Archive for Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chrysler asks bankruptcy court to terminate dealer relationship with Jim Clark Motors, 788 other dealerships

16 Kansas dealerships on list

Lawrence's Jim Clark Motors, 2121 W. 29th Terrace, is about to change hands. Manhattan-based Briggs Auto Group is set to buy the franchise.

Lawrence's Jim Clark Motors, 2121 W. 29th Terrace, is about to change hands. Manhattan-based Briggs Auto Group is set to buy the franchise.

May 14, 2009, 11:08 a.m. Updated May 14, 2009, 11:48 a.m.


Jim Clark plans to appeal Chrysler's decision

Troubled auto giant Chrysler on Thursday notified Jim Clark Motors that it plans to terminate its dealer status. Enlarge video

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Kansas Chrysler affiliates losing dealer relationship

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These 16 car dealerships from across Kansas are expected to lose their affiliation with Chrysler as part of the bankruptcy process.

Chrysler intends to break ties with Jim Clark Motors in Lawrence, severing a dealership agreement for selling Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler vehicles at 2121 W. 29th Terrace.

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.

“We’re not going to just lay down and play dead with this deal.”

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.

Two Lawrence dealerships sell GM cars: Dale Willey Automotive and Crown Chevrolet.

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 later for more on this developing story.


gsxr600 8 years ago

I think we all saw this coming..

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Most are in smaller towns, and they are probably decreasing the number of dealers in larger cities.

Clint Church 8 years ago

Like usual. The little guy gets screwed and the big multi lot owner keeps going.

Bassetlover 8 years ago

Junior Brubeck is one of the most decent and honest businessmen in our community. Can't think of anyone who deserves this less.

jmadison 8 years ago

Remember Obama through his surrogate Rattner runs GM and Chrysler.

Graczyk 8 years ago

They've treated me well. Even cleaned up a problem caused by bad work by my old Chrysler dealership in Orlando.

LogicMan 8 years ago

Darn -- owed by a good guy, and is a well-operated dealership.

jumpin_catfish 8 years ago

Isn't Lawrence a big survival of the fittest town? You know, evolution and the dominant species wins out and all that stuff. Besides, this doesn't have to be the end of the business or the government could bail them out too.... Why not, maybe the consumers can get some Obama bucks too, at least we would spend the money on something that will do some good.

kmat 8 years ago

Those of you that have to use every excuse to slam Obama - Chrysler wouldn't be in the position it's in now if they had been making what consumers need and want. All of the auto companies in dire straights kept on making gas guzzlers and now they're paying for it. Sorry for Jim Clark, but when you specialize in selling gas guzzlers you're going to have problems when the market wants small cars that get good mileage.

BigPrune 8 years ago

This was easy pickin's for Obama's henchmen.

Mark my words: The dealerships closing are in predominately "Red" States and their operators had at one time contributed to the Republican Party or a Republican candidate.

The thing I don't understand is how these dealerships were a drain on the manufacturer since these dealerships are individually owned and sold the products resulting in sales for the manufacturer.

LA_Ex 8 years ago

That's too bad. I was really hoping to see Fiat move into Lawrence.

1person 8 years ago

BigPrune, Mark MY words, you are talking crazy. How can you blame this on someone who has been in office for a few months. I worked at Jim Clark Motors and only the Caliber, Sebring and Avenger were fuel efficient models. When Chrysler focuses on making crap that gets crappy mileage what do you expect to happen, NO ONE BUYS THEM! Jim Clark sells VW too. Time and time again that brand was shunned at that dealership when VW could have been be its saving grace. Instead Brubeck focused on selling used cars to make a short term profit instead of investing in the number one car brand in the world VW.

I am sick of right wingers blaming everything under the sun on Obama, did you all get lobotomies? Have you forgotten the last eight years where our former president spent a boatload of money every month, money which we did not have. Oh yeah, that money was borrowed from the communist Chinese, but you guys hate communists don't you, until you need money from them.

gsxr600 8 years ago

"BigPrune (Anonymous) says…

This was easy pickin's for Obama's henchmen.

