By on June 22, 2009

Cory02 writes:

Something interesting happened with my nearest former Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer (Dave Croft Motors in Collinsville, Illinois): they appear to be selling new Chrysler products again. In the days approaching the “drop-dead” date for the culled dealers, I thought it was odd that they not only kept the large “Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep” signs on their building but also kept them lit at night (I would have personally taken them down out of spite). The owner went through the motions of crying to the media, proclaiming that he would stay in business as a used dealer, and then moved all the new cars to the very back of the lot and put them in neat rows to await pickup and delivery to another dealer after June ninth.

Yesterday, I noticed they were advertising in the newspaper again (as a used car dealer, of course). A closer look at their ad revealed that most of their advertised cars were Chrysler products with less than 100 miles. I happened to be in the neighborhood last night and noticed that they had put all of their new cars back on their lot and, by all appearances, were back to being a Chrysler dealer. I wonder if anyone else has seen something similar with other dealers? And what would happen to some poor unsuspecting soul that buys a new Chrysler from a former dealer gone rogue such as this? If they need warranty service are they as screwed as the lemon-law claimants?

Steve replies:

This isn’t surprising. The other neighboring dealers may have rejected the inventory and Chrysler had a choice between sending them to the auctions or letting the dealer sell them out.

The dealer may have also asked to be given a time period to show a healthy operation by whatever yardstick Chrysler is using at the moment. As they’re not new, these vehicles will NOT be covered by Chrysler’s ‘Lifetime Warranty’. The word on the street last week is that Chrysler has seriously overestimated their dealer’s desire to take on any more inventory from the disappeared.

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10 Comments on “Hammer Time: Witch Croft?...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    A doomed dealer near me combined operations with another dealer that was spared. Nature does find a way, better to merge with a rival and drive the cars across town than go completely under.

    If it’s this hard to get rid of these cars imagine the Fiat product. Are government agents going to round people up and force them to buy these cars?

    Croft should have cut the sign down and let it fall in the empty lot. Would have made a great video and testament to the times.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Similar situation in Michigan. One dealer on the “kill” list was a “Bruce Campbell Dodge”, yet they have signs in the window stating 25 years in business and a lot packed full of new cars.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    It’s all a scam – the fire sales, crocodile tears, etc.

    Out of the 42,000 cars terminated dealers had to sell, they claimed they sold 16,000 cars and trucks through June 6th.

    The reality is that there’s probably over 300,000 cars they have to sell, and they probably sold 12,000, if they were lucky.

    The glut of these cars is so immense, wholesalers don’t want them at wholesale prices.

    Just wait and watch what happens to new car prices in a few months.

    Toyota is paying cargo ships to store new cars off port in California, because they’ve run out of space at the Port of Long Beach to put them on land.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I still think taxpayers (not the freeloaders)should be able to select a free car from a catalog in return for 100 Billion in prop ups to the companies.

    Just leave the keys to the new Malibu in the mailbox when you drop it off.

    Weather’s Dodge in Lima Pa was one of the first Dodge dealerships ever, since 1922. Apparently longevity does not get you very much clout, you need to contribute to the presidential campaign of the One to stay in business.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    The “culled” dealers in the metro Detroit area were not willing to deal. The deals I was being offered were no better than the deal I would have got with my reqular employee discount.

    Of course these “culled” dealers are on the list for a reason. They’ve been known as sheisters for years and always helped give the Chrysler dealer network a bad name.

    Let them die in agony!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    GS650G: “I still think taxpayers (not the freeloaders)should be able to select a free car from a catalog in return for 100 Billion in prop ups to the companies.”

    Absolutely. And, if you can find an owner of a 2004 Corolla with 75K miles or less willing to take a new Chrysler in trade for it, I’ll just take his Corolla myself and you can keep the Chrysler allocated to me.

    I’d also consider Yarises, Civics, Camrys, Accords, Priuses… Yeah, I’d probably take an Echo.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    If the dealer was left in the lurch with respect to moving the product, what’s to stop them from titling the vehicles in their own name and selling them as used?

    Seems to me that would be better than having to sell at auction.

    (disclaimer: I know nothing about car sales)

  • avatar
    50merc

    notapreppie: “what’s to stop them from titling the vehicles in their own name and selling them as used?”

    I suppose it’s the expense of registration fees and tags. Possibly even sales tax, depending on the state. Of course, the profit margin on used cars is higher than on new ones, so maybe the dealer can con customers in paying enough over invoice to still make a buck!

  • avatar
    simonisback01

    Well, selling Chryslers at the prices they listed was basically a form of conning, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did after shutting down.

    GS650G: I visited Weathers Dodge twice in my lifetime, once a few years back and once during the wind-down. Both times everything they offered was overpriced, and overall the place was fairly trashy and dingy. It was also the only dealership I have been to where people stand outside and smoke cigs all day.

  • avatar
    hD

    One of the Chrysler dealers in my area that got axed had his inventory on the lot for a couple of weeks before shutting down completely. I think the cars still might be there.

    Meanwhile the Hyundai wholesaler down the street is runing a scheme where he’s giving away a truck load of Accents; I think 10 in all.

    Who is going to buy all these cars that are piling up?


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