A Chrysler Group dealership in central New Jersey has filed a lawsuit to stop the automaker from terminating the dealership's franchises.
According to the suit, Lucas Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Lumberton, N.J., agreed in December 2007 to renovate its interior and exterior by December 2009. But auto sales collapsed in 2008, leaving the dealership financially unable to begin the project, the suit says.
Lucas filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J. The suit seeks to forbid Chrysler from terminating the franchises as Chrysler said it would do this month.
According to the suit, the collapse of the auto industry and the recession "altered the business landscape," and as a result, Lucas "was not required to move forward with the renovations."
Lucas "engaged a contractor and began preparation of renovation plans" in 2012, the suit states.
But Chrysler sent written notice in mid-March that it would terminate its franchise agreements with Lucas 60 days later for failing to renovate and maintain the dealership.
The suit contends that Lucas had achieved 100 percent of its sales goals in 2011 and 2012 before Chrysler's action to terminate its franchises.
A message left for the dealership's management seeking comment was not returned.
A Chrysler spokesman said it would not be appropriate for the company to comment on the matter because it is in litigation.