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My Turn

March 2, 2009

My Turn: Auto dealers are vital to community

Every Monday, The Daily Star will be offering members of our communities the opportunity to write about ... well ... just about anything under the title of "My turn." The inaugural column today is by Scott Davis, chief executive officer of Country Club Automotive Group.

Over the past several months I've listened to the media and the lawmakers question whether the American car manufacturers should be left to go into a structured bankruptcy.

I have heard the media call General Motors Corp. a dinosaur that should be allowed to go out of business. I have heard them lecture the CEOs of the Big Three domestic car manufacturers for not having an adequate business proposal to ensure profitability in the future only to have already handed over $150 billion of taxpayers' money to AIG and never demand as much as a plan from them.

As a General Motors dealer with a family history of more than 80 combined years in the automobile business, I'm growing increasingly tired of the misrepresentation that the domestic car manufacturers and General Motors in particular have received during our financial crisis.

The fact is, of the 250 million cars and trucks on US roads today, more that 66 million are GM brands. That's nearly 44 million more than the best-selling import brand.

Yes, mistakes have been made over the years by GM top executives and the auto unions, but the government needs to accept some responsibility, as well.

Before the credit crisis arrived with its devastating effects on Wall Street, as well as on Main Street, General Motors was in the middle of restructuring its operations and labor relations. It had a solid plan to achieve profitability and began launching new, outstanding products, with many more in the pipeline.

You seldom will hear or read it in the media, but GM has won many vehicle- and plant-quality awards. In 2008, General Motors tied for first place in the JD Power initial Quality Study, with 11 models ranked in the top three of their respective segments.

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