About a decade ago, when Volvo sold its car division to Ford Motor Co., the Dwyer family felt like it had won the lottery.
After the sale in 1999, "We figured we would be selling 500 or 600 Volvos a year," said Pat Dwyer, one of three dealer principals of Dwyer and Sons Volvo-Subaru in Commerce Township, Mich., a Detroit suburb.
That didn't happen. But today the Dwyers feel fortunate in a different way -- for the other brand that was once not nearly as enticing but is now saving their business.
"We're doing a balancing act," he said. "We are trying to offset the decrease in Volvo business with the increase in Subaru business."
Where misfortune enters, sometimes fortune finds its way.
In many ways, Dwyer caught a brand on the way up, while another was on the way down.
Dwyer's Volvo sales hit nearly 1,100 new vehicles in 2002 thanks to a healthy fleet business. The dealership was so optimistic about Volvo's potential that the dealership doubled the size of its service department in 2003.
A few years later, the bubble burst.
Fewer Ford employees led to a slowly eroding annual sales rate and a recession put Volvo sales into a tailspin. Add the uncertainty surrounding Ford's $1.5 billion sale of Volvo to Chinese company Geely Holding Group in August, and things got worse before they got better.
After averaging about 500 new units annually for several years, Volvo sales slipped to 305 in 2008 and just 133 last year.
After breaking even in 2008 and 2009, the dealership lost money last year and laid off 10 percent of its staff.
Volvo's products are terrific, but "based on the volumes that you see, in a sense we are starting over," Dwyer said.