Archive for Thursday, May 14, 2009

Customers would be biggest losers if Jim Clark shuts down, owner says

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


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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Junior Brubeck never expected to get a FedEx letter, notifying him that the business he’d helped build since 1956 would be pegged for losing its biggest brands.

But now that the improbable bad news has arrived — Chrysler on Thursday included Jim Clark Motors among 789 dealerships set to lose their dealership agreements as part of Chrysler’s bankruptcy reorganization — Brubeck is left to find optimism among the fallout.

“I’ve been doing this for 53 years in Lawrence, Kansas, and I’ve got thousands and thousands of customers,” Brubeck said. “We will not just say, ‘Hey, it’s all over’ at this point. We will fight it and do all we can. We will maintain a dealership. We’re not going to go anywhere right away. What’s to be done with the franchise is yet to be seen in the future, but we will progress with this.”

Jim Clark will continue to sell and service Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, he said, although the dealership will not receive any more vehicles from the automaker.

Jim Clark also sells Volkswagen and used vehicles, and those operations are not included in Chrysler’s decision.

“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.”

Jim Clark has 47 full- and part-time employees at its five-acre site at 2121 W. 29th Terrace, in the Lawrence Auto Plaza.

So far, Chrysler has upheld all of its responsibilities regarding reimbursements involving new-car rebates, warranty repairs and other financial matters, Brubeck said.

“They’ve paid me what they owe me, so far,” Brubeck said. “Now we test them, from now on.”

Brubeck said Jim Clark Motors would continue to perform warranty service work, until otherwise instructed. If he does end up losing the Chrysler agreement, owners of such vehicles would need to locate other dealerships in Topeka, the Kansas City area or elsewhere.

Brubeck is counting on the vast numbers of such customers to help him retain his affiliation with Chrysler.

“Evidently, they did not investigate the market before they made this decision,” he said. “Too many of their customers will be affected. They’re going to affect us and our employees, but their customers are the ones that will be affected.”


Confrontation 8 years, 9 months ago

I found the worst prices at Jim Clark's. Customers will save by going elsewhere.

kanshawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Car dealers have huge customer base for maintenance and repair. I took my toyota truck to jim clark to have the bumper replaced after it was hit in a parking lot. They had a slightly lower but comparable price to another dealer (ford i believe) and a drastically lower price than crown toyota as they were going to replace the entire bumper facade costing nearly twice as much. Jim Clark explained to me the damage and the fabrication of the bumper as to which parts actually needed to be replaced. saved me 500$ service was excellent and speedy.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 9 months ago

The only American car I've owned was a Chrysler, and I think it's a good value. I've done business with Jim Clark regarding service issues, and they've been good for me. This is not a good thing that Chrysler is doing. What exactly does Chrysler gain from this?

Chris Ogle 8 years, 9 months ago

Oldenuf- In my opinion, it has nothing do with the local dealer. If Chrysler built cars that most people wanted, then the local guy would still be selling Chrysler products. I blame the Unions.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

First the bond holders, who legally have first priority, are being put in line behind the unions who, by law, should be last in line, while and the taxpayers, the lenders, are being put at the end of the line behind the unions and the bondholders, and now the dealers, are being shafted by Obama to favor the Unions and, for some unknown motivation, the Italian corporation Fiat.

Why is this happening?????????????????????????

Is this a perfect Dada scenario? Is Boog happy now?

greenworld 8 years, 9 months ago

How will the customers suffer? Wont their be a car sale if they go out of business? That sounds like customers may get one hell of a deal.

KURocks 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey Junior:

I hate to burst your bubble, but your service department is terrible. I gave up on your shop long ago, and now use DAS autohaus exclusively, as they understand the term excellent service. I'm sorry for the future impact to you and your staff, but your service department is one of the worst I've ever experienced.

MyName 8 years, 9 months ago


The first problem with your statement is that employees actually get paid ahead of lenders in pretty much any bankruptcy situation (and they certainly don't get paid last). Also, Fiat is getting preferential treatment because they are looking to purchase Chrysler, or at least pieces of it, and keep those pieces going.

But hey, just keep commenting without doing any research on your own. You'll still be as smart as the rest of the internets.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Fiat is not expected to pay a dime for its stake in Chrysler.

"Under the new deal Fiat is expected take a 20 percent stake in Chrysler, down from the original offer of 35 percent, according to a person familiar with the plan. If the Italian automaker meets certain milestones, it could gain a larger stake.

In exchange, Chrysler would gain Fiat's technology and global distribution network."

""Fiat, meanwhile, is not in the best financial shape. Standard & Poor's recently downgraded the Italian automaker's debt rating. The credit rating agency said that Fiat may not have enough cash and lines of credit to cover all of its obligations over the next year.

Fiat has refused to take on more debt as part of any deal, and it found itself in a public spat over the issue last month after Chrysler's chief executive Robert L. Nardelli said Fiat would assume 35 percent of its debt to the U.S. government. Fiat shot back that it "intends to make it absolutely clear that the proposed alliance will not entail the assumption of any current or future indebtedness of Chrysler." Chrysler eventually acknowledged that Nardelli was mistaken. "

If Fiat has no cash, and refuses to take on more debt, then exactly how much is Fiat paying for its 20% stake in Chrysler? And what are the certain "milestones" it must meet to gain that 35% stake? Are the milestones in the form of payments, or are they in the form of political payback?

