It was with mixed emotions that I read and hear Chrysler Corporation announcing reopening plants in Canada and the U.S. While I am sure many are elated that the plants will reopen and Union workers will be returning to work, for at least a short time, to assemble Chrysler Vehicles, many others are not.
I am one of those “many others.”
I have been a loyal owner of Chrysler products for the past 43 years and have worked at various Chrysler and Dodge dealerships over the past 32 years, being at the last one for 19 1/2 years.
We were one of the 789 carefully chosen by White House officials to lose their franchise.
I obtained my first Chrysler vehicle shortly after graduating High School, a 1956 Plymouth Belvedere. Although 11 years old at the time I obtained it, it was stout and dependable. Unlike others cars in Southeast Florida, it was not rusted out by the salt air we had at the time.
That was the beginning of my loyalty to Chrysler Corporation that I held until June 16, 2009, as I was told my technician experience and skills learned at many Chrysler factory technical schools were no longer needed, after the dealer I had been at for so long lost their franchise.
I first hired on at a Chrysler dealer in 1977 shortly after my US Army enlistment ended. We weren’t permitted to own private vehicles in Viet Nam, but after finishing my tours there and being transferred to Germany and having sold my 1965 Plymouth Belvedere II prior to Viet Nam, I took a portion of my Army Reenlistment bonus and bought my first ever brand new car through the PX, a 1971 Plymouth 340 Duster, later swapping it for a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner.
Leaving the Army in 1977 and going to work for a Chrysler dealer, I fell in love with the Chrysler LeBaron and ended up buying one brand new in 1978 as the 1979 models were coming out.
Two years later I obtained a brand new Dodge Van which I tricked out, as was popular at the time.
During this time period Chrysler suffered their first difficulty financially. As the workmanship of the late 1970’s cars declined and concession’s were made to remain in business, the dealer I had been working at ended up laying off several of us, eventually being sold to another owner.
I went through a 8 year absence of working for Chrysler dealers, but retained my loyalty as an owner, losing the LeBaron in a divorce, but gaining a 1979 Plymouth Volare a few years later while keeping the Dodge van.
By 1987 I hired on at another Chrysler dealership, staying there until returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1988, where I hired at another dealership and remained until January 1990, when I moved to the current one that just lost their franchise.
Along the way I obtained a 1986 Chrysler New Yorker, a 1995 Plymouth Voyager and my current ride, a 1998 Dodge Dakota.
As you can see, I have been a loyal owner and liked the vehicles enough to hire on at Dealerships to repair others vehicles, gaining much knowledge, both from hands-on and attendance at more factory sponsored tech schools than I care to recall at this moment.
Technicians’ remaining at one dealership for nearly 20 years is almost unheard of in the Automotive Mechanics trade, but many others and I did just that. A change in Service Manager led others to leave last year, leaving me as the oldest employee in the shop and the Dodge technician with seniority. Being non-union, that part is meaningless, naturally.
It is well known that I do not support the current administration, but I never expected that even Obama would direct sending so many people to the unemployment line or a company like Chrysler complying with such a directive.
As expected, the administration denies such action, but evidence suggest differently. I also do not expect anything to come of it, either.
So here I sit, approaching 61 years of age, highly trained in Chrysler vehicle repairs and unemployed as younger less experienced techs fill what few positions may become open, as there is now a glut of factory trained Chrysler Technicians in the jobs market and not enough dealerships for all of us.
Owners in many markets now must travel a much farther distance to receive service or warranty repairs, discouraging many from buying or keeping their Chrysler vehicles. To a man, every one that I worked with agrees that they have purchased their last Chrysler vehicle. Many others across the country join us in deciding to take our few remaining dollars to spend elsewhere, most likely foreign, as a socialist government and unions now own the American Automakers.
While I'm sure others will continue to buy Chrysler, once they see the shoddy workmanship directed by the UAW and Fiat, don't be surprised to see Chrysler still struggling in the near future.
You dug your own hole, Chrysler.
I bid you a not so fond farewell.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Posted by Lew Waters at 4:29 PM