The latest flood of automotive news was both good and bad for Jack Wolf, owner of Jack Wolf Auto Group in Belvidere. One of Wolf's dealerships sells Chrysler products, the other GM brands -- including the soon-to-be-extinct Pontiac.
The latest flood of automotive news was both good and bad for Jack Wolf, owner of Jack Wolf Auto Group in Belvidere.
Wolf has 80 people working for him at two car dealerships, one of which sells new Chryslers and Jeeps, and was relieved to hear that the United Auto Workers, Chrysler LLC, the U.S. government and Italy’s Fiat Group SpA struck a tentative deal on concessions in the UAW’s labor contract.
Wolf’s Chrysler sales rely heavily on the work force at Chrysler’s Belvidere assembly plant, which employs more than 2,700 people.
“Any kind of a deal that will keep that plant open is very important,” Wolf said. “Those workers are our customers. They are central to this economy.”
But Wolf’s other dealership sells the Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC brands — and General Motors Corp. CEO Fritz Henderson said Monday the company will cut 21,000 U.S. factory jobs by next year and will phase out the storied Pontiac brand by the end of 2010.
The announcement was tough for Wolf, who has been selling Pontiacs “for 50 years.”
“I know GM is under pressure to cut its number of brands and tough decisions had to be made,” Wolf said. “From a sales point, this will hurt us.”
Pontiac makes up about 40 percent of Wolf’s new vehicle sales, he said Monday.
Of course, he may gain models on his Chrysler side since a key part of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance would be existing U.S. dealers selling re-badged Fiats and Alfa Romeos.
“Chrysler and GM haven’t communicated much with the dealers. They will eventually,” Wolf said. “There’s a lot of things changing right now, and it’s going to take time for it all to settle.”
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