Jim Clark, which opened 53 years ago, was among 789 dealerships to learn Thursday that Chrysler would not renew agreements to sell vehicles as the automaker reorganizes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Junior Brubeck, who joined Jim Clark four months after it opened and now owns the place, was meeting with managers this morning and contemplating his options.
To put it mildly: The announcement — which came to him by FedEx letter — came as a surprise.
“We knew that because of the bankruptcy they were going to eliminate some dealers,” Brubeck said. “We had no idea they would take a college town, with 100,000 people, and leave it without any representation of the product.
Brubeck plans to appeal Chrysler’s decision with the bankruptcy court. Appeals are to be ruled upon June 9 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.
Until then, Brubeck plans to keep on selling Chrysler products, honoring Chrysler warranties and providing Chrysler service — in addition to selling and servicing Volkswagens and used vehicles, operations unaffected by the Chrysler decision.
Jim Clark has 47 full- and part-time employees.
“We’ve got an excellent service department and an excellent body shop,” Brubeck said. “I’m not saying we won’t have to downsize — it’s devastating now — but we are here today and we’ll be here tomorrow.”
Chrysler has said that it intended to cut ties with 25 percent of its 3,200 U.S. dealerships as it reorganizes and forges a partnership with European automaker Fiat.
General Motors, which is working to avoid bankruptcy organization, is expected to send letters on Friday to 1,000 dealerships that it plans to close.
Other Kansas dealerships in line to lose their relationship with Chrysler include:
Atchison Automotive Group, Athcison, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles.
Bennett Autoplex, Salina, a dealer of Jeep vehicles
Beyer Motor Company, Gridley, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
Briggs Auto Group, Manhattan, a dealer of Jeep vehicles
Bud Brown Chrysler, Overland Park, a dealer of Chrysler vehicles
Countryside Motors, Wellington, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
Gary Hardy Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Holton, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
George Motor Company, Clyde, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
Jim Clark Auto Center, Manhattan, a dealer of Jeep vehicles
Keystone Chrysler, Mission, a dealer of Chrysler vehicles
Rickabaugh Motors, Lyons, a dealer of Dodge and Chrysler vehicles
Stan Boos Auto Sales, Hiawatha, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
Steven Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Wichita, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
The Western Motor Compant, Garden City, a dealer of Jeep vehicles
Wright's, Hillsboro, a dealer of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles
Check back to LJWorld.com later for more on this developing story.