Life after GM

It appears that three of the four Central Alberta dealerships cut adrift by General Motors of Canada will continue to operate.

It appears that three of the four Central Alberta dealerships cut adrift by General Motors of Canada will continue to operate.

Three Hills Motor Products, Sundre Motors, Ponoka Chevrolet and Gary Moe Saturn of Red Deer were among the dealerships notified on May 21 that their sales and service agreements with the auto manufacturer would not be renewed beyond October 2010.

Three Hills Motor Products owner Doug Lorraine confirmed Thursday that he will continue to sell used vehicles after his affiliation with GM ends.

“We’ll be a service centre and sell used vehicles and look after our customers that we already have over the last 20 years.”

The dealership has always sold used vehicles, said Lorraine, who thinks the local market is a good one.

“We’re reasonably busy right now,” he said, adding that the timeline for his business’s departure from GM has yet to be finalized.

He hopes to retain all 14 of his staff members.

Lorraine said he doesn’t know why GM chose his 20-year-old business as one of its dealerships to cut.

“Probably just the rural location, I think.”

Sundre Motors will also remain in business, according to a story appearing in the June 2 issue of the Sundre Round Up newspaper.

The Round Up quoted Corey Schiller, the dealership’s sales manager, as saying used vehicle sales have always been a big part of Sundre Motors’ business.

The Advocate was unable to contact Schiller.

In the case of Gary Moe Saturn, notification that it would lose its tie to GM was expected. GM had previously announced that the Saturn brand was being discontinued.

Gary Moe Saturn manager Dean Moe said there were no plans to close the dealership, citing reports that GM was negotiating the sale of Saturn.

Earlier this week, General Motors Corp. chief financial officer Ray Young told reporters and industry analysts that 16 potential buyers are interested in Saturn.

The one dealership in the region that is closing is Ponoka Chevrolet.

Owner Lyle Guthrie said on Thursday that he decided two days earlier to close effective June 30. Staffing considerations made it difficult to postpone this action, he added.

“Even if they’re trying to be loyal to me, if they know at the end of the day it’s not a question of if, it’s when, how can they not take advantage of an opportunity?”

Guthrie said he’s trying to find other jobs for the nearly 20 people who work at Ponoka Chevrolet, and has already moved one to another dealership. But many don’t know what they want to do, particularly those with strong connections to Ponoka.

Guthrie, who has two young children, is among this group.

“I certainly don’t want to go anywhere, but you have to go where the work goes, like anyone else.”

He said the situation is also tough for Ponoka Chevrolet’s customers, who must now travel elsewhere for servicing — or switch to another brand.

Guthrie has owned the dealership for 11 1/2 years. The previous owner operated for 25 years, he said.

He said he was surprised to receive notice that Ponoka Chevrolet was among the casualties of GM’s downsizing.

“If you would have asked me three weeks ago if we were going to be going away this quickly, I would have laughed at you,” he said.

“To be honest with you, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

City watching speed limit debate

Blackfalds, Calgary and Edmonton the latest to consider reduced residential speed limits

Late bidding war drives Stampede sponsorship auction to $3.29M bid total

CALGARY — An unexpected late bidding war for the right to sponsor… Continue reading

Mother Russia: South Florida sees a boom in ‘birth tourism’

MIAMI — Every year, hundreds of pregnant Russian women travel to the… Continue reading

Air Canada, WestJet purchased safety option reportedly missing on crashed planes

TORONTO — Canada’s two largest airlines have at least one of the… Continue reading

Kenney promises vote on equalization in 2021 if no pipeline progress

CALGARY — The leader of Alberta’s United Conservatives is promising a referendum… Continue reading

Flyers, Blackhawks, Sabres and Lightning to Europe in ‘19-20

Jakub Voracek was psyched at the mere suggestion the Philadelphia Flyers might… Continue reading

Danish receiver Nielsen looking to defy the odds again, this time at CFL combine

TORONTO — He’s coming to the CFL’s national combine as a definite… Continue reading

Mom with kids on YouTube channel suspected of child abuse

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A woman who operated a popular YouTube channel featuring… Continue reading

Richie Mehta’s ‘Delhi Crime’ series, about 2012 rape case, hits Netflix

A drama series made by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta and based on… Continue reading

Local Sports: Queen’s Avery Lajeunesse not afraid to get physical

A year ago Avery Lajeunesse made a commitment to join the RDC… Continue reading

Seniors: Exposing the hype surrounding supplements

Do we need dietary supplements as we age? Do these supplements actually… Continue reading

Eight warning signs you won’t finish college

Forty per cent of students who enrol in a four-year college don’t… Continue reading

Photos: Deer spotted in Red Deer

Spring has sprung. One Advocate reader has been seeing a herd of… Continue reading

Most Read