STUART — It just doesn’t make sense to Bill Wallace.
Why would Chrysler close a profitable dealership in a growing area?
Why would the beleaguered automaker allow a franchise in out-of-the-way Okeechobee to remain open, while closing several on the more populated Treasure Coast?
He’s selling cars. He bought more of them than he needed from Chrysler this year, at the urging of the company’s top brass, he says.
But his Wallace Chrysler Jeep in Fort Pierce is still slated to shut down after June 9, along with 788 other dealerships that Chrysler decided to close as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.
“We weathered this tsunami, and in America, you should be rewarded for that, not punished,” said Wallace, a third-generation dealer whose grandfather opened a Chevrolet dealership in West Palm Beach in the 1930s.
Wallace is among more than 300 dealers across the country who have joined forces to fight Chrysler’s decision. The group, called the Committee of Chrysler Affected Dealers, wants more time. More time to prove it would be a mistake to ax them.
But if Chrysler gets its way in bankruptcy court – as many industry watchers believe it will – five Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers between Indiantown Road in Jupiter and Vero Beach will be among those that close next month. (more…)