The once-feared 'B-word' has turned from “bankruptcy” into “boon” for the 2,400 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers who survived Chrysler Group LLC's wipeout of 789 stores in late May.
“We're short of our core vehicles across the board,” says Alan Helfman, owner of Houston's River Oaks Chrysler Jeep dealership. “I'm sending drivers all the way to Kansas City to pick up more Chrysler Town & Country minivans and Jeep Wranglers.
“Who would have believed that Chrysler could come out of a bankruptcy process facing a spurt in vehicle sales and a shortage of hot models?” During Chrysler's two-month period in bankruptcy, it closed all 12 of its North America assembly plants. That reduced inventory.
Fears that the bankruptcy stigma would dampen demand for unsold 2009 models were dissipated by high incentives that dealers extensively advertised
“The reorganization of Chrysler's top management and the publicity on our new CEO, Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne, helped rebuild confidence in the Chrysler Group's future,” says Chrysler spokeswoman Carrie McElwee.