Soon thereafter, he called a dealership staff meeting.
"I said, 'The good news is George Matick Chevrolet is going to be here for another 40 years,' " Zimmermann said. "I said, 'The not-so-good news is GM doesn't yet agree with me.' "
Zimmermann, who had worked at the dealership since 1993, thought half of the team might walk out. No one did. Instead, many came up to hug him. He said they knew about his commitment, having just put all of his money and pledging his assets to buy the dealership.
"I almost have tears thinking about it," said Zimmermann, recalling those dark days. "It was just unbelievable, the loyalty and dedication and the quality of the people that we have here."
But GM had cut off new-vehicle inventory from the factory as part of its notice to the dealership.
Zimmermann turned to his peers and asked them to order as many vehicles as they could from GM and he'd buy whatever they didn't need. During the federal cash-for-clunkers program, his inventory was stripped bare. Several of his peers wouldn't return his calls, while others said they needed the vehicles themselves.
"I had made a deal with a number of dealers and I only had one that followed through on it: Joe Lunghamer," Zimmermann said. "To this day, my kids know his name because we are so grateful to him because he honored his commitment."
Truckloads of vehicles were dropped off. In all, 68 were purchased from Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet, just west of Pontiac, Mich.