The Wiese GM dealership and General Motors Co. have settled a lawsuit in which the auto company alleged the Columbus area auto dealer had breached an agreement by failing to meet a 2011 sales target.
After its bankruptcy in 2009, the automaker restructured its dealer network. About 120 GM dealerships that were targeted to be closed, including Wiese, remained open after their owners reached an agreement with the company to meet certain requirements, including improved customer service and sales.
On June 20, GM filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana against Bob Wiese Oldsmobile Inc., identifying as his principal place of business the dealership at 10265 U.S. 31 North in Taylorsville. According to the secretary of state’s office, Bob Wiese Oldsmobile is based in Noblesville and has other names including Wiese Oldsmobile GMC in Howard County, Easy Auto Sales in Kokomo and Wiese GM Center, Wiese Auto Outlet and Wiese Automotive Group in Bartholomew County.
According to the suit, Wiese in 2010 agreed, among other things, to achieve a retail sales target that was below average.
The dealership ultimately failed to reach that target.
GM also wrote in the suit that it notified the local Wiese dealership in writing and in person June 5 that it aimed to buy back certain assets as stated in the agreement reached in 2009, but that the dealer refused to communicate.
However, in mid-August, the parties notified the federal court that they had reached an agreement.
It calls for Wiese to comply with the 2009 settlement agreement. According to the lawsuit, that agreement “allows GM to exercise an option to purchase certain assets.” However, specific terms have not been made public.
“Our business relationship with Wiese ended on Aug. 30,” GM spokesman Tom Henderson said in an email, but the company declined specific comment on the court filing.
“While we evaluate this market and consider its needs, customers have a variety of options for maintaining or servicing their vehicles,” Henderson said.
“Within a 30-mile radius of this dealership are 10 Chevrolet, eight Buick, five GMC and four Cadillac dealerships,” Henderson said.
Although GM’s website now lists no GM dealers for the immediate Columbus market, it does identify three dealerships that are nearby: Bradley Chevrolet in Franklin; Poynter Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac GMC in Seymour; and Country Chevrolet Buick in North Vernon.
Bryan Bennett, owner of the North Vernon dealership, said he has seen an uptick in calls for service from the Columbus area, especially in the past two weeks.
Bob Poynter, owner of the Seymour dealership bearing his name, explained that owners of GM vehicles can have vehicle warranty work done with any GM dealer.
He said that’s because the warranty goes with the vehicle, not the dealership where the car was purchased.
Both Bennett and Poynter predict that Columbus will soon get another GM dealership.
“Columbus is too big a town not to have a GM dealer,” Poynter said.
Mike Wiese, owner of Taylorsville-based Wiese GM, and David Barker, the Carmel-based attorney who represented Wiese in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.
Bob Piehl, owner of Carver Toyota, which operates a dealership at the address of the former Wiese GM center, declined to comment.
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