Archive for Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dealership going forward without Chrysler

June 10, 2009


Junior Brubeck is down to his last new Chrysler vehicle — a 2009 Dodge Ram quad-cab pickup, one equipped “with every possible option we build on it.”

And he’s quick to point out that the $40,000 demo vehicle can be yours for the low, low price of $30,000.

“It is for sale,” said Brubeck, owner and still very much a salesman at his Jim Clark Motors, at 29th and Iowa streets in the Lawrence Auto Plaza. “If nobody buys it in the next couple of days, it’ll probably be mine.”

The white pickup represents the last of the hundreds upon hundreds of Chrysler products marketed and sold by Brubeck during his 53 years at Jim Clark, a span that started with sweeping the floors in May 1956. He’s been in ownership since the 1990s.

Come this morning, Brubeck expects his dealership agreement with Chrysler to have been terminated. The automaker is working to emerge from bankruptcy protection as a leaner company, with fewer dealers.

Brubeck had hoped to remain with the automaker, which has filed plans to team up with Fiat to produce and offer a new lineup of vehicles. But Chrysler’s plans didn’t include Jim Clark.

So now, by the end of this week, Brubeck expects to finalize his own plans for continuing in the auto business in Lawrence, where he has about 45 employees.

“We’re going to go forward,” Brubeck said. “We have Volkswagen. We have used cars. We have service. We’ll decide what size we need to be and go from there.”

Brubeck had about 60 new Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles back on May 14, when he learned that Chrysler intended to sever ties with him and 788 other dealerships nationwide. He then sold about half of the new vehicles to individual customers and half to other dealers.

Now he’s down to one more vehicle, one with a significance Brubeck finds difficult to characterize.

“There really aren’t any words to describe it,” he said.


Michael Stanclift 9 years ago

I rag on Jim Clark a lot because they messed up my Volkswagen pretty bad one time, but they've done a good job the other times I've been here. I honestly have thought for a long time that they need to start pushing their VW line more then they do. With Baron VW closing (or becoming Baron Mini) it leaves a gap that can be filled by Lawrence in terms of really smart sales and offering superior service for VW owners.

Plus, driving down Iowa past a line up of nicely designed European sedans, convertibles and Beetles is a lot more attractive than a line up of mini-vans. (Although VW does have that too now, if JC feels so inclined.)

Left_handed 9 years ago

I took my 76 Dodge Colt to Jim Clark when I was a student at KU in the late 70s. They were a great dealership, even gave me a student discount. It's the end of an era.

purplesage 9 years ago

I gave up on them a number of years ago when one of the service writers took me for an idiot. He looked at my van for about 3-5 minutes and came back with a list of air conditioning leaks that needed to be fixed for about $900. I walked and another dealer found a single leak in the rear condensor, cost $400. I would still buy a part there now and then and having bought several CC minivans through the years, all used, never purchased a vehicle there.

That said, I have had worse experiences at other dealers around town, particularly in the service department arena.

And that said, I don't think it is right that these dealers can just be terminated. A lot of the ones on the hit list are of the family business type and have been around for years. It isn't fair. I'm glad the Jim Clark dealership has some other brands to keep going. How does NOT having places to sell and service the product make an auto manufacturer more profitable?

georgeofwesternkansas 9 years ago

This is a blessing in desgise, once the union ownership runs chrysler into the ground (3rd time is charm) there will be no one to buy up the stock of anyone.

I hope this will give him the chance to branch out to other foreign automakers that will be around in 10 years...

Sharon Aikins 9 years ago

Even though I wasn't a fan of Chrysler products, I do like Junior Brubeck and wish him all the luck in the world.

ralphralph 9 years ago

Good luck and support to the family owned dealers around the country who have gotten hosed by Big Government, Big Unions and Big Business. As for Chrysler, they can suck it -- I'll never, ever, ever buy another car from them or whoever rides the brand the rest of the way into the ground. We should have let them die the first time they tried.

MOMOF1 9 years ago

I hope that Jim Clark makes it through this. I bought a car from them in January '05. They were more accomidating to my needs than any other dealerships that I've bought cars from before. When I bought my car, they bent over backwards to make sure that I was happy with the entire process. They took all the stress out of buying a new-to-me car. I will never buy a car from any other dealership because Jim Clark has me spoiled. Guess my next car will be a VW.

Kynsicat 9 years ago

I would only take my VW to the dealer as a last resort for repairs...they typically suck and Dave at Das Autohaus knows WAY more about VWs then they ever will.

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