Local Chrysler dealers face challenge

LILLINGTON "I've seen downturns, and a lot of ups and downs. But I've never seen anything like this," he said.

Sales at Hiester's Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge dealership in Lillington are down about 40 percent since the credit crisis was triggered by home mortgages, not cars.

"If the housing industry hadn't done what it done, and the global credit crisis had not have happened, we would not even be talking about this today," Hiester offered.

Thursday brought another challenge for car dealers - a Chrysler bankruptcy.

"If you are making a decision to purchase a car, it will affect your decision, only because it's perception," said Hiester.

Even in bankruptcy, Chrysler will still make cars and guarantee the warranties. But now, the car maker can quickly cut the number of dealerships. -

"There's laws that protect franchise dealers in this state and in most other states. And this is the only way they can get around them. So it's here and it's happening. And we can't dwell on it. We've got to continue to move forward and serve our communities and hope we're not on that list," Hiester explained.

The best way to stay off a dealer reduction list may be to keep focused on selling cars. Hiester says some trucks are deeply discounted.

"You can save as much as $16,000 on a truck like that. And two years ago, we were trying to get them. There was a shortage of them," said Hiester.

Chrysler may have filed for bankruptcy, but Hiester is still pushing for business.

"We're Americans and we're resilient. And we'll get through it," he said.

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