Decades of hard work comes to end after Chrysler drops dealerships

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

EAST TX (KTRE) - Wayne Williams has been surrounded by cars and trucks for 41 years. "I was disappointed," said Williams. "I've been coming here to work for 41 years."

Williams said his is a cinderella story. He came to Crockett to be a math teacher, until the phone rang in 1968 and it was Chrysler. "They asked me if I wanted to open a dealership, so I did," said Williams.

That partnership ended Thursday when Chrysler asked him to shut-down. "When one door closes another opens and we'll see what happens in the future," said Williams.

Down the road in San Augustine another car dealership received that same request. San Augustine Motor Company has been passed down from grandfather, to father to son. "I started out here washing cars," said John Fussell, general manager.

"We put a lot of heart and soul into Chrysler, into this business and it's a lot of history going by the wasteside," said Dan Fussell, John's father and the dealership's president.

They're optimistic about the future, but they have fears. "We have to get rid of these vehicles and without rebates we're talking substantial losses," said Fussell.

Nearly 800 Chrysler dealerships across the country are in the same situation as the Fussels and Williams. "A lot of Americans lost their job today," said Fussell.

Other area car dealers not on the Chrysler list worry about their counterparts. "I know some of these guys that are going to get cut and it's said, it really is," said Bob Pearman.

"We do feel for guys we've known most of our lives, Wayne Williams, Dan Fussell," said Bob Pearman.

Even with all the unknowns, the two dealerships both know one thing. "You know, nothing last forever," said Fussell.

"All good things come to an end," said Williams.

The San Augustine dealership will remain open carrying the Ford brand. Crockett plans to appeal Chrysler's decision. This same scenario is expected to be repeated Friday when General Motors announces their plan to cut 2, 600 dealers.