Local car dealerships are not immune from the problems affecting the auto industry in larger areas.
With this in mind, Bob York announced Tuesday that York Automotive will be consolidating its Greencastle Chrysler-Jeep location with the Crawfordsville location.
"Due to the proximity of the two Chrysler Jeep locations in conjunction with the current economic situation we felt this to be the best method so as not to interrupt the service our customers have enjoyed," a company-issued statement read. "We will also be able to protect our employees by offering positions in the other three York Dealerships so as not to impact the local economy by downsizing."
All current employees of the Chrysler dealership in Greencastle will keep their jobs with York and will be moving either next door to the GM dealership, to the Crawfordsville location or to Brazil's GM dealership.
Greencastle Chrysler-Jeep general manager Steve Michael said this was one of the main considerations they made when approaching this decision.
"We looked at what would be the best thing where we could keep everybody here who are current employees," Michael said. "We're spreading out our employees over the other three stores, and we've got everybody placed. Everybody has their jobs, and we're moving forward. We sat down with our employees and they have their new assignments and we're going to start taking them up next week."
The company is also beginning the transition for service customers.
"We're going to start moving our service customers next week," Michael said. "We've got a few left in terms of carryovers that we need to get tidied up here."
Michael acknowledged that the move causes some uncertainty for customers, but said the company will do everything possible to maintain service. He spoke of the advantage of Crawfordsville's newer facility as well as the ability to perform basic work at the Greencastle GM location.
"When you take a look at the facility in Crawfordsville compared to the facility in Greencastle, that was a new facility just about three years ago. It's state of the art," Michael said. "The warranties are still good. All of our coupons are good. Any service work, as far as routine maintenance, can be done at our Pontiac store. For any of the warranty work, we can assist the customers with making arrangements to schedule their vehicle in Crawfordsville. If they need help getting up there, we can work through the Pontiac store here in town to get them shuttled up there and back.
"Our customers really shouldn't see any drop in service or warranty coverage, whatsoever," he added.
Another consideration for York's management was trying to stay ahead of tough times that could still be coming. The auto industry bailout is still not a sure thing, and even if it comes, no one is sure what it might mean. The York family is choosing to act before it is forced to do so.
"We took a long, hard look at this. We would rather be in control of the situation than having the factory dictate to us what to do," Michael said. "If they're talking about closing dealers, we thought we would go ahead and make that decision for them."
With the dealership in the process of moving in the coming weeks, Michael said there could be advantages for potential customers.
"We are going to have a liquidation sale of some leftover inventory that's not going to go up north. Rather than move it and try to crowd that lot, we're going to have some great sale prices on some stuff in remaining 2008s and new 2009s," he said.
Customers can also call the dealership to work out any future service concerns.
"Any customers with any questions can feel free to call the store, and we'd be happy to answer them and plan with them for their service needs," Michael said.