Steve Biegler's family-owned Aberdeen, S.D., dealership has been through automaker shutdowns before.
It began selling Nash vehicles in 1929. As auto companies consolidated and went out of business, the dealership switched to selling Ramblers, then Renaults and then Jeeps. A few years ago Biegler diversified and added Kawasaki and Yamaha franchises.
Now, Biegler Jeep will make another change. It will become a used-car store that also sells new motorcycles, watercraft and all-terrain vehicles.
"I don't have a choice," says Biegler, a third-generation new-car dealer, whose son also works at the dealership. "I'll probably stay with late-model used vehicles. They're easier to find. Finding older, good used vehicles at auction is hard."
Biegler is one of many dealers who say they — very reluctantly — likely will reinvent themselves as used-car dealers after being cut off by bankrupt Chrysler LLC. This month, the automaker notified 789 dealerships that their franchise agreements will expire June 9 and not be renewed.