Two Oahu car dealerships
close again

The owner of South Seas Jeep/Eagle and
Oahu Chrysler Jeep is fighting with
Chrysler Corp.

By Russ Lynch

Two financially troubled Oahu car dealerships that are fighting with Chrysler Corp. have closed for the second time this month.

South Seas Jeep/Eagle Hyundai, at Lagoon Drive and Nimitz Highway, and Oahu Chrysler Jeep on Farrington Highway in Waipahu did not open yesterday and were still closed today.

The new-car dealerships closed abruptly on Oct. 11, along with a used-car dealership, Car World on Nimitz Highway.

By the end of last week the two were open again, but statements and counter-statements from the owner, Pacific International Services Corp., and Chrysler made it clear that their dispute was far from resolved.

PISC owes Chrysler more than $7 million that the Detroit-based auto giant advanced to the local company to finance purchases of new vehicles.

Alan Robin, president and chief executive of PISC, last week said Chrysler seized the new-car dealerships' funds and forced him to step down from management of South Seas Motors Inc., the PISC subsidiary that runs the dealerships. A Chrysler spokesman in Los Angeles said only that it disagrees with Robin's version of what happened and that it is trying to protect its interests and those of consumers.

Chrysler, which initially paid mechanics to stay on and repair cars that were in the shops when they first closed, has said Chrysler owners are being asked to take their cars to other Chrysler dealers for service.

Robin issued a statement yesterday saying that the outlets have closed again and he is trying to find a solution.

"In order to facilitate all of the issues outstanding between Chrysler and South Seas, both parties felt that it would be necessary to close the South Seas Jeep/Eagle Hyundai and Oahu Chrysler Jeep dealerships for at least 48 hours, so that South Seas and Chrysler can conduct a thorough inventory," he said.

Robin said there will be an additional announcement Monday. There was no information on the fate of Car World, which has remained closed since Oct. 11.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs said it is investigating complaints from consumers about how they have been treated.

The department received 35 telephone calls and three formal complaints, said Sharon Leng, complaints and enforcement officer of the department's Regulated Industries Complaints Office.

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