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THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2007
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Bramlett dealership buys out GMC, Buick franchises in Decatur

By Evan Belanger
ebelanger@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

A caravan of about 100 Detroit-made machines made the short drive across town Friday from the Tony Moore Buick-GMC dealership to the Bramlett Pontiac-Kia dealership.

According to Jim Bramlett, owner of Bramlett Pontiac-Kia, his dealership recently purchased both Buick and GMC franchises from Tony Moore.

Rather than use a car-carrying semi-truck, Bramlett said he and several helpers simply drove the new vehicles the 2.64 miles from the old dealership on Beltline Road to the vehicles’ new home on U.S. 31 South.

The buyout increases the size of Bramlett’s on-lot selection to about 350 vehicles, including Pontiac, Kia, Buick, GMC and Suzuki brands.

“It’s a great time to be a GM dealer,” Bramlett said Monday. “We’ve got a full line to offer now.”

According to Bramlett, the buyout is part of a nationwide push by GM to keep its Pontiac, Buick and GM lines under the same roof.

But even as he prepares his first marketing campaign under the new manufacturer, national trends show his venture does have challenges.

Nationwide, domestic auto sales this year are down about 1 percent from 2006, despite a June push from dealers that resulted in an extra 600,000 vehicles sold over the previous June’s numbers. According to analysts, high gasoline prices and uncertain market conditions are causing some potential buyers to stay at home this year.

So far this month, nationwide gasoline prices are averaging about $3 a gallon with a regional average of about $2.89 a gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Miles per gallon

But Bramlett says the economic conditions could make his new GM vehicles even more marketable when compared to other brands. He said GM currently manufactures more vehicles that make better than 30 miles per gallon than does any other company.

He also said GM sells a number of crossover vehicles, which combine the features of an economy car and a sport utility vehicle, and several flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on a mixture of mostly bio-based ethanol fuel.

“A lot of people don’t know that unless they’ve really been out car shopping in the past couple years,” he said.

The recent buyout leaves the Tony Moore dealerships with Jeep, Lincoln-Mercury, Dodge, Subaru and Mitsubishi lines.

While no one at Tony Moore was available for comment Monday, an employee did say the company was moving some of its operation to its former Buick-GMC dealership on Beltline Road.

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