LOS ANGELES - General Motors is expected to finalize its purchase of Daewoo Motor Co. assets next Tuesday, excluding Daewoo's U.S. sales arm from the deal. Accepting the inevitable -- that they will lose their franchises -- approximately half of Daewoo's 525 U.S. dealers have pooled more than $500,000 to obtain legal counsel and are ready to file suit against General Motors and possibly others.
The number of dealers has grown since last week, when slightly more than 100 were represented.
"The dealers have moved from this knee-jerk position to organizing themselves across the country into a communications network," said Dan Myers, the Tallahassee, Fla. attorney representing the dealers.
Myers said the number of dealers is still growing.
The dealers claim they still will have rights to operate even if Daewoo shuts down its U.S. sales arm, Daewoo Motor America. They are faced with a number of questions:
GM has said it will not comment on talk of legal action against it, since no suits have been filed.
Daewoo Motor America is not part of the legal action to be taken by its dealers. The sales arm-whose cash flow has dried up as dealers stop ordering cars -has obtained its own legal council and indicated last week that it might take action on its own against General Motors.
But the dealers are counting Daewoo Motor America out, expecting it to file for bankruptcy within days or weeks.
"Let's face it, there's not going to be a DMA," said Al Gardiner, president of St. Mary's Motors Daewoo in Lexington Park, Maryland. "It relies wholly on wholesale orders, and I don't think there were seventeen orders last month."
Top management at Daewoo Motor America would not elaborate on the company's plans of legal action, or say whether it was preparing to file for bankruptcy.
Daewoo dealers say they are still awaiting money from warranties, March rebates, hold backs and co-op advertising from Daewoo Motor America-a check that had been expected by April 10. Daewoo Motor America management said the checks were to be mailed Wednesday, April 17.