The Chrysler dealership in the Gilroy Auto Mall is back open with a new owner after being closed for most of the year.
Gill Auto Group has taken over operations of the former South County Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM at 455 Automall Drive, renaming it Gilroy Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM.
The automotive group has owned Gilroy Chevrolet Cadillac across the street for the past 12 years.
Jay Gill, president/CEO of Gill Auto Group, said the reopening of the dealership will help the city, bringing back about 50 jobs and roughly $30 million in taxable sales.
The city relies heavily on vehicle sales tax to fund services such as public safety and parks maintenance. Gilroy financial reports list five dealerships among the 25 highest sales tax-generators in the city.
“It’s never good when you have an existing business and you have an empty building next to you,” Gill said. “It depresses the real estate market, it hurts the whole auto mall and it hurts the city. The car business is so competitive right now that you have to have scale. By having two stores next to each other, we’re able to have synergy.”
Gilroy CDJR General Manager Jose Lopez said many of the staff that lost their jobs when the South County dealership closed will be returning.
Once fully operational, the store is expected to have an inventory of 300 vehicles. The dealership will not be taking over the currently vacant RAM Truck Center nearby, formerly owned by South County, but Lopez said the CDJR store will have the capability to service commercial vehicles.
Named the 2019 Large Business of the Year by the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Gilroy Chevrolet continues to support youth sports and other local organizations. The dealership is also currently gathering donations for Toys for Tots.
Lopez said with the new dealership, the hope is to expand its community service.
“We are heavily invested in the community,” he said.
South County Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM closed in March during the beginning of the shelter-in-place order, with its vehicle inventory removed from the premises shortly after. The former dealership faces a number of court cases alleging fraud.
Lopez stressed that the new dealership group is completely separate from the former ownership, and said it has set up a phone number for customers who purchased a vehicle from South County to get their concerns addressed.
“There’s people who’ve had a negative experience with this store,” Gill said. “We’re here to take care of those customers. We want to make sure we are here to service them and represent the Chrysler brand here.”
Gill Auto Group operates 10 stores across 13 brands, with dealerships throughout California and one in Hawaii.
For information, visit gilroycdjr.com.