To the Editor:
I am a rural Chevrolet dealer who is being "wound down."
We are in a small town in southern Oregon that serves a market with more than 80,000 people in about a 60-mile radius from our store. The nearest General Motors dealer is 80 miles away in Medford, Ore., across a 5,200-foot mountain pass that is snow-packed from November through March and frequently closed by accidents or road conditions. I also have Honda and Subaru. Our store is across the street from a Ford dealership and half a block down from Lithia Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Toyota.
In an Oct. 5 story ("900,000 orphans"), GM's Mark LaNeve said about rural towns: "If we went out, chances are for sure, Toyota, Honda and those guys aren't there."
In an interview in the Oct. 19 issue, GM CEO Fritz Henderson, referencing the rural closures, said: "No, I'm talking about the one who sold three. I mean, we set the cutoff at 50 a year, OK? Not 50 a month -- 50 a year. And many of those people were selling three, five, seven a year."
We sold 124 new Chevys last year in the worst year we have had in 30 years in business. That may not be enough for GM, but it is a far cry from 50.
What about all the customers we service? What about the $60,000-$70,000 a month in parts we buy?
When this whole mess started, a headline on the front page of the May 18 issue read: "GM's goal: Stores that go one-on-one with Toyota stores." In the article, LaNeve is quoted as saying that GM wants to maintain a "very extensive small-town and hub-town network."
Let's tell the truth. GM closed a bunch of good dealers just because under the protection of a federally sponsored bankruptcy it could.
More than a hundred of our customers have sent letters to GM stating that without local dealer support, they would not be buying any more Chevrolets. If GM was unhappy with the number of sales in my market before, just wait and see how few it will sell now.