Thursday May 14 2009
Magnussen's Dodge stays off Chrysler closure list
By: Andrew DiLuccia, Journal Motoring Editor
Auburn dealership avoids list of 789 stores slated to be closed in automaker's bankruptcy filing
Chrysler LLC sent out 789 notices via United Parcel Service to dealers Thursday, saying their doors were to close. However, Auburn’s Magnussen’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep had an empty mailbox. “We are still are going to be a dealer,” said Magnussen’s general manager, Mike Crabb. “There’s always a very small doubt when you go into this, but all the criteria that is needed to stay a dealer ... we’re way above the curve with everything. We plan on being here for a long, long time.” Chrysler announced on Thursday in a motion filed in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that it wished to a eliminate a quarter of its 3,200 dealerships nationwide, citing an antiquated network of dealerships and too many competing with each other. In the Sacramento Valley region four Chrysler dealerships’ doors were set to be closed by the auto manufacturer’s desired date of June 9, including Grass Valley’s Liberty Motors. According to the Associated Press, Chrysler said many of dealerships’ sales are too low, and that a little more than 50 percent of the dealers across the country accounted for 90 percent of the carmaker’s U.S. sales. On June 3 a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New York will determine whether to approve Chrysler’s motion to end the franchise agreements with the 789 dealerships. Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press said there would be no appeal process, according to the Associated Press. "This is a difficult day for us and not a day anybody can be prepared for," Press told reporters during a conference call. Chrysler has received $4 billion in federal loans and has been operating in bankruptcy protection since April 30. While the news for the American automaker is grim, Crabb said he optimistic about the future. “Our anxiety in this was, is Chrysler going to emerge from this situation as an entire entity instead of being broken apart and sold off? We’re happy the direction it’s going, and it’s going to be a positive effect for our customers and our employees,” said Crabb, whose dealership has 40 people on staff. Even though Chrysler LLC is in the midst of a bankruptcy proceeding, and sales have been down nationwide, Crabb says the local dealership at 1901 Grass Valley Highway is doing OK and has a strong parts and service business as customers are keeping their vehicles longer. “We’re holding our own. It’s not what it was,” Crabb said. “People have anxiety about the negative publicity out there because of the market itself, not just the domestic automaker. We’re holding our own. Our service and parts business is doing a tremendous job.” The Associated Press Contributed to the report. Andrew DiLuccia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.