Saratoga County dealers pledge to remain open

Not far from Mangino and also on Route 50, Terry Chrysler Jeep received earlier this month notification that the dealership will be part of Chrysler's reorganization plans. Owner Charlie Morris said that he's appealing to Chrysler and the government.

"To do this to dealerships in this short period of time is not good, it's not good for the legal system and not good for the economy," he said.

Morris will continue on with Morris Ford Mercury, located across the street, but if he is forced to shutter his Chrysler operation, 35 to 40 employees could stand to lose their jobs, he said.

Peter Aust, president of the president of the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, of which Terry Morris is a member, said that auto dealerships play an integral role in their areas as large employers and tax contributors.

"A lot of dealers have longstanding histories in the community of running a successful operation, and they'll survive through these impacts," he said.

One of the reasons automakers have cited in discontinuing franchises is to relieve alleged over saturation of dealerships. Further south on Route 50, Scotia Motors and Salisbury Chevrolet also received a letter from Chrysler (these dealerships will fight to remain open, as well).

Aust said that Route 50 serves as an important business corridor for those who don't wish to travel to more distant business center like Saratoga Springs or Albany, and that he doesn't personally feel like the area is overrun by dealerships.

"The Route 50 corridors is central to a significant demographic. It touches three counties, in essence," he said. "I think [the Route 50 dealerships] provide a real service to the car buyers in those regions."

Morris echoed those thoughts, and questioned the manner in which Chrysler identified closings.

"They have been using census data that is 10 years," and since then the southern Saratoga County area has grown, he said. "If you're making an intelligent decision, you have to have current data.

When GM phased out the Oldsmobile brand in 2004, the company issued vouchers good for money off on a purchase of another GM brand. It's too soon to tell if a similar deal will be made available for Pontiac owners, however.

"We're still considering a lot of different possibilities," said Hopson. "We're still kind of evaluating what's going to happen in the long term.""

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