While many rejected Chrysler dealers were unloading Chrysler parts during their final days in business, Richard Carpenter bought $5,000 worth of new parts.
Carpenter, general manager of Oroville Motors in Oroville, Calif., said he wanted to stock up on oil filters, fluids and other maintenance items so he could continue to service his customers in the town of about 15,000 in north central California.
Carpenter knows he is not allowed to do factory warranty work but wants to perform routine maintenance with the proper parts and supplies so he won't compromise his customers' warranties.
Carpenter ceased new-vehicle sales at his Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep store on Tuesday, June 9.
Soon after Carpenter got the rejection letter, he began running ads on local TV stations emphasizing his service lanes. "Contrary to what you've heard, Oroville Motors will provide quality sales and service seven days a week," Carpenter, a mechanic himself, tells viewers. "We don't care where you bought it; bring it to Oroville Motors."
With the closing of Oroville Motors, customers will have to drive 30 miles to the nearest Chrysler dealership.
Oroville Motors was a small Chrysler store, selling 45 new and 250 used vehicles in 2008. The emphasis on used cars did not fit Chrysler's plans for larger dealers selling more new cars per store.
Oroville Motors started running afoul of the factory in 2007 when it was one of 463 dealerships that Chrysler banned from closed factory auctions. The company was trying to crack down on dealers that the company claimed were using their franchises to buy used vehicles at the auctions and selling few new cars.
Carpenter said Chrysler's recent policies, which rewarded dealers with cash incentives based on how many cars they bought wholesale, made it difficult to compete with big dealerships in nearby Sacramento.
Carpenter, whose mother, Shirley, owns the store, is philosophical about his family's situation. "We're very realistic people," he said. "We knew our days were numbered."