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DEALER ON THE MOVE: John Youngblood is taking the Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Jeep brands to Ozark.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
DEALER ON THE MOVE: John Youngblood is taking the Dodge, Ram, Chrysler and Jeep brands to Ozark.

Corwin awarded Jeep, Chrysler dealerships in city

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Corwin Automotive Group was awarded the Springfield Jeep and Chrysler dealerships in the last month, amid Youngblood Auto Group’s entrance into Ozark. It’s another move to grow Fargo, North Dakota-based Corwin’s market share in the city after its second-quarter purchase of longtime Springfield dealership Friendly Ford.

Youngblood owner John Youngblood said Chrysler officials approached the company and asked him to consider taking part of the business to Ozark. In turn, Youngblood would receive the additional Dodge and Ram brand names to sell.

“We just happened to already own land down there, because we were buying land down there for prospective spots for the Power Sports store,” said Youngblood General Manager John Widiger.

The move was because of Chrysler’s own preferences, according to sources at Youngblood and Corwin. Previously, Youngblood held the Chrysler and Jeep dealership rights, while Corwin operated with Dodge and Ram. Because the four brands were split up in one marketplace between two dealers, Chrysler officials thought two separate dealers with all four brands in separate cities made more sense.

“It was Chrysler’s decision, not ours,” Youngblood said. “(Corwin) got two, I got two.”

Youngblood set his sights roughly seven miles to the south, and on Oct. 4 opened a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership at 6151 N. 21st St. in Ozark. The property was previously a Dodge dealership owned by Rufus Church, who was shot to death inside the business in an unsolved case from 2009, Widiger said.

“The bank owned it, and I got it from the bank,” Youngblood said, referring to  Guaranty Bank.

Youngblood declined to disclose the purchase price and from whom he bought the property last year.

Corwin Auto operating partner Jeff McConville said the Jeep and Chrysler dealership rights transferred to Corwin without money exchanged. But Chrysler officials did stipulate Corwin paid an undisclosed sum to Youngblood that helped facilitate its move.

“We now have two of the best franchises in town and we’re growing,” McConville said

“We’ve already seen a substantial impact. We feel like we can sell another 50 (vehicles) a month.”

Before obtaining Jeep and Chrysler, McConville said the company was selling roughly 450 new and used vehicles a month from its 1025 W. Sunshine St. lot. In the last month, McConville said Corwin has staffed up with another 10 salesmen and technicians hired. He’d like to hire another 10 soon.

McConville said Corwin did not purchase the Jeep and Chrysler inventory from the Youngblood owners; they’ve moved it to Ozark. Corwin is receiving 250 new Jeep and Chrysler vehicles, and McConville said some already have arrived.

“Everything we got was brand new, fresh inventory,” he said.

The 50-year old Corwin Automotive Group now sells new Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat vehicles in Springfield. The company first entered the Springfield market in 2012 through the purchase of local dealership Central Dodge, and in May expanded through its acquisition of Ford at 3241 S. Glenstone Ave.

Youngblood’s Kia is at 3410 S. Campbell Ave. and the Nissan dealership remains at 3505 S. Campbell Ave.

Both Youngblood and Corwin officials declined to disclose their 2016 revenues, but they believe their new brands won’t affect each other’s sales.

“In my opinion, I think there’s enough business here for both of us,” Youngblood said.

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