Two GM dealers on Long Island that had been targeted...

Two GM dealers on Long Island that had been targeted to close will now stay open. (June 8,2010) Credit: AP

At least two General Motors dealerships that had been slated to close on Long Island will remain open under the bankrupt carmaker's latest reorganization plans.

David Karp, whose family has owned Karp Auto in Rockville Centre for generations, had been negotiating with GM, he said Tuesday.

"Everything is A-OK," said Karp  who sells Buicks and other lines. "We had ongoing discussions because we were the No. 8 Buick dealer in the country. They realized that it made too much sense for us to remain . . . I never gave up faith."

GM had originally planned to have 4,100 dealerships nationwide and had ordered about 1,100 to close doors by Oct. 31, including at least five on the Island.

But Tuesday, the head of GM's North America division, Mark Reuss, told The Associated Press that it'll end up with about 5,000 dealerships, meaning a reprieve for about 900 sales outlets. The shift in strategy indicates the auto giant believes downsizing locations isn't key to making a profit.

Mineola-based attorney John Gentile, who represents three other Long Island GM sellers, said one of his clients has also gotten the nod to remain open and the other two are still in talks.

While Gentile said confidentiality agreements with GM bar him from revealing his clients' status, his law partner, Leonard Bellavia, told Newsday in April that the firm's clients included King O'Rourke Auto Group in Port Jefferson Station and Arnold Buick in Babylon.

Through a salesman, Arnold Buick's general manager Bill Tuchler said in an e-mail that it was remaining open: "We are not closing. Period."

Neil King, general manager of his family's King O'Rourke Port Jefferson location, cited confidentiality agreements but said, "We're still negotiating with General Motors."

Confidentiality agreements help dealers keep selling with a "brave face," Gentile said: "It's very likely that if you knew that the dealer down the block was going out of business in October that you may not want to buy a car from him. . . . They've been allowed the ability to try to keep a brave face and business as usual until such time as they're able to orderly wind down their business."

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