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2:15 AM Wed, Sept. 26th

Local auto dealers survive cuts

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<p>
It's business as usual at Lamb Chevrolet and Cadillac, even as General Motors cut 1,100 dealers nationwide to try to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<p> It's business as usual at Lamb Chevrolet and Cadillac, even as General Motors cut 1,100 dealers nationwide to try to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

Ted Lamb's confidence in his General Motors dealership this past week was dead on.

Just days after General Motors came out with plans to cut 1,100 dealerships nationwide, Lamb said Monday that his dealership made it through the recent round of closures.

"I didn't have any doubts," he said.

GM sent notices to 1,100 of its 6,000 dealerships Friday that it planned to terminate their contracts. The automaker wants to cut more than 40 percent of its retailers by the end of 2010.

GM will close 2,600 of its roughly 6,300 dealerships as bankruptcy looms.

"We have received word, as did York (a Chrysler dealer), that we are going to continue being a General Motors dealer," Lamb said Friday. "We of course are thrilled and plan to be here another 50 years."

Automakers Chrysler and GM took very different paths in announcing the closing of nearly 1,900 dealerships nationwide.

While Chrysler sent letters to each of their dealerships, GM sent notices only to dealerships that are on the cutting board.

Even though GM plans to cut another roughly 900 to 1,300 dealerships by next year, Lamb said he isn't worried about that second wave.

The criteria GM is using to cut dealers include sales, profitability and customer satisfaction data.

Those are all things that Lamb said his dealership is doing well with, considering these lean times. "I don't think there's a dealer in Prescott that's going to be cut," he said.

According to a Friday CNNMoney.com story, about 500 of the 900 come from plans to shutter or sell Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Pontiac vehicle lines.

Mike Dennis had it correct, too.

Dennis, general manager at Tim's Buick Pontiac GMC on Willow Creek Road, said on Friday that he was "confident" he wouldn't get a letter.

And he was still confident Wednesday.

"Nothing's really going to change at all - we just keep selling more and more cars," he said.

Dennis said people began wondering six months ago how it will affect the GM cars they bought from Tim's.

"We tell them it won't affect them one bit," he said. "There won't be any difference in anything."

Despite news of a looming second round of dealership cuts, Dennis said he doesn't see that affecting him at all.

"We sell way too many cars for them to cut us, and we're not in an over-flooded market, so I just don't see that coming at all," he said.

While Tim's is losing the Pontiac line, Dennis compared it to the loss of Oldsmobile, which GM phased out earlier this decade.

Dennis said he believes Pontiac will disappear in less than two years and give them more room for vehicles that sell.

"Really no issue to it - they'll just slowly disappear into the sunset," he said. "They'll give us more product lines in our Buicks and more in our GMC that will compensate for what Pontiac had."