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Car dealer seeks help to save his business



Published: Tue, May 19, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

Frederick wants to meet with Boardman trustees

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

BOARDMAN — A Chrysler dealer is calling for help from the Boardman trustees as he tries to save his dealership.

In a letter to trustees, Bob Frederick said Chrysler’s closing of his Market Street dealership is unfair, and he asked for an immediate meeting to discuss how the dealership and its 54 jobs can be saved.

Frederick noted that the dealership received notice of the termination in a form letter delivered by FedEx.

“What a way to receive the news after almost 50 years with Chrysler,” Frederick said.

Trustee Kathy Miller said she left word with township administrator Jason Loree to arrange a meeting with the car dealer. If something can be done to organize public opinion in support of Frederick, she’s all for it.

“This is just too serious for us to sit on our hands,” Miller said.

Frederick could not be reached to comment.

As Frederick works with local officials, a group of Chrysler dealers is appealing to the automaker to reduce the 789 dealer closings that were announced Thursday.

A lawyer for the Chrysler National Dealer Council told the Associated Press that he’s hopeful the number will be pared down and that he wants Chrysler to provide aid to dealers who do lose their franchise agreements.

Frederick complained in the letter that Chrysler is using federal bankruptcy court to get around state laws that protect dealers from having their franchises pulled.

“How can Chrysler use the federal courts to destroy a profitable business in Ohio and at the same time be taking our tax dollars in bailout funds?” Frederick asked.

Chrysler is living off $5.8 billion in federal loans and intends to emerge from bankruptcy court under the control of Fiat Group SpA, an Italian automaker.

“We have attempted to contact Chrysler to discuss our situation but have been met with cold silence,” Frederick said.

The dealer’s case is this:

UChrysler wants dealers to have all three of its brands under its roof. Frederick Chrysler Jeep Dodge, 7871 Market St., has all of them.

UChrysler wants only dealers that sell more than 100 new vehicles a year. Frederick sold 636 new vehicles last year.

UChrysler wants only dealers who sell more new vehicles than used vehicles. Frederick does that.

UChrysler does not want its brands to be housed in dealerships that offer brands of other automakers. Frederick sells only Chrysler products.

UFrederick said he is in the midst of a $1 million remodeling effort.

Miller said she was surprised that Frederick can make such a strong case. When she heard of the closing last week, she assumed the dealership was performing poorly.

“You should not close another person’s business just because you can,” she said.

Frederick said Chrysler’s decision means he cannot sell or service vehicles as of June 9. The automaker is not buying back the dealership’s vehicles, parts or tools, which cuts the value of these items by at least half, Frederick said.

Also on the list of dealerships to be closed was Preston Chrysler-Jeep-BMW in Warren. A Preston official said 85 percent of the dealership’s sales are BMW vehicles, so it can survive without Chrysler.

shilling@vindy.com

SEE ALSO:Chrysler expands buyout, early-retirement packages and GM, UAW in dispute over imports, plant closures.


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