This is the third post of a BAGnewsOriginals series, Grand Rapids Auto, exploring the economic crisis through the life of a family-owned Chrysler dealership. Christina Clusiau is a New York based photographer who has been returning to her hometown in Northern Minnesota to photograph and interview members and employees of Tom Clusiau Sales and Rental Service Inc.
The image above captures customers and staff of the dealership watching President Obama on TV announcing Chrysler’s bankruptcy and restructuring, April 30, 2009. The people in the image (l to r) are: Kelly Wohlers — wife of Pete Wohlers, the General Manager; a customer; Don Helmbrecht, salesman; General Manager Wohlers; a customer and former employee; Tom Clusiau, the owner.
The following was published by Tom Clusiau in the local paper, the Grand Rapids Minnesota Herald, shortly after:
CHRYSLER TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY
What does this mean to the car buying public ?
First and foremost, Tom Clusiau’s Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-GMC has been serving the Northland for 52 years and we are not going anywhere !
Secondly, according to the Obama Auto Task Force, “this filing will not mean the halt of operations or liquidation for the troubled 85-year old automaker. Instead, the administration expects to use the bankruptcy process to join Chrysler with Italian automaker Fiat.”
Positives for Chrysler:
· The United Auto Workers membership overwhelmingly ratified a concession contract Wednesday night in exchange for 55% ownership of the New Chrysler!
· The Canadian Auto Workers membership ratified a concession contract late last week !
· The Federal Government will now guarantee the warranty on any new vehicle purchase.
· Daimler agreed to forgo any loans owed it by Chrysler and will commit $600 million dollars over three years to the Pension Guaranty Fund for Chrysler workers healthcare.
· Major banks such as Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase agreed to reduce their portion of $7 billion in secured loans to a more manageable $2.25 billion. Some hedge funds refused to reduce their portion. According to the Obama administration, “the agreement of all other key stakeholders ensured that no hedge fund could have veto over Chrysler’s future success!”
· Fiat will go ahead with the alliance with Chrysler.
· The Federal Government will loan the new Chrysler Fiat Company an additional $6 billion dollars !
· This is good news for the 3300 Chrysler Dealers who employ 140,000 workers.
· We would like you to know that we are buying new and used inventory daily for your automotive needs and if it is not on our lot, chances are we can find it!
· Our ASE certified factory trained technicians are available for all of your Chrysler,Dodge, Jeep, GMC maintenance, repair and warranty needs and Walker Ford is available for your sales and service needs as well. Try us, you will like the experience.
In 52 years, we have sold and delivered over 45,000 new and used vehicles to your friends, families and neighbors.
Visit our Award Winning Dealership for all of your auto needs. We are your one stop auto shop.
The Tom Clusiau Team
(images: Christina Clusiau, April 30, 2009. )