By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hanken Motors' GM relationship ends, but dealership will carry on with vigor
paw picturedat
Pictured at the coffee hour are, from left, Don Hanken, his wife, Cathy, his sister, Deanne, and her husband, Larry Weathers. - photo by JERRY BUXTON Great Bend Tribune


You can’t keep a good man — or dealership — down. As of Sunday, Oct. 31, Al Hanken Motors in Larned is no longer a General Motors dealership. But, as proprietor Don Hanken told a large crowd at last Thursday’s Chamber Coffee Hour, when one door closes, another usually opens.

Al Hanken Motors, at 601 Toles, is not closing. The dealership will continue to sell vehicles. It will not have any GM affiliation, however, by the choice of the powers that be in Michigan.

Hanken Motors three days ago ended a relationship of more than 58 years with GM, but will keep on rolling. Hanken told the crowd Thursday that the powers that be decided "by one stroke of a pen that we were no longer viable to the long-range plans at GM."

GM "let go of" its dealerships in small towns all across the nation on Oct. 31.

Don said his dad started Al Hanken Pontiac in 1952 "just down the street in a two-story building that was located where the Farmers Bank drive-in window is now located. There were a total of 10 new car dealers in Larned that year, so you can see how things have changed over the years.

"Later that year he got the GMC Truck franchise and continued at that location till 1957, when he got the Buick franchise and moved to this (Toles Avenue) location. We acquired the Oldsmobile and Cadillac franchise in 1981 when we bought out Paul Chance and moved everything to this location."

Although GM’s action has closed down an aspect the agency, "We want to make it perfectly clear that Al Hanken Motors is not closing. We will continue to sell program, rental vehicles, off-lease vehicles and used vehicles and we will continue to keep our service department open."

Also, speaking of that "new door" that has opened, "We can sell any brand of car or truck now," Don noted.

"We have a full-service shop which includes some of the best prices on tires, so be sure and check with Paul, my service manager, when you need any kind of service on your vehicles." He added that the service department is a highly-skilled one.

"Over the past five to 10 years we have seen our sales increase on these program and rental cars as people see how much they can save by buying a slightly used vehicle instead of new. We intend to expand our selection of these vehicles as soon as we complete the wind-down from General Motors over the next month or so.

"In the meantime, if you don’t see what you want, be sure and contact us and we can locate it for you at the various auctions, etc., that we attend weekly. We also maintain contacts with a lot of dealers that we have built relationships with over the years, that will help us to get what you want.

"You folks and this community are the reason we have been here for going on 59 years, and with your continued support we will be here for years to come. Every time you spend your money locally up and down the street, it helps the whole community with sales-tax collections, and the more sales tax is collected, the less the county, city and school district have to rely on property taxes."

He returned to Larned 35 years ago to run or help run the dealership, Don said.

State Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington, was present Thursday as a well-wisher. She’s not "up" for re-election to another four-year term in Topeka this year.