Local car dealerships talk numbers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Local car dealerships talk numbers

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WAUSAU (WAOW) --  Jerry Brickner and his family are the definition of a family-owned business.

In 1945 Brickner's grandfather started Brickner's Family Auto. Four generations later they are still going strong.

"We've seen lot of challenges, a lot of changes, a lot of good things over the years," Jerry Brickner, President of Brickner's Family Auto said.

But, in 2008, the auto market fell victim to a struggling economy. Chrysler was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and many other car dealerships took a huge hit.

"Chrysler sent a letter out to everyone. Either you were a dealer or you weren't anymore," Brickner explained.

Brickner said he was prepared to close two stores. But, Chrysler had other plans.  Brickner's was one of the lucky ones, and all four stores remained open.

"That attributed a lot to working with Chrysler. We helped buy up some dealerships, close some down," Brickner said.

But not all local dealerships felt the pinch. Joe Mueller, Sales Manager of Fred Mueller Auto said their sales help up, despite a down economy.

"We didn't know what was going to happen, we did get a little nervous but we held our ground," Mueller said.

Back at Brickner's, owners made changes to stay afloat.

"We sat everyone down and said we are going for it. We are going to make it as a team," Brickner explained.

And they have. In 2011 their sales were up by 21%. That means 735 new vehicles driven off the lot.

"Everyday is a struggle but you just have to thank your customers and continue to be good to them," Brickner said.

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