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Tutwiler auto dealership closes after 48 years

September 25, 2012

Tutwiler Automotive, a car dealer that got its start in Indianapolis in 1964, has closed shop two years after losing its ability to sell new Cadillacs.

The dealership, located near 101st and Meridian streets, had long been known as Tutwiler Cadillac before changing its name in late 2010 when General Motors refused to renew its franchise agreement.

The dealership closed Saturday. About three-dozen used vehicles remained on the lot Monday. Phone calls to the business go unanswered.

It’s unclear whether Tutwiler owns the property north of Interstate 465 or what it plans to do with the land.

Mart Tutwiler of Carmel owns the dealership that his father, Ed, started after moving to Indianapolis from Charleston, W.V., nearly five decades ago.

Mart’s son Ed, the general manager at Tutwiler, did not return a phone calls from IBJ seeking comment.

Tutwiler was one of dozens of dealerships in Indiana and hundreds nationwide whose franchises GM discontinued in July 2009 after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Tutwiler fought to keep its franchise with GM but lost in arbitration in the summer of 2010.

Lockhart Cadillac, the lone remaining Cadillac dealer in the Indianapolis area, sells vehicles from its locations on 126th Street in Fishers and U.S. 31 in Greenwood.

In addition to selling used cars, Tutwiler sold parts and performed non-warranty service work after losing its franchise.

Nationwide, 1,233 GM franchise agreements were terminated in 2010.

In Indiana, the number of new-car dealerships in the past five years has dropped 18 percent, to 429, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

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