Bankrupt Chrysler Motors is putting nearly 800 of its own dealers out of business. The announcement hit like a bomb across the country and our area was not spared the fallout.
“Chrysler notified us by letter this morning that as of June 9, our Dodge franchise has been terminated,” said D&E Dodge General Manager Andy Craven.
Just like that, after 54 years as a Dodge dealer, D&E will be out of the Chrysler family.
Hanging in the balance are 40 employees and four million dollars in inventory.
Chrysler has long wanted to trim its dealer network and get its Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands under one roof at local dealerships.
Why is Chrysler doing this now? Having declared bankruptcy allows them to bypass state franchise laws that would have protected D&E Dodge at any other time. However the National Auto Dealers Association argues that the timing couldn’t be worse.
NADA chairman John McEleney says he understands the realties. “By forcing the issue, it’s going to have some real negative consequences in many communities, where dealers are the biggest private employers and are involved the local communities supporting charities.”
As for D&E Dodge? They say they’ll make you a heck of a deal on a new Dodge until June 9th.
And then? “D&E Dodge will be in the used car business. We started way in 1947 and now we’re going to go back… in that we’re not selling and servicing new cars we’re probably going to have to make some layoffs,” Craven said.
And that, says Craven, is what will hurt the most.
We may have another bombshell tomorrow from General Motors, which is seeking to close some 1,200 dealerships. An NADA source said that’s a clear indication that GM intends to declare bankruptcy later this month.
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