Olds still at odds with most dealers

End of the road
GM's plan to phase out Oldsmobile
VEHICLE END OF PRODUCTION
Intrigue and Aurora V-6 June 2002
Aurora V-8 May 2003
Alero, Silhouette, Bravada 2004, month undetermined

DETROIT - General Motors will stop building Oldsmobiles in 2004, but it is still far from reaching settlements with Oldsmobile dealers.

The company has agreements to close 610 of the 2,801 Oldsmobile stores that were in business last December when GM said it would kill the brand. Many dealers say the cash GM is offering is inadequate.

So far, according to the company, only one dealer has sued. But that could change.

Lawyer Dan Myers, of Tallahassee, Fla., who says he has 200 Oldsmobile dealers as clients, threatened to file up to 11 lawsuits against the automaker.

Although GM has agreements to close only about one-fifth of Olds dealerships, GM spokeswoman Marcia McGee said negotiations with dealers are go ing well. About 185 have closed their stores already.

She said dealers who own about 1,400 dealerships are "in active discussions" with the company. On Friday, Sept. 7, GM set its deadlines to end Oldsmobile production. (See box above.) Until now, many dealers have proceeded cautiously.

Under the buyout formula, GM is offering exclusive Oldsmobile dealerships up to $2,900 for each new Olds sold in their best year of the last three. So an exclusive dealer who sold 500 new cars would get up to $1.45 million. Special circumstances can change the amount for exclusive and other dealers.

Alan Starling, owner of Holiday Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in St. Cloud, Fla., has not reached a settlement with GM. He hasn't joined the lawsuit but won't rule it out. Starling also is chairman of industry relations for the National Automobile Dealers Association.

"It just seems like the dealers aren't accepting GM's buyout offers for a reason," he said. "I'm assuming that they're not too generous. They have a lot of work to do, and they will have to work harder."

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