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Thielen Motors escapes GM's nationwide downsizing

Thielen Motors met the necessary objectives to remain operational. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Thielen Motors of Park Rapids will remain a GM dealer, the company notified its General Motors franchise has been renewed through 2010.

Ted Thielen, a Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Pontiac dealer, said he was fairly confident his dealership would not be chosen for the cuts.

The dealerships were required, he said, to meet key objectives to retain the franchise: working capital, sales effectiveness, service satisfaction, location and building among them.

"They felt we met them," he said.

GM will eliminate its Pontiac brand by 2010 in an effort to stay profitable.

Friday, General Motors told about 1,100 of its dealers - one in five - that they would be dropped by late next year.

Thielen said Dondelinger will close GM franchises in Wadena, Pine River and Little Falls.

This is one of three phases in the downsizing move, he said. Sellers of Saab, Saturn and Hummer may be next on the chopping block. Cities with more than one franchise may see some elimination of dealers, Thielen said.

The GM move came a day after Chrysler LLC told 789 of the company's approximately 3,200 dealers across the country that they would be shutting their doors.

The GM dealer cuts are expected to have a greater impact than Chrysler's. While many Chrysler dealers also sell other brands and will stay open after losing their franchises, a large number of GM dealers only sell GM vehicles.

GM is also facing bankruptcy if the corporation is unable to exchange $27 million in bond debt for stock.

Thielen purchased and incorporated the business in February 1976 Twenty-four are currently employed at the site.