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

Prior to Obamalaw, dating back to the founding of this nation, bondholders have been senior to all other creditors in a bankruptcy.

Now, it is all up for grabs. Now Obama picks the winners and the losers. Contract law is just another one of those "failed ideologies of the past."

LogicMan 8 years, 9 months ago

Anyone know yet if either of the town's GM dealers got bad news today (being cut off too)? The national news story says that GM won't be releasing a list like Fiat did for Chrylser.

madameX 8 years, 9 months ago

xbusguy (Anonymous) says…

Oldenuf- In my opinion, it has nothing do with the local dealer. If Chrysler built cars that most people wanted, then the local guy would still be selling Chrysler products. I blame the Unions.

Oh, right, because it's the unions who decide what kind of cars a company is going to make. I'm sure you do blame the unions, I'm pretty sure I know why, and I'm also pretty sure I disagree, but from this statement it sounds like you're blaming them for something they have zero control over.

madameX 8 years, 9 months ago

Godot, can you provide any evidence that Obama is the one orchestrating this bankruptcy? I was under the impression that the bankruptcy judge is the one who decides who gets paid first, what contracts stand, etc. If you don't like the judge's decisions fine, but at least lay the blame for the decisions you don't like on the right person.

Justin Ahrens 8 years, 9 months ago

ROFL Das autorip-u-off never meet a more dishonest person than Dave Bach

Joe Hyde 8 years, 9 months ago

The 1960s were a great decade for Chrysler Corp. vehicles. It was the decade of the big engine "muscle cars", of cheap gasoline and uniformly higher highway speed limits (compared to today's). Many, if not most, municipal police departments, sheriff's offices and state highway patrols drove either Dodge or Plymouth patrol cars, and some of those patrol cars were really something to behold. (Before the advent of the helicopter air ambulance, how many of us remember those emergency "blood runs" KHP troopers would frequently make between Topeka and Wichita, smoking down the Kansas Turnpike at 140 mph? Those were the days.)

I think the real tipping point for the Chrysler Corp. was its stubborn resistance to designing and manufacturing fuel-efficient cars following the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. Not that Ford and GM were any less resistant; it's that Chrysler persisted a couple of years longer in making powerful, fuel-hungry cars that were being increasingly shunned by American consumers due to the higher cost of fuel.

It was at this juncture that Japanese carmakers Toyota, Datsun (now Nissan) and Subaru exploited the attractiveness of their tiny, high-mileage vehicles by committing major resources to improving their design and reliability. That commitment resulted in a host of Japanese vehicles becoming the standard in quality, reliability, durability and fuel economy.

It will be really cool if Chrysler Corp. emerges from bankruptcy once again a world leader in making excellent vehicles, and with Jim Clark again selling and servicing them.

Clickker 8 years, 9 months ago

"Machiavelli_mania (Anonymous) says…

What customers? I have never driven a Chrysler. Never will.

If there were customers for Chrysler, why is the company in dire straits?

I do remember calling them a few years ago and asking what car did they have to show me that could get over 40 mpg. They laughed at me. Hubris is not an acceptable quality in a maladjusted car industry.

Do build a car the public demands. Do not build a car that requires you build public demand for it. It is backwards thinking to thing you can entice a country to buy a car they don't want."

Are you kidding me? Does Ford? Toyota? Chevrolet? Come on, NO ONE has cars that get that kind of mileage. At least no one has cars that are anywhere near safe to drive on the highway that get 40+. Lets be honest here.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

The taxpayers will be winners if WE are no longer forced to bail them out. Perhaps then they will manage business properly.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 9 months ago

Seems to me Jim Clark Motors might consider doing BMW's.

Also focus on all high mpg VW's.

password 8 years, 9 months ago

duh - of course the customers are the biggest losers. if you don't shop there then you're not a customer and you're not a loser. if you do or did shop there well then you are a loser.

Godot 8 years, 9 months ago

madameX, Obama is absolutely, 100 percent, in charge of and responsible for the disposition of the second half of the TARP, all of the TALF, the PPIP, the GM and Chrysler bailouts, the Chrysler bankruptcy, every cent spent or wasted on the Stimulus, the supplemental budget, the billions and billions of treasury purchases by the Federal Reserve, and everything that happens from this day forward until he is ousted from office.

Obama can delegate tasks, but he cannot delegate responsibility. He asked for it, he got it.

BigPrune 8 years, 9 months ago

New car dealerships do not make money selling new cars -1% to +2% (if they are lucky), and haven't for years. New car dealerships make money selling the used car trade-ins and on parts and service. If a new car dealership makes money off of new cars, they make it off of the financing and service contracts.

The auto manufacturers make money selling new cars to new car dealerships. For instance, (I read this in Fortune Magazine 20 years ago), Chrysler Corp makes $10,000 selling a Jeep Grand Cherokee to the dealer - the dealership doesn't see this profit, only the manufacturer.

So will this Obama Automotive scheme work? I don't see it happening. They are taking products away from consumers and making the automotive business less competitive. Why would they close down the Lawrence dealership yet leave Ottawa's open? It doesn't make sense. It must be political.

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