The owner of a central Wisconsin car dealership is relieved after learning Chrysler will not pull their franchise. Eighteen Wisconsin Chrysler dealers were not as fortunate as Urban Sales and Service in Neillsville.
The Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealership has been around since 1947, and owned by Craig Sigurdson since 1980. Sigurdson has been on edge since learning Chrysler's restructuring would include closing hundreds of dealerships. "We had a conference call with the top execs with the company about three weeks ago, and they said part of the bankruptcy procedure would be to eliminate dealerships," says Sigurdson. "They really didn't give us any parameters as to who they were going to eliminate or how many, and just in the last week or so I heard the number of 800."
Sigurdson thought he'd be safe, but had no idea until receiving the official letter Thursday afternoon – which he immediately shared with his twelve employees. "They were all pretty relieved," says says. "Lots of smiles. It could very well have been one of the worst days I've had here, but as it is, it's been a major relief."
If the franchise would have been pulled, Sigurdson says Urban's would probably have had to become a used car dealership. On Thursday, Chrysler announced plans to close 789 dealerships around the country, including eighteen in Wisconsin.