Chrysler Pulls Plug, Dealer Has Fire Sale

Dodge Caliber with original sticker price of $25, 715 is now on sale for $19,034 at Pohanka Chrylser in Leesburg, Va. in fire sale after dealer's franchise was yanked by Chrysler due to automaker's bankruptcy. CBS

Pohanka Chrysler/Dodge's Web site says it all: "Chrysler Bankruptcy Forces Liquidation. This is it. Period."

The Leesburg, Va. dealership is among the more than 700 losing franchise agreements with the embattled automaker, and has more than 100 vehicles to sell before a June 9 deadline.

The result?

Pohanka's own bailout plan: price cuts of as much as 40 percent.

Observers say this is a good time to buy a car if you happen to be looking for one.

CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier visited Pohanka for The Early Show Thursday, and dealer/operator Ray O'Bryhim showed her around.

He said Pohanka doesn't plan to close or lay anyone off. Rather, it intends to reinvent itself as a used car "superstore" and to expand its service area.

But Pohanka has to sell the Chrysler vehicles left on its lot.

"Our back is against the wall, obviously," O'Bryhim admitted. "We've got to make the metal move" off the lot.

So a car that was listed at $19,575 is going for $14,987, or 20 percent off. A Dodge Nitro originally being sold for $29,170 marked down to $17,510 -- or 40 percent off. And a Dodge Caliber with an original sticker price $25, 715 now on sale for $19,034.

O'Bryhim says Pohanka has managed to sell 20 cars since lowering prices.

How can they take so much off? "It's a combination," he explained. "We've got some factory cash, consumer rebates and also huge discounts. Once again, we are in the midst of an inventory liquidation." They're also peddling the vehicles at well below cost.

O'Bryhim predicts Pohanka will clear the cars out. "Oh, we'll make it," he says.

But once June 9 comes and goes, price reductions won't be as steep, he adds, calling this a "once in a lifetime opportunity for customers. ... Chrysler's told the dealers that they're not going to be able to buy the cars back, so that's all the reason we have to make this metal move."

And he assured co-anchor Harry Smith that buyers needn't worry about their warrantees, no matter what state Chrysler is in, since the Obama administration has promised to back those warrantees.
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