Sheets GMC of Green Bank is one of 1,124 dealerships in the country that received notice from General Motors about the cancelation of their contract. Sheets has been in business, as a garage and dealership for 87 years. S. Stewart photo
Sheets GMC owner Charlie Sheets wants to make one thing clear.
“We are not closing,” he said Monday.
After news surfaced that the dealership received “the letter” from General Motors, Sheets’ phones lit up with calls from concerned customers with only one question in mind.
What happens next?
The letter from GM was sent priority mail to 1,124 dealers in the country, notifying them that GM has decided to cancel their contracts by October 2010. Without any explanation for how the dealerships were chosen, the letter, which Sheets said was vague in nature, did not close with a signature from a member of the General Motors Corporation.
“In the letter, they talked about a lot of factors that helped them make their decision like sales effectiveness, sales volume, CSI performance, which is your customer rating, capitalization, profitability, location, facilities and dualing patterns,” Sheets said, reading from the letter sent on May 14.
What the letter doesn’t explain, is how closing contracts with 1,124 dealers will assist with the corporation’s financial situation.
“What we dealers don’t understand, is that we don’t cost them a penny because everything we get from them, we have to buy,” Sheets explained. “The way I look at it, the automobile manufacturers have two things to sell. They sell cars and parts and who do they sell them to? To the dealers.”
The dealership, which began as a humble repair shop in 1922 owned by Clarence Sheets, is no stranger to downsizing and loss of a product.
“We went through this with Oldsmobile,” Sheets said. “We already went through one phase out and now we are going through another one. It’s just kind of frustrating.”
A photo of the original garage, opened by Clarence Sheets in 1922, hangs on the wall of the dealership. Photo courtesy of Sheets GMC
Sheets has already taken action to fight the cancellation of his GM contract with his own letter. GM gave the dealers until the end of May to submit information or a plan for the future. Sheets sent his letter Monday morning.
“I’m appealing their decision and I’m also asking them what our options are because their letter was so vague,” he said. “It doesn’t tell us anything, it doesn’t give us any options. It’s a cold, hard letter. I’m asking them, ‘what are you going to do for us if you want us out of business.’ We’ve worked for years, building our dealership, building our franchise and they come along like this and it makes us feel virtually worthless.”
Mitchell Chevrolet did not receive “the letter” and isn’t going to.
The Marlinton dealership has been selected as one of the dealers GM “wants on the team.”
Joe Mitchell said the dealership would be faced with challenges, but “we hope to meet those challenges, grown and prosper and treat everyone just as we have been.”