General Motors Chairman expects at least 100 GM dealerships will be restored in the arbitration process mandated by a new federal law. It’s a large number of dealerships will get reinstated,” he said today in a meeting with reporters. The reinstatement largely comes thanks to a new law signed by President Barack Obama that calls for rejected dealers to appeal the termination through an independent arbitrator. If a dealer decides to move forward, it must submit notice by January 25. The arbitration process may be somewhat expedited, as judgments will be rendered by June 15. In bankruptcy last year, Dealers not reinstated likely will be closed by the end of the year.
GM used a “pretty arbitrary” cut-off point in choosing which dealers to reject and probably made some mistakes by cutting some good dealers and leaving some bad ones, Whitacre added. “The way it came out, if you fell above or below a line, you were removed,” he said. “But you had to do it that way. You can’t just go around flipping coins, so you had to have a process.” Arbitration could restore good and bad dealerships, Whitacre said.
Some good dealers would really push GM in a classy manner, likewise we want it done, then it would be really good.” Restoring dealers won’t increase GM’s profits, Whitacre said, but He thinks GM will be profitable in 2010. Chairman Whitacre gave Automotive News, some choice nuggets of quote today. Addressing almost everything except his firm’s stagnant sales, Whitacre took on some of GM’s most staggering challenges in the most… folksy tone imaginable.
Mr. Whitacre said he has little hope of finding a buyer for Saab. “It’s really easy,” he added. “Just show up with the money and you can have it, and nobody’s showing up with the money.” Mr. Whitacre said he didn’t see how GM could have tried any harder to sell the brand. The auto maker said earlier that it will continue to wind down Saab as it entertains bids.