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Fri February 25, 2011
Bank seeks liquidation of Williams Motors in Commerce
By Scott Harvey
Commerce – Another local General Motors dealership could face closure as a bank has sought to end its chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A hearing is scheduled Tuesday with the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Dallas between Williams Motors in Commerce and representatives with Mt. Pleasant-based Guaranty Bond Bank. If a motion is granted to end bankruptcy protection, it could lead to the immediate liquidation of the business.
As it did with General Motors, the economic turbulence of 2008 and 2009 cast Williams Motors into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. So far, General Motors, GMAC/Ally Bank and Guaranty Bond Bank have allowed Williams Motors to operate while seeking a buyer or an investor to ensure continued service to Northeast Texas.
Company President and CEO Wyman Williams says that General Motors and GMAC/Ally Bank, two of the businesses' major parties to the restructure, are content with the progress toward reorganization. It is only Guaranty Bond Bank that is apparently insensitive to the work it takes to secure a buyer or investor, according to Williams.
Williams Motors has been in business in Commerce since 1961. Over the past two years, a total of five GM dealerships have closed within a 45 mile radius, including Bonham, Cooper, Sulphur Springs, Mt Vernon and Quitman.
"GM car and truck owners across Northeast Texas have had to drive further and further when they need repair or a new vehicle," Williams said. "The upshot of these closings is that our dealership has become more valuable. I am currently in discussions with a capable investor. However time to evaluate recently released market information from General Motors is required."
Williams says recently obtained figures show a large number of vehicles that are in the areas of the five former dealers that were registered in the years 2007, 2008 and/or 2009. That should be of interest to a potential investor.
"There's so many customers with vehicles they've purchased new from dealers who are no longer [in business], and they need service, especially if the vehicles are still in warranty. Over the last two years that we've been in chapter 11, our service business has been a reason that we've been able to survive. Because they're so many people that need service who don't have a local dealer. That's why I'm confident that a restructured Williams Motors will be very successful."
Williams clarified that it is not the Commerce branch but Guaranty's Mt. Pleasant location that has filed to end the protection.
"The local Guaranty Bond people have done everything they could to support our efforts and they're not the decision makers on this situation anymore."
Calls to Guaranty Bond Bank's branch headquarters in Mt. Pleasant were not returned as of Friday morning.