WASHINGTON -- General Motors has started to notify 2,600 dealers of plans to eliminate them, and a dealers group is trying to block the effort by getting elected officials to intervene.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson said the company will work through the summer to contact dealers to be closed. The automaker, under pressure from the Obama administration, said last month it plans to reduce its 6,200 dealers to 3,600 by the end of next year.
GM will target dealers that specialize in the Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Pontiac brands that are being eliminated, Henderson said at a news conference Tuesday.
It also is focusing on low-volume and low-performing dealers, he said.
Henderson will remain in Washington through Wednesday to brief lawmakers on GM efforts.
Meanwhile, a dealers group is mobilizing its 19,000 members to fight the administrations plan for GM.
National Automobile Dealers Association members will be contacting their congressmen, mayors and governors in an attempt to get them to intercede with the White House, said NADA chairman John McEleney.
Its too abrupt and drastic, McEleney said in an interview. The concern is in every community across the country. Dealers are one of the principal sources of employment, charitable contributions and tax revenue.
The group also plans to take out advertisements next week in the Washington Post and Politico in an attempt to sway lawmakers, he said.
Its members also plan to meet with the editorial boards of local newspapers across the country in an attempt to influence public opinion, McEleney said.
I dont see how the cutbacks do anything in the short term for Chrysler or GM, he said.
Chrysler hasnt disclosed its plans yet for paring its 3,000 dealers.
The dealers group has been talking with Chrysler and GM officials on a daily basis, McEleney said. It also met with the administrations task force last week and plans to do so again next week.