Erin Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors in Irvine, Calif., noted the same pattern in her own buy-sell report last week. Her numbers, citing The Banks Report and her own research, counted 25 transactions involving GM franchises during the first half of 2014, up from seven during the same period a year ago and already more than the 22 she recorded for all of 2013.
"The lesson is: The way they've handled the recall has resulted in minimal effect," Kerrigan said. It "has impressed the buyer community so that they're interested in continuing to buy General Motors' franchises."
Many dealers say GM has been easy to work with during the recalls. They say their sales have held up, and they are not worried the recalls will damage the brand or negatively impact their stores' blue-sky value. Blue sky is the intangible value of a dealership above and beyond its hard assets.
GM's sales were up 3 percent through August, vs. a 5 percent gain for the industry, according to the Automotive News Data Center. In August, GM's sales slipped 1 percent from a strong year-earlier level, as industrywide sales rose 6 percent.
Interest in GM dealerships is coming from both big and small groups. In July, Group 1 Automotive Inc., the third largest dealership group in the country, acquired Houston dealership Munday Chevrolet, which it identified as the sixth largest Chevy store in the country.
Consumers seem to blame the old GM and the old GM culture for the recalls and see that the new GM is taking responsible steps to handle the situation, Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest dealership group, said in July. Business at AutoNation's GM stores is good.
"We have not seen or been presented with any GM store in a distressed sale circumstance, and I don't expect that circumstance to develop," Jackson said.
GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney told Automotive News that the automaker has seen no depreciation in the value of GM dealerships.