Merrill auto dealership announces closure

Published: Feb. 26, 2019 at 10:24 AM CST
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Stark Automotive in Merrill informed employees Monday that the car dealership is closing effective immediately, according to Bill Stark, president of Stark Automotive group.

The Chevrolet and Buick dealership located on Brandenburg Avenue has been in operation for 32 years and employs about 15 people.

Stark says his company has diversified out of new car sales over the last few years, citing changes in the automotive industry that have made car sales a low margin business. Stark says advancements in ride-sharing, electric cars and autonomous cars are changing the business model and his company is adapting to those changes.

General sales manager Paul Kraetsch tells NewsChannel 7 that any warranty work that was scheduled for customer vehicles will have to be completed at another General Motors dealership. Any other repair work that was being done on vehicles will have to be finished at another auto shop. Kraetsch says if the vehicles are drivable, the customer will be responsible for taking it to another shop, if the car is not drivable, Stark Automotive will transport it for them.

Heritage Chevrolet in Tomahawk is offering to honor the warranties on any vehicles purchased at Stark Automotive. Owner Roger Schlegel says Heritage will also honor any extended service contracts purchased through Stark.

Fred Mueller Automotive in Schofield announced it will honor all GM warranties for vehicles purchased at Stark. The dealership also announced it is hiring for open positions and invites any impacted Stark employees to visit with management to see if they are a fit for the company.