It's business as usual at Tom Tepe AutoCenter

Wanda English Burnett

The news of over 1,000 General Motors dealers getting the word that their contracts will cease and they will be out, hasn’t affected Tom Tepe AutoCenter in Milan.

According to Harry Tepe, vice president and co-owner of the dealership, they are not affected by the news many GM dealerships are still reeling from that they can no longer sell GM and Chrysler vehicles as they have in the past.

“It’s business as usual,” Tepe told The Versailles Republican. And that’s busy for the dealership that Tepe says is number one in Southeastern Indiana. When asked what the dealership was doing as the auto industry struggles, he noted that they haven’t cut advertising and many of their customers are repeat customers who refer others.

Tepe noted, “It’s just a matter of being strong in the community and supporting customers - it comes back to you.”

While this places a hardship on many dealerships, having to sell fewer brands or perhaps even close, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Public Affairs had this to say. “As difficult as these announcements are for the dealers that will no longer be selling GM and Chrysler cars and the communities in which they operate, without the President’s intervention, the entire GM and Chrysler dealer networks could have been lost.”

While the forecast is bleak for many dealerships, and the prospect of losing thousands more jobs looms, the U.S. Treasury Department says, “By supporting a restructuring that results in stronger car companies - supported by efficient and effective dealer networks - this process will not only provide more stability and certainty for current employees, but the prospect for future employment growth.”
Tepe noted that this is a good time to buy. He says GMAC, a finance company for GM vehicles, has some great deals with special financing. “They have plenty of cash, they’re making loans,” he noted, saying General Motors also offers superior warranty coverage. The warranties will still be honored, Tepe assured those who might question the validity of warranties due to the recent cuts.

The Milan dealership that employs 44 not only has new Chevrolets, Buicks, and Pontiacs to sell, but a wide variety of pre-owned vehicles. “We have everything from foreign cars to current late model GM cars,” Tepe noted.

Tepe said the customers are the best and he believes his dealership’s commitment to them has kept the business in tact during these hard times.

Ripley County has had a GM franchise since 1927 with Tom Tepe continuing the GM tradition for the past 22 years.