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O'Brien Chevrolet not on list of reinstated dealers -- yet

Last week could have been really good for Joe O'Brien Chevrolet in Hastings. Instead, it was just another week at the office for the dealership, located on Highway 316.

Early last week, letters began arriving at selected General Motors dealerships across the country. The letters told of good news: 661 dealers were being reinstated. O'Brien, though, didn't get one of the letters, meaning the O'Briens are still at risk to lose their franchise this fall.

Last summer, some 1,100 GM dealers across the nation received word they would lose their franchises during a government-backed reorganization of GM. Many of those dealers decided to take GM to arbitration this spring. GM decided to reinstate 661 dealers to avoid arbitration, and sent letters to those dealers informing them of the good news.

The O'Briens did not receive the letter and are now one of about 440 dealerships across the nation fighting to stay in business.

"We had a little glimmer of hope there," said Holly O'Brien, who manages the dealership with her husband, Tim. "We've learned through all this we can't get real excited. You hear stuff about what they're going to do, and you get your hopes up. We're very cautious about doing that anymore. We're trying to remain realistic."

O'Brien said that many of the dealers who were reinstated were Cadillac dealers and rural dealers.

While the O'Brien's didn't get the good news, they don't count last week's events as bad news. They're still planning to fight.

"We're still going ahead with the arbitrator," O'Brien said.

Arbitration will be held April 15 to July 15.

"Now we just have to wait and see," O'Brien said.