Letter brought praise in the midst of turmoil
By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN “We’re kind of reborn,” said Delano Star West Chevrolet owner John Tackaberry, whose dealership was named by General Motors (GM) as a “key dealer” in the company’s restructuring efforts.
Star West, which was also named the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce 2009 business of the year, received the congratulatory letter from its parent company shortly after the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last Monday.
As many as 80 dealers in Minnesota may be getting a drastically different type of letter, however, as both General Motors and Chrysler scale back their operations.
The “new GM” leaves the US government owning 60 percent of the company, with the United Auto Workers, its creditors, and federal and provincial governments in Canada in possession of the rest.
Although the restructuring will bring hard changes for many, as dealerships and plants are let go, Tackaberry is glad the wait is over.
“Nobody can be happy about blight,” Tackaberry said. “But I’m happy we’re going forward.”
By next year, GM plans to trim down, letting go of more than 2,000 of its 6,000 US dealerships and eliminating its Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Saab brands, an article from CNN Money stated.
The four brands that will be kept in the US market include Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick.
“We had such a negative aura for the past six months,” Tackaberry said. “That was the tenuous part. They should have done this six months ago.”
Earlier, the US gave GM $19.4 billion in emergency federal loans. As the new primary owner, the government will give another $30 billion in taxpayer money.
Now, more than ever, it is important for GM to succeed, because America has invested so much into the company, Tackaberry said.
“We’re all technically on the hook for this,” he said.
As for sales, Tackaberry said his dealership is doing well.
“We saw, actually, a surge in sales going into the end of May,” he said. “I’m not sure why. It’s kind of funny.”
Tackaberry said he received calls from several people, from as far as Texas and Indianapolis, wondering about his dealership.
“I think people truly had empathy for us,” he said.
Government ownership of GM shouldn’t mean major changes for Star West. Warranty coverage, service, and customer support will continue as always.
“I really believe they’re going to be hands-off,” Tackaberry said. He doesn’t blame President Barack Obama for the situation, and said, “No matter who it is, you have to support him.”
At his dealership, Tackaberry said he does his best not to contribute to America’s overspending problem.
“In 29 years, I can honestly say I’ve never sold people cars when they couldn’t afford it,” he said.
As for the “slimmer, trimmer” GM that is emerging, Tackaberry said he sees it as a “positive opportunity.”
“I think change was long overdue,” he said.