GM moving on following passage of Colorado law |

GM moving on following passage of Colorado law

DENVER – General Motors Co. says it’s working to restore relationships with its dealers and will comply with a Colorado law that aims to help dealers dropped by carmakers.

In February, GM launched radio and print ads opposing a Colorado bill requiring carmakers to reimburse dropped dealers for expensive upgrades they were required to make in the last five years. The bill also gave dealers a right of first refusal if GM awarded another franchise nearby.

GM spokesman Greg Martin said a version Gov. Bill Ritter signed in March is less onerous. It allows for depreciation on the amount GM must reimburse, and it limits the right of first refusal to five years.

Martin didn’t have an estimate Friday of how much the Colorado law could cost GM.

GM told about 2,000 dealers last year that they would be dropped from its network by this October, but in March, it said it would let 661 remain. Congress has passed legislation allowing other dealers to appeal.

Ivette Dominguez, president of Alpine Buick GMC in Denver, wasn’t in danger of being dropped by GM but said the last 12 months have been tough for car dealers, with tight credit markets, GM working through a reorganization and a weak economy.

Her dealership’s unit sales were down 20 percent last year, but profits only fell 5 percent because she reduced expenses, she said. For the first quarter this year, her Buick sales are up 76 percent from the same period last year. She estimated 70 percent of her dealership sales last year were used vehicles and 30 percent were new. So far this year, the split is more like 60-40, she said.

“The most difficult part of the equation right now is product. There’s not enough,” she said while visiting a GM tent at the Denver Auto Show.

GM has said it plans to bring back 600 laid-off auto workers and add equipment at two Canadian factories to help meet demand for its midsize crossover vehicles.


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