of D&B Motors in Langdon, got the word Thursday that his dealership was among those that would be dropped by Chrysler Corp. That left D&B with Chevrolet and Buick lines and the possibility of being among the more than 1,100 dealerships cut by GM on Friday.
"I don't need two such calls in one week. It's been kind of nervewracking," said Roy. "You never know if you have a job tomorrow or not."
But as of mid-afternoon Friday, Roy had not received any word from GM. The company had warned dealers that those whose franchise agreements would not be renewed would get the official word by phone call or Federal Express delivery beginning Friday morning. At Hazen Motors, manager Steve Huber kept waiting for the phone or FAX machine to ring and kept a watchful eye on the passing FedEx truck.
"I assumed we'd hear something today," said Huber. "We've got all our mail. FedEx has been here. I was waiting stressfully all morning for that. I haven't got a clue what's going on. The way it sounded we should have known today. It's weird."
Huber said during a
normal business day he recieves 30 to 40 faxes from GM. The FAX machine had been unusally quite for several days and none received were related to a possible closure notice.
Ken Rensch, owner of Rensch Chevrolet and Buick in New Town, was taking a wait-and-see approach. He had not heard from GM as of 2:30 p.m. Friday.
"So far, so good," said Rensch. "It's hard to say what kind of decisions GM will make the way it's going. Until we hear something we're not really worrying about it. There's nothing we can do about it."
The waiting game appeared to be reaching the limit for some of North Dakota's smaller dealerships. A lack of regular communication from GM has added to their concern.
"I'm growing kind of tired of it, the way GM is doing business. I'm kind of fed up with it and have mixed feelings. I wish they'd let us know what they are thinking," said Brian Diebold, D&S Motors in Rugby. "I've been told that I'm going to be here. They might leave us alone for a while yet."
The smaller dealerships weren't alone in feeling a little left out of the loop by GM. Rod Sandvig, sales manager at Ressler Chevrolet in Mandan, said, "Everything with GM is kind of hush, hush right now. We're fine. We pretty much knew we were alright."
"We haven't heard anything and that's good news. We're not one of the dealers on the list," said Steven Zaun, Fisher Motors of Minot. "It does make you anxious, though, because you really can't do a lot of planning. We're just going to continue to do business as always."
Kathy Gaddie of Ryan Chevrolet and GMC said she was happy not to hear anything from GM on Friday.
"No news is good news," said Gaddie.
Other car dealers contacted by The Minot Daily News who said they were not on GM's hit list were Ripplinger Motors of Harvey, Theel Inc. of Bottineau and Theel Motors of Rolla.
Several dealers expressed the opinion that reducing the number of dealerships would not improve GM's current financial woes, but actually might have the opposite effect.
"I think it is a bad idea getting rid of dealers. I don't see that as helping GM out," said Huber. "We don't cost the car company money. We are their customers."
General Motors dealerships who were included in Friday's cuts are being told their contracts will not be renewed in October 2010. A second round of dealership cuts is expected in the near future. GM has made public that it wishes to cut their dealer network from 6,000 to 3,600 by 2010. That means as many as 1,300 more dealerships will be losing their GM contracts.