Chrysler Dealer Attrition: Cunning Plan or Cratering Sales?
"Chrysler LLC reduced its number of U.S. dealerships by 196 in the past year and increased the percentage of outlets selling all of its brands, as the automaker tries to create a stronger sales network." That's one way to look at it. The alternative theory– that the "reduced" dealers simply went belly-up– doesn't get a look in from Bloomberg. Reading between the lines… "The pace of consolidation may be quickening as falling real estate values and declining auto sales convince more of the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company's dealers to sell," ChryCo executive vice president of sales for North America Landry told Bloomies. It would be interesting to know to whom these dealers sold. Meanwhile, the ailing American automaker claims 3,488 outlets at the end of May, a decline of 5.3 percent from a year earlier. So what of Project Genesis, Chrysler's attempt to consolidate its dealers into tri-branded stores? The hard numbers are notable by their absence. But we do get anecdotal evidence of the plan's progress. "John Gunning, owner of Manassas Dodge in Manassas, Virginia, said many Chrysler dealers in his area can't afford the risk of borrowing money to buy another franchise and build a new dealership as auto sales decline." Hey! Maybe Chrysler could buy-out the dealers? Uh, maybe not.
Near where I work in Columbus, the Dodge dealer used to be separate from the C/J dealer. No more. All in one with one empty building. Wonder how long before both buildings are empty? John
Part of the attrition is planned, part of it is due to economics, and all of it is a good thing.
...and more of the same here in Oregon. I was driving down "auto row" in Beaverton and noticed that the Dodge store was empty with a big sign announcing that it had moved in with the Chrysler store one mile down the road. Good attrition, I guess, as there are 7-8 dealers in the metro area. As of now, the Jeep store (same owner) still has its own location nearby, but for how long? Hey, maybe the old Dodge place would be the perfect spot for the new Tesla dealership. Or not.
In Eastern Ontario, a Perth CDJ dealer just closed up shop. They sold all their cars to a dealer in Ottawa, and now the building's empty. The nearest Chrysler dealer's now about 20 miles away, but, oh well. It's just as well the dealer closed up shop. They charged way too much for everything. They wanted $10,000 last year for a 98 Intrepid. And $14,000 for a 99 Durango with the CEL on.