Dealers Close Books on Chrysler

Dealers are forced to shut down their stores

The final day of business brought tears to the owner and employees at the  Countryside Chrysler dealer late Tuesday night, as they closed their doors for the last time ever. 

With over 45 years of business, Countryside Chrysler’s closing is a common story heard locally and nationally, as  Chrysler dissolved its partnership with 789 dealerships due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  

Gregory Chrysler Jeep in Lake Villa was another dealership among the Chicago Chrysler closings. Owner Greg Mauro had until Tuesday night to move the metal," the Chicago Tribune reported.  It is among the 25% of dealerships across the country being let loose by Chrysler.

With over a dozen Chrysler dealerships closed in the Chicago area, car buyers were faced with unbelievable deals. 

New cars were priced at up to $10,000 below invoice, Greg Mauro of Gregory Chrysler Jeep told the Chicago Tribune. Sales have been brisk in the past week, with 16 cars being sold on Saturday.  Any remaining inventory on Wednesday is scheduled to be shipped off to other dealers lucky enough to avoid the corporate ax.

The Balzekas dealership on South Archer Avenue was not one of the lucky ones. They've been in business for over 60 years and the Obamas were among their customers. 

"It's been very emotional," Carole Balzekas said early Tuesday morning. "I'm hoping that the court makes the right decision, follows the constitution (by) protecting people who have a financial interest."

She said she's been frustrated by what she considers a lack of truthful information from Chrysler about the process, but that if the court fails to intervene on behalf of the dealers, tomorrow will be another day.

"We (will) move on," she said. "It's still the United States of America. There are going to be plenty of other brand opportunities. There'll be automotive opportunities -- that's what we know the best."

Balzekas has no intention of closing their dealership.

"We're a strong family. We have a good strong employee base and everybody knows what's going on," so they'll all hold on until the next opportunity that comes along.

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