Here's his response to our story:
1. "We are a GM dealership today and we'll be a GM dealership tomorrow," Palmen said. When asked if Palmen will be a GM dealership in a year, he said: "We're in conversations with GM. We don't know what it will look like in a year."
2. Yes, employees at Palmen lost their jobs. The company went through a "round of restructuring and reorganizing" similar to companies around the country. But he said all of Palmen's dealerships have full staffs ready to sell cars.
3. Palmen had good news to report: Palmen is close to adding a Chrysler franchise to its Dodge and Jeep dealership in Racine. The deal is up for final approval, Palmen said.
4. He disputed our report about the future of the Palmen Buick Pontiac GMC building at 6001 Washington Ave., but declined to give further specifics.
5. Palmen took offense that our original story said he didn't return phone calls. He said he received one message from us last night and returned it this morning. This is true. We had called Palmen Wednesday, but only left the one message. Palmen said we were "irresponsible" to run our story, which he called "profanity."
6. The bottom line is Palmen Buick Pontiac GMC is open for business and selling cars, and will be for some time, Palmen said. "Come on over and get that GM car," Palmen said.
Here's our original story:
More bad news for local car sales: Palmen Motors may be losing its GM dealership in Racine.
One source said Wednesday:
What I heard was Andy Palmen has informed staff GM is not allowing them to buy any more cars.A second confirmed Palmen lost its dealerships and was planning to turn its building at 6001 Washington Ave. into a used car superstore.
They have a store that's useless. They spent a lot of money on that building. They've got to do something to pay the mortgage.But that doesn't mean people are keeping their jobs, according to our source. Sales people, some who had worked for the dealership for years, have been laid off. It's rough, our source said.
I feel horrible for those guys. It's so cutthroat these days. It doesn't matter how hard you work any more.A manager at the Racine dealership, Palmen Pontiac Buick GMC at 6001 Washington Ave., would only say Wednesday night: "We're still selling new cars."
But our sources said the information that Palmen lost the GM dealership is solid. It certainly fits with the national picture. GM has announced it was closing 1,300 dealerships by the end of 2010.
The news comes about a week after it was reported Racine may be losing its Cadillac dealership.