CT Chrysler dealerships rush to sell off cars

WOODBRIDGE - The 789 Chrysler dealers, including seven in Connecticut, who were informed in May they were losing their franchises, scrambled to sell all remaining Chrysler vehicles in order to meet the Tuesday night deadline.

The Crest Dodge dealership in Woodbridge sold 29 out of 30 vehicles that were on the lot three weeks ago. Owner Dick Fitzpatrick says the last Dodge truck will also be sold before closing time Tuesday.

"That is not a lot of time, and frankly, unconscionable," he says.

Fitzpatrick adds that he considered fighting Chrysler's decision to close his business. However, he did not want to waste his time and instead harnessed the skills of his team, headed by sales manager Sam Badamo, to clear out their leftover inventory.

"We weren't sure how [the] public was going to react," Badamo says. "Will they want to do business here because we cannot warranty the vehicles?"

However, Badamo says these concerns did not stop customers from buying nearly all of their cars. He says they are lucky to sell out because other dealerships slated for closing may be stuck with a large bill.

"We started with 44,000 vehicles, and 50 percent sold," he says.

Although his Chrysler franchise is gone, Fitzpatrick now plans to expand his Lincoln Mercury operation and offer a greater number of used cars.

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