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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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GM dealers — what we’ve heard so far

We haven’t heard much so far, but here is what we do have on the local GM dealers:

Ultimate Pontiac/Buick/GMC, Spotsylvania: I left a message today with owner Randy Harris. Haven’t heard back. Yesterday Harris said he hadn’t heard anything from GM "nor do I expect to. … We plan on being here in Fredericksburg." Harris also owns the Subaru dealership next door on U.S. 1. He noted that GM has been very tight-lipped about the whole process. He said "dealers are needed in the community." This afternoon, Harris said that he hasn’t heard anything, which he assumes is good news.

Pohanka Cadillac, Spotsylvania. This morning owner Frank Pohanka said he hasn’t "heard a thing yet." He said it’s a tough day but "what are you going to do?" Pohanka also sells Nissan, Honda and Hyundai brands at his Four-Mile Fork dealership, and he’s building a new Honda dealership near the intersection of Interstate 95 and U.S. 17 in Stafford County. Pohanka notes that sales are down this year but they’re "not as bleak as everyone says."

Radley Chevrolet, Spotsylvania. I left a message for owner Karen Radley today. In an e-mail yesterday she pointed out that "barring manufacturer bankruptcy, G.M. would not be able to discontinue its relationship with any dealer without financial settlement as directed by the code of Virginia." That’s an important distinction between Chrysler, which is in bankruptcy court and can more easily change contracts, and GM, which hasn’t declared bankruptcy.

Jim Harris Buick Pontiac GMC, Warrenton. Owner Jim Harris was still waiting to hear from GM this morning. Given his dealership’s sales record and customer service ratings, Harris said he did not expect to be on the list of closing dealerships. Then again, Harris has not heard directly from the company how they will choose the 1,100 dealerships to close. "Everybody’s asking ‘Are you one of them? Are you one of them?’ I get that 20 times a day," Harrison said. "What I’m reading in magazines and trade publications, the things that they’re looking at, I’m at the top of the heap. I should not be even considered." Harris said he was disappointed GM decided to deliver the news by phone and mail. "It just bothers me that some of these people have been there 50 years and they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to come in person and say we’re going to ruin your life," Harris said.

Champion Chevrolet, Culpeper: Manager Gary Fay said he was about to call his FedEx person to see if there was anything waiting from GM. "We haven’t heard anything," Fay said. He said Culpeper is a growth area and "truck country," with Chevrolet Silverados selling well, along with Chevrolet Malibu sedans. "I think we’re pretty OK. I think the urban areas are more at risk," Fay said.

Northern Neck Chevrolet/Pontiac, Montross. The dealership had not heard anything from GM as of early afternoon.

No word yet from any of these dealerships:

Reynolds Pontiac/Cadillac/GMC Truck/Buick/Subaru, Orange

Lindsay Chevrolet, Woodbridge

Herndon Chevrolet, Orange

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