OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - The owner of Louis George Motor Company in Osceola told Region 8 News Saturday he plans to stay in business, esven after he loses dealership status with Chrysler. In mid-May, the dealership was told by Chrysler that it was restructuring and 800 dealerships across the country would no longer be associated with the automaker.
"You know, they wouldn't give us any reason but our factory rep told me that our market was too small over here," said Danny George.
George said his father's company will sell late-model cars and trucks, antiques and make repairs. After June 9th, he will no longer sell new vehicles.
"They didn't see any future in it and they want the dealers with the big markets," said George.
George took the news personal. His father, Louis George, started the company in 1938. Back then, George said the country was infatuated with carriage cars and later, muscle cars.
The showroom with brand new Chrysler's displayed will be transformed into a vintage automobile experience. People can purchase antique vehicles from his display, or just look around for nostalgic purposes.
"We're going to put antique, 50's, 60's and 70 car sales in this building, and have some fun," said George. "We're going to stay in the almost new, like the programmed cars and stuff, and if a customer wants any brand, we're going to be able to get it for them. We've already got the connections."
According to George, people who once couldn't afford muscle cars now want to purchase new models such as the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang, all vehicles with older looking body styles.
"Back in the 60's, we had more fun selling, racing, and that was the real fun of the car industry and then they got away from it because of the gas crisis and stuff. Now they're trying to come back with muscle cars and stuff, but they're not the same as they were in the 60's," said George.
George was interrupted 3 times during the interview with Region 8 News. Most people were calling in reference to the deals he's cutting with customers; however, other people were calling to offer condolences.
"These cars sell, I mean, this Challenger is, you can't believe the people buying them and the calls you get on them," said George.
According to George, he's been selling vehicles non-stop since receiving the letter from Chrysler. In previous months, his business has been slow, selling only 10 vehicles per month.
"We'll do most of the sales on this stuff probably out of town. It'll probably be over the internet or something, but I've lived here all my life and I'm not going any place," said George. "You meet a lot of nice people and all of them have called us. They hate this situation. You know, we've got to go forward. My dad always told me not to cry over spilled milk so we're going forward."
George said he is keeping all 8 employees. He employs 5 full-time employees at his shop and 3 outside salesmen.
"I'm going to get the stress of the manufacturers and the finance companies off my back," said George.
Louis George Motor Company is 1 of 8 companies in Arkansas that have been dropped by Chrysler. George said he feels like he's been mistreated by Chrysler. The company has distinguished itself as one of the best in the auto business.
"We've had customers, and it makes you feel good, call and tell you that if we're not selling Chryslers, they're not buying another Chrysler," said George.
When asked if the bailout of Chrysler by the federal government should have been done, George said taxpayer money should not have been wasted on business. He said that money allowed Chrysler to pick and choose which dealerships to keep open.
"I don't think they ought to buy out Chrysler, General Motors or any of them. They ought to just let them stand on their own. Someone will buy them and take it over, and they shouldn't waste the taxpayers' money," said George. "Our government is changing the way everything does, and if people want to buy a vehicle they better buy them now while it's a buyer's market."
For now, Louis George Motor Company will sell the remaining Chrysler vehicles in stock. After that, George said he plans to enjoy the business he and his father loved.
"We've got about a dozen nice ones now and we're starting restoration on a couple more and we're going to buy some more and we're going to have the whole place full of them, and there won't be any late model cars here, it's going to be out on the highway," said George.
George said another selling point he'd like to make for future customers is donations. He said he'd like to raise $500 to $1,000 for St. Jude Hospital in Memphis. His father was part of the children's hospital before his death.
"We're going to let people come in and look and we're going to ask them to give a donation to St. Jude Hospital for looking," said George.