Hillsboro car dealer finds niche in difficult times

DougWrightInsidebw.jpg
DougWrightInsidebw.jpg

Doug Wright, of Wright?s Inc.

Challenging economic times require creative responses.

Having lost his Chrysler dealership in mid-May in the nationwide downsizing move by the struggling automaker, Doug Wright of Wright Inc. has forged a connection with a nearby dealer that will enable him to service Chrysler customers in Hillsboro almost as he did before.

Wright?s Inc. has become a member of The Green Team of Abilene, who is an authorized dealer for Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Jeep.

The connection is informal; Wright?s Inc. and The Green Team remain separate operations, but the developing relationship should be mutually beneficial.

?They talked to me and we made an agreement where they bought my leftover new cars and they bought my older parts,? Wright said. ?I buy new parts through them and they deliver them on a daily basis to me.

?So I still have access to new Chrysler parts and I also will also have access to their service technicians,? he added. ?So we can still offer Chrysler service and parts.?

In addition, Wright?s Inc. and The Green Team will be able to strengthen their used-car sales, Wright said.

?It gives me access to 200 used cars (on the Green lot),? he said. ?What we do is move our cars around. They have three of my cars up there right now and I?ve got three of their cars down here. That gives them fresh merchandise and it gives me fresh merchandise.?

The arrangement between the two businesses isn?t completely new.

?I have been doing stuff like that with them for over 10 years, but not to the extent that I?m doing it now,? Wright said ?It allows me to buy stuff, and when they need something they can come down here and get it out of my inventory, and vice versa.

?It really seems to be a working relationship, and they?re in hopes that I can sell some of their cars down here, too.?

Craig Dodd, general manager at Green, said he is glad to strengthen the connection with the Hillsboro business.

?I?ve known Doug for a lot of years and he?s a very professional, astute businessman,? Dodd said. ?He does a good business and has a good customer base.

?With the downsizing of Chrysler and the other manufacturers, it was unfortunate that they disqualified his dealership as a Chrysler dealer. But because he has such a good following and he?s the only (Chrysler store) in that area, it would behoove me to partner with him.

?He has access to new vehicles, he can still do the service work on those, and still does an excellent business on used vehicles.?

The paperwork for new vehicles that Wright would sell will be processed out of the authorized dealership in Abilene.

Both Wright and Green said the relationship is important not only for their respective businesses, but also the communities by providing accessibility to products and services as well as generating local sales tax dollars.

?If a customer comes in and wants a Chrysler trailer hitch for their car, I can order a Chrysler trailer hitch and have it here tomorrow,? Wright said, as an example. ?The town doesn?t lose the tax dollars and it doesn?t lose the option of being able to get Chrysler parts.?

Dodd, a resident of Marion, said he?s glad to keep sales-tax dollars in Marion County.

?I hate to see, because of these economic times, major businesses in the area go away because that?s the lion?s share of (Hillsboro?s) sales tax,? Dodd said. ?If they don?t support the sale tax, then the resident has to.

?That?s all I?m asking people: continue dealing with Doug, deal with me through Doug, and it supports the community,? he added.

Dodd said he has developed a similar relationship with two other dealers who have lost their franchises in recent months.

?Small dealers have to band together because if we don?t work together then we?ll go out of business,? he said.

Wright agreed.

?As far as fiscal ownership, we?re still independent,? he said. ?As a good-buddy working relationship, we?re far enough away where I?m not stepping on their toes, they?re not stepping on my toes.

?Hopefully, it works out good for all the customers, too.?

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