Mark my words: The dealerships closing are in predominately “Red” States and their operators had at one time contributed to the Republican Party or a Republican candidate.

The thing I don't understand is how these dealerships were a drain on the manufacturer since these dealerships are individually owned and sold the products resulting in sales for the manufacturer."

Correlation does not mean causation. You sir, are an idiot!

newsreader 8 years ago

a FedEx letter? Wow, thats kinda sad.

At least give the guy a call. Surely there are enough Execs at Chrysler HQ that they could call the dealership owners

The_Bends 8 years ago

This has NOTHING to do with Obama and everything to do with sec. 365 of the BR code. Those of you blaming Obama are merely advertising your ignorance. If Obama bailed these companies out, you would attack him for being anti-free market. Now that Obama allows these companies to fail, you blame him for the effect of bankruptcy rules adopted in 1978. Radical, free-market ideologues have no credibitlity.

georgeofwesternkansas 8 years ago

Hey Bends, wasn't it yesterday that Ovomit said he was cutting the Chrysler Ad budget in half??? Was that Ovomit or the BR code talking???

max31304 8 years ago

Hey, I know, how about we stop defending Obama and saying how he's not to blame and actually comment on the article? This is about a dealership--a dynasty, really. Mr. Brubeck has worked his whole life for what he now has, only to have idiots like 1person and kmat putting stupid, time-wasting-to-read comments down. The Chrysler corporation has just as many fuel-efficient models as anyone else. Oh, excuse me, I forgot, they don't have a money-wasting fuel efficient car like the Prius, whose battery runs out within ten years and is too expensive to replace, so the owner just buys a new one and the old car (and horrible battery) rots in a landfill. Yes, that's much better. Also, '1person' : If you support Obama, I'm sure you didn't last long at Jim Clark, because they're full of hard-working, blue collared republicans who actually care about customers and not just about making some money, whether it be through VW or through Chrysler.

average 8 years ago

1person -

And the really sad thing is that none of the three Chrysler products you mentioned is even 1 mpg more efficient than the carburated 1981 Dodge Aries K-car I used to drive.

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

WOW - don't you know by now that when Obama is blamed, it is usually someone trying to be funny or use old posts to bring them up again for a laugh? We always blame the president for everything. Bush got the same treatment.

Justin Ahrens 8 years ago

Mark MY words 1person is a left winger that is sitting at home and collecting his free ride at the expense of honest hard working tax paying folks. Or maybe found a job working for the "the number one brand VW" but I doubt it. Peeps like this tend to enjoy the greatness of america but when it comes down to it they support foriegn products and send their money out of the country.

madameX 8 years ago

h, excuse me, I forgot, they don't have a money-wasting fuel efficient car like the Prius, whose battery runs out within ten years and is too expensive to replace, so the owner just buys a new one and the old car (and horrible battery) rots in a landfill

Have there even been enough hybrids on the roads for ten years to be able to determine if this statement is true or not? Even if the batteries are "too expensive" to replace (doubtful, if you're comparing the cost of a new battery versus the cost of a whole new car), what makes you so sure that they will "rot in landfills?" In my world, junked cars are sometimes stripped of the recyclable components and those components are sold rather than just rotting in landfills. As for the batteries, at least with conventional ones there are even financial incentives in place to recycle those; haven't you ever had to pay a core charge when buying a replacement battery at a parts store?

Grump 8 years ago

I've also been treated very well at Jim Clark Motors; way better than at Briggs in Topeka.

Keith 8 years ago

Regardless of how many cars they sell, it's all about rebates, dealer incentives, and cash flow. That's why Chrysler can't keep all their dealers.

supertrampofkansas 8 years ago

Hi ya max,

I was wondering if you knew how many Prius batteries have thus far been replaced? Eventually all batteries have to be replaced so the real question is how often does this happen and is it really more than say your normal car battery?

