Business

Jeep/Chrysler dealer says bankruptcy won’t affect local customers

LYNNFIELD ? Owners of the iconic Jeep or other Chrysler products are unlikely to notice that the car company has filed for bankruptcy protection, says Brian Kelly, owner of the Kelly automotive group, which includes Kelly Jeep and Chrysler on Route 1 north.”The buyers, the average consumer, isn’t likely to notice any change,” said Kelly. “The bankruptcy agreement simply means that any warranties that have been represented by the manufacturer will be backed by the U.S. Government.”President Barack Obama on Thursday forced Chrysler into federal bankruptcy protection, which allows the company to attempt a critical merger with the Italian automaker Fiat.As part of the plan sanctioned by Obama, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union would relinquish a set of contract benefits in trade for a stake in Chrysler’s ownership.The government would also lend Chrysler another $8 billion, which is in addition to the $4 billion already provided by U.S. Taxpayers.The bankruptcy filing was the first for a major American automaker since Studebaker sought protection in 1933.Obama, in a public appearance during which he explained the deal between the automaker and the government, said Chrysler’s warranties would be backed by the U.S. government. The President also lashed out at those lenders who refused to accept his plan, calling them speculators hoping to profit without making any sacrifices.The deal is expected to save about 35,000 jobs, Obama said.”The company is solvent,” said Kelly. “This is a surgical bankruptcy. It won’t really affect the average customer. The warranties are all in effect, so this will be seamless.”Kelly noted that most automakers continue to manufacture and sell parts for their products for seven years after the vehicle is no longer produced.”That is still happening,” he said.The auto industry, already shaken by the soured economy and, in some instances wary of the massive government intervention, will probably remain in flux as more changes are implemented.General Motors announced this week that its financially beleaguered Pontiac division will be phased out.

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