They’re calling it Black Wednesday in the auto dealer business.
The number of Manitoba dealers informed Wednesday that their dealership agreements will not be renewed after October 2010 continues to grow.
The Free Press has confirmed that seven of them received termination notices.
The biggest and most surprising are Birchwood Pontiac Buick GMC and Park Pontiac Buick GMC in Winnipeg. The others, in no particular order, are Rosenort Motors, Brodeur Chev in St. Adolphe, Gillis Service Garage in Elie, Fowler Pontiac Buick GMC in Brandon and Parkwood Motors in Erickson.
One dealer said there are several other small town dealers that likely got the word, as well.
There are 33 GM dealers in Manitoba and the company said it would be culling the total network across the country by 40 per cent.
The company has also said it will be discontinuing its Pontiac line. There are about 10 Manitoba dealers who are Pontiac specialists, including Birchwood and Park Pontiac.
Park Pontiac vice-president Jeff Dveris, whose family has owned the dealership since 1967, said he was surprised their store was included on the closing list.
He said GM Canada has offered to buy them out if they wind down their operation by the end of this year, and he’s seeking legal advice.
Dveris said he has until early next week to decide whether to accept the early-termination offer, or to continue operating the dealership until its sales and service agreement with GM expires at the end of October, 2010.
"I think the key point here is that we’re still in business. We’re still a GM dealer and we still have all the warranties and everything," he said.