Despite auto turmoil, Glenwood’s Berthod appears to be fine

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” It’ll be business as usual at one local auto dealership that sells vehicles made by Chrysler and General Motors, according to the owner of Berthod Motors.

Both automakers announced last week that they would be making dealer cuts nationwide in their efforts to reorganize and stay in business amid a severe recession that has hit auto sales hard.

But sales in Glenwood Springs are actually picking up, said Fred Gerbaz, president of Berthod Motors on South Grand Avenue.

“I don’t think anybody here in town got a letter from either GM or Chrysler,” Gerbaz said. “In fact, we have been told by Chrysler that we would be their local dealer ongoing.”

In addition to being the authorized Jeep dealership locally, Berthod is also licensed to sell GM, Chrysler, Buick and Pontiac products. One other local dealership, Vista Auto Group, sells Chevrolet vehicles. Chevy is a division of GM.

“I was a little nervous, but we’ve been pretty much selling what they have expected us to sell,” Gerbaz said. “So, it looks good for Glenwood.”

In fact, sales are “looking better every day.

“It is gradually getting better,” he said. “Sales tend to pick up in the spring, but I think it also has a lot to do with the economy appearing to look better.”

General Motors Corp. on Friday told about 1,100 dealers, or nearly 20 percent of its U.S. network, that they will be fired by the automaker late next year because their sales are weak. Chrysler announced similar cuts a day earlier.

GM said it expects to lose more dealers through attrition. About 90 percent of the remaining dealerships will stay with GM, the company said.

Both Chrysler and GM say they are cutting the number of dealers because they have too many outlets that are too close to each other, and the competition drives down prices. But as the ranks of dealers thin and competition decreases, that likely will mean higher prices for car and truck buyers.


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