An Oneonta auto dealer said Tuesday a ``best-kept secret'' raised at sales meetings locally is that General Motors has 20 models that get 30 miles to a gallon or better.

Another local dealer, commenting after GM announced plans to close four plants, echoed that Chevrolet could have done more promotion of its fuel-efficient technology during the past decade.

The Oneonta dealers and another in Cobleskill said truck sales are declining but car sales are up, that business has been good this year and no changes in work force are expected. Factors adding up to good business include the range of vehicle models available, repeat customers, purchasing incentives, warranties and the stability of the local economy, they said. Many customers in the area are contractors, construction workers, farmers and others who use trucks for work.

GMC vehicles produced now are the best that have been marketed, said Vinnie Massarotti, general sales manager at Gable Auto & Truck Center at 2431 State Route 7 in Cobleskill. The GM, Buick, Pontiac, GMC dealership has about 60 employees, he said.

Sales are good, though not fantastic, Massarotti said, and some purchasers are buying smaller vehicles to use when they don't need to use their trucks for work. Price no longer is No. 1 among buyers' considerations, he said, and shoppers are asking about fuel-efficiency and warranties.

Scott Davis, vice president of Otsego Automotive in Oneonta, said though shoppers raise questions about economy, they often still focus on price. It's the dealership's responsibility to reveal the ``best-kept secret'' and teach the public about fuel-efficiency technology, he said.

Tom Armao, general manager and vice president at Country Club Chevrolet, said GM continues looking for creative ways to increase fuel-efficiency though Chevrolet could have promoted its fuel-efficient technology more, he said.

Armao said new vehicle sales at the end of the first quarter were slightly ahead of a year ago and signs are good for this quarter. However, the mix of vehicle sales has changed from historically 65 percent to 70 percent trucks to about 50 percent trucks, he said. Armao said he didn't expect any changes in the 50-employee staff level at Country Club Chevrolet at 70 Oneida St. in Oneonta.

``Our local economy is very, very stable,'' Armao said. ``That bodes well for the future.''

Davis said by shifting emphasis toward fuel efficiency and sedan-sized vehicles, GM is addressing market issues.

I'm happy GM is being proactive,'' he said. ``While our truck business will decline to some degree, we're always going to have truck business.''

Business this year has been profitable and the dealership at 55 Oneida St. employs 48, he said.

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