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Office Hours

Tue., April 20, 2010, 5:25 p.m.

Camp Chevrolet pulls itself back into GM’s good graces

Last year, when General Motors went through bankruptcy, only one Spokane car dealer paid the price. That was the downtown Spokane Saturn dealership, which closed its doors earlier this year after GM stopped making Saturns.

Now it's clear another Spokane dealer, Camp Chevrolet Cadillac, was on the chopping block, one of several hundred GM dealers nationwide notified they were to be closed down by October 2010.

GM was going through massive reorganization. It made those notices private, leaving it to dealers to decide whether to talk or not.

Not surprisingly, the owners of Camp, Lithia Motors Inc., based in Medford, didn't say a word.

They did, however, start an appeal process, arguing against closing down Camp, which has 85 employees (not including workers in the separately operated Camp Subaru and BMW, on East Montgomery). They argued that Camp has a strong reputation and a solid customer base.

A more complete version of the story appears in Wednesday's Spokesman-Review and on

This week Camp and Lithia announced that the appeal worked. GM has agreed to allow Camp to continue as a new-vehicle dealer and certified service center.

That's a big relief to new Camp GM Scott Hushen, who just took over in Spokane in the last two week.

"We're excited to be able to serve the community," Hushen said on Tuesday.

Hushen was not at Camp during the appeal process, working instead with one of Lithia's dealers in the Abilene, Texas, area.

At least one other regional GM dealer is going through a similar appeal. It doesn't anticipate a resolution for another two weeks.

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.