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Published: Saturday, 3/1/2008

Vin Devers dealership being sold to Grogan as part of Chrysler plan

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Vin Devers Inc., an auto dealer in the Toledo area for 52 years, has sold its Dodge dealership to Grogan's Towne Chrysler Plymouth Inc. in a move both parties said stems from a broader effort by Chrysler LLC to consolidate dealerships in metro areas.

The deal closed last night. A sale price was not disclosed.

Vin Devers co-owner Paul Devers said the sale proceeds will be used to enhance his firm's Mercedes, Audi, and Porsche franchises, including adding a Mercedes showroom to its site at 5570 Monroe St., Sylvania.

"We were building our import side and we did need money to expand our Mercedes and Porsche business. [Grogan's Towne] was an excited buyer, so it made sense for us to do this," he said. Vin Devers has been a Dodge dealer for 31 years.

Denny Amrhein, general manager/partner of Grogan's Towne, at 6100 Telegraph Rd., Toledo, said, "Paul was interested in selling. We were willing to buy. They're happy and we're happy."

Also content is Chrysler, which in January announced its Project Genesis, with its bid to consolidate dealerships so buyers can find Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models at one location.

Michael Yatsko, Chrysler director of dealer operations, helped orchestrate the sale, which he said is a good move for all.

The consolidation may mean uncertainty for Charlie's Dodge and Ed Schmidt Jeep dealerships in Maumee.

Mr. Yatsko would not say what will happen to them, but said, "Everything is possible. We have to look at each individual case."

Separately, Vin Devers was sued last year by Chrysler for inappropriate use of dealer incentives. But Mr. Devers and Mr. Yatsko said a settlement was reached late last year in that case, although it has yet to be filed with the federal court. The settlement did not involve or require the sale of Vin Devers Dodge, both men said.

"This was not a shotgun wedding," Mr. Devers said of the sale.

"[Chrysler president] Jim Press got all the dealers together and said that to survive, we have to have less dealers and have everything under one umbrella."

Mr. Amrhein said, "I'm relieved. I feel like Grogan's future is now secure."

Vehicles, parts, and records were moved last night from Vin Devers to Grogan's Towne. Customers who have bought vehicles yet to be delivered will have their transactions transferred to Grogan's Towne, which has hired about 35 of Vin Devers' 100 employees.



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