General Motors Co. says it is meeting with rejected dealers who are seeking additional wind-down money under an agreement negotiated by the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers.
About 70 minority and nonminority dealers are eligible to be considered for additional compensation, says Eric Peterson, GM's director of industry dealer affairs. Eligible dealers purchased wholly owned dealerships or land from GM or leased property from the company's real estate arm from January 2005 to June 2009 and are completely wound down.
"About two-thirds have raised their hands," Peterson adds.
Peterson says about 30 rejected dealers who don't qualify for additional compensation are eligible for meetings to discuss prospects for obtaining a GM dealership later.
He says GM's Motors Holding division, which invests in dealerships with entrepreneurs who don't have the money to buy their stores, is still active. Minority dealers who have been displaced or wound down and want another dealership will be among those considered for any points GM might establish.
GM had 254 minority-owned dealerships in January 2010, down from 317 in 2008.
Peterson says meetings will begin the week of March 15 and conclude by mid-April. He plans to tell dealers of GM's decision about awarding additional wind-down funds within a week or so.
The National Automobile Dealers Association and the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights were instrumental in getting the law passed that gives rejected dealers access to neutral, third-party arbitration. About 10 minority dealers who want their dealerships back filed for arbitration under that law, says NAMAD President Damon Lester.
Qualified rejected dealers are free to seek relief under either method, but not both. But many of his members don't have the money to go back into business, Lester adds.
Peterson says GM has met with four dealers so far, and two have reached agreements for additional money.