Just on my way back from dropping off a car at a dealer 10 miles away, had my IPod cranking, light traffic, nice day.
Then I noticed a car dealer that had been at the same location forever, closed. Not a new car dealer, mind you, a used car lot that had formerly done a great business. Perfect location, right beside the freeway, they took trades but dumped all the the best on other dealers.
The car I was hauling was a PT Cruiser that belonged to Enterprise that the renter had nosed into a curb and broken the radiator. He was from someplace other than California, so he took full responsibility rather than blaming a “runaway accelerator”, a nice change I thought.
At the Dodge dealer, it being a Sunday the Service Department was closed so I unloaded the leaking mess in front of the roll up doors, fired it up, and hurriedly backed it into a space out of the way before the engine had time to heat up. That done, I locked it up, and got to doing the paper work.
I shut the engine off on my truck so I could hear my IPod from the back of the truck while I scribbled the VIN, odometer and other stuff on the invoice, and noticed a bunch of salesmen standing around a car talking. Only one customer on the lot I could see, and he already had somebody tagging along behind him; slow day I guess.
I couldn’t quite make out what they were talking about, but it looked like they weren’t having a lot of fun, and I didn’t really think they were discussing all the money they were making in the sales department recently.
All the trips I’d made recently to the dealership row, and I never really stopped to look at who exactly was left still in business until now.
The former Jeep dealer was now a Kia retailer. That place when they were told they were getting their franchise yanked fought to keep it, but prepared for the worst, just in case. Of course, dimwits thinking they were going to get nearly free Jeeps were coming in droves;
In the “back end,” or service area, the days have passed as usual.
Not so on the front-end, where sales associates have been harassed by some customers who have rubbed the situation in their faces by making ludicrous demands.
“You always get the ill-informed person that wants to take advantage,” Kennedy said. “It’s not somebody who’s just seeking a good deal, because I would expect that from people. I got that. But when people come in and make ridiculous offers, that’s not acceptable.”
For the most part, the community’s rallying around the dealership in ways that Kennedy finds encouraging. Friends have sent letters to their regional manager protesting the decision, and some have signed petitions and even called the White House comment line to voice their thoughts.
Most people understood though, these people were our friends and neighbors, and wanted to see the dealership succeed.
Kirby Jeep didn’t wait for an Obama bailout;
As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Chrysler has taken the Jeep franchise away from Kirby. While other dealerships might have decided to pack it in, Kirby plans to grow.
“We’re resourceful and we’re not going down that way,” said Jeff Sukay, vice president and co-owner of the Kirby Automotive Group.
Sukay said that while he was initially upset by Chrysler’s decision he knows it’s best to channel that energy toward the positive.
Besides continuing to sell new Suzukis, he said the dealership plans to expand its pre-owned vehicle selection.
They have since added KIA to it’s inventory, but gone are the US brands; more manufacturing dollars go overseas and the jobs with them.
On my way back to town, I took a few pictures;
There were literally a dozen places I didn’t pull over to takes pictures of, each one with a story; each with laid off or fired employees possibly wondering why Obama has been mucking with health care for nearly a year when he could be “focusing like a laser” on jobs right now; today.
Maybe after “The Petulant One” finishes carving his name on our wall he’ll finally get back to the business of helping business by staying out of our business?