When General Motors slashed dealerships in bankruptcy, the goal was to create healthy surviving dealerships.
So as the final rejected 500 dealerships ended operations this past weekend, did the survivors feel they had benefited?
The answer is: modestly so far, said a sampling of dealership managers last week.
At Flemington (N.J.) Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac, General Manager Jeff Parker says service revenue is up 5 percent this year, in part because of referrals from a wind-down Chevrolet dealership 25 minutes away that closed in June.
But he says new-car sales are unchanged. Several GM dealers last week reported only a trickle of new business as a result of the wind-downs.
On the other hand, some dealerships report a healthy increase in sales.
Since GM announced dealership cuts as part of its 2009 bankruptcy, about 1,550 dealerships have lost GM franchises. Most closed. Some became used-vehicle operations.
GM has settled on about 4,500 dealerships nationally for its four core brands vs. 6,049 pre-bankruptcy dealerships offering eight brands.
GM dealers are enjoying higher profits and improved vehicle sales this year, says GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney. She says three main factors are at work: attractive products, a better economy than 2009 and spillover business from closed dealerships.
GM has been sending cards and letters to GM customers orphaned by the closing or wind-down of their dealerships with information about service specials or how to find a new GM dealer.