Archive for Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jim Clark car lot changing hands

Jim Clark Motors is being bought by Manhattan-based Briggs Auto Group.

September 21, 2010


A deal has been struck to sell a longtime Lawrence auto dealership that likely will open the door for a Chrysler franchise to return to the city.

Manhattan-based Briggs Auto has reached a deal to purchase Lawrence-based Jim Clark Motors, 2121 W. 29th Terrace. In a related deal, Lawrence-based Crown Automotive has agreed to purchase Jim Clark Motors’ Volkswagen franchise. Both deals are set to be finalized Oct. 1.

“This is a deal we wanted to do,” said Junior Brubeck, president of Jim Clark Motors. “The deal was the best employment opportunity I could find for our employees. Most will have an opportunity to continue working at one of the two dealerships.

“And I’m very confident there will be another Chrysler store here before long. That will be a very good deal for the people who own Chrysler products.”

Russell Briggs, president of the Briggs group, said discussions already have begun to bring a full-line Chrysler dealership back to Lawrence.

“We feel like we have it all set up to bring Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram back,” Briggs said. “We expect to have it in a few months.”

Jim Clark Motors lost its Chrysler franchise last year as part of Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings. But Brubeck, who has been with Jim Clark Motors for 54 years, said that loss did not force the sale.

“I’m selling because after 54 years I’m ready to sell it,” Brubeck said. “It has been a successful 54 years because a great group of customers and employees have made it that way. But I tell you, there’s an awful lot of fish out there to be caught, and I want to get to doing that.”

Jim Clark Motors has about 30 employees. Both Briggs and a representative with Crown Automotive said they intend to bring many of Brubeck’s employees to their dealership.

“We’re looking to add people in both service and sales,” said Dale Backs, general manager for Crown Automotive. “We’re real excited. We think Volkswagen is a real up-and-coming brand.”

Backs said Crown will continue to serve as a Toyota dealership as well.

Briggs also will continue to have Subaru and Nissan dealerships in Lawrence. Briggs said his company plans major expansions in the Lawrence Auto Plaza.

In addition to buying the property that houses Jim Clark Motors, Briggs said he’s finalizing a deal to purchase the former Jack Ellena Honda site at 2957 Four Wheel Drive after it became available when the Honda dealership moved to a new location along Iowa Street.

Briggs said that site likely would be home to a new collision repair and service center.

“We really like the Lawrence market,” said Briggs, who also operates dealerships in Manhattan, Junction City and Topeka.


LogicMan 7 years, 4 months ago

Have a great retirement, Junior!

If Briggs can bring back Chrysler's products to Lawrence, and maybe Fiat's, then overall this will be a good result from a bad Chrysler crash and burn.

frank mcguinness 7 years, 4 months ago

Well I suppose that since the auto industry is making their first profit in several decades and is finally commpetitive with german and japanese cars on quality, obama did the right thing even though someone had to go down. But you wouldn't understand that.

puddleglum 7 years, 4 months ago

pay close attention and I will explain exactly how reducing dealerships results in better profits for the manufacturers:

The way detroit worked for the last 60 years was pretty much like this: the more cars you make, the more money employees and executives alike made. The more you sell to dealerships, the more profit dollars the company makes. UNTIL you begin to cram cars down the dealers' throats...a great example is how chrysler recently used the 'new' challenger car as an 'allocation'... the 300-series chryslers and dodge chargers were selling really well throughout 2004. So the manufacturer set an emphasis on production (i.e. volume) of these two cars for the near future. Along this time, the new challenger was shown for several years, baiting awaiting customers...well, gas got really expensive around 2005 and continued to climb through to 2007 and of course-this killed the desire for the 300C and what was hot, was now a hot potato. problem? yeah-because detroit had just invested billions in ramping up the production of these cars and had thousands and thousands on hand...what to do? enter the hot new challenger. If you are a dealer and you want a challenger, you must order 10 300c's and chargers. That resulted in a swell of price reductions, because now you have a huge pool of maybe 300 of the same kind of car within a 30-mile radius. The cars were being given away, resulting in less demand form the dealers. Chrysler inc began issuing rebates to dealers and steadily decreased the price of the unwanted models-further reducing demand. An out-of control spiral, huh? Now you have maybe 3 different dealerships with tons of the same non-saleable cars collecting dust on their lots, and they sell them at such low overhead-that it becomes a liability rather than a profit. Other models may make money for the dealer, but eventually you end up with a steep decline in profit margin. Just like a struggling company ridding itself of employees, the manufacturers had to rid themselves of dealerships, because there were too many out there, and the demand was not. Once the overflow of dealerships was checked, the ridiculous sales came to an end, and the dealerships which were left standing were able to make more money on each car sold. This killed the little dealerships off, but hey-that's what happens when we (the u.s. auto industry controlled 100% of the auto market in the 50's, and that number has dwindled to less than 47% as of 2009) stopped buying american cars, and started buying hondas...

puddleglum 7 years, 4 months ago

The identical thing happened to GM, who devoted none less than $217 billion in an attempt to corner the SUV market in the same stretch of years... Once the egg was laid, the management continued to 'stay the course' because there was simply nothing else to do. GM did show a profit in 2005, but that was because they lied to their stockholders and the truth came out two years later (ouchy ouch)...If you want a great read from someone who can explain it in far greater detail, check out Paul Ingrassia's book about the american auto industry: " Crash course: from glory to disaster" very hard to put down, if you are able to read and stuff.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm so happy that Chrysler could leave town for just about the same amount of time I had remaining on my used car warranty.

MustHaveSalt 7 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if they had to go to their sales managers to get approval of these deals.

CLARKKENT 7 years, 4 months ago


dzinechic 7 years, 4 months ago

THANK YOU Jim Clark Motors staff for all of your many years of OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE. This is one (of many) loyal customer that appreciates everything each one of you has done and wishes you the best in the future. Crown has BIG shoes to fill when it comes to the VW sales and service department.

Amy Bartle 7 years, 4 months ago

I hope the same staff says in the service department. Darin Denning and all those guys have been there for years and they are honest.

remember_username 7 years, 4 months ago

I have always been very happy with the service department at Jim Clark Motors. I hope the new management will keep the same team and promote from within the Lawrence crew for the new service department facilities.

jeffeone 6 years, 9 months ago

Chrysler Dodge Jeep is back in town as Briggs Chrysler Dodge Jeep at 2121 W 29th Terrace

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