Chrysler Closing Nation's Oldest Jeep Dealer

By Michelle Krebs May 15, 2009

By Bill Visnic

2009 Jeep Wrangler - 210.JPG The names are many and varied on the list of 789 dealers with whom Chrysler announced yesterday it will seek to terminate franchise agreements in its bankruptcy proceedings and prospective restructuring.

Dealerships large and small across the nation are earmarked for closure, but one of the more historically significant is Corwin Jeep Sales and Service Inc. in Hickory, Pennsylvania. Corwin long has laid claim to being the nation's oldest Jeep dealer.

Corwin also sells the Chrysler brand, but at press time it was unknown whether the dealership will continue with Chrysler.

The 789 dealers with whom Chrysler seeks to part represents almost one-quarter of the company's 3,181dealers nationwide, but the company says the group accounted for just
14 percent of the company's sales volume. And 44 percent of the dealerships are dualed with another brand, but Chrysler sales for those dealerships were just 12 percent of sales.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) said of the more than 20,000 new-vehicle dealers in the nation, about 760 closed last year. The NADA projected about another 1,200 dealers would close this year, reported the Chicago Tribune, but that number surely will be surpassed when General Motors Corp. today announces the number of dealers with whom it plans to part in its own restructuring that also is expected to include bankruptcy.

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