NEWARK — Just a few days after the city lost one of its few auto dealerships, a second could be leaving town.

Fremont Chevrolet owner Inder Dosanjh said he plans to move his dealership, which until a few weeks ago had been called Saturn of Fremont, out of Newark and onto a vacant parcel near the Fremont Auto Mall.

Dosanjh, who owns several East Bay Chevrolet and Saturn dealerships, said he didn't know if he would open a new dealership on the Newark site at 39797 Balentine Drive.

Fremont Pontiac GMC, also on Balentine, closed down last week. The owners plan to put that lot up for sale, said Newark City Manager John Becker, who spoke with the dealership's president, Ken Okenquist, on Monday.

California cities are loathe to lose auto dealerships, which traditionally serve as major generators of sales tax revenue.

Newark will lose about $150,000 in yearly sales tax proceeds from the demise of Pontiac GMC, Becker said. "In today's economy, it's not good, but it's not a disaster."

The city's proceeds from auto sales have dropped from as much as $1.8 million a year earlier this decade to less than $600,000 last year, Becker said.

Meanwhile, Newark, which once had seven dealerships, all on Balentine Drive, is down to five: Fremont Ford, Fremont Mazda, Winn Volkswagen, Signer Buick-Cadillac, and Fremont Chevrolet.


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Overall, Newark's sales tax revenue has fallen from about $12 million early in the decade to an anticipated $9.9 million this year — a drop that has contributed to recent city layoffs and service cuts.

Dosanjh owns Chevrolet dealerships in Hayward and Dublin, and Saturn dealerships in Dublin and Concord. He decided to switch his Newark dealership from Saturn to the more profitable Chevrolet brand after Central Chevrolet in Fremont closed earlier this month. The Newark dealership will continue to service Saturn cars, he said.

Dosanjh owns land along Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont, on which he hopes to break ground for a Chevrolet and Saturn dealership this June. Eventually, he plans to focus his southern Alameda County Chevrolet business in Fremont and close his Hayward Chevrolet dealership.