In late 2003, due to the continuing decline of Buick sales*, I approached GM once again about my continued interest in acquiring Pontiac-GMC.  At GM’s suggestion, I met with Mr. Okenquist, who indicated that his MHD Board of Directors probably wouldn’t allow the sale to me.  In early 2004, I again contacted GM about assisting me in acquiring Pontiac-GMC to comply with GM’s B-P-G strategy and regain business viability.  The non-viability of my dealership was even more pronounced due to a dramatic shift from my market’s traditional blue collar base to a Silicon Valley-induced influx of highly-educated, GM-shunning Asian immigrants.  By this point in time, Asians comprised nearly half the population in my market area, but due to the high income of the group they were responsible for around 75% of the vehicle purchases in the upper end import-dominated market segments in which Buick and Cadillac competed.  As GM data reveals that its market penetration with Asians is only about a third of that of the general population, meeting state average market penetration with Buick and Cadillac is virtually impossible without cost-prohibitive intense invasion of surrounding dealers’ markets.  See Expanded Details:  “Misc: Signer Sales History and Fremont Demographics” for additional information. 

As Fremont P-G was off-channel without Buick, and Mr. Okenquisthad three other B-P-G dealerships, my latest acquisition proposal would make sense for all parties as had my previous two proposals.  In a letter written by Northern California B-P-G Zone Manager Susan Keenehan,  GM again did not support my efforts to acquire Pontiac-GMC.  Of note in the letter is Ms. Keenehan’s statement about my “inability to attract the growing Asian and Indian base” to my dealership, a snide comment that attempts to shift to me the blame for Asians’ rejection of GM products.  Ms. Keenehan was formerly named Susan Koerber, and as a member of the 1997-1998 GM/MHD team that attempted to induce my exit, as described above.  GM had reassigned my dealership to her in about 2002.  Based on her apparent long term assignment to drive me out of business, as well as the negative tone of her letter, it was clear that she would fight me every inch of rhe way even if I did somehow reach agreement with Mr. Okenquist.  Thus, my efforts would be futile, and I did not pursue Pontiac-GMC. 

Interestingly, when Ms. Keenehan visited me to inform me of the content of the letter, she said that when channeling occurs between two dealers, it is normally the stronger dealer that acquires the other dealer.  As Ms. Keenehan always seemed to be very impressed with Mr. Okenquist, she obviously felt he was the stronger dealer, although in reality he was dealer with the stronger franchise (GMC.)  In an ironic twist of fate, Mr. Okenquist’s group of dealerships would later fail, and in 2008 and 2009 he closed them all, including Fremont Pontiac-GMC.  In contrast, I remained in business with my two extremely low volume franchises until GM filed bankruptcy and terminated me in 2009.  At that point, with Mr. Okenquist’s term with Fremont Pontiac-GMC now in the junkyard of failed GM dealer plans with the dealership, Ms. Keenehan was already unswervingly backing Inder Dosanjh, the newest chosen one to be discussed later.

* My dealership’s new Buick sales had declined from the 1984 peak of 908 to 79 in 2003, a 91.3% decline.  Fremont Pontiac-GMC sales in 2003 were 652 as a result of GM’s product shift from cars to trucks.  Most of the sales were GMC’s.