CHJ avoids GM closures

Published 4:31 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

AHOSKIE – On Friday, 1,100 General Motors dealerships learned their franchises with the auto giant would be terminated next year. Locally, Charles H. Jenkins & Company, a GM dealer, was not on the closure list.

“That was some great news,” said Ed Strickland whose business – Strickland Auto Group – owns the Ahoskie-based Charles H. Jenkins & Co. “We are very happy to learn that Charles H. Jenkins & Co. will remain a part of the business landscape in the region.”

Strickland added, “We are very grateful of all the customers who have supported us over the years and we ask for that continued support.”

In doing his part to rally the public in an effort to support businesses based in the United States, Strickland said, “We need for all Americans in the market for a vehicle to strongly consider purchasing domestic brands.”

The decision by GM to cut the number of its dealerships across the nation is due to the automaker making an attempt to restructure its operation in an effort to become profitable. According to national news sources, GM reported a $6 billion loss during the first three months of the year. GM corporate officials say they are in need of additional loans from the federal government while they devise a plan to avoid bankruptcy. Since late last year, GM has received

$15.4 billion in federal assistance.

GM isn’t alone in breaking bad news to its franchised dealers. On Thursday, Chrysler LLC, in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, announced the closing of 789 dealerships across the nation. Thirteen are in North Carolina, including Edenton Motors in nearby Chowan County. According to a news release from Chrysler, those dealerships may begin closing as early as next month.

Up until July of last year, Chrysler had a presence in Ahoskie through Strickland Auto Group. Strickland said his company gave-up that franchise and the auto lot located in the former location of Strickland Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep (on NC 42 at the Ahoskie Creek bridge) was a subsidiary of Charles H. Jenkins & Co.

“That worked out well for us and Chrysler,” Strickland said of the 2008 deal.