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Chrysler to sell controversial LA dealership

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News is reporting that Chrysler is selling its factory-owned Motor Village LA dealership.

The full-line dealership opened last November with a big splash and began selling vehicles earlier this year. Motor Village LA was supposed to be a showcase for Chrysler Group products in California, a market that the company has targeted for special attention.

However, some Los Angeles car dealers said Motor Village LA violated California franchise laws that prohibit manufacturer-owned stores within ten miles of independent dealerships. The California New Car Dealers Association filed a complaint with the state department of motor vehicles last March and the DMV filed administrative charges last week. A meeting is scheduled before the California New Motor Vehicle Board, which handles franchise issues, on Tuesday, September 27.

Chrysler is hoping the sale will allow it to avoid charges of improperly operating a factory-owned dealership.

Automotive News says the potential buyer Dennis Lin’s New Century Automotive Group, a North Hollywood-based company that operates import brand stores. A Chrysler spokesman says the automaker hopes to close the deal next month.

Chrysler is trying to build market share in California, the nation’s largest new vehicle market. Nationwide, Chrysler’s share is 10.2 percent but in California, it is just 4.4 percent and it’s just 3.89 percent in the Los Angeles area.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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