This is no dream! This is really happening!
You can forgive any dealer with one of the 2,600 stores that General Motors wants to close by the end of next year for being startled and incredulous, like waking up in the middle of a nightmare that's coming true.
Some dealers who have been poor performers lately may not be surprised when they're told that their franchise agreements won't be renewed. But for some dealers, hearing from the factory that it plans to get along without them will come out of nowhere.
The trick for GM will be arranging compensation for the blue sky the dealers believe they'll lose.
Mark Calisi, dealer principal at Eagle Auto Mall on Long Island, has a suggestion:
"Why wouldn't we accept equity in exchange for a franchise?" he asks.
He reasons that offering stock in the restructured company will keep dealers part of the extended family and give them the opportunity to make a handsome profit when the market turns around and the new GM that's being created can take advantage of it.
"A dealer needs to feel a part of it," Calisi told me. "Dealers can't feel they're being shut out after all these years."
Calisi, whose mall in Riverhead, N.Y., sells six makes -- Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Kia, Mazda and Volvo -- says he understands the point of view of GM and Chrysler LLC and their need for fewer dealerships.
But he also understands that hundreds of dealers are likely to sue GM when they get the bad news.
He's convinced a stock offer would give dealers a reason to say yes to the factory.
Calisi, who says he has a well capitalized operation in an important market, doesn't expect to be among the unfortunate ones.
But I asked him: If you were an undercapitalized Chevy dealer in a crowded market, would you take stock to hand back your franchise?
"Absolutely," Calisi said. "What other choice would I have?"