GM Says Dealers Support Closings

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp., the venerable Detroit automaker that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, said its dealers support the company's decision to end contracts with more than 1,100 of them by the end of next year.

In a statement Monday, Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president for sales and marketing in North America, said nearly 75 percent of the dealerships it plans to close support the company's wind-down agreement. Monday was a deadline for those dealers to submit a proposal to have GM reconsider renewing their franchise contract with the company. As of last week, 11 of dealers on the closing list will see their contracts renewed.

"While these efforts are extremely difficult for all involved, we believe that the GM dealers moving forward with the company strongly support actions to improve their long-term competitiveness and business opportunities," said LaNeve in written statement.

More than 90 percent of GM dealers remaining with the company have signed or verbally pledged their support to a participation agreement, which outlines specific milestones the dealers must meet to remain a certified GM dealer.

GM met with the National Automobile Dealers Association last week to discuss the group's concerns over parts of the participation agreement. As a result, GM said it will send its dealers another letter clarifying certain details of the participation agreement, such as performance standards.

"I especially commend GM for its flexibility and its willingness to make substantive clarifications and modifications to address dealer concerns," said NADA chairman John McEleney in a written statement. We believe GM has made a very good faith effort, given the unprecedented circumstances facing GM and the industry."

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