GM dealers expect word on plans to cut 1,100 shops

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A day after Chrysler LLC told a quarter of its dealers that it won't renew their contracts, owners of General Motors Corp. dealerships are awaiting word on whether they will be next.


GM said it will notify 1,100 U.S. dealers on Friday that their franchise agreements will not be renewed. Dealers expect to hear either by telephone or FedEx letters that will begin arriving Friday morning.

GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said the company will not make public a list of dealers to be cut, leaving the decision to release information to individual business owners.

The company has scheduled a conference call for noon Friday to explain its dealer reduction strategy.

The cuts will come just a day after crosstown rival Chrysler announced it was dropping 789 of its roughly 3,200 dealerships by around June 9. Both companies have too many dealerships for too few sales are slashing costs as they race to restructure.

GM's dealer cuts are part of the company's plan announced last month to cut more than 2,600 dealers by 2010. The remaining cuts will come from closed Saturn and Hummer dealers, along with 400 dealers that the company expects will close voluntarily. Another 500 would be consolidated into other dealerships.

The GM dealer cuts are likely to have a much greater impact than Chrysler's. While many Chrysler dealers also sell other brands and will stay open after losing their franchises, a large number of GM dealers sell only GM vehicles. So if their franchises are revoked, they run a greater risk of closing for good.

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