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Saratoga County dealers pledge to remain open

It might be troubled times for the big three automakers in Detroit and thousands of their dealerships nationwide, but auto peddlers in Saratoga County say they're not going anywhere.

In past days, Chrysler has announced it will terminate its partnership agreement with almost 800 dealerships, and General Motors said it will be pulling support from 1,100 franchises. In addition, GM will be looking to drastically downsize its operations in coming months, including ending the Pontiac line by the close of 2010.

A tendency for dealerships to carry more than one brand will mean many can continue to sell new cars while also falling back on used sales and service.

At Mangino Pontiac Buick in Burnt Hills, there are no plans to make cutbacks with the coming phase out of Pontiac.

In order for us to keep going, we're just going to have to ramp up our used vehicle sales, said Ralph Mangino Jr, who operates the dealership along with his father and siblings. "We're still going to be able to warranty carswe're going to have plenty of service work."

Mangino is celebrating its 30th year in business. The Village of Ballston Spa recently recognized the dealership for its community presence and participation.

Even without Pontiac, Mangino said he is excited about upcoming Buick models. Buick sales now make up 40 percent on the Route 50 operation's business.

As brands took on their own identities and stopped trying to stock a model for every car buyer, dealerships began carrying multiple brands, said Pontiac Spokesman Jim Hopson, and that's what will enable the survival of many GM dealerships.

"There are less than 35 standalone Pontiac dealerships in the U.S.," said Hopson. "The majority of Pontiac dealerships also have one or more GM brands. Since those cores brands will be continuing, in many cases a customer's experience will be with the same dealer as before."

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