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Murray Motors eyes used cars

After 75 years in business in Port Angeles, Murray Motors may say farewell to the Clallam County community as a Chrysler dealership.

According to owner Mark Murray, staying in business as a repair shop and selling used cars would be the "best-case scenario."

"I don't know at this point what exactly will happen," he said.

"It's a little early to tell. I have to wait until the proverbial dust settles to see what's left and what will happen."

The family-owned car dealership - which sells new Chrysler and Dodge vehicles as well as an array of used cars, trucks, SUVs and mini-vans - received a letter from Chrysler on May 14 telling the dealership it was one of 789 across the U.S. on a list to close as part of a comprehensive restructuring plan.

On June 9, Murray expects all ties with Chrysler to be

severed.

The news came after Chrysler filed voluntary petitions for a structured bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and announced its plans to sell most of its assets to Fiat SpA.

Murray Motors, 302 E. First St., is the oldest car dealership in Clallam County and the only Chrysler dealer on the North Olympic Peninsula.

"We did get the letter and we are on the list of dealers to be cut," Murray said, noting that the letter gave him about three weeks' notice.

"We've been with them every step of the way and now I feel like they've turned their back on me," Murray said.

Because bankruptcy voids Murray Motor's agreement with the parent company, all parts, special tools and new/used car inventory will be "redistributed" rather than bought back, Murray said.

"I will obviously sell what inventory I can at rock-bottom prices.

"Rather than drive (vehicles) to another dealer, I'd rather offer someone here in Clallam County a tremendous deal."

The hardest part about the situation, Murray said, is feeling as if he's let down the community and his staff - which includes his 29-year-old son, Matt, whom he once hoped would take over the business.

"I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and I will do everything in my power to see that my customers are taken care of."

Two years ago, Murray shared with the Gazette his intentions to build a bigger and better facility.

Those plans were put on hold as the nation entered an economic slump, a decision that Murray said he now has mixed feelings about.

"We didn't have the money to expand," Murray said, "but that was one of the things Chrysler said they would have liked to see was us in a new facility."

Murray said he's taking it one day at a time. He will let the community know what's going on as he soon as he knows.

"I'm still trying to absorb the information and go through the paperwork," he said.



Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@sequimgazette.com.

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