Toyota also saw this problem and decided to program the use of the Prius batteries so that they are not allowed to be deeply disharged nor charged to the very top of capacity, but rather kept in the middle 50% or so of capacity (25 - 75% or so of capacity). By doing this, Toyota increased the liklihood that the lifetime of the battery will outlast the car itself. I'm not sure when this practice started but I know that it is standard now.

Also your statement that "the Chrysler corporation has just as many fuel-efficient models as anyone else" doesn't hold water. It is all about competition in the free market Max and if you can't get people to buy your products, then you will go down. It doesn't matter how many products you make or (as you seem to imply????) what your politics are,if you can't stay ahead of the curve, know what your customers want, you won't make it period.

I apologize in advance if I have wasted your time Max.

max31304 8 years ago

supertramp- For heaven's sake, forget it. Check out for more on battery life. I was just trying to make a point that what one person is looking for might not be what someone else wants. Not everyone in the 'market' wants the same thing, as kmat implied. liberal- I agree. Let's hope the appeal goes through to keep Jim Clark open. It just makes sense.

shorttrees 8 years ago

Interesting is what dealers were left and their locations, it really makes a person wonder why some got cut and not others. Size of town, number of dealers in region, trade area--none of these seem to be the "cutting factor". As a Dodge minivan owner for the last 15 years the only thing that many of the cut dealers seem to have in common was good service. (I've had good luck with 4 dealers on the cut list and lousy service from several who survived).

From a list of dealers in Kansas, less those on the cut list, these towns are where dealerships survived: Norton Kingman Pratt Newton Winfield Arkansas City Marysville Fort Scott Chanute Ottawa Lansing Dodge City Liberal Great Bend Salina Phillipsburg Frontenac Seneca Oakley Hays Colby Atwood Paola Augusta El Dorado Clay Center Abilene Beloit Harper Council Grove Topeka--John Hoffer KCK--Jay Wolfe

shorttrees 8 years ago

Ran out of space-- Add Wichita--Davis Moore dealership to the kept list.

madameX 8 years ago

Maybe it has to do with sales: how quickly the cars sell, how much the dealer takes in relative to size, how reliable their performance is, etc. It does seem dumb if they didn't take the size of the market or how many other dealers are in the area into account though.

Godot 8 years ago

The Jim Clark dealership in Manhattan is getting cut, too. Does Brubeck own that one?

If the dealers had been given an opportunity to sell their franchises to the other "preferred" dealers, they would have at least been able to save a portion of their assets. Or, if worse came to worse, they could have used the value in a bankruptcy proceeding. The way this is gonig down, with the franchises simply being pulled, millions and millions of dollars of asset value are going "poof." The remaining "preferred" dealers win without having to put up a dime....other than campaign contributions.

This is what happens when we allow government to pick the winners and the losers.

More job losses loom.

madameX 8 years ago

Did the government decide or did Chrysler decide? The article doesn't say.

Bud Stagg 8 years ago

wonder how many Chrysler Execs get to keep their multi-million dollar salaries while all these people are losing their jobs. No one seems to want to address the main issue with most corporations. Executives make 400 to 1 what the average laborer makes. 50 years ago it was more like 10 to 1. This is the problem with america right now, we could employ 400 people for every executive. I own my own business, but I don't even make 10 to 1 what my employees make.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Not enough retail dollars LIVE in Lawrence,Kansas yet our elected officials keep pretending we are KCMO/JOCO metro.

