The sight of a letter being delivered by a Fed-Ex truck meant the end for 789 Chrysler dealerships nationwide last week. Two local dealerships, Paul Miller Motors in Melbourne and Earl's Dodge-Jeep in West Plains, Mo., were not among those 789 dealerships and will remain open to serve customers in the area.
A letter received on May 14 from Chrysler Vice Chairman and President, Jim Press, said: "We are pleased to inform you on May 14th, Chrysler designated your Sales and Service Agreement(s) to be assumed and assigned to a new company that is purchasing the primary operating assets of Chrysler. You can remain our dealer as we move forward with establishing a new company."
The letter continued by saying that Chrysler was in the process "of restructuring and forming a new company which will emerge as a significantly stronger and more powerful global competitor. We want you and your team to play an increasingly important role in our company's rebirth to prosperity. We are making every effort to improve the conditions necessary to increase the value of your franchise.
The letter also said that even though the company was in the "sale process, we plan to continue 'business as usual' with respect to all warranty and incentive payments that are due you. This will allow your dealership to remain focused on maximizing business opportunities and satisfying customers throughout the process."
Chrysler Corporations is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Eight dealerships in Arkansas learned they would be losing their Chrysler franchise. Those include two dealerships in Springdale, two in Little Rock and a dealership in Harrison, Mena, Osceola and Malvern.
Bobby Miller with Paul Miller Motors in Melbourne said some people had confused the Melbourne and Malvern dealerships, possibly because they sound so much alike.
"The Malvern dealership is closing," Bobby Miller said. "But we are not. Paul Miller Motors in Melbourne will continue with business as usual."
According to Miller, the dealership was established in 1979 by Weldon Campbell and Howard Lamb and was called Campbell Lamb Motors. Paul Miller purchased the Lamb half of the dealership in 1980 and the remaining half in 1986.
The dealership is today operated by Miller's sons, Gene Miller and Bobby Gray Miller.
Arkansas State Senator Paul Miller, owner of Paul Miller Motors, said, "We weren't too worried about being cut since this is our 30th year, but you never know. We were excited to get the letter confirming it."
Another local dealership, Earl's Dodge-Jeep in West Plains, will also remain open.
"We are pleased to inform our customers that we will remain a dealer as Chrysler moves forward in establishing a New Chrysler," said Blake and Janet Crow, owners of the dealership. "We are very excited to be able to continue providing an excellent product and an award winning staff to meet your sales and service needs."
Earl's Dodge-Jeep is a third generation family owned and operated business with and Earl's in West Plains since 1938.
In Missouri, 27 dealerships will close. They include: Ava, Excelsior Springs, Cape Girardeau, Wentzville, Washington, Raytown, Columbia, two in Ozark, Bolivar, Potosi, St. Robert, Kansas City, Harrisonville, two in Raytown, Neosho, two in Creve Coeur, Camdenton, Crystal City, Brookfield, Richmond, Sedalia, Platte City, Grandview and Truesdale.