Chrysler will eliminate one quarter of its dealerships nationwide to deal with low car sales. Seven dealerships in Connecticut are on the list filed in U.S Bankruptcy Court today.
Chrysler will eliminate 789 dealerships by June 9, saying its network has too many stores competing with each other.
Manager Jeffrey Wilson of Wilson Dodge Nissan in Torrington got the news in a letter Thursday morning.
"We had an idea because the overall picture for Chrysler is they want to have their Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge all under one roof with no other franchises. And we have Dodge Nissan together in one building so that certainly targeted us more than others."
Wilson's dealership has 33 employees who won't be losing their jobs. He says his family's decision to sell Nissans as well as Dodge is allowing him to keep his business open.
"My grandfather opened the store back in 1926 and picked up Nissan back in the 60s which was formerly Datsun.Back then nobody knew what a Datsun was but over the years, that's been a very, very good franchise."
Dealerships without another franchise will most likely close.
Jim Fleming, President of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association was lobbying in Washington when the Chrysler news broke. He's worried it won't be the last of the bad news. General Motors is expected to announce more than one-thousand dealership closures this week.
"Whether it's the seven Chrysler dealers or additional General Motors dealers, it's going to have a devastating impact on Connecticut's economy. We stand to lose several thousand jobs as a result of these types of cutbacks and we again feel it's not necessary to do that to have a new General Motors or a new Chrysler corporation survive."
But there's help for local GM dealers who may lose their franchises. Last week, Governor Rell signed a bill that would require GM and other manufacturers to buy back new cars from the dealerships they close. Fleming says the law can't help Chrysler dealers because it's in bankruptcy.