Lawrence should stop electing local business families to elected positions. TOO damn many live in glass houses and deny reality.

jmadison 8 years ago

How much of a hit to local sales tax collections Is this going to cause? Obama may not be raising income taxes yet, but the citizens of Lawrence and Douglas County will have to make up the shortfall from reduced sales tax collections courtesy of Pres. Obama's recovery plans.

tolawdjk 8 years ago

Apparently while the local dealership is cut, Chrysler execs can loophole into becoming Fiat employees, thus circumventing the $500,000 salary cap.

tweetybird2 8 years ago

I think most of you need to think about the jobs at Jim Clark that will most likely be lost. I have a relative that works there and I know it will put a hardship on his family. This isn't about Obama. This was happening long before he was in office.

gccs14r 8 years ago

Reports are in that Priuses in livery service are getting 300,000 miles on the original battery pack.

John Hamm 8 years ago

never had good luck trying to buy a car from them

left_of_center 8 years ago

lawrenceguy40 said: Folks, be careful with your vote in future! It may make you feel good, but good people like those at Jim Clark have to pay for your self serving, sanctimonious morals.

I find it hard to believe that you are trying to blame this on Obama. The reason Chrysler is having problems, and thus closing dealerships is due to the failing economy caused by former President Bush, and the corporation's failure to adapt to the times. As mentioned by previous posts, Chrysler has failed to provide the types of automobiles that the public desires, ie high gas mileage, low cost, and thus they are suffering for their decisions.

It is very sad that our hometown dealership will be effected by this situation. It sounds like the owner is a great guy, and does not deserve this unexpected loss. However, this result should not come as a surprise. Chrysler's failure to act on the changing economic and environmental climate is to blame here. Without the intervention of the federal government and Obama, Chrysler would be in a much worse situation. The arrangement with Fiat construed with help from the government will save Chrysler from catastrophic failure. The corporation will come out stronger, and hopefully more wiling to change their business tactics. If you research Fiat, you will see that they underwent a similar restructuring, and as a result, today they are one of the most successful corporations in the auto industry. This will hopefully be the result with their arrangement with Chrysler.

LiberalDude 8 years ago

Anyone who blames any part of this on Obama is just plain stupid.

Chrysler has been building and selling crappy vehicles for decades. That is the reason for the closures.

Steve Jacob 8 years ago

GM Friday will announce 2,600 dealers are closing, we will be lucky if either Crown or Dale Willey survive. I just don't know why we spent so much on these companies to save what looks to be fewer and fewer jobs. You can bet KIA and Hyundai will be adding dealerships in the future.

california2009 8 years ago

No disrespect to the current employees of J.C. Motors but Chrysler decided that Junior Brubeck could not run a sucessful business because he continues to still operate with a '60's style business plan and i have seen him curse former customers who eventually bought elsewhere instead of being understanding and havIving a good attitude........................(what should have been said was we will get your business next time.......) KARMA BABY!!! KARMA!!!

california2009 8 years ago

having a good attitude..................i really can spell

TacoBob 8 years ago

Blame the automakers - they own this kerfuffle lock, stock and barrel.

The scary part, though, is when the government starts picking winning and losers in the private sector with our money.

The hand that holds you is the hand that holds you down.

Jonathan Becker 8 years ago

If you want to put 'blame' somewhere, blame the last Republican administration that 'improved' the Bankruptcy Code and made it harder for individuals to file, but left alone sections such as 11 USC 365(a), which just felled Jim Clark Motors' Chrysler dealership. 365 reads: "Except as provided in sections 765 and 766 of this title and in subsections (b), (c) and (d) of this section, the trustee, subject to court's approval, may assume or reject any executory contract or unexpired lease of the debtor." None of the exceptions apply to the local Chrysler dealer, so the debtor is in the catbird seat because in this case, Chrysler has the trustee's powers.

I would be interested in knowing how much Junior Brubeck donated to the Republican party in 2004 and 2005. I appreciate irony.

