Duke spared from dealer cuts

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The good news continues for dealerships in Suffolk, as Duke Automotive received a letter Tuesday inviting them to continue dealing General Motors vehicles.

“It’s a big sigh of relief,” said Lydia Duke, owner of the North Main Street dealership. On May 15, when other GM dealerships were receiving notices that they would close, Duke reported hearing no news at all.

Duke said the letter invites her to continue participating with GM, and she has to review the letter and give them her response before June 12.


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“My answer will probably be sign on the line and get it back in time,” Duke said.

Duke credited the community, her employees and her family for enabling the dealership to remain open, but says she’s grieving for dealerships that are being forced to close.

“My heart goes out to the dealers that did not get a participating letter, because they, too, have put their family, blood, sweat and tears into their stores,” Duke said. “My heart goes out in all sincerity. I feel their pain.”

Duke said she still needs time to “let it sink in,” after a long few months of worrying about the dealership’s fate.

In addition to her sales, Duke said a recently updated facility and the fact that she carries no imports likely weighed heavily in GM’s decision to keep Duke Automotive on board.

Duke added that she doesn’t think the consumers will see anything change in the way GM does business, adding that she hopes people in the city will “still have faith in GM and the industry.”