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Huge standalone Ram dealer emphasizes the new strategy

by David Zatz on

For years, Chrysler Corporation, DaimlerChrysler, and Cerberus pushed through a policy of rewarding dealerships that sold all the Mopar brands — and threatening those which didn’t. The “Genesis” program was almost entirely successful, to the point that nearly every dealership selling, say, Chryslers also sold Jeeps, Rams, and Dodges.

Many criticized the plan at the time, suggesting that the brands had different audiences who should not be mixed in the same showroom.  Chrysler had started mixing upscale and lowbrow brands back in the early 1930s as a response to the Great Depression, and some saw that as a major reason why the company’s higher-end brands struggled; any Imperial or Chrysler buyer would rub shoulders with lowly Plymouth owners in the repair shop. Jeep aficionados, too, complained that Dodge-focused dealers didn’t understand the off-road vehicles.

Now, Jeep and Ram, FCA’s most successful domestic brands, are spawning multiple sole-brand dealerships. Some of these are built onto showrooms with other brands, and some are in different buildings; and they seem to be owned by dealers with showrooms for other brands. Still, the new showrooms have different styling and are physically separated to increase the strength of the brands.

The latest of these is HW Hunter Ram of the West Truck Center, whose new 40,000 square foot facility makes it the largest Ram standalone dealership (by size). The $10 million building in Lancaster, California, is owned by Tim and Tom Fuller; it includes three Quick Lube stalls, heavy duty lifts, and large service bays, and provides 70 jobs. The Fullers also sell Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Fiat in another building. (The dealership is named HW Hunter after its founder, the Fullers’ grandfather, “Hank” W. Hunter.)

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