Colorado Chrysler dealers cope with brand loss
The Denver Post
Jeff Pollard is stocking up on used Jeeps and imports for his family’s dealership in Montrose after getting their Jeep franchise pulled by Chrysler.
Hundreds of Chrysler dealerships, including Pollard Bros. Motors, have until today to shutter their Chrysler operations. Chrysler cut 789 of its 3,188 dealers as part of its federal bankruptcy filing in May.
Fourteen of Colorado’s 45 Chrysler franchisees are losing Chrysler brands.
“We are calling it Black Tuesday when 14 profitable dealers who were supporting their brands are being terminated for no apparent reason,” said Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.
Pollard said his family’s store exceeded sales requirements and customer-service standards but that their building lacked the latest bells and whistles.
“They care more about what the building looks like than selling cars,” he said.
Pollard is converting to a used-car, service and all-terrain-vehicle operation.
“We’re rolling with it,” Pollard said. “I feel bad for customers, mostly.”
Like Pollard, some of the affected Colorado dealers are becoming used-car operators; those with other brands are turning to them for increased sales; and two are closing.
Dealers were given 26 days’ notice to shut down. Many have joined a lawsuit, but so far efforts have been unsuccessful, Jackson said.
Since Chrysler’s announcement, General Motors, which recently filed for bankruptcy, notified dealers it would not retain some franchise agreements. Up to 15 in Colorado were notified, Jackson said.
GM dealers were given more time than those with Chrysler to sell inventory and close.
“This is so un-American, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Jay Cimino, owner of Phil Long.
Phil Long Denver Jeep today becomes Phil Long Denver Value Car.
“What we are going to try to make out of this thing is the very best used-car customer experience in the city of Denver,” Cimino said.
At Cook Chevrolet in Craig, Scott Cook and his family are turning their attention to their Chevrolet and Subaru brands.
“We did everything we could to liquidate the Jeeps,” he said. “We have to move on.”
In Delta at Bill Hellman Motor Co., the small team of nine employees is now focused on selling Toyotas and Fords.
Bill Hellman said he’s still hopeful, though, that things will change.
“A person always has hope before it’s over,” he said. “Anything can happen.”
Elizabeth Aguilera: 303-954-1372 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dealerships forge plans
Most Colorado Chrysler dealers have dual brands and will remain open. Others are converting to used cars, and two are closing. What each is planning:
Big Valley Ford-Lincoln Mercury, La Junta: Will remain open with other brands.
Bill Hellman Motor Co., Delta: Will remain open with other brands.
Burt Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Parker: Expected to close, will continue with other brands at other locations.
Cook Chevrolet, Craig: Will remain open with other brands.
Fort Morgan Auto Center, Fort Morgan: Will remain open with other brands.
Go Dodge Southwest, Littleton: Closed by owner AutoNation, transferred inventory to Arapahoe dealership.
King Auto Group, Longmont: Will remain open with other brands. (King did receive a GM closure letter, so its ultimate future is still unknown)
Medved Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Wheat Ridge and Castle Rock: Will close its Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge buildings, but the Medved complexes in both locations will remain open with other brands.
Lithia Jeep Chrysler, Colorado Springs: Closing today
New Country Auto Center, Durango: Will remain open with other brands.
Northglenn Dodge, Northglenn: Will convert to a used-car operation.
Phil Long Denver Jeep, Denver: Will convert to a used-car operation.
San Juan Motors, Montrose: Will convert to a used-car operation.
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