In October 2005, I attended a GM Western Regional meeting in Las Vegas.  In a casual conversation between sessions, Newark Saturn dealer John Cross asked me my thoughts on GM’s desire to relocate to the Fremont Auto Mall (FAM), assuming GM had discussed it with me, which it had not.  I was shocked at this news as in the early 1990’s, GM had fought so hard for me to forfeit the Auto Mall in favor of Newark.  Mr. Cross told me that GM had been talking to Ken Okenquist about relocating Pontiac-GMC to the Auto Mall also.  Having still not heard from GM about its Fremont Auto Mall pursuit, in November 2005, I contacted Northern California GM Network Planning representative Herman Caruthers (Dan Meyer’s replacement,) who in turn referred me to his boss, Jim Gentry.  I then called Mr. Gentry, who replied that GM was “gauging dealer interest” in the Auto Mall at $30-$40 per square foot of land.  I told him that I was not inter­ested in the high-priced property, but due to the damaging effect that GM’s abandon­­ment of Newark would have on me, I wished to be kept informed of future developments.  In my conversations that day with Mr. Gentry and and Mr. Caruthers, I asked them how much improvement in sales they foresaw from the move to the Auto Mall, to which they replied with a range of 10% – 25%.  Using a middle figure of 17.5%, the sales deficit I suffered by being in Newark would translate into over $2,000,000 in lost net profit over the years that I had been in Newark instead of the Fremont Auto Mall, not counting the real estate value deficit.   After learning of GM’s FAM plans and apparent concerns of liability to me, it became clear to me why GM had gone to such lengths to attempt to induce my exit before I learned of its plans.

On January 25, 2006, Herman Caruthers and Jim Gentry met with me to review GM’s Auto Mall project.  Mr. Gentry conducted the meeting, with Mr. Caruthers merely observing.  Mr. Gentry stated that property would cost me $35 per square foot including GM’s $1 per foot profit, and that my Newark facility’s best value would be as bare land at $20 – $25 per square foot with my nearly new facility torn down.  Based on their figures, duplicating my current facility at the Auto Mall would cost approximately $8,200,000, and leave salvage value of my bare land at approxi­mately $3,300,000 before selling expenses.  I asked Mr. Gentry if GM would compensate me for the $5,000,000 deficit I would suffer from the destroyed value of my GM-induced Newark facility, to which he replied that GM would not.  I informed Mr. Gentry that I had no interest in relocating under GM’s illogical and wasteful plan, or in giving up my franchises, which is what they preferred.  GM’s goal was to have Ken Okenquist operating Buick-Pontiac-GMC-Cadillac at the Fremont Auto Mall; the exact plan it denied me in the early 1990’s.  In the meeting, Mr. Gentry gave high praise to the sales performance of Fremont Pontiac-GMC under the leadership of Mr. Okenquist’s son-in-law, Pat Davis.  It is interesting to note an apples to apples comparison of my Buick sales to Mr. Okenquist’s Buick sales in his other three B-P-G dealerships; San Jose, Dublin, and Colma.  For the combined first six years that he had the group of stores, my Buick sales ranked above each of his three stores by a considerable margin.    

At 8:49 AM on February 21, 2006, in an e-mail to Jim Gentry I urged him to discontinue GM’s Fremont Auto Mall pursuit and allow us GM dealers to con­tinue in Newark and retain some value in our nearly new buildings.  (This e-mail became the basis for a same-day conspired action with GMAC as described in the Dealership History and the Expanded Details:  (2006) GM/GMAC Defamatory Act and Audit/Financial Information Sharing Scheme.)  On February 24, Mr. Gentry responded to my February 21 e-mail, stating that GM would indeed pursue the Auto Mall, and unbelievably that he felt GM was not to blame for my Newark location.