GM to close 1,100 dealerships

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General Motors informed 1,100 dealers nationwide Friday that they will be closed due to weak sales.

The move comes after Chrysler's announcement Thursday that it will close nearly 800 of its dealerships. GM says it will not publicly release a list of businesses placed on the chopping block.Grand Prize, a General Motors dealership in Nanuet, has been spared by the automaker. Despite an uncertain market, the owner says he is working to expand his business.

"We're going to have the four brands moving forward that GM is going to run with," says owner Ed Abbruzzese. "The Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC truck is all part of their viability plan, moving forward."

Another local GM dealership that received word it can stay in business is Barton Birks in Newburgh.

"We just have a strong service, very strong body shop," says dealership president Ron Barton. "Our sales, even though they're off, they're not off as much as the nation or the region."

Barton adds that slashing the number of dealers will strengthen GM's distribution network in the long run.

GM and Chrysler say they have an excessive number of dealerships that do not bring in enough sales. General Motors has said it is looking to close 2,600 dealerships by the end of 2010. The troubled automaker also plans to sell the Saturn, Hummer and Saab brands, as well as phase out the Pontiac name.

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