GM bankruptcy leaves new car owners with questions

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by By DEBORAH FELDMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 13, 2009 at 1:37 PM

SEATTLE - While huge changes are afoot at Chrysler, General Motors has already filed for bankruptcy. It is a move that has left many GM auto owners and potential buyers wondering what it means in terms of getting parts for cars and warranties honored.

The good news, say most in the industry, is that there's no need to worry.

At Brotherton Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, GMC in Renton, the showroom is quiet, but the waiting room is full of people whose cars are getting serviced. They all know the company filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the month.

While everyone we spoke with pledged loyalty to the brand, they also admit they'll be keeping an eye on the company in the coming months.

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"I wondered about it but I'm not really worried," says Linda Muir.

"I don't know what's going to happen," says Larry Daniels. " Times are pretty tough right about now."

It's a sentiment echoed by Brad Brotherton, the dealership owner. His family has been in the car business for four generations.

"Talking with my dad, it's certainly something he's never seen before," Brotherton says. "And so we'd say that as far as what its done for the auto industry, what it has meant for the auto industry, this is probably the most critical time that we've ever seen."

General Motors has announced it will sell its Hummer division and probably the Saab brad as well. Pontiac will be discontinued in a year and a half, but the other GM brands remain.

KING-5 auto specialist Tom Voelk says with the US government ensuring warranties stay intact, GM owners have little cause for worry.

"General Motors is not out of business," said Voelk. "They're re-organizing. And frankly, a lot of people think that they should have done this a long time ago."

Brad Brotherton says he has seen an interesting shift in sales lately. Last month, he says he sold 40% more used cars than in May 2008. On the other hand, he says new car sales in May were down 30% over the same month last year. He says so far, June sales are off to a good start.

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