April 20, 2010 in Business

Spokane Chevrolet dealer survives GM restructuring

Auotmaker removes Camp Chevrolet Cadillac from closure list on appeal
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Managers of Spokane’s Camp Chevrolet Cadillac say they’ve succeeded in persuading General Motors to leave their doors open.

As part of its restructuring during bankruptcy last summer, GM announced plans to close about 2,000 dealers. Camp, which is owned by Medford-based Lithia Motors, Inc., was included in the closure group, but neither GM nor Camp announced that decision at the time.

Early this year Lithia management began a formal appeal of that decision.

So far this year, at least several dozen GM dealers across the country have succeeded, like Camp, in changing GM’s planned phase-out. Camp, at 101 E. Montgomery, has about 85 employees.

Lithia spokesman Tom Dobry said two other Lithia dealers are still appealing closures by GM but he could not disclose their names.

GM’s change of heart followed Lithia management’s presentation of data showing that Camp has a loyal customer base and is one of the busiest GM service centers in Eastern Washington, Dobry said.

“We just got the green light from GM this past week or so,” Dobry said.

The decision by GM means the car maker will again send new Chevrolets and Cadillacs to Camp. That pipeline was turned off late last summer.

Other GM dealers in the area — Knudtsen Chevrolet in Post Falls, Appleway Chevrolet in Spokane Valley and George Gee GMC in Liberty Lake — were not affected during the reorganization.

Though GM had turned off the new-vehicle pipeline, Camp continued acquiring cars through trades and arrangements with other dealers in the area, said Camp GM Scott Hushen. It now has nearly 40 new vehicles and will start receiving additional new vehicles in the coming weeks, he said.

If it had not won its appeal, Camp Chevrolet Cadillac would have lost its certification as a GM dealer in October of this year.


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