Auburn Dealer Hopes to Survive Without GM

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(Auburn, CA)
Friday, July 10, 2009

Snyder's sales are down – he sold just two new GMs in May, four in June.  That’s compared to 16 over the same two months last year.  Still, on a recent morning at his dealership, Snyder was optimistic he could survive without his GM contract.
Snyder: “We have about 50 new Chevys on the lot.  If we have 17 months to sell them, we probably can do that.  And 80 percent of our service business is non-warranty anyway, so I think we’ll retain a lot of those people because they’ve been coming here for years.” 
Business was slow that morning.  No one walked in to buy a car during the hour or so I was there.  But there were a few people getting their cars serviced – including GM owners Ralph Hall and Jerry Waxman.  Neither was happy to hear the news.
Hall: “I don’t think it’s right.  I’ve been well pleased doing business here.  Very good.  People are very nice, real friendly, good service.  So I’m well pleased.  They should keep it.”

Waxman: “This is one of the few dealers in the area that services.  I live in Nevada City.  So I have to come from there to here.  Otherwise, I’d have to go to Roseville, I guess.  So it’s very inconvenient.”
In fact, Steve Snyder has a bit of a safety net.  He’s got a Subaru dealer next door that’s far more successful – it sold around 40 new vehicles in May and June.  But Snyder worries about some of the other dealers who are losing out.
Snyder: “The dealers that were only General Motors dealers that were terminated have a stand-alone facility and as you can probably imagine, a car dealership is a one-purpose facility.  They may have a mortgage on it.  What are they gonna do if they don’t get another franchise in there?  And then all the employees in that operation are out of work.” 
That hopefully won’t be the case for Snyder.  He plans on bringing as many of his GM dealer employees as he can over to the Subaru side.  In fact, he says, he’s already told his Chevy technicians and sales people to start learning about Subarus.  They’ll probably have to sell them soon.