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GM to close 40% of its dealers UPDATE General Motors Corp. will pare 2,100 dealers from its business, and has until July 10 to complete the remix of its assets in bankruptcy court paid for by the Obama administration, according to filings today.

In an affidavit, GM Chief Executive Fritz Henderson also reveals that the company looked for investments from foreign governments and considered selling OnStar, but was unable to do either as the economy collapsed last year, leaving the Obama administration plan as the only choice.

“There simply is no viable alternative,” Henderson said in the filing. “There is no other sale, or even other potential purchasers, present or on the horizon.”

Under the plan GM will sell “substantially all” of its assets to a new company that’s owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the UAW health-care trust fund and bondholders. The U.S. government will lend $30.1 billion, with the Canadian and Ontario governments pitching in an additional $9.5 billion.

For the first time, Henderson said the new GM will accept 4,100 dealer contracts out of 6,000, leaving 2,100 in the old company. GM had sent letters earlier this month to 1,100 dealers, saying their contracts would be ended by late next year.

Henderson said the new GM would sign “deferred termination agreements” with most of the dealers targeted for closure, giving them up to 17 months' notice, to ease their hardship.

The plan will allow “thousands of dealerships to survive, while providing for an orderly wind-down of those dealerships not being retained,” Henderson said. “The alternative to the exercise of sound business judgment is that the Company would liquidate – and all dealerships would cease to be GM dealerships.” Detroit News

05/15/09 As noted in our recent S-4 filing and updated Viability Plan, General Motors plans to reduce its dealer network from 5,969 stores today to approximately 3,600 by the end of 2010.

This process starts today, as GM begins contacting dealers regarding its long term planning. Approximately 1,100 underperforming and very small sales volume U.S. dealers will be advised that GM does not see them as part of its dealer network on a long-term basis. In most cases, existing franchise agreements run through October of 2010.

In addition, we will be updating about 470 Saturn, HUMMER and Saab dealers on the status of those brands and we will be discussing how the remaining dealers will support our retail plans going forward. While additional cuts will be made, we believe the vast majority, over 90 percent, of the remaining dealers will be offered a chance to remain with GM. However, specific dealer issues, further attrition and additional possible dealer network actions are expected to bring the number of future GM dealers to around 3,600 by the end of 2010, as described in the Plan. The actual number could vary given levels of attrition, etc. outside of GM’s control.

“We have said from the beginning that our dealers are not a problem but an asset for General Motors,” said Mark LaNeve, GM Vice President of Sales Service and Marketing. “However it is imperative that a healthy, viable GM have a healthy, viable dealer body that can not only survive but prosper during cyclical downturns. It is obvious that almost all parts of GM, including the dealer body, must get smaller and more efficient.”

“In response, we are letting them know about our long term plans. GM’s viability plan calls for fewer, stronger brands as well as fewer, stronger dealers. We have taken a very difficult step by identifying those dealerships we’d like to keep in the GM dealer network and those with whom we will have to wind down our business relationships,” LaNeve said.

As independently owned businesses, dealer owners will make their own decisions if and when they want to make this information public. GM is not releasing the names of any dealers.

“We are not terminating any dealerships today,” LaNeve clarified, “We will be talking to all of our dealers over the next few weeks, letting them know now in the spirit of open communication, so they are advised well in advance, about our long-term plans and their role in them. Long term, GM should have fewer, healthier dealers, maintaining GM’s current high customer satisfaction ratings, with more sales per outlet.”

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