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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

5 northwest Ohio dealers among those Chrysler wants to close

BLADE STAFF

Five northwest Ohio dealers of Chrysler LLC vehicles are on the company's list of 789 dealers nationally whose contracts are to be canceled.

Chrysler filed the list Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The local dealers are Ed Schmidt Jeep Eagle, in Perrysburg; Bowling Green Jeep, in Bowling Green; Integrity Chrysler Plymouth Dodge, in Defiance; and Lima Auto Mall Inc., a Jeep dealer in Lima; Spangler Motor Sales, Inc., in Oak Harbor.

The bankrupt company wants to reject its contracts with nearly a quarter of its 3,188 retail outlets, according to the filing. To do so will require approval of Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez.

Fiat SpA, not Chrysler, decided which dealers will be brought along to the new company to be formed under the U.S. automaker's bankruptcy process, according to people familiar with the situation. Trimming the bulk of dealers from urban areas will increase profitability at the remaining dealers, lawyers for Chrysler said.

The automaker said it would shrink its dealer network under "Project Genesis," which will cost $216 million over eight years. Rejected dealers won't necessarily go out of business, as some may be able to get by with service operations, or make a switch to dealing used cars or other brands.



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