GM expects U.S. dealership count to be about 5,000 after arbitration

Chrissie Thompson covers General Motors for Automotive News
When the dust settles this summer, GM expects to have about 5,000 U.S. dealerships.

The Associated Press broke the news today, citing North American President Mark Reuss, and GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney told me the number “is consistent with what we'd thought.”

It's also consistent with estimates you've seen in Automotive News of between 4,500 and 5,000.

Reuss last talked with the AP a couple of weeks ago, Carney said, although the report only surfaced today. Since GM sent participation agreements to 4,100 dealerships last June, the AP estimated GM would reinstate about 900 stores.

GM last updated its arbitration and settlement situation on May 10, when Automotive News published its interview with Reuss from the previous week. As of May 10, Carney said, GM had received signed letters of intent from 600 stores and had about 300 more still in settlement talks or arbitration. Since those numbers include stores that were disputing GM's decision to cut just one (or two) of their GM franchises, we can assume GM had already settled with several more dealers. Carney confirmed that reasoning.

We'll get the final count after July 14, the date the law requires GM to finish up its arbitration.

By the way, GM's dealership count this fall will compare with the goal the automaker had during its bankruptcy of trimming its network to 3,600 stores, using both forced wind downs and dealerships' going out of business.