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

This has nothing to do with politics..... Remember the Reliant?? As Lee said, " If you can find a better car..... buy it !! " ...........and we did

CeeDub 8 years ago

Godot, concerning your comment about the Jim Clark dealership in Manhattan closing. This was a misprint by the LJWorld, as the dealership is in Junction City. They are also only losing the Jeep line they carry, it will not affect anything else. The two dealerships were related by family members years ago, but not now.

For those who can't understand why we are so upset at Obama for this: it's because he is inserting himself into private businesses which is NOT part of the executive branch. It is unbelievable how he thinks he needs to run banks, car companies, mortgage companies... I think you get the picture. If this isn't a wake up call for America by now so soon into his term, it should be.

Expansion and visibility of your product is what will get you sales; not expecting your customers to drive miles and miles for service and to buy. That's why it did not make sense to shut down a dealership in this size town with a major championship university.

The news today is another prime example of why we should always try to support our local businesses. It benefits our town in so many ways, including payment of taxes, as jmadison noted earlier.

Junior and his team are superb. They have been wonderful to work with over the years, and this was an asinine decision.

Keith 8 years ago

Yeah, Chrysler would have been just fine if McCain had been elected. ha!

roosmom 8 years ago

we had a new jeep not purchased there, but serviced there and they were clueless, then dishonest. i'm sad for some people that worked there, but their management was bad and dishonest. our car was in the shop there for almost 6 weeks in a 1 year period! we finally took it to olathe. come to find out they hadn't changed the fuel filter for more than a year! i'm sure we weren't the only customers this had happened to. it catches up to you one way or another. the car company did nothing to help. this type of behavior leads to decreased business. we bought a toyota!

Justin Ahrens 8 years ago

California2009 I see your still the same, your pitch on why things are the way they are was about as good as one of your sales pitches no suprise you couldn't close a deal. Operating in the 60's must be honesty and integrity which is all Jr Brubeck is about. If more places operated that way cough the goverment then we wouldn't have the problems we do. doesn't mater Dem or Rep there all crooks

gccs14r 8 years ago

"The news today is another prime example of why we should always try to support our local businesses."

Get real. If Wal-Mart suddenly started selling cars for cost, you guys would abandon local dealerships so fast it'd warp the time-space continuum.

LiberalDude 8 years ago

CeeDub - your logic is so flawed that it is laughable! Are you actually suggesting that somehow Obama is to blame for Chrysler choosing to shut down the Lawrence dealership??? Do you know how ridiculous that is?

LiberalDude 8 years ago

Some of you Libertarians might have to help me out with this one but isn't this how the free market is supposed to work? If a company is bad and their product isn't selling aren't they supposed to go out of business and be replaced by a better company?

I hope a better American car company emerges that sells cars that get better mileage and don't break down in 5 years. I'm not going to miss Chrysler.

CeeDub 8 years ago

LiberalDude - my logic is not flawed when Obama himself stated that Chrysler needed to get rid of 1200 dealerships to be more equal to the level of Toyota. He was also very proud of himself at the Correspondent's Dinner to proclaim himself "The Car Czar".

What a joke - Toyota's loss the first quarter of this year was greater than GM's!!!! It's ridiculous to think decreasing the number of dealerships to equal Toyota's will be successful because of this.

gccs14r - comparing Wal-mart to local car dealerships was ridiculous. I might have been worried if they carried high-quality furniture, or if I trusted them to do service work on my car.

Sigmund 8 years ago

Every time I visited the dealership looking a VW's I was treated rudely by sales people who didn't understand Volkswagons product line. When I suggested that I'd like to test drive the car before I bought it they suggested that they would order me one if I put a down payment and signed a contract. When it came in I could test drive it. In short, this couldn't happen to a more deserving group of jerks. Sunflower Motors in Topeka, on the other hand, carry Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen and were great.

LiberalDude 8 years ago

CeeDub, you do realize that what is said at the "Correspondent's Dinner" are jokes, right???

How do you not realize that Chrysler has to close dealerships and layoff employees because no one want to buy their vehicles? It is very simple economics!

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