Archive for Friday, May 15, 2009

No news is great news for local GM dealers

GM's move to sever ties with more than 1,100 auto dealers nationwide is not reaching into Lawrence.

May 15, 2009, 12:17 p.m. Updated May 15, 2009, 4:58 p.m.


The good news arrived — or rather didn’t arrive — Friday at Dale Willey Automotive in Lawrence.

The FedEx driver didn’t have a letter from General Motors addressed to Dale Willey, the GM dealership’s owner.

“We are going to continue being a GM dealer in Lawrence and Douglas County,” said Willey, relieved that his dealership wasn’t included among 1,124 nationwide notified Friday that GM intended to sever their dealership agreements. “That’s great news. … That’s outstanding news.”

Dale Willey sells Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac and Buick vehicles at 2840 Iowa. The dealership has 39 employees.

Lawrence’s other GM dealership, Crown Automotive — which sells and services Chevrolet vehicles — did receive a FedEx letter from GM. But it was not a termination letter, said Dale Backs, Crown’s general manager.

Instead, he said, the note simply informed Crown that the automaker had filed a restructuring plan with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and that the dealership should “please understand that our planning in this regard is not finalized.”

Backs took that as good news, considering that other dealerships were said to be receiving more detailed notices outlining the shortcomings that led to GM’s decision to drop them.

“We have a contract with GM through 2010, and we expect them to fulfill that contract,” Backs said. “We will continue to sell cars. … I think they’re leaving the door open for some good news, hopefully.”

Crown has 25 employees working in sales and service for Chevrolet. Crown’s Toyota business, with 60 employees, is unaffected by the GM moves.


levicircle2 8 years, 10 months ago

Chrysler closed nearly 20 KS dealers, but GM is closing far more nationwide, but NONE in KS? I dunno...looks to me like this might be a premature article...

Jonathan Kealing 8 years, 10 months ago

Levi- We're not really talking about all of Kansas. We're only talking about the two Lawrence dealerships. It could still be early, but all indications so far are that they escaped this round of cuts.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 10 months ago

I have nothing against Dale Willey dealership, but they sell all of the makes of GM vehicles that should probably be dropped. I don't like too many of the Chevrolet models these days except maybe the Malibu, but that company needs to do some serious restructuring and dropping some of these other makes would be a good start. It seems to be nostalgia more than anything else that props up some of them. Like Oldsmobile and Plymouth of old.

Really, they should bring back the Corvair. Show Nader that he lost the battle for good.

levicircle2 8 years, 10 months ago

The coverage is very different than yesterday (Chrysler). KC, Wichita, Lawrence, Topeka...all reporting "Oh, we're safe here" - while the national stories from AP and Reuters, who yesterday had loads of quotes from various dealerships who felt wronged...have ZERO quotes from local dealers in their stories today. I'm just feeling the shoe that was scheduled to drop somehow was delayed, but WILL eventually be loosed.

crowclown69 8 years, 10 months ago

crown's going down. heard they got the letter but aren't saying yet

yankeevet 8 years, 10 months ago

a matter of time; their doors will close soon........

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

My guess is it will end up as Crown Toyota and Dale Wiley Automotive, selling Chevy, GMC, Pontiac, Buick and Cadillac. Seeing any local dealerships close will be bad for the community as far as warranty service goes. Who wants to drive to KC or Topeka to get it done? There might be some great deals on cars in the near future but I would be afraid to buy one right now, not knowing if the dealership or the company will be in business a year from now.

LogicMan 8 years, 10 months ago

"My guess is it will end up as Crown Toyota and Dale Wiley Automotive"

Yes, a merger makes sense, and would be proactive. Either's lot and service bays big enough to handle the combined business?

justaverage 8 years, 10 months ago

If we lose Jim Clark Motors in Lawrence and/or any other domestic new car dealers it will only hurt our local economy. The entire auto industry had been hurt by the financial crisis with the domestic makers suffering more exposure on their balance sheets. People have written in that the problem has to do with poor quality products or making cars that people don't want, etc.. I have a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan with just under 60,000 miles and it has been a great vehicle. I've had no problems with it and I keep it well maintained. I use this van in my work and I simply can't haul what I need to haul in a Prius! My van gets 21 mpg FULLY loaded and has a 3.8 liter V6 engine. It was less expensive than a Toyota Siena or a Honda Odyssey. This is the fourth Chrysler mini-van I have bought locally and I can promise the execs at Chrysler that if we don't have a local dealer, the next van I buy won't be bought out of town. Hey folks, new car and truck sales generate a lot of local sales tax revenue. You will see budget cuts in the school district and city services if we continue to lose local businesses to the Topeka and Metro Kansas City markets.

BigPrune 8 years, 10 months ago

I have a 3.8 liter V6 Chrysler Town & Country minivan. It is the previous style than today's boxy look. I drove from Lawrence to Topeka and averaged 29.3 mpg doing 75 mph in 40 degree weather. None of the foreign manufacturers can match this kind of mileage. It was EPA rated at 26 mpg on the highway and cost $5000 to $7000 less than the Toyota & Honda minivans. I consistently get 23 mpg city/highway driving and have never had it in the shop (knock on wood).

The real reason why the auto manufacturers stopped selling cars is because the gas prices went through the roof last year and then the banks quit financing people to purchase them.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations so far to Dale Willey. This is great news!

otto 8 years, 10 months ago

Dale Willey - if you are reading this. Your parts dept. sucks. Parts that need to come from a dealer will have to come out of KC or Topeka.

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