GM spares Cook; Victory likely to lose GMC, Buick

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A day later, the shoe is on the other foot.

On Thursday, Chrysler closed 789 of its 3,200 American auto dealers.

Cook Chevrolet in Craig received word it probably will lose its Jeep franchise, a brand owned by Chrysler. The ultimate decision is up to a federal bankruptcy court, which should make its ruling by early June.

That same day, Chrysler spared Victory Motors, which will keep its Chrysler and Dodge lines.

On Friday, General Motors closed about 1,100 of its roughly 6,100 dealers.

Cook will retain its flagship Chevrolet line.

A letter to Victory said GM probably will not renew the dealership's GMC and Buick franchises in fall 2010.

One thing, however, was the same at the end of Thursday and Friday - the owners of both dealerships don't know exactly what happens now.

"We know we're a Chrysler/Dodge dealer," Victory Motors co-owner Steve Maneotis said. "That stays the same. We're in this waiting cycle of where the GM franchises go. It's a confusing mess."

Maneotis has a guess about what eventually may shake out, though. Chrysler's decision to take Jeep from Cook Chevrolet leaves a Chrysler franchise with no home in Craig.

General Motors also would be without a GMC or Buick dealer but would have a GM customer in Cook.

"I think the long-term resolution will be one Chrysler dealer and one GM dealer in Craig," Maneotis said. "We will look at all options. If Chrysler offers us Jeep, we would be interested. GM may offer Buick and GMC Truck to Cook, I don't know."

Until his dealership's franchise agreement with GM is due for renewal, Maneotis said Victory will manage its GMC and Buick vehicles "as usual."

"Nothing will change for us with GMC and Buick until then," he said. "We're still going to be able to sell new cars and do warranties through the end of that time period."

Maneotis and Scott Cook, owner of Cook Chevrolet, said the decisions made by Chrysler and GM this week will have no impact on their employees.

"Our employees are safe with us," Maneotis said.

"I hate to lose Jeep, but it is the smallest volume of our franchises," Cook said. "We'll keep on keeping